Capitola Hot Rod Show

Walking through the idyllic seaside burg of Capitola, California, my green sensibilities were assaulted by the flashing colours, gleaming steel, and deafening V-8 roar of the Capitola Hot Rod Show. These were muscle cars in their element, under a California sun, each the offspring of countless hours of hard work, mechanical ingenuity and late-night garage-creativity.

A nervous tic began behind my right eye, as my own high-octane engine-tweaking past struggled to the surface of my consciousness, and for a few hours all thoughts of carbon footprint were roughly shouldered aside by sparkling iron and blue-sky chrome. There is a visceral excitement and respect for the throaty sound of one of these finely-tuned eco-disasters that goes back to the proto-hominid who first witnessed the roar of a caged predator cat. The sheer mechanical overkill embodied in a chrome blower sticking out of a car that was designed before carbon was a crime is something to behold.

So do show cars have a place in a carbon-conscious world?
I would propose that they do. In fact, they may represent the very future of single-passenger automobiles, as over-powered, impractical, beautiful anachronisms. Carbon-spewing sculptures that remind us of the frightening roar and metallic tang of our own weakness for raw power and stark beauty. 

One in a series of articles on Lorne’s Sustainable Journey to the Sustainable Brands 08 Conference in Monterey CA. Click here for the full list of sessions, or here for the ‘Fear & Loathing’ road trip journals.


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