Comments: Our Long National Nightmare is Over!

Things that did not make America great:
- Soccer
- Abba
- The metric system

Things from Europe that were intended to annoy America:
- Soccer
- Abba
- The metric system

Remember the good old days, when alpha-male engines had three digits? The 289, the Boss 302, the 351 Cleveland, the 383 Super Bee, the 427 Side-Oiler? Now we have emasculated engine that all end in "L." For the record, I refuse to call my engine a 4.6L, and I don't care who tells me otherwise -- I drive a 281.

Posted by Keith Arnold at June 4, 2015 12:32 PM

I miss the old "fireside chats" with a guy dressed in Mister Rogers' sweater! Damned inspirational, or something.

And yet, if he would promise to shut down the federal government I'd vote for him.

Posted by johngalt at June 4, 2015 4:07 PM

JG, you're not talking about Mike Huckabee, are you?

And I've come to a conclusion: Chafee got the idea to run on the metric system because the last person to get into the race before him was Lindsay Gram.

I think he decided to stump for the metric system because his approval rating looks better in Celsius.

Posted by Keith Arnold at June 4, 2015 4:21 PM

I just checked the polls: Chafee's approval number is 42.


Which is still doing better than John McCain.

Posted by Keith Arnold at June 4, 2015 4:25 PM

It is truth or dare week at ThreeSources. I was a metric booster in the 1970s, before Reagan killed it. I doubt if I am the only one here -- it appeals to those with an engineering bent.

What I was too young to see was the Chestertonian view of "Democracy of the Dead." The units we use are human-scaled and intuitive -- that keeps them in use.

My favorite is to look at the other side. My Irish and British friends all give people's wieght in "stone." avoirdupois Pounds are almost metric in comparison. But to say "so-and-so lost two stone! (28 lbs.)" brings in the human scale. I'm "a foot" taller than my wife, enjoy "a pint" of beer now and then. The temperature is "in the 70s" today. What great and intuitive ranges against 35cm, 450ml and 22°C.

Posted by jk at June 4, 2015 4:50 PM

I'm always amused by proponents of the metric system who think the fact that it's based on science should end the discussion. As if we're expected to believe that scientists at the end of the 18th century could accurately measure the distance from the equator to the North Pole (although I'll admit I'm impressed at how close they actually came). Personally, I'd be kind of lost if I couldn't estimate short lengths in terms of quarters (1" diameter) and dollar bills (6" long).

Keith - as a Ford guy I find it interesting the you left out some truly iconic engines from other makes but included one that very few casual car buffs would recognize. And in terms of alpha-male things, I'd add that if God had wanted us to use the metric system, He'd have had John Moses Browning chamber the 1911 in 11mm, and we'd all still be raving about the symmetry.

Posted by AndyN at June 5, 2015 8:27 AM

The 351 Cleveland perhaps? I'm kind of a MoPar guy. I ripped out a perfectly good 318 from a '68 Sports Satellite and put in a 440 because "17 year old guy."

I will defend the picked on kid a little. The great thing about metric is measuring different things. A cubic centimeter is a milliliter and if you fill it with water it has a mass of one gram and it will take one calorie to heat that one degree. "How much energy to heat a swimming pool 12 x 20 x 8' 20 degrees?" incites a flurry of calculator math and looking up conversions, in metric you can do it in your head. That's the cool thing, not dividing by ten, which is how it is sold.

This makes it good for science. Not the grocery store.

Posted by jk at June 5, 2015 11:23 AM

You mean the 383, I suspect. That one always stumped me but like everything else Mopar, I'm sure the engineers had a reason. Even if it was as simple as, "Let's make the marketing clowns who insist on a low displacement big block wish they never made us do this."

And for your reading pleasure, The Gospel According to John. (Although I'm a .40S&W guy.)

Posted by johngalt at June 5, 2015 11:29 AM

A friend had the 351 Cleveland in his Maverick (as good a car as Sen. John McCain was a presidential candidate). He was pretty proud -- and it did go.

The joy of the 383 was you could buy an old block and punch it out to higher displacment.

Posted by jk at June 5, 2015 12:05 PM

And: hahahahahahahaha! Great link.

Posted by jk at June 5, 2015 12:08 PM

Nope and nope. I was actually talking about the 427 Side-Oiler. I'm pretty sure most people hear 427 and immediately think Chevy. I guess what I was looking at was that setting aside brand loyalty, if I was writing a list of manly engines identified by CID, I'd still have included one of the Bosses, but skipped the Ford 427 for something like the 454, 440 Magnum, or 426 Hemi.

And yeah, you can surprise a lot of people and get into a lot of trouble driving a Maverick with a 351.

Posted by AndyN at June 5, 2015 12:23 PM

It was nice when we recognized cars, or at least brands, by their engine displacement. That meant we knew a little something about the engine. Now the only thing most people know about engines is if the little engine-shaped light on the dashboard comes on, take it to the shop. Pathetic.

Posted by johngalt at June 5, 2015 2:07 PM

True confessions: yeah, I'm a Ford guy, and I thought including a token Mopar 383 would demonstrate my commitment to disversity and inclusiveness. The 383 sticks in my mind because I've had the misfortune of having to work on one. Oddly enough, when I was enrolled in Driver's Training, it was in a Plymouth Fury 3 with a 383, and whatever else you could say about it, the thing could get onto the freeway in a hurry.

"Most people hear 427 and immediately think Chevy." Speaking as an American male who's had the privilege of sitting, for ten glorious minutes, in a 1966 Shelby Cobra, I can honestly say that Chevy doesn't come to mind.

JG, I nod my head in somber agreement with your final comment. There are few things sadder than two men staring into the open hood of a car by the side of the road, and one of them holding a set of wrenches and muttering "I used to be able to fix these things..." The world ended when the four-barrel Holley got replaced by the Blue Screen of Death.

Posted by Keith Arnold at June 5, 2015 4:30 PM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?