The Passion For Internal Combustion Engines Will Never Die
This may be my last blog post on CarThrottle. It is not because the site is dying (which I think it is) or because I don’t enjoy doing it. I have already been less active due to a lack of free time, the desire to find a great career, and a necessity to focus on my last semester of school. While nothing is set in stone, I’m not sure if I will continue to post blogs after graduation. However, if this is my last post, I would like to leave CarThrottle with some words of hope for the future.
The only constant in life is change. Internal combustion engines are beginning to go by the wayside in favor of electric power. This is not a bad thing, it is just the march of time. However, there is no doubting that there is something special about combustion motors. They are alive, they have a personality of their own. Some are small and quiet while others are big and brash. They have some sort of special X factor that electric motors just have not been able to duplicate yet. Nothing against electric cars, I do believe they are the future and companies such as Rimac have shown that electric cars can be loads of fun. However, many would argue that there is a romance about traditional motors that electric cars just cannot replicate.
Let me draw a comparison between automotive enthusiasts to the feelings that railroad enthusiasts were feeling in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s. Steam locomotives were beginning to be replaced by something better, diesels. Diesel locomotives were quieter, cleaner, more efficient and just overall cheaper to operate. It was obvious that the railroads would be making the switch to diesels and fans of the traditional steam locomotive were not happy. Steam engines were said to have their own personalities. Some were hard workers and powerful while others were poor steamers and seemed lazy. This is what made them special. There was a romance that surrounded the steam engine that just could not be duplicated by diesels. In America, the last of the steam engines were phased out in the late 1950’s and most of the old locomotives were sold for scrap.
Steam fans around the world mourned at the sight of seeing a steam engine cut up by the scrappers torch. Some of the lucky ones found themselves in parks at the mercy of the elements. Others made their way to museums where they were put on display, never to run again. Only one steam locomotive in America was kept by a railroad for their own historical purposes (Union Pacific #844). However, years later organizations and railroads have sunk millions of dollars into restoring and operating these iron giants. Southern Pacific Daylight #4449 was restored in 1975 for the American Freedom Train and is still operated today. Union Pacific Challenger #3985 was restored in 1981 and is 100% funded and operated by the Union Pacific Railroad. In 1991, Milwaukee Road #261 was taken from the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay, WI to be restored to operating condition. Green Bay is only an hour away from where I live and #261 was the first operating steam engine I ever saw. Finally, in May of 2019, Union Pacific Big Boy #4014 (largest steam locomotive ever built) is expected to be under steam for the first time in almost 70 years. This project is 100% funded by the Union Pacific’s Steam Program.
So what do these old artifacts of the past and modern cars have in common? It proves that true passion cannot be killed. It is estimated that the Union Pacific spent around $2,000,000 to restore Big Boy #4014 and this is a project that has no hope of making a profit. The only gain the Union Pacific gets it the PR they receive wherever the locomotive travels. The fact that we can still experience a steam locomotive in action proves that the passion for these trains is still alive and well despite the lack of service they see. The same will be true for cars. Even after the last traditional motor gets placed in a new vehicle, we will still have all the current ones to marvel at. Cars such as the Ford Mustang, Dodge Demon, Chevy Corvette, Honda NSX, McLaren P1, LaFerrari, Porsche 918, Nissan GTR, Toyota Supra, and many many more will live on as relics of the past. It also shouldn’t cost millions of dollars to bring one back to operating condition. Even though fewer people will get to experience these cars, it will just add to the legend and myth that will surround them one day.
50 years from now, we may be telling our kids about the cars of our days. How when we tapped the gas peddle, our cars gave a growl of approval. We will be telling them what it felt like to take an engine to red-line and experience it flat out. We will also be telling them about that time our engine started smoking at a gas station because of mechanical issues, and the fear we felt in that moment. Some of the select few will continue to experience our traditional cars as artifacts of the past, hopefully giving rides to others so they too can experience a piece of history. It is apparent that electric vehicles are here for the long haul and it isn’t a bad thing. Progress must continue to push forward. One day, the sight of a petrol powered vehicle could be as awe inspiring for children and adults alike as a steam powered locomotive.
Thank you for reading all the way through. I hope that I can find some way to continue to do posts like this because I really enjoy it and still have plenty of different topics I want to discuss. I still have the story of the new rim on my vehicle and a review of my girlfriends Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo I would like to write. I hope significant investments get put into the website so traffic does increase and give me more incentive to do blog posts in the future. This is an amazing community that should not be squandered the way it is. This has been a real missed opportunity on the creators part. I will still be somewhat active on the community pages going forward. Thank you everyone who has given positive feedback to any of my posts and I hope you continue to do so for other bloggers here to encourage more people write about their passion. Thank you once again all the great CTzens of CarThrottle for an amazing experience these last couple years, drive safely.
My Name Is Joel