TTAC Rewind: When He Fought the Law -- And The Law Lost

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's rewind for your afternoon perusal is a feature Steph wrote about a man who fought the state of Oregon all so he could call himself an engineer. This was part of a larger fight over the timing of yellow lights and red-light cameras.

I don't want to spoil it further, so go check it out here.

[Image: monticello/]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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Join the conversation
  • AZFelix AZFelix on Apr 23, 2023

    “No one can get up much enthusiasm for a Government which puts you in jail if you open your mouth”

    George Orwell

    • See 5 previous
    • AZFelix AZFelix on Apr 25, 2023

      The word 'jail' here can be understood as a bit of hyperbole to describe the imposition of less physical but still demonstrable constraints such as the loss of social access (both physical and online), jobs, careers, businesses, the right to protest, the right to express opinions, etc. It happened during the pandemic and continues to be used in various ways today. Here is a story which tells a similar tale that is a bit allegorical and automotive in nature.

      Youthful and newly licensed Tommy was driving past a generic car dealership when he spotted a bright red Ferrari 308 GTS parked out front. He turned around, pulled into the lot, and walked up to the car to have a look. Unfortunately it had a sold sticker on it and upon closer inspection he noted that something was different. The body appeared bigger and less delicate than what he expected from Pininfarina, and the interior reminded him of the rough and tough styling of his Fiero. It also had the familiar 4-cylinder Iron Duke just like in his car. At that moment Tommy was certain that this was the type of Ferrari he was born to own. And he committed his entire being and bank account to making it happen.

      He cut off some parts from his car, bought some special bits to attach in their place, decorated it with shiny badges, and touched it up with glossy red paint. Now his Fiero was the real Ferrari he wanted it to be. He promptly entered it in numerous concourse d'elegances for Italian automobiles to show off his work. And to the surprise of many he won in every important category, every time - lowest horsepower, cheapest to insure, best AC Delco stereo sound, simplest to repair using only parts from Autozone, etc. (unsurprisingly in this story, the categories and standards are slightly altered from reality). In the end his car was declared 'Ferrari of the year' and celebrated on magazine covers and in TikToks around the world!

      Now there was some push back from the automotive community and when asked to explain how his car was a Ferrari Tommy replied "I am not a biologist engineer” and refused to answer the question. Since he believed it was from Italy he thought everyone else should too. It was apparent to anyone who closely inspected the vehicle and compared its internal parts to a set of blueprints from Michigan that it was a GM product masquerading as an Italian exotic. There were no parts from Maranello used in its build and there was nowhere to insert an OEM Ferrari oil filter for periodic fluid maintenance. But due to the rules that were put into place by the government, everyone was forced to call it a Ferrari or risk being publicly shamed, losing their job, and in some countries face criminal charges for failing to “validate and affirm (that Tommy’s car was) equally deserving of respect and dignity”.

      Some will argue that rules justify these actions and those that enforce them are just following orders. History has not been kind to people using this approach. The placement of unreasonable limits on free speech and mandatory adoption of illogical premises is the start on a slippery slope to the loss of rights for the individual. The diminishing of rights and imposition of greater controls over freedom are conditions which are rarely ceded by the government. Anyways, this has been a long reply and I need to make my dinner. The smell from the local government soup kitchen affirms the late hour. Hopefully they aren’t boiling frogs again.

  • Analoggrotto Analoggrotto on Apr 24, 2023

    "I shot the sheriff But I didn't shoot no deputy"

  • Tassos Tassos on Apr 24, 2023

    Did not bother to play the video (time is valuable) but this reminded me of that fool sewer worker Ed Norton in the "Honeymooners" who called himself a "Sanitation Engineer"