- Post is under moderationIf you’re anything like me, your whole life probably revolves around things that roll, explode and make noise. Let’s face it, we’re the anomaly. Most people are not like us. I’m constantly amazed at how little most people know about cars. #Ferrari-512TR / #Ferrari-512 / #Ferrari / #Hasan-Minhaj / #Comedians-In-Cars-Getting-Coffee
A friend of mine called the other day in a panic, they said a warning light they’d never seen before came up on the dashboard. ‘What does it look like?’ I asked, they said it looks like a little gas pump. I said, it means you’re about to run out of gas. Put some gas in it. they said, I don’t have time to stop, I have a meeting to get to. I said, if you run out of gas you won’t make the meeting, they said: ‘I never ran out of gas in my old car. I HATE this thing.’
My friend Jerry Seinfeld has a very funny show on Netflix called Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee. He finds fellow comedians who have some connection with automobiles and then takes them for a ride in a car he thinks they would find interesting.
Recently Jerry did an episode with a very funny comedian named Hasan Minhaj. The car was a Ferrari-512-TR , similar to the one basketball great Michael Jordan drove. Hasan was a big fan of Michael Jordan, so Jerry thought this car would be perfect. And as Jerry accelerated away, executing each shift perfectly, Hasan looked at him and said: ‘Now, that thing you just moved - what was that?’ the look on Jerry’s face was priceless. Not a car guy.
One time I pulled my 1925 Doble steam car into a gas station. A woman stopped me and said, ‘Hey, your car is smoking!’ Sensing a chance to educate the public on how steam cars work, I said: ‘that’s not smoke, it’s steam, this is a steam-powered car.’ She then asked me: ‘Why are you putting gas in it?’ You use the gasoline as fuel to heat the water, I said, the water makes steam and that powers the car. She said: ‘If you want to heat the water, why not just park it in the sun?’ I tried to explain that if the sun could boil water we wouldn’t be here having this conversation. She accused me of being a smart-ass and drove off.
An incident not even related to a car can tarnish its reputation forever. I’ve driven a number of hydrogen- powered cars. Yet whenever I told people they were hydrogen-powered, they would mention the Hindenburg and ask me why I wasn’t afraid to drive it.
When Chrysler unveiled its turbine car to the public in 1963, it ran a contest where they asked ordinary people to write an essay on why they would want to drive a turbine- powered car. In all, 203 Americans were chosen. Young, old, rich, poor, they were each given the car for three months and told to keep a diary of any problems they had. they had the general public doing their R&D! Can you imagine that happening today in our litigious society?
One Sunday morning I drove my 1906 Stanley Steamer Vanderbilt Cup Racer to a ‘Cars and Coffee.’ It looks like a coffin on wheels. You have a long hood - about as long as a coffin, actually - and two seats that sit just above the rear wheels. Under the hood you have an enormous fire- tube boiler which releases steam for the two-cylinder engine, which is connected directly to the rear wheels.
this car has the distinction of being the oldest vehicle ever stopped for speeding on the 405 Freeway in Los Angeles, the chassis is made of wood, and you’re carrying an open flame. At the time I passed a police officer I was doing 76mph in a 65mph zone, the reason the officer stopped me was that, when I passed him, he noticed I was on fire, the flames were coming over the front of the coffin-nose hood as I went by.
What you do with a Stanley like this, when you catch fire, is you close the fuel valve and then you increase your speed to blow out the flame. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but it actually works. If you pulled over the whole vehicle would just be engulfed in flames. By increasing your speed with the fuel supply cut off, you’re able to extinguish the remaining gasoline.
the reason you’re able to increase your speed with the fuel cut off is that the Stanley holds power in reserve. You have 15 gallons of water with about 800psi of steam in the boiler, much like a kettle after you’ve turned off the burner. It’s one of the few vehicles in which you can get burned to death and scalded to death at the same time. When the officer asked about the lack of safety equipment such as seatbelts, stoplights, headlights and turn signals, I explained that in California you only have to have equipment mandatory for the vehicle in the year it was built. He seemed to buy that and sent me on my way.
I was reminded of this story when I got to the ‘Cars and Coffee’. A young man approached me, studied the Stanley Steamer for about ten minutes, and with a completely straight face looked at me - looked me in the eye - and said: ‘Does this have airbags?’
‘THE STANLEY IS ONE OF FEW VEHICLES IN WHICH YOU GAN GET BOTH BURNED AND SCALDED TO DEATH AT THE SAME TIME'
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