Speedway Books - Your car is amazing.

Your car is amazing. The poor jerks stuck in 1953 couldn't even dream of having a vehicle as fast, durable, and capable as yours is. It doesn't matter what kind of car you have. The heaps from 1953 are rubbish in comparison. Observe...

This ad ran in Popular Science - a magazine for gearheads and technically gifted nerds. It offers amazing things to those who order their books, which show you how to modify your car to achieve greater performance. Thing is, though as far as power goes, the average car today can humiliate these pie-in-the-sky promises, right off the lot. Except for fuel economy. 45 MPG is still pretty hard to do, without resorting to a hybrid drivetrain. Even if you consider that these "tricks" were probably completely fake.

Here are some numbers, for those who like numbers: Speedway Books promises you a 0-60 time of 12 seconds. Wooo! Is that with the windows up or down? A 2005 Toyota Corolla (the most beige and ordinary of all possible cars) goes from zero to sixty miles per hour in 9.7 seconds, and that's the automatic transmission model. A 2002 Honda Civic does it in 9.4 seconds. This would win amateur drag races in 1953. I'm not sure who they're trying to impress with their promises of "faster get-away".

As far as top speed goes, most passenger cars are easily aerodynamic and powerful enough to go at least 110 MPH, which is a speed limit voluntarily imposed on your car by the car's computer. For those who didn't know, your car won't let itself go too fast. There are some speeds that few people need to surpass. The coolness and ethics of this fact are debatable, but the safety is pretty solid. Point is, you car could easily go faster than a '53 Buick, and do it on half the cylinders and half the gas.

Your car can turn quicker too, so not only could you outrun a retro-boat, you could out-handle it, too. Ever see a car chase in an old police drama from the 50's? For those bulbous old boats of yore, turning a corner at any speed is a traumatic experience. They wallow around on their suspensions like a hog in mud. This explains Americans' preference for racing cars in straight lines. Even if you're currently driving an SUV of some kind, it could probably run rings around an average car from 1953.

Also, your car is several times less likely to kill you in an accident, which is a promise that even this ad doesn't attempt to make. Cars were designed do sustain as little damage as possible during a collision in the past, which makes sense as long as nobody is inside. Crumple zones were developed by Mercedes-Benz in 1952. They eventually, SLOWLY, caught on, and by the 1980's, most cars were designed to sacrifice themselves in order to save the passengers lives. In 1953, cars were built to be rigid. Whatever you ran into had almost all of it's force of impact sent right through the steering column aimed straight at your chest. If you made it past the steering wheel safely, you still had the windshield to look forward to. Oh yeah, we have airbags, too, which are pretty neat.

In September 2009, the IIHS performed a test collision between a 1959 Chevy Bel-Air and a 2009 Malibu. The results were impressive. The '59 driver would have been mushed into jelly, whereas the '09 driver would have walked away... maybe not very far before needing to sit down again and have a deep breath, but still.

So, yeah, enjoy your supercar, lucky dweller of the future!

Also, water does not burn. I'm sure that's just a typo, right?


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