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Hi-tech Car Gadgets Not Necessary

July 27, 2010

Call me a dinosaur, but I think cars today are far too computerized and have too many bells and whistles. That may sound strange coming from an alien who spent years cruising the solar system in a spaceship, but keep in mind it crashed and that’s why I’m stranded. It wasn’t MY fault.

I saw a Ford Focus ad on TV recently where the prospective buyer hailed it as “a smart-phone on wheels.” He liked the standard GPS and satellite radio, etc. I don’t need or want all that crap. I’d prefer more of a “Tracfone on wheels” – a car that can get me from point-A to point-B without breaking down. I can still use a map to get where I’m going. I refuse to pay a monthly satellite subscription fee in order to make my radio work. I wouldn’t buy a car with electric windows. And I would never, never own (or trust) a car that can parallel park itself! If you need that option, your license should be revoked.

Give me a car with a pleasing body style, a manual transmission, a reliable engine and drive train, an FM radio, and (of course) an air-conditioner. Anything beyond that is just unnecessary fluff. I wonder if any company still makes a car like that.

My mantra is: “simplicity is beauty”. I firmly believe that turning control of the driving experience over to a computer is dangerous. Toyota’s unintended accelleration problem has never been satisfactorily explained, but I’ve suspected from the start that it is a computer software or hardware defect. It used to be that the driver’s brain and right foot directly controlled accelleration of the vehicle. Now, our intentions send a signal to the computer and it decides whether to gives us what we asked for or not.

You humans are so spoiled by technology these days. You need to return to your automotive roots. All this superfluous hardware and software, while enticing, just drives up the initial price of cars and the subsequent price of repairs. In this new austere economy, we need simple, reliable, inexpensive transportation with just the bare necessities. What we really need is no-nonsense electric cars for under $12,000. If you add on all that high-tech junk to an electric vehicle it defeats the whole purpose. They waste battery power that could otherwise go toward extending the driving range.

The radio doesn’t work on my 21 year-old pickup truck so I sing to myself. The air conditioner doesn’t work on my 15 year-old car so I do a lot of sweating and don’t venture out during the hottest part of the day. But these trusty old nags get me where I’m going and I hope they continue to do so until I can find that $12,000 electric- without the bells and whistles.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. chuck permalink
    July 27, 2010 3:04 PM

    Andy Rooney, eat your heart out!

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