50th Annual World of Wheels
Passion: Some regard this as what Karl Benz invented when he first decided that it was time to ditch the horse and cart and go for a new method of transport. Yes, the steam engine was an amazing achievement, but it proved to be too cumbersome and impractical. The people that mattered best decided that they continue their lives on trains and ships. The triple expansion was no match for what is now mans “greatest invention”.
Born unto us, or rather created, the hallowed internal combustion engine . I’m sure when Karl was writing out his patent forms; he would have never envisioned what he would be letting himself in for. Take some kerosene, some air, put it under pressure and there you have it. Now there have been many variations since his idea took hold. Everything from the 2 stroke to the Wankel. When you think about it, this little idea sparked such a revolution that is so strong today; we just can’t comprehend the amplitude of it. NASCAR, Formula one, monster trucks, drag racing, Le Mans, hyper cars, minicabs, group B Racing, Police interceptor movies, and the list is endless. They all have one thing in common. Mans need to fill the void between marriage and a new engine hoist. It is an interesting time we live in as the world is changing. We are now being faced with Electric cars, hybrids, gas power, solar, even wind. Mr. Fusion may not be that far off. Thing is though, no self-respecting petrol head will ~McQueen down Hollywood boulevard in an Electric Datsun.
There is something about the internal combustion engine that draws crowds in their thousands. Club rallies, car collectors and Concours d'Elegance. They all love cars, they all love the point where you push that magic little red button and listen to the cylinders comes to life. I don’t think those at Pebble beach would be waking up at dawn to see an array of finely polished Priuses. Millions upon millions of us take for granted what Karl has done for us. Yet we are now mining Lithium to change the world. I’m sorry, but when you’re taking resources from the earth by the tonnes to save the planet, well you’re not really, you’re just changing the basic dynamics of how were going to get from A to B. As long as there is a market for the V8 Mustang or a V10 R8. We will continue to go there. Power and speed is what drives us. Yes you can honk at the maniac in front of you that is doing a hundred and twenty miles an hour. But we all know it’s what we want in our lives.
Calgary’s 2016 World of Wheels is testament to all things’ that pray “suck squeeze bang blow”. The fire breathing dragons on display here are a testament to those who have spent countless hours scraping, sanding, tuning, grinding and polishing. Ah yes, the meat of a man’s heart. The Restoration; Ask a man to do laundry, he will look at you like you just grown a wart out of your forehead. The same question, but in auto-mechanical form, well, and then you have it. Man’s love of all things aluminum, cast iron and leather cannot be tarnished by the thought of home economics.
Standing over at the Ford stand, I was introduced to a carbon copy of the infamous 427 Cobra. The designer the late Mr Shelby insane's need for speed brought UK’s motorways to its knees.
Bureaucrats and lobbyists were having none of this on their roads. No…No…No. Thus the 70-MPH speed limit was born. Big thank you to the gentlemen who allowed me over the rail and let my lens do the talking, also a big thank you to Mr. Shelley. I should have asked for his last name. He was kind enough to allow me entry and let my brain compute at all the work that went on to making this show a success that it has become.
You know, I love the sound of an XJ singing at 5000 rpm. Who doesn’t? It brings us all together, it creates smiles and people love that. Look at the crowd. They all took their Ford’s and Chevy’s to look at other Fords and Chevy’s. Ask anyone here if they would like to own and drive a 68 Charger or a 38 Ford. Of course!
I hope the internal combustion engine is here to stay for my life time, my kids and their kids. Because when the world changes back to steam, the passion will have gone.
Heath, Editor InTouch. NEWS