There are things on this earth that are just plain cool. Muscle cars are cool, chopped bobber motorcycles are cool and of course Steve McQueen is the ultimate King of Cool. All of these things give off a special aura of coolness, but at the end of the day, what makes that aura up? I mean what elements, combined together actually produce coolness in its rawest form? Lets examine for a moment some of the fundamentals of being cool and or exuding coolness. Cool is something that largely comes from an automobiles presence and or how it affects those surrounding it.
Take the classic muscle car for example, in reality these bad boys where never really that fast nor did they handle well. Over the years though stories were told about street racing on Friday nights, 900 hp blown big-blocks that scared children and of course big smokey burnouts that lasted for six city blocks. Muscle cars are all about going against the grain and thumbing their nose at society and political correctness. They are raw, powerful and burn ungodly amounts of fuel without a care in the world. Muscle cars are the ultimate middle finger in an ever growing landscape of automotive rules and regulations and there will never be anything like them produced again.
Now onto Steve McQueen… this Dude is responsible for taking cool to an entirely new level. McQueen was the real deal and there was no bullshit about him. He was an actor who did his own stunts, an automobile and motorcycle racer and someone who was not afraid to get his hands dirty when the time called for it. He was also a bit of a bad ass which helped out as well. Hell, McQueen could go out and drive an old crap box Ford Pinto and when he got out of it, that Pinto would then in fact be cool. I’ve also heard that when car guys die their biggest request once they hit the pearly gates is to come back as Steve McQueen.
Old school motorcycles are cool as well. These where the bikes that tried to kill you when you rode them. Harley Davidson’s with big v-twins and suicide shifters, old Triumph Cafe Racers and the old board trackers of yesteryear. These suckers made boys into men and men into corpses if they weren’t careful. Like the muscle car the vintage bikes were build to get you from point A to point B, but you had to be a certain type of person to ride them because if given the chance, they’d turn on you.
There are also key words and phrases that help embody the concept of automotive cool as well. Carburetor, burnout, fishtail, backfire, power-glide, oversteer, understeer, torque-flight, double-pumper, double-clutchin’, three on the tree, torque and horsepower are words that every car guy should know and words that just skim the surface of real automotive coolness. Mention things like traction-control, anti-lock brakes, stability control and cylinder deactivation though and it’s possible that Steve McQueen’s ghost may actually rise from the grave and punch you in the mouth.
Automotive coolness is a tough nut to crack because it treads a very fine line. In reality the coolest cars, people and trends reach that status without even trying. They are who they are, what they are and could give a shit about what others think of them. I suppose these are the true elements of automotive cool and at the end of the day you either have them or you don’t, it’s that simple.