In Response

Oct. 1, 2003
I read your column in the July issue, and passed along a copy to a friend here at work, also a Miata driver

I read your column in the July issue, and passed along a copy to a friend here at work, also a Miata driver — though I guess you’re technically a former Miata driver. I think she feels somewhat safer for having seen what a good job yours did in protecting you.

By the way, you may add my voice to those who distrust electronic control over mechanical features partly for service reasons. I buy the full shop manual on any car I drive, but the portions dealing with the electronics are often useless without dealership equipment. Sometimes it’s apparent that the device is doing no more than checking resistance or amperage, yet the book only says to replace the part if it reads fail. They won’t even say what voltage, resistance, or whatever, will get a pass signal. I continue to drive a 14-year-old car with limited electronics for this very reason. My daily driver has 183,000 miles on it, and is the lowest-mileage car I currently own. I also continue to choose nimble small cars over the tanks that are choking the roads.

Ronald G. Darner
[email protected]

Safety in small packages

This is in response to the July editorial, Losing and Winning. I, too, am a Miata-crash veteran. It’s extremely gratifying to prove wrong those people who said, “If you get in a wreck in that tiny little car, you’ll be killed!” Glad to hear you also walked away — my Miata was also far worse off than I was, although it was salvageable. Then again, it wasn’t an armored truck that hit me, just an older-model American-made land yacht. Barely made a dent in her hubcap!

Aimee Spencer
[email protected]

One thing at a time

I restore vintage automobiles, and drive them daily. They don’t have crumple zones, safety cages, antilock brakes, or even seat belts in some cases. Cars today are much more refined — in many ways, technological wonders. Still, rollover deaths numbered 4,000 in 1989 and currently number 10,000 annual fatalities. With new cars safer than they were in 1989, how can this be? I believe people are so hyped by technology that they assume cars can go auto-pilot while they concentrate on everything in their lives while they’re driving, except driving. Abusive marketing and misleading promotion of technology don’t help. Neither does excessive NASCAR-watching.

I have a late-model truck equipped with three cigarette lighters, so presumably I could keep my coffee warm, shave, and check the stock market on my laptop all while weaving in and out of traffic during rush hour. Technology is a wonderful thing — I wouldn’t be an engineer if I didn’t think so — but there’s something irresponsible about the way we apply it to life these days.

Dennis Cherweznik
[email protected]

Let’s save manufacturing

“Tough sell for tough times” (August In the Loop) should be required reading for anyone with a business interest in manufacturing. The issue has grave import and imperative. I hold out not much hope for action from our political leaders, especially not the globalists who, as you put it well, “think America is already too rich and powerful.” Manufacturing is almost like agriculture ... hugely important to the economy but largely without political leverage.

However, please continue to carry the standard and sound the alarm, while there is some manufacturing to save.

Glenn Gabryel
[email protected]

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