Hot Rods of the New Millennium

Hot Rods of the New Millennium

Hello everybody. Nice seeing you again!

My former step father had a beautiful and very powerful ’66 Ford Fairlane GT Coupe. This was a killer car. It had a genuine big block, 390 cubic inches of regular leaded burning displacement. (Your nice “powerful” V6 import? only has about 170 cubes.) It had a medium rise manifold. A big Holley 4 barrel carburetor and headers with a dual Thrush exhaust that emptied out just behind the front seats. It was estimated by respected mechanics that saw and drove it at about 390 HP. Your nice import? Less than half that.

This thing was loud, unrefined, brutish, and just plain neck-snapping powerful (this was from a time before high bucket seats!). It was a true muscle car. A regular sedan from the 60s but decked out with a big block engine that would gobble anything is its path. Chickens, small children, great gobs of distance on any road and of course gallon after gallon of regular leaded! (High Octane no less!! In later days as high octane went from 106 to as low as 92 at the pump, it required a can of octane boost with every tank. Now that was some eye watering jungle juice.)

I’ve seen some other really killer hot rods in my day. I had an uncle with a genuine ’57 Chevy with a 327 that could supply my entire hometown with electricity. I used to read just about every car magazine. Read about Dodge pickups with 440s bored out to about 480. Rat 454s in tiny little corvettes. The original (and finally outlawed by NASCAR) Plymouth Superbird and, of course, the mother of all muscle cars: a genuine Carol Shelby 427 side oiler AC Cobra. The same famed car that was the subject of Bill Cosby’s “200 Miles Per Hour.” A car that, in one version, could do 0 to 100 to 0 in 12 seconds flat! Ohhhh to have been able to drive one of these cars. Ohhh my. I get all tingly and my insurance agent’s blood pressure rises just thinking about this.

Today? Well, we don’t rate our hot rods in BHP, or cubic inches, or if we can scratch the tires in third gear.

We rate them MHz and Bus speeds, we rate them in megabytes of RAM. And Gigabytes of hard drive space. We race our hot rods on stage at Macworld against Wintel Boxes. We race them in airports on our laps. We proudly place Voodoo FX cards in our PCI slots, instead of Hurst Shifter kits on the tranny.

We massage them, we defrag their hard drives, we over clock their chips, we place G3 Accelerator cards in them much in the same way our fathers, uncles, and cousins used to stuff big blocks in Mustangs.

We buy cool names like PowerBook G3 300MHz, the B&W 350 DVD, ATI Rage 128. Just like our fathers used to buy names like GTO, Camaro SS, the Barracuda R/T and 454 Rat.

These are our hot rods… now if only we had a race track to race them. 😉 Where we could get out on the weekends and put this gleaming silicon out on display, buckle up, and watch the Christmas tree count down.

If only we had windy tracks where we could put our Photoshop skills to work. Where we could downshift into scratch disk and come of the corner in a screaming Gaussian Blur… Where we could pop the clutch on a RAM disk and watch the others get real small in our rearview mirrors and silicon dust.

It just isn’t the same is it?

Put away your computer. And get out to your car. Maybe it’s an import, maybe it’s a homemaker sedan, maybe it’s even the official car of the anti-destination league (a Chevette) and go out on the strip this Saturday night. Pull up next to a Toyota Tacoma or a lowered Civic and rev the engine just a bit. It’s time for stop light drags. Yeah, you know, you race from a stop to the speed limit and see who gets there first! Yep, bragging rights. Now, put your left foot on the brake and pull the revs up to just under the transmission1s stall speed. And when the light goes green? Plant your foot on the floor and see if you don’t find this just a little more exhilarating than optimizing your hard drive and deleting memory hogging extensions. (But trust me on the zero to speed limit part. Anything faster and you’ll be dying to be at home deleting extra copies of SimpleText when those flashing red lights come on behind you.)

And if you lose? Just say to yourself, “He probably drives a Wintel box at his desk. Pshaw!”

Then when you think you’ve had enough of old time hot rodding, head home to your Mac. Pat it lovingly on the top as you boot it up and say… “Baby? Were gonna trade in your 2D card in on a RAGE PRO 128 with 16 megabytes of RAM!!” and look for news on the web to see if EA Sports is porting their NASCAR game over to the Mac and see if you can’t find a deal on a ColorSync 20-inch monitor. Think of all the fun you’ll have when your friends come over for the barbecue. And instead of heading to the garage, all the “hot rodders” slip into the den and you pop the hood on your bad boy and talk shop.

“Yeah, I had a 8600 233, but I traded up to a G3400 B&W with the optional DVD drive and an additional 128 Megs of RAM…”

But don’t forget to wear your seat belts and have an extra can of octane boost.

Bob McCormick

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