10 Reasons Why American "Car Culture" Will Never Die

Dad and Uncle Brian at the MSRA's Back To The 50's Show in 2007
 In an era of social media hashtags and rapid online turnaround of ideas, its hard to take stock of what we have in the moment. I grabbed a soapbox yesterday and posted about the New York Times article that claimed "Car Culture" was dying out. There's a few good points in there about environmental responsibility, and it provided thoughtful analysis of why Americans don't necessarily need a car as much as we think we do. You folks know me, though. I can't just give it up that easily. Neither can you. Or you. We're all still addicted to the automobile in America, and here's my list of ten reasons why even though ZipCars and rideshares and riding your mountain bike to work...just won't work for everyone.

1. Cars are Still a Status Symbol. 
Nelly is right, writing songs about Porsches and shooting videos with Ferraris sells music. Everyone else appreciates demonstrating to the world that they've 'made it' by driving something new and flashy. We're still a vain creature, and that will never change. Check out my rims... 

2. We Enjoy Watching TV Shows About Cars
While many of us can't fire up a MIG welder and create something magical, a few people on TV can. We usually get a kick out of other people's creations like Jesse James (now on his 3rd TV series), or those guys from Overhaulin' where they steal a car and chop it up. We also seem to like the bearded guys from Texas who like to spray clear coat over rust and drop crate motors into desert tin and auction them off. But we keep coming back each week, don't we?

3. There's A Modern Resurgence in Traditional DIY Culture.
Look at places like DIY Network, Pintrest, and the HAMB forum threads like this. People are tired of buying third-world garbage. They want to make things themselves. Over the last ten years we've suddenly realized that we can repair things, customize them to our taste, or restore them to like-new condition. I couldn't be happier about this trend. Our automobile is a blank canvas just crying out for our touch. 

 4. Our Current Way of Life Requires Travel by Automobile.
 My wife has to commute several times a month to places that are 100 + miles away. How is she going to do that in a Nissan Leaf or CityLink bus? Ain't gonna happen. We still live in a spread-out world and the jobs demand that we be mobile at a moment's notice. Most of us don't live in 1910 New York City.

5. Trucks & Cars Help Stimulate the Economy.
In the words of the great Robb Mariani "Try to imagine this country without trucks. You can't!" Until pallets of corn-syrupy soda and cheap beef magically ship themselves to the local box store, you're using a truck to get it to you. Our vehicles also prop up a multi-billion dollar service station industry, fast food, insurance, and oil industry. The latter could be addressed I'm sure. Where's that Hydrogen car at, Honda?

6. Tuner Cars Are "In".
 In the old days it was a jalopy. Then it was a muscle car. Now its a turbocharged 4 cylinder that puts out as much power as a stock small-block Chevelle did in 1968. Kids still like fast, loud cars.

7. Kids Enjoy Cool Cars. 
 Go to any car show and you'll see families enjoying the scenery. Hot rods are still neat for a youngster to gawk at. Fire trucks are still crowd-pleasers for the family. Kids will always like to see something that they don't see every day...fins and chrome. If you're showing off your pride and joy, make time for the young ones who like your stuff. They won't break anything...just let 'em sit in the car and tell them about it. They'll want to get into the hobby someday when they can drive.

8. Preserving the Past is More Important Than Ever.
We have short attention spans. (text message beeps) Wait, what was I saying? I remember now.  This 101 year-old woman, named Barbara Dunning,  still drives her first car. Its a 1930 Packard and its in better shape than my '98 Cobra is. Why is this important? Because both are still running around and able to tell a story. We need to preserve our motoring history because its integral to the history of our nation. These machines helped us live, and allowed us to advance over the years. Wikipedia will probably make a note of this somewhere down the road, but why not get out and actually take in some of the live history that still exists while we can?

9. Recreational Travel Shouldn't Be "Scheduled".
All aboard! Your scheduled pickup for vacation is 10:43 am.
This is America, and we make our own rules. Trips by car, truck, or RV can be so much more relaxing than cramming into a train or airplane. Plus you don't have to get a rectal exam before boarding your car and you can carry as much gels and liquids as you'd like. No wonder AAA reports 76% of Americans prefer to travel by automobile when it comes to leisure trips.

 10. Cars Allow Us to Remain Independent. 
That's what we're all about today, and what we'll always be about.
Let Freedom Ring...with a Jetsons car sound effect.

Time to go for a drive. Thanks as always for reading!



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