Your ICE Car is the Next LP

You have absolutely no idea how hip you are. Seriously. No idea. Well, what I mean is that if you time-traveled yourself 30 years into the future, you would be really hip. Maybe not now, but in 2049 you will be awesome.

Some things age well, and some don’t. That pastel leisure suit in the back of your closet, for example, no longer provides a good look for you. You might have better luck with something in your garage. No, really. I am talking about your car. In particular, the one that your neighbors are always complaining about.

Most of us drive vehicles that are powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE). It is universally understood that within 30 years (or sooner), ICE vehicles will be largely unavailable. They will be banned from most cities, and only a few companies will make them. They will be hopelessly obsolete, will under-perform everything else on the road, and will be costly to buy. Fuel for ICE vehicles will be hard to find, and when they break down, it will be almost impossible to find parts, let alone anyone with the expertise to fix them. In short, only a few enthusiasts will want to drive an ICE vehicle.

If this reminds you of another kind of technology, raise your hand. If you did raise your hand, the other people in the subway car are now looking at you strangely. But that’s okay, because in 30 short years they will see how hip you are. In the same way that LP records and turntables became retro-cool, the exact same thing will happen with ICE vehicles.

I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a turntable in a recent movie. In fact, I think I’ve seen more turntables in recent movies than were ever shown in old movies. Whenever the filmmaker wants to show that the character is hip, they have him/her drop a needle in a groove, or at least make sure there are some LPs somewhere in the room. When they were in widespread use, turntables were just record players, as commonplace as toasters. Now that they are less abundant, we view them differently. The same thing will happen with ICE vehicles. They will go through a period of decline when they are seen as old-fashioned, then slowly but surely, they will become retro-cool.

And here is an interesting comparison: many LP enthusiasts love their records because they insist that they sound better than anything modern digital playback technology has to offer. Similarly, ICE drivers are deeply smitten by the sound of their engines. Whether it is a naturally-aspirated V12, a V8, an inline 6, or a flat 6, there is nothing more satisfying to a car junkie than the sound of an ICE engine. Whether it’s the basso rumbling at idle, the rising intensity of stroking through the gears, or the screaming climax at red line, those magnificent sounds of ICE engines are the sounds of our passion.

As electric cars take over the roads, I guarantee that ICE drivers will grow ever more enamored of their engine sounds. The relative silence of electric cars may make them seem futuristic and thus superior. But to gear heads, despite the contrary views of their neighbors, the sound of exploding gasoline resonating through polluting tailpipes will make ICE cars eternally appealing. And I mean, really, which one will cause a little kid to turn and stare, an electric vehicle playing a “safety sound” as it glides past, or an old example of Detroit iron that you can feel massaging your chest?

Man, oh man, if you drive a vehicle with an internal combustion engine in 2049, you will be hip. If it has a manual transmission, you will be ultra-hip. And if you also have a turntable and LP collection at Home — oh, Lord. Those black socks and sandals, though — they will have to go.

COMMENTS
drny's picture

Baby Boomers coolness were defined by our experiences in the 60's & 70's.
Consequently Vinyl and V-8 ICE are an essential part of being cool.
Vinyl records are petroleum byproduct. Let's not even mention the horrific consequences of the Internal combustion engine on the environment. I have eleven grandchildren, and I support all efforts to curtail what 200+ years of industrialization and urban cramming has done to the Environment.
YET, I will play my Eagles and Steely Dan LPs and be transported to Nirvana.
As far as ICE is concern, m first time behind the wheel was on my dad's lap at the age of 4, grasping the ginormous wheel of a brand new 1964 Impala with a 409 cubic inch 425 horsepower V-8.
Today I drive a 1.5 liter Turbo SUV (remember I have 11 grand kids).
But I confess, I am highly tempted by the brand new Convertible hardtop version of the V-8 mid engine 2020 Corvette.
Yeah Ken, I might just cruise down Biscayne blvd in Miami (your neck of the woods) on my soon to be extinct V-8 Corvette, blasting Steely Dan's Do it again. I'll just skip the temptation of an 8 track car player and wearing black socks with sandals (thankfully those are mostly dead even now).
I won't care if I look or sound cool in 2019, since waiting for 2049 to be cool at 90 is highly unlikely.
If you rush past me riding your ICE BIKE (motorcycle), be sure to give me a thumbs up. Us uncool boomers gotta give it up to one another when we see the result of our dads (greatest generation) sacrifice for us to enjoy.

jeffhenning's picture

I would love to own both an electric car and sport bike. They are close with cars. Motorcycles are a bit further away, but they will get there with higher battery power density.

The only downside of electric motorcycles is that not making a ton of noise can get you killed on the road by drivers that are not paying attention.

A while ago, I met a Harley enthusiast that had a T-shirt proclaiming, "Loud pipes save lives!" The pipes it was referring to is exhaust pipes. I've almost been killed a few times by drivers that were oblivious to their surroundings.

Luckily, being a sport bike enthusiast, accelerating away from those dolts was not a problem. If you use your brakes to save yourself on a motorcycle, your survival odds are much lower since you have much less rubber on the ground. Once you skid, you're a goner.

As to the analogy to current A/V tech, you are talking about gear lust vs. performance. This argument is made even more interesting when you consider that 99% or more of the recordings made today are done digitally. Tape is too expensive if you can get it at all. And, then, to destroy the recording by putting it on vinyl? I find it unfathomable.

I like driving cars and piloting motorcycles, but, for me, it's about the thrill of the experience and not the noise made by the engine.

When reasonably priced, fairly ridiculously powered sports cars & bikes with serious range and fast charge capabilities are available, I'll be looking into them.

Until then, I'll keep enjoying hi-res digital in all it's forms and feel sad for the folks that don't understand any of this.

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