In the near future the self-driving car will be the only thing you will be able to find on the showroom of new car dealership. For myself and all those car enthusiast this will kill the very reason we fell in love the automobile in the first place, the joy of driving. You have never truly known what it feels like to drive until you have sitten behind the wheel of a Chevy big block, pressed down on the accelerator and felt the power involved in propelling nearly two tons of metal from a resting resting position. The raw emotion that comes with the understanding that you are the one in control of this metal behemoth as you go roaring down the highway at 70 mph cannot be matched by being chauffeured by a computer that is programmed to find the safest route possible.
For those of us that love and appropriate classic automobiles the cars that were built before the gasoline shortage of the late 70s represent a sense of freedom. It was a time when the average Joe with a socket set and repair manual could spend a Saturday afternoon underneath the hood of his/her car and fix the problem themselves. An open car hood was an invitation for ones neighbors to drop by and offer their two cents on what the problem most likely was. A grease spot on a driveway use to mean that the owner of this car changed their own oil, today it means the car needs to go the shop because it has leak.
Diagnosing a car problem today is not so simple. It might be that their an actual mechanical problem going on, or it might be that a faultly sensor is to blame. You just don’t know until the mechanic hooks your car to his computer and gets the codes for what is wrong.
If you think that you are going to be able to fix the problem yourself, just dream on. You will have a hard time finding the engine underneath all parts that have added on over the years that make the engine run more efficiently. The average automobile today is designed to be functional, it is not designed to spark a romance between car and the drive.
All one has to do is look at the way cars are advertised today to see this is true. The majority of the average car commercial is spent pointing the features that make driving a new car a “comfortable” experience. Contrast this with the commercial of the 60s and the 70s. Those commercials sold you on what it was like sitting behind the wheel of one of those powerhouses. It showed you just how well the car could handle the roadway. It was you that was in the driver’s seat, and it was you that was in charge of your own adventure as you went roaring down the open roadway.
Sadly performance has taken a back seat to safety and comfort. The car is no longer the symbol of who the individual is, it become a representation of the family. Therefore we must not only we strip the fun that was the hallmark of what driving once was away so that we can avoid any collisions. We must add TV screens and DVD players so the little ones are entertained on the trip to the market.
The ironic thing is that with each new safety feature that we add the the unsafer we become as drivers. As our cars become more aware of the environment around it, and has the ability to correct the mistakes that we make, the less we are aware of what is around us. We are free to mess with the radio stations, enjoy that burgers and fries and worst of all send out several dozen text messages.
The love affair with our cars and the freedom and individuality that was once associated with them is rapidly fading into memory. The driver of today values comfort and safety over performance and power. They want to not have to think about how much distance they must give the vehicle in front of so they are at a safe breaking distance. Soon our cars will be safe little bubbles that see us from point A to point B so that we can sit back and enjoy our invehicle entertainment systems and text away totally oblivious to all else around use.