Speed Addicts or The Cool Factor

Power is an interesting and cruel mistress: Get a taste of it and not only do you want more, but you often spend valuable brain cells and neurons scheming of a way to get it. Call it lust — and an addiction if you will. Power can come in many forms, but I’m of course thinking of horsepower. Being who I am, where I’ve worked and what I’m surrounded by on a daily basis, it’s no wonder I have these thoughts fermenting in my skull. Be it for work or for personal gratification, I can’t stop thinking about the mechanisms that can bring about “more.”

I know power is a weakness for me, and I freely admit it. Sometimes you think about doing the dumbest things to get or produce power, but your brain makes up reasons why you’re justified in the quest. A common excuse for tearing into a project that trumps all reason is this: It’d be cool. That’s it; because it’s cool always eases reason, money and wife issues alike. Here are some samples of my own projects (I’m only going to subject you to three of them):

  • I once bought a brand-new Ford Festiva, and after it was broken-in, I turbocharged it. Maybe I’ll write something on that later, but the result was that it was “cool.”
  • I was watching my son drive around in his Grave Digger Power Wheels the other day and thought how damn slow it was. It was actually painful to watch it lumber about the yard getting stuck on even slightly off surfaces. Brain to John: We can fix it, make it faster and able to handle rough terrain. Dude, he will be able to smoke those plastic tires! Maybe I can install a button on the dash that lets him switch from stock to 24 volts. Yeah, that’d be cool!
  • I drive a blown car “econo,” and it’s pretty darn quick. It just might be one of the quickest cars in the employee parking lot, but it could go even faster with some help. Why not add a turbocharger to make it twincharged? Throw on an additional fuel rain and injectors, a 50-hp shot of NOS – yeah, that’d be cool!

The worst part of all this is starting to collect the pieces so that you can actually make it happen. Why is that bad? Well, for one thing you could get carried away and your “small” project could morph into something more perverted than its original plan. Sometimes there’s not enough time, or maybe you’re going to need the help of others in order to implement your mad scheme. Maybe you need special tools. Dunno, but I have to say the worst thing is to not act because the ideas, the parts and your brain begin to taunt and mock you. Either you do it or you just lock the thought behind the same door where you put those bad childhood memories. There are no other choices.

So I guess I’m going to have to start with the simple schemes. Sorry, Son, but your monster truck just isn’t mean enough and as such needs a little testosterone. Should I build a roll cage for it while I’m making modifications? Maybe a ramp so that he can catch some good air when he jumps the driveway to the other side of the yard. Yeah, that’d be cool!

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