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Race Cars

I’ll be the first to admit that Nascar doesn’t do anything for me. Formula 1 isn’t much better. Other racing, motorcycles, trucks, dragsters…you name it, I’ve never been all the big on caring who got where first. About the only time I reckon it really matters who wins the race is in determining the gender and other genetic factors of a baby. Yes, I’m talking about sperm, now let’s move on.

I grew up in lower Michigan. Spent some time in and around Detroit and had the privilege of having a father who spent over 40 years in the automotive industry working for General Motors. I spent a decade in the auto industry myself in fact. With that background, I can say with no regret that I am a staunch supporter of the American Automobile.

When somebody recently claimed that they owned a Honda Civic sports car, I laughed in their face. It was a knee jerk reaction and probably not one that I should have let out. Still, a dinky little 4 cylinder sports car? Come on!

This person insisted it was a sports car, and not just because of the after-market fins, wings, spoilers, racing stripes, and whatever else that is available for them. I smirked and let the subject drop, knowing no good would come of it.

Later though I did some digging online, the Internet knows-all, after all. It turns out there is a niche in the sports / racing segment that caters to the 4 cylinder market. I figured it was made famous by video games mostly, but then again the games wouldn’t have the cars in them if someone hadn’t wondered just how many amphetamines they could force feed the gerbils under their hood. With that discovery under my belt I returned to that individual and acknowledged that they were correct: their car was indeed technically considered a sports car. I’d never consider it as such, but I deferred to them the right that they head to consider it thusly.

To me a sports car has no fewer than 8 cylinders. Mind you there are some Mustangs and Cameros with only 6 cylinder engines, but those may be exceptions to the rules (and, generally speaking, they can’t compete with the 8 cylinder variants). Fuel economy is not a consideration when you are thinking about a sports car. Rather power, speed, comfort, and good looks are what matter. These various factors of performance are what really matter, and I can’t help but wonder if saving up on the various peripherals required to make a 4 cylinder look and feel sporty would allow a person to actually buy an entry level sports car.

Now I’m a truck guy through and through. All about function and utility, but a few times back in Michigan when I saw a Dodge Viper with a V-12 streaking down I-94 I couldn’t help but stare slack-jawed in awe. After they’d zoomed out of my vision I mopped up the drool on my chin and went about my business, but you can’t help but fantasize about owning a car like that.

-Jason Halstead

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