Brutes

I know that in days past, I expressed my love for the new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, which delivers over 500hp from a 2.9-liter V6. This list, however (via Insty) seems to take the whole thing over the top. Cases in point:

— Does anyone think that Dodge can make a car which can handle well enough to push out over 700hp without killing the driver and everyone else within a quarter-mile of its crash?
— Will anyone who wants to tow a boat even look at the BMW X5 (567hp, $100k+) as the horse?
— A 640hp Cadillac? What are these guys smoking?
— I make no comment about the Shelby Mustang, Camaro or Corvette because their owners, like those of the Dodge Hellcat, are probably not long for this world anyway.

I know, I know: we’re a nation founded on power and excess and all that good stuff. But at some point, someone at a car manufacturer has to ask the question: “Why?” (And listen to Jeremy Clarkson — the world’s foremost “POWAAAAHHHH!!!” speed freak; even he has admitted on occasion that a car can be too powerful.)

Most people can barely handle 150hp in their cars, let alone more than 500hp — use your favorite search engine to look up “Bugatti Veyron crash” for a simple flavor, and this in a million-dollar-plus car which has far less than 500hp and handles like a dream — which makes me think that these powerhouses should probably come with a mandatory driving course entitled: “When your IQ is less than a sixth of your car’s horsepower.”

I once watched a guy trying to reverse his McLaren F1 out of a parking space at Eatzi’s in Plano. It took him several minutes, multiple tries and half a dozen near-collisions with other parked cars because he had no idea how to handle the F1’s power for what is, after all, the most mundane of tasks we ask of a car.

My only consolation from all this is that the consumer market for the above will be refreshingly small, kept that way by cost, commonsense and, sadly, attrition.

I still want the Quadrifoglio, of course, because a.) it’s beautiful and b.) it’s an Alfa Romeo, but I’d still want it even if it had half the stated horsepower. How many of the other cars on that list would remain as desirable under that criterion, I wonder.

Crossing America – 2017

Time to play this game again.

The Challenge: You have the opportunity to go back in time, arriving on the east coast of North America circa 1650, and your goal is to cross the North American continent, taking as much time as you need. When/if you reach the Pacific coastline, you’ll be transported back to the present day. Your equipment for this journey will be as follows (taken back in the time capsule with you):

— enough provisions for the first five days’ travel
— a backpack containing some clothing essentials
— a winter coat, raincoat and boots
— waterproof sleeping bag
— an axe, and a small sharpening stone
— a box of 1,000 “strike anywhere” waterproof matches
— a portable water filtration system
— a topographic map of North America
— binoculars and a compass
— a current U.S. Army First Aid kit
— ONE long gun, shotgun or rifle (and 800 rounds, but no scope; and no interchangeable-barrel rifles like a Thompson Center Encore or Blaser; drillings are acceptable, but you still only get 800 rounds of ammo, total)
— ONE handgun (and 1,000 rounds)
— and TWO knives (can include multi-tool knives like Leatherman).

Once there, you’ll be given a horse, a mule and a dog — but apart from that, you’re on your own. Remember you’ll be traveling through deep woods, open prairie, desert and mountains. You may encounter hostile Indian tribes and dangerous animals en route, which should be considered when you answer the following questions (and only these):

1. What long gun would you take back in time with you?
2. What handgun?
3. What knives?

Unlike previous surveys, I’m not going to tabulate the answers; just have at it in Comments. Feel free to add any supporting arguments. I’ll post my choices over the weekend as an update below the fold.

Read more

Killing Time

This cheerful little pic arrived in my Inbox at 5am today:

 

Yes, that’s Doc Russia on the right, the PH on the left. The skull will eventually decorate his office wall. (Mr. Free Market got his buff on Monday.)

I have to tell you, in all the hunting I ever did in Africa, I never went after Cape buffalo, because I simply didn’t have the guts. (Also, the money for the license fee, but that’s not an excuse.)

Kudos to them both.

Plutocrat Problems

Seen in a recent real estate listing here in West Plano:

Not sure about the Ford GT on the right, but otherwise I don’t think you can fault the man’s taste.

The house looks out onto the Gleneagles Country Club golf course, and is listed at $1.2 million which, in that neighborhood, makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with it.

But that’s not what I want to talk about, because it’s Saturday and I’m not a realtor.

Here’s the question: let’s assume you’re that guy, and the Fast & Furious crowd stole all your cars one night. The insurance has paid out, and you want to fill your garage with different ones of about equivalent value (i.e. the sky’s pretty much the limit). Which four cars would you buy? (Assume you need at least one SUV as a “guns ‘n groceries” conveyance, just to make it interesting. And please:  I don’t want to hear any guff that you only need one car, and you want to use the rest of the garage as a workshop. Play the game.)

Answers in Comments. My choices are below the fold, but make your choices first before looking at mine, lest I influence your selections. Read more

Beauty, Beholder, Eye Thereof

Somewhere on my meanderings through Teh Intarwebz, I stumbled on this photo, which depicts the typical G.I. squad weaponry of World War II.

For those unfamiliar with Ye Olde Weaponrie, they are from the top: M3 submachine gun, Colt 1911-A1 pistol, Thompson 1928-A1 submachine gun (standard and “commando” versions), M1 Carbine, M1 Garand, M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle (BAR). All in manly chamberings like .45 ACP , .30 Carbine and .30-06 Springfield, and there’s not a single piece of plastic to be found anywhere: just wood and steel and death and stuff.

I’ve fired every single one of them, of course, and loved the experience more than is proper to discuss in polite company.

Feel free to tell me why I shouldn’t feel a sense of longing for the Good Old Days.


(Yes, I know the M3 could be altered to fire the silly 9mm Parabellum Europellet, but like dear old Uncle Ernie who liked to fiddle all about, we just don’t talk about such wickedness.)

Restored Beauty

As a rule, I’m not one for restoring old cars — I’m irretrievably non-mechanical and worse, I hate getting my hands dirty — so when Longtime Friend Knob sent me an email about the old Citroën Type H Van being restored, it took me a while to get up the enthusiasm to click on the link. I mean, sure, the Type H was in production from 1947 until 1981(!), and apart from only a few cosmetic changes, looked pretty much in  1981 as it did in 1947.

When you’ve got decent style, good engineering and excellent functionality, why change, right? (And yes, I do love the Colt 1911 for precisely the same reasons.)

To be honest, the Type H never got me going, although I cannot deny its appeal: those corrugated panels make it look like the French van-equivalent of a Junkers Ju-52 transport airplane (which is unsurprising, because the Citroën engineers actually copied the Ju-52’s style), and its 1.9-liter engine was more powerful than most other Euro vans of the late 1940s. (By the way, although the Ju-52 originally started production in 1931 and finished in 1952, it remained in service with various airlines around the world until the 1980s — making the similarities between it and the Type H even more striking.)

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about today.

When I finally did click on the link Knob sent me, it was not some boring nut-by-bolt restoration story; oh no, it involved transforming a modern Citroën Jumper van back into a Type H. Here’s what the Jumper looks like before the retrofit:

…which is okay, but dead boring in the usual modern wind-tunnel-design kinda way. However, here’s the retrofitted Type H:

…and I think it looks fantastic. Of the two, I’d take the retrofitted Type H any day of the week; but you knew that about me already, didn’t you?