Thoughts on Cars and Trucks

I was part of a new car design survey today. I think that they chose me as part of the control group that knew nothing about cars. I filled out a survey about the kinds of criteria I would use in buying a new car. 

Then I went in and saw about a dozen new car designs.   Evidently they were Volkswagens, Hondas, Toyotas and Chryslers.   We were asked to evaluate each car in terms of looks, interiors etc.   Most of the cars were too small inside, IMO.  I like the feeling of my Honda Civic.  Although the car is small, it has a lot of room in the driver’s seat.  A lot of the bigger cars don’t really have that feel.

I don’t really care much about cars.  I want one that is reasonably safe and comfortable and one that gets good mileage.   Other than that, I cannot tell much about them.   As part of the survey I had to guess what kind of car we were looking at.  I don’t think I did very well. 

I watched an old movie “Convoy” with Kris Kristofferson. It was made in 1978 when the price of gas had gone up and the 55 MPH speed limits were imposed.  There were a few movies like this that portrayed the anger associated with the perceived loss of the freedom of the open road.  “Smokey and the Bandit” was another one like this, a lot of law breaking and destruction of property. 

I wanted to be a long-distance truck driver once. I was an indifferent student when I started college and didn’t see much future in that.  When I worked a Medusa Cement, the truck drivers seemed to have it best.  They got out on the road, while we just loaded the bags of cement on their trucks. I would not have been a good truck driver. It is a subset of the general driving thing and my lack of love of cars (mentioned above) is probably an indicator that it is not one of my strengths.  

The 1970s were the tail end of the trucker golden age anyway.  Traffic was getting worse.  Speed limits were coming down and generally the open road was disappearing.  Everything is a lot more organized now and much less of an adventure.

The 1970s was also the time when containerized cargo changed shipping in general.  It put a lot of truckers and longshoremen out of jobs.   That really revolutionized commerce.