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The View
Through The Windshield

About Cars ... and Everything Else I See
by Joe Sherlock

Time Machine - Back To The '50s (posted 4/29/2005)

car blog

James Lileks recently asked his readers what objects they might take with them on a trip back to 1950. One replied: "1950? I'd take a laptop, since you could plug it in. And I'd take a Mac, since Windows' susceptibility to viruses would probably mean my PC laptop would catch polio."

I'd take a car with me. A 1990 Nissan 300ZX Twin-Turbo coupe. You could run it on '50s Amoco Hi Test white gas (no lead) and it would generate some interesting conversations:

1950 Guy: "What the hell is that?"

Me: "It's a car."

1950 Guy: "I never seen a car like that. It must be new. Looks even more swoopy than one o' them Tuckers!"

Me: "Actually, it's 15 years old where I come from. Almost an antique."

1950 Guy: "Holy cow! It sure looks fast."

Me: "Well, it won't go over 155 miles an hour because it has a speed limiter on it."

1950 Guy: "Jeez Louise! Must have a helluva big V-8 engine in there. Maybe one o' them new Rocket Oldsmobile V-8s maybe?"

Me: "No, it's a six cylinder car. And the engine is smaller than a Ford six. Just a little bigger than the one in the Studebaker Champion."

Joe Sherlock car blog1950 Guy: "Well, I got a V-8 in my '47 Ford Deluxe. It's hotter than a two-dollar pistol. Tom McCahill tested it in 'Mechanix Illustrated' and said it'll go from a standin' start to 60 miles-per in 18 seconds flat."

Me: "This car will do it in six seconds. It'll hit 100 mph in about 13 seconds."

1950 Guy: "Holy smoke! Hey, whazzat music comin' from in there? Where'd you find a radio station with no commercials?"

Me: "It's prerecorded music."

1950 Guy: "What?! You mean you got a record player in there?"

Me: "Kinda. But it plays these little things called CDs. You can fit about 25 songs on each one."

1950 Guy: "Wow! Where do ya buy 'em?"

Me: "I make them at home. On my computer. But that's kinda old hat now. See, you can buy this thing called an iPod ..."

1950 Guy: "Yer kiddin', right? Computer? Jeez, you must have a helluva big house to fit a damn computer in there. And you must spend half your life replacing burned out tubes. I seen pictures of those things and they're just fulla tubes and plugs and sockets. The damn vacuum tubes on my 10-inch Muntz are always goin' out. Seems like every month I'm headin' over to the Rexall to test 'em on their machine. Say, where's this car made anyway?"

Me: "Hiratsuka."

1950 Guy: "Izzat in Indiana? I know they make Studies in South Bend. I gotta cousin lives in Elkhart."

Me: "It's a city in Japan."

1950 Guy: "Japan?! You mean this car was made by those Jap bastards?! I spent three years o' my life fightin' those sumbitches and you're buyin' a goddam car from 'em? Shoot! I'm gonna run that piece o' Jap tin off the road into a ditch - right now."

Me: "Try and catch me with your flathead Ford, bud. See ya."

Zoooooom. Back to the future.


copyright 2005 - Joseph M. Sherlock - All applicable rights reserved


Disclaimer

The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

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If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

If I have slandered any people or corporations in this blog, either expressly or inadvertently, they should buy me strong drinks (and an expensive meal) and try to prove to me that they're not the jerks I've portrayed them to be. If you're buying, I'm willing to listen.

Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.

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