Ask The Best And Brightest: What Have Hippies Done For Cars?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

What did the hippie say to the horse? Woooaahh. What the figurative hippie said to the car is an entirely more ambiguous matter…

After all, if you ask the most stereotypical members of the counterculture how they feel about cars, they’ll likely preach about capitalism, oil dependence, environmentalism and the simple joys of bicycling… before driving off in (depending on their sub-genus) either a Prius, biodiesel Benz W123, Volvo 240, Subaru Loyale, or ancient Volkswagen. But then, this automotive ambivalence is hardly unique to any cultural clique anymore, is it? As I depart for an annual weekend of hippie indulgence at the famous Oregon Country Fair (though a vast gulf divides me from the typical hippie on questions of economics, politics, and hygiene, I consider myself an “ethnic” or “non-practicing” hippie), I’m wondering how TTAC’s Best And Brightest interpret the impact of the 60s counterculture on automobiles. Pleases note: this is not an invitation to wallow in pure stereotype… check out the video of The Doors’ Jim Morrison caning his Shelby GT500 for proof that hippies are not all created equal.

I, for one, nominate biodiesel as an important component in the automotive landscape that would not be as widely known were it not for the hippies. It’s not a perfect solution, it’s not a fuel that can replace gasoline on a broad scale, but it allows individuals more dedicated to principle than practicality (a good working definition of the modern hippie) to enjoy cars without the bummers associated with fossil fuels. Will you see me diving into the grease dumpster outside a Chinese restaurant anytime soon? Not likely. But for those who care more about their personal impact on the world than I, biodiesel technology is one of the most satisfying hair shirts available, allowing transportation on recycled fuel.

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  • DIYer DIYer on Jul 09, 2010

    This song went to #1 on both the pop and country charts in 1975, and eventually became the basis of a movie starring Kris Kristofferson as 'Rubber Duck'. I think the line about the hippie van was the most memorable: C.W. MCCALL "Convoy" Well we shot the line, an' we went for broke With a thousand screamin' trucks And eleven long-haired friends of Jesus In a chartreusse microbus.

  • Psmisc Psmisc on Jul 12, 2010

    A VW T4 (1990s) camper van still costs $20-30k in North America. Middle-class hippies are very much alive.

  • SPPPP The little boosters work way better than you would expect. I am a little nervous about carrying one more lithium battery around in the car (because of fire risk). But I have used the booster more than once on trips, and it has done the job. Also, it seems to hold charge for a very long time - months at least - when you don't use it. (I guess I could start packing it for trips, but leaving it out of the car on normal days, to minimize the fire risk.)
  • Bader Hi I want the driver side lights including the bazl and signal
  • Theflyersfan One positive: doesn't appear to have a sunroof. So you won't need to keep paper towels in the car.But there's a serious question to ask this seller - he has less than 40,000 miles on some major engine work, and the transmission and clutch work and mods are less than 2 months old...why are you selling? That's some serious money in upgrades and repairs, knowing that the odds of getting it back at the time of sale is going to be close to nil. This applies to most cars and it needs to be broadcasted - these kinds of upgrades and mods are really just for the current owner. At the time of sale, a lot of buyers will hit pause or just won't pay for the work you've done. Something just doesn't sit well with me and this car. It could be a snowbelt beast and help save the manuals and all that, but a six year old VW with over 100,000 miles normally equals gremlins and electrical issues too numerous to list. Plus rust in New England. I like it, but I'd have to look for a crack pipe somewhere if the seller thinks he's selling at that price.
  • 2ACL I can't help feeling that baby is a gross misnomer for a vehicle which the owner's use necessitated a (manual!) transmission rebuild at 80,000 miles. An expensive lesson in diminishing returns I wouldn't recommend to anyone I know.
  • El scotto Rumbling through my pantry and looking for the box of sheets of aluminum foil. More alt right comments than actual comments on international trade policy. Also a great deal of ignorance about the global oil industry. I'm a geophysicist and I pay attention such things. Best of all we got to watch Tassos go FULL BOT on us.