Exhibition of Speed
By David Freiburger
CAR CRAFT, July 1998, PG. 7
Burnouts are cool. Old ladies, pedestrians, the fuzz, your parents, and the owner of the parking lot--categorically--do not understand. Little kids dig burnouts. Groovy chicks are jiggy wit' 'em. And car guys live for illicit tire spin. But why?
There's plenty of allure if you really think about it. Much more than a simple overpowering of rubber, I can think of at least 10 brands of burnouts, each with distinct character:
- Your First Burnout: No doubt, you got your first scratch in your parents car--probably before you had a license. Remember the feeling? You "accidentally" spun a tire around a corner, then looked over your shoulder for 15 blocks wondering if you were going to get caught. If you did, you probably wouldn't have a license to this day.
- The Neutral Slam: Nothing frags an automatic like five-granding the motor, then dropping from N to D, but teenage car guys are bent on finding out the fun way; the technique is good for at least one savage smoky. I suspect my father is just learning as he reads this that I puked the driveshaft out of our Pontiac wagon by Neutral-slamming the wee out of it while leaving a high school party. It's about the only time that I lied to my folks ("It just fell out."). Now I'm probably grounded.
- Look At Me: Speaking of high school, is there a school auto shop, parking lot, or main hangout in the country that isn't scarred with radial dust? Barking the beenies for hero points with the babe from homeroom is a teenybopper maneuver, but unpreventable. And no matter how much of a pig your high school ride really was, the older you get, the faster it will have been. Still, I'm confident that today's Hondas would be put to shame by the redwall-blazing 428 Super Cobra Jet Mustang that was my friend Greg Parson's senior-year smoke machine.
- Buddy's-Car Burners: I don't care how old you are, if a friend lets you drive his hot rod, you're gonna do a burnout when he's not around. Don't even try to deny it.
- Rental-Car Abuse: The day the first front-wheel-drive cars hit rental fleets was the day travelling automotive journalists discovered brake drags. It's one of the few benefits of wrong-wheel drive. The parking brake resembles an OE Line-Loc; jerk the handle, stab the skinny pedal, and boil the front skinnies. Weird. Actually, most front-drivers will just drag the locked rear wheels, but it's still fun and, if we understood the officer correctly, punishable by imprisonment.
- Brake Stands: Remember the day you learned to work the brake pedal against the throttle to make the car stand still while you roasted the rubber? You're more of an artiste if you can use your three feet to brake-stand with a manual trans. It's murder on trannies and brakes but a mandatory talent for burnout contest.
- The New-Motor Smoky: You just fired up your latest mill, the healthiest you've ever had. You'd like to break it in, let the valve springs warm up, and give it some time to settle. I give it three blocks, maybe four, before you tear the treads.
- Go Fer Distance: There's renown and jail time to be had with a car that'll lay tracks for three city blocks. My proven ingredients for lengthy rubber include a dead-stock 455 (Buick, Olds, Pontiac--your choice), a highway-geared open diff, and an aged bias-ply pumped to the max. A tad of throttle tickling will net a spinner that last longer than it'll take you to get cuffed and stuffed. The tarmac will bear your witness for months.
- Arrested in the Empty Parking Lot: Donuts. Rockfords. Brodies. E-brake turns: all variations on the spin-rubber/get-stupid theme and pure fun. We've all done it, but it's a good way to roll your car, which sorta puts a damper on things. still, getting sideways, crossed up, and backward is a thrill they could charge for--and they do. Sign up for defensive-driving classes or stunt-driving training and you're sure to get your money's worth in a safe environment.
- Legal Burnouts: We'd heighten our delinquency if we didn't reiterate that the only way to avoid Rodney King treatment is to limit your tire smoke to the dragstrip and sanctioned burnout competitions. Sure, local stores have been known to sell burnout bleach at Car Craft discount prices during our Summer Cruise, but we don't have anything to do with it and don't endorse it. However, we do plan to throw the world's largest legal burnout party at our Summer Cruise. Be there because everyone loves a healthy burn. If you're a car guy who frowns on tire spin, you're wearing your panties too tight.
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