Thursday, February 19, 2015

Look Back Thursday is Here

Ah, the