By on May 26, 2010

TTAC was one of the first sources to call BS on Globe and Mail journo-hack Peter Cheney’s ridiculous justification for his son’s press-car incident, but as the week went on, more and more outlets picked up on the obvious fact that Porsches don’t jump out of garages on their own. There’s this thing called a “clutch interlock switch”. Mr. Cheney likely figured that, since he doesn’t know much about cars, that the public would know even less. Oops!

The decent thing to do in these circumstances would be to simply apologize to one’s readers and then to return to the whirlwind lifestyle of far-flung press events, free $180,000 cars, and hilariously low performance standards which is synonymous with “automotive journalism”. It would have been quickly forgotten. The man who was responsible for approving Cheney’s original Porsche loaner flat-out told me, “I’ll give him another one.” Of course he will! Porsche, and everybody else in the business, is perfectly prepared to turn a blind eye to Cheney’s misdeeds past, present, and future. I was recently contacted by an anonymous Canadian source who told me that “Cheney’s kid drives press cars all the time, and everybody knows it.” So what? We’re on the gravy train now! Let’s keep it rolling!

Mr. Cheney, of course, can’t just let that happen. He’s apparently done enough “real” journalism in his life to know that there needs to be a culprit behind this incident, and he’s self-deluded enough to somehow miss the fact that his own spoiled son is to blame. As a result, we’ve been treated to another story, in which Cheney, um, finds the real killers. “Now,” he hilariously writes, “I was searching for answers, sifting through the debris like an air crash investigator.”

The accident had been a spectacular one. The car was a 2010 Porsche Turbo, one of the fastest-accelerating cars in the world. In a distance of just a few feet, it had gained enough kinetic energy to blow apart a 15-foot-wide garage door that had been reinforced with extra steel reinforcement ribs.

Yes, only a Porsche Turbo could accomplish this. If you dropped the clutch on a Toyota Yaris, it would just bounce off the door.

Under intense questioning, Cheney’s son claimed to have no knowledge of the incident. The trauma of bashing up someone else’s car and receiving a free driving school as compensation had wiped it from his PTSD-shaken mind. But this did not stop the Air Crash Investigator Of His Own Garage from determining that

Although he didn’t realize it, he had just cocked a 500-hp. weapon. There were safety mechanisms, but he had slipped past them all without realizing it.

Something’s being cocked here, I’ll tell you. A little more introspection under his swelling cherry tree finally leads Cheney to the true culprit.

As I analyzed the crash, I realized that it was about more than mechanics. It was about a generational shift… he went a click too far. The engine roared into life, filling the cinder-block garage with a sound that could be described as a cross between an enraged jungle cat and a giant vacuum cleaner.

When the cat finally breaks out of its cage, chaos ensues, as always happens when genetic experiments of this nature escape. On The Island Of Dr. Cheney, a jungle-cat/Dyson hybrid is too powerful to be controlled by anyone. Add in the fact that children of Little Lord Cheney’s generation are, like, totally not into driving stick-shifts and stuff, man… well, you know whose fault this is. It’s society’s fault.

“Some,” Cheney moans about the Globe and Mail‘s readers, “vilified me as an irresponsible parent, and a fool.” I would say that’s hitting the nail right on the head. To this, and to everybody who points out that Cheney flat-out lied in the pages of a major newspaper about Porsche’s clutch interlock, he states that,

the car did have that safety feature. But in the face of teenage over-exuberance and some bad luck, it meant nothing.

I’ll suggest that instead, it’s Mr. Cheney’s professional integrity, to say nothing of the Globe and Mail’s reputation, that “mean nothing”.

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24 Comments on ““Air Crash Investigator” Peter Cheney Pins Porked Porsche On… Society...”


  • avatar
    Fugue

    Help me out.. What are you suggesting actually happened?

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      Any number of things could have happened. Perhaps the kid was getting ready to drive it somewhere. Maybe he was just showing the car off to his buddies.

      What *didn’t* happen is what Cheney reported in his paper and in Canadian television appearances.

  • avatar

    What a douchebag! But it’s the perfect explanation for the phenomenon that journalists score lower in trustworthiness rankings than whores and politicians.

  • avatar

    Island of Doctor Moreau reference. Nice.

  • avatar

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

    (his writing not yours, Baruth, Jack Baruth)

  • avatar
    NorthwestT

    I’m confused…I got that the guy is a tool and his kid is a jerkoff…but didn’t he (junior jerkoff) just push the clutch in, start the car and then take his foot off the clutch? Nobody has ever been silly enough to let me near a $180,000 car though, so for all I know it’s way more complicated than that.

    Oh, and I’m totally stealing your “smug, quasi-boomerish” adjective.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    Who tagged his garage doors with what looks like blue spray paint? Perhaps his son was huffing some before starting on his very short journy.

