I think John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega said it best in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction:
“You don’t fuck with another man’s automobile. Its just against the rules.”
I carry a magnetic sign on my 1969 Camaro that reads, “Look but DON’T TOUCH”, displayed on the dashboard. Its meant to be a serious joke. A humorous saying with a very serious meaning. A friendly reminder of the unofficial, official, unwritten unless written number one rule in the automotive community: You don’t touch someone else’s car without permission.
Most of you have probably already read the story circling around the internet of the TV newscaster who got fired because he thought climbing on a pristine 1957 Ford Thunderbird wouldn’t be a big deal. You can see this unprepared sounding newscaster put his feet on paint, door bang a pink ’57 T-bird, and try to jump on the hood of a 2020 Ford Explorer. He says he feels like a kid in the candy store, and like a kid running around in a candy store you wonder who was suppose to be watching him. The car community blew up with comment threads filled with paragraphs of frustration and anger over this California newscaster.
Car People Don’t Always have the Luxury of Outrage
This story made me think about what I would have done if I had walked in and saw this dude jumping on my vintage car without permission on Live TV.
I wouldn’t be able to make a scene because its Live TV and raining down fists of rage on the man would probably make me a hero in the auto community, but wouldn’t pay for bail and court fees. I would only be able to tell him to get off. He would probably try to interview me where I would explain rule one while hiding hell’s fury behind a grinning smile while the camera records. Once the red light turned off I would gladly explain to this man the mistake he made in a string of carefully chosen profanity.
That’s a problem with car fanatics. We care about our cars as if they were members of the family. We give them names, invest time and money into them. We love them. So some of us see this behavior with the same contempt and disgust as a stranger coming up and slapping a kid upside the head when the parents weren’t looking. It didn’t matter that these cars did not belong to us. We felt as it they were. I certainly did watching this video in horror while thinking about the actual owner’s reaction when he/she eventually saw the footage.
But we don’t always have the luxury of showing our natural rage because most none-car people will simply say, “Dude, relax, its just a car.” We can try to explain but if there is no damage done, and its not even our car to begin with, we sound crazy and unreasonable. We have to compare it to art in a museum or historic artifacts to get our point across. Where we see disrespect at one of the highest levels, it is possible to assume that most non-car people just saw another newscaster fail that’s probably already in a compilation video on YouTube.
I was surprised how quickly he was fired. No one bothered to address the fact that they put him on Live TV seemingly unprepared without even a cheat sheet to go off from. That is probably why he needed to act like a clown to fill up air time. Granted this was a car show so gathering material to talk about should have been relatively easy: “Year, make, model, and location.” But where was the producer?
It is their job to give newscasters an idea of what they are going to be talking about. It comes around again to the analogy of a kid in the candy store running around licking all the lollipops, where are his parents?