QOTD: Recalling the Ignorance of Youth?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd recalling the ignorance of youth

Despite what the media tells us, kids have a lot of dumb ideas. That said, plenty of youngins possess a wit and canniness that defies their years, sometimes — perhaps even often — making them better company than obnoxious know-it-alls in their 20s.

I used to babysit a coworker’s son by taking him to the bar, so these sentiments come from experience.

Thinking back to one’s own childhood, it’s often embarrassing to recall the things we believed at the time; things that the march of time revealed to be untrue. In regard to the automotive realm, what beliefs did a younger you hold as an unshakable truth?

This writer’s elementary school years saw a Ferrari Testarossa and Ford Mustang GT adorn the walls of his bedroom; in the corner sat a pile of Collectible Automobile magazines dating back to the first issue. It was at a very young age that I fell in love with overstuffed land yachts…

But it was because of this fixation on old cars that, at a single-digit age, I was more concerned with domestic features that had already fallen by the wayside a decade-plus earlier than anything new coming out of Japan. Like, for example, the one feature that always sends a thrill up my leg: Hardtops. Pillarless hardtops.

Early on, however, I had somehow come to believe that the definition of a hardtop had to do with the distance from the A-pillar to the B-pillar in relation to the distance from the B-pillar to the C-pillar, at least when viewing the car with windows up. Some pillarless coupes and sedans looked fairly pillar-ly with glass up. Obviously, this was dumb. Pillarless means no B-pillar. Simple as that, but it took awhile for the confusion to end.

I also believed at the time that personal luxury coupes with canvas faux-cabriolet roofs — not just your run-of-the-mill vinyl landau-style roof — were actual convertibles. These tops were most commonly seen on the Lincoln Continental Mk. VI and Chrysler Cordoba. Good job, Detroit — you fooled a kid. I eventually learned why no owner seemed to want the wind in what was left of their hair.

In hindsight, it’s amusing to think of the things we once believed. What were you once convinced of?

[Image: © 2017 Forest Casey/TTAC]

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  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Nov 19, 2019

    I believed that anything larger than the most compact vehicle required at least a V6 in order to move about. Imagine my surprise when I get older and get my first midsizer, a 2003 Accord, with a 4 cylinder engine. I also never knew what my father meant when he discussed "large" and "small" fours. Anything German was automatically a premium car, including VW. Turbocharged cars were for yabbos. Only women drove automatics and men had to know how to drive a 5 speed. (I was 7 and had only ever seen my dad driving a manual and my mom driving an automatic. I'm fully aware this is sexist and do not claim this as a current belief.)

  • Pwrwrench Pwrwrench on Nov 26, 2019

    Some more on the VW Typ IV. They did not do well in SoCal. As mentioned by others, most were automatic. The 411 had a torque convertor seal that could not survive the heat of summer. Later a seal made of high heat tolerant material became available, but not before many 411s had 3 or more replacements. Yes 4 speeds were available, even in Calif, but few bought them. Most of the Typ 4s here had AC installed. With the marginal cooling system the extra load of AC meant shorter engine life. The engines suffered the same problem as the 914s and VW vans. The O-rings failed and leaked. It was at least 5 years before a Viton O-ring arrived. As Arthur mentioned the brakes had trouble with quick wear, fading, pulsation, and squeaking. Most of that was fixed with the 412 which got thicker discs and pads and larger calipers. The improvements were too late as VW wanted to move to the liquid cooled front drive cars. Big mistake as it turned out. The 412 also had the engine enlarged to 1800cc over 1700 and an improved FI system. The car should have had the 2.0 as used in the VW van about the same time. However the cooling system was barely adequate for the 17-1800. When I had a Van with the 2.0 air cooled motor, I had to install an extra oil cooler and run synthetic oil to keep the rings from sticking in the piston grooves.

  • Art Vandelay So half of them voted for the same people that were selling them out and taking bribes? Wow
  • Jkross22 Not sure this is the issue it was 10 years ago. iheart and other services are available for streaming from phones. Sports, political, foreign language/music seem to be the most popular stations on AM but not FM. Much better quality when streaming AM stations.
  • Wayne that pict is NOT a small truck, it's a station wagon with a bed.
  • Azfelix Spotify only for me. I have zero preprogrammed settings on FM or AM bands on my car radio. I can listen to emergency broadcasts on my solar/hand crank/rechargeable battery powered AM/FM/shortwave radio that is stored in a Faraday box.
  • Joe Chiaramonte Although in some markets, some AM news stations are simulcasting on FM, FM doesn’t offer similar coverage. FM signals are limited by terrain, AM signals are not. In a disaster, losing AM will eventually matter. AM signals also “skip” on the ionosphere at night, allowing much deeper coverage. From the California central coast at night I can listen to stations in Seattle, Salt Lake City, Reno, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.