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Hagerty Employee

Smithology: Shigeru’s machine.

Starting any car requires a series of events. In this case, the car in question is neither all that old nor all that new, so let’s just ballpark and say that those events number in the thousands, and not hundreds of thousands or millions.


Countless lines of code must be executed. Oil must be in certain places. Pistons and gears and shafts and bearings must either move or allow movement. Then there are the simpler variables—tire pressure and battery voltage, injectors flowing something like the proper amount of fuel, and so on.


When you own a car, you occasionally think on that list of events. Or maybe I’m the only one, and maybe most people don’t.


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New Driver



I get what you are saying. My car is not the best spec example of the breed, in fairness almost the least-desirable: 69 Mustang automatic coupe 302.


The drivetrain is all rebuilt, the 302 has a bit of a bore and stroker crank (needed rebuilt anyways) but otherwise it is rebuilt stock components  --including the gloriously high factory stance that few appreciate.


It's interior is worn and pieces of dash are missing (i..e, bad aftermarket radio left a scar), the windows rattle at low speeds and it has weatherstripping leaks all over. A previous owner cut a large patch of carpet away to fix a small section of floor. So it is not as tight and quiet as it should be, or originally was, or how people resto-mod them now.


On a winding gravel road at 40mph (feels like you are going so much faster) as you have to drive alert to not lose it. Punch the gas the rear breaks sideways.


It is infinitely more fun than my wife's Edge Sport that could go much faster, quietly in a serene cabin with little feeling of being on... the edge.

Advanced Driver

Well done, Sam! You're not alone, although this virus craziness makes us feel isolated. My car isn't quick, or fast, but it's a joy to drive because it's so responsive. Yeah, it has EFI, but it's an early system, so the car feels pretty "analog", and almost alive at times. No ABS, either, but with today's tire compounds and ceramic pads, I can hold the brakes right on the edge of lock-up, and it stops so well that I'm afraid I'll get rear-ended. No stability control, either. The first time I executed a proper on-ramp with my wife in the car, I thought she was going to pass out. Totally in control, being able to feel what the tires were doing, but she'd never been in a car being driven that way.


So these days when I go, I solo. Lots of nice winding roads with beautiful scenery here in the foothills of the Rockies, and I leave the windows down too, to let the forest in the car.


A nice drive in a car you know can be a Zen-like experience.

Advanced Driver

That was lovely. And it was lovely the way you didn't talk down to your kid. You'll be proud of her some day. I also love your description of the geography. And the joy of driving. 


One thing: you're a bit young to be talking about fudging less with age. I'm... well lets just say I was born early in the Eisenhower Administration. My foot remained heavy on the gas until about eight years ago. It's amazing how much lighter it's gotten. And only a little by design. But I still love driving almost as much as my six year old self expected I would. 

Intermediate Driver

Great article, Sam.  Glad you're writing for Hagerty.

You live in the middle of some of the best driving roads in America as you know.  Used to drive the Cherohala Skyway every year trying to catch peak color. 

And you must stop in at Lynn's Place in Robbinsville.  The fried cheesecake is killer.  Probably literally, but you can drive it off on the Dragon.  I'll have to buy you lunch there someday.

You and Jack and the others are making Hagerty's magazine and website the best in the business. 

Intermediate Driver

"You and Jack and the others are making Hagerty's magazine and website the best in the business."


Amen, I say.


John Marks


Mr. Smith, you live in the United States. This nation was founded on the principles of freedom and personal liberty. It is important and incumbent on you to instill the lessons of the laws of this nation in your daughter, but more importantly it is necessary to advise her to develop a strong understanding of common sense and to use that understanding as a guide as she moves through life. The current situation is a life lesson that both of you will never forget. From your narrative, it sounds as though you reside in a semi-rural area and have the Smokies at your disposal. Your daughter will only be young for a relative eyeblink, and the opportunity for you to spend some time with her NOW in a car will not last long. I'm not advising you to go against shelter-in-place recommendations that you may be subject to, but common sense tells me that the two of you would be safe from most dangers while you make memories that will last a lifetime. Time seems to grow wings as we get older; better to share good times while you can.