  • avatar
    JuniperBug

    So let me get this straight:

    This supposedly-experienced automotive journalist is entrusted with the keys to a six figure sports car, he takes it into his home, his teenage son gets his hands on the keys, and plows it through the garage door because he lacks either the judgement, skill, or a combination thereof, that’s required to handle the car.

    So how exactly is this the fault of anyone outside of that household?

    I echo Baruth in asking how this outcome would have been any different had the car in question been a stick-shift Yaris. As far as I know, Toyota doesn’t have a “protect user from clutch drop 3 feet from a garage door” interlock, either, and it doesn’t take 500 hp to make more than a tonne of steel break through a garage door.

    However, there is one “safety mechanism” that is perfectly designed to keep such incidents from happening: it’s called the keys. How’d sonny-boy get his hands on those, Mr. Crash Detective, and whose responsibility was it to make sure that he didn’t slip past that mechanism (apparently “without realizing it”)?

    Notice to guys handing out free Porsches: even I’m less stupid than this, and I could really use a car this weekend.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    “But in the face of teenage over-exuberance and some bad luck, it meant nothing.”

    I didn’t know that safety interlocks were intimidated by teenage over-exuberance and bad luck. On the other hand, is simply turning the key to ‘start’ really ‘teenage over-exuberance’, as he claims happened? Of course he knows The Truth About this Car, but he’s not telling.

    And to Porsche: Shame on you for playing into this nonsense. You’re no different from the government who pays to repair trashed Section 8 housing, and Mr. Cheney is your tenant.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    I don’t think the Globe’s reputation is at stake, here. Most people read News, Report on Business and perhaps Life. Everything else is catbox liner material that isn’t read by anyone anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      The G&M has Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughn, two of my favorite writers for that paper. It’s Peter Cheney and Ted Laturnus that I can’t stand. I don’t even bother reading their articles anymore. Their personalities get in the way of their reviews, I could care less about Peter’s personal preferences. The marketing insights that his colleague Jeremy has makes him the more enjoyable read.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Cato is not a bad writer, but he’s very bland in that way that most AJAC writers seem to be. I honestly never read anything Cheney’s written, or if I did I can’t really recall it. I will agree with you on Ted Laturnus: it’s hard to read someone who is, at the same time, sycophantic and irascible.

      Were I to pick AJAC writers I do like, it would be a split between Jil McIntosh (who actually deigns to criticize cars, on occasion) and Michael Clark (writing is irritatingly flowery, but the content and format is good).

  • avatar
    Rusted Source

    Maybe it was a failed suicide attempt. Who starts a car with the garage door closed?

  • avatar
    JimC

    Maybe his son is another repressed hypochondriac named Cameron and wearing a Red Wings jersey.

  • avatar
    texlovera

    Does this guy Cheney really belive what he wrote? Is he really THAT self-delusional?

    Or is he trying to lay the groundwork to play some angle? If he is, it’s a pathetiacally weak attempt.

  • avatar
    findude

    Son wants to go to driving school.
    Father drives Porsche through garage door.
    Father offers son driving school bribe for son to take fall.
    Father keeps job.

    Am I the only one thinking this?

  • avatar
    Jack Denver

    I feel really sorry for the kid. When he gets out into the real world, his BS excuses and enabling father won’t be there to help him. The “kid” btw, is not some 10 year old but old enough to drive already. The idea that he doesn’t know the difference between a clutch and a brake is totally unbelievable and his mumbled non-explanations totally unacceptable.

    • 0 avatar
      Lumbergh21

      You want to bet on that? People like this make excuses for their children well into what should be their adulthood. As they say, some kids never grow up.

  • avatar
    Zeitgeist

    Where is Runfromcheney when you need him/her?

  • avatar
    Funkdariaa

    “There’s a Jungle Cat in the bathroom!!”

    First, I could break through that door with my own body as could most people who don’t sit on a couch all day.

    Second, teach your kids how to drive a stick. You’ll never know when they might ‘need’ to know how to. My mom knew I would be learning how to drive in her car. Her’s was the less nice of her and my dad’s so it was the one that got the abuse of me and my siblings learning. She took me to get my temps about 2 miles away from where we lived. About half way back there was a middle school. On the way back from me getting my temps she pulls over into the schools parking lot and says “You’re going to learn how to drive a manual today.” And I did!

  • avatar
    CMK

    Oh good grief, his writing honestly made me sick to my stomach. It’s just God-awful.

    “…the car did have that safety feature. But in the face of teenage over-exuberance and some bad luck, it meant nothing.”

    “I managed to pull the slide back, load a full magazine, hit the slide release, disengage the safety, and then fire the gun. HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW IT WOULD FIRE! Bad luck, I say.”


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