Stories and songs have been written about this wonder. Endless advertisements on television and in newspapers abound. Gaining the ability to operate one is considered a rite-of-passage in the first world.
Status symbol. Conveyance. Workhorse. Clunker, junker, lemon or scrapyard candidate – it is hard to deny the wonder that is the automobile.
Cars can be found in an amazing myriad of sizes, shapes, colors and classifications. The abundant four-door sedans, coupes, hatchbacks, liftbacks, station wagons, sports cars, saloon cars, luxury, inexpensive, simple and complex – cars can be found pretty much everywhere around the world in every possible configuration you can imagine.
Mass produced models from ginormous automakers spanning the globe to home-built kit cars. The scope of the automobile is impressive, and frankly pretty amazing.
Whether you are a gearhead, petrolhead, motorhead or just your average person using their car to get to work and play and back again, denying the wonder of the automobile is impossible.
The car has evolved quite a lot in the more than a century since its invention and mass production, but the basics remain the same. Four wheels, internal combustion engine, and doors are pretty much universal. (Yes, there are cars lacking in elements of the above – three-wheelers, for example). But the car has changed how we view distances, how we travel on a day to day basis from point a to point b, and how we live overall.
Some people simply use cars when they need to go to work, or to visit friends, as a convenience. But for some, cars are a way of life. They are a reflection of the self, a status symbol, an extension even of the spirit.
There are iconic cars of songs, stories, television, movies and more. Most people are familiar with Christine from Stephen King’s book, or The Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo, or the Batmobile, or KITT, or the focus of every episode of Top Gear, or all the cars that are the focus of the Fast and Furious movie series.
People love their cars. Whole societies exist around MGs, Corvettes, Porsche 911’s, and various other classics. Some people will spend hours lovingly cleaning, polishing, waxing and maintaining their cars. People will go to great lengths to acquire the car of their greatest desire.
For teenagers, the car is the ultimate rite-of-passage. Get your driver’s license, get your car, get your freedom. No longer must you rely on mom or dad or your older siblings or older friends or relatives, YOU now have the power to go. In some respects, the ability to drive a car is one of the largest steps into adulthood.
Old cars, new cars, black cars, blue cars – we have clogged cities and highways across the continents with our autos. As third world nations industrialize and gain more wealth and abundance, the car is often one of the first acquisitions of the people, as evidenced by increased fuel consumption and pollution.
For good or ill, the car is an easily overlooked but still unique wonder of our wondrous world.
What do you drive?
Check out my blog, The Ramblings of a Titanium Don, for more of my work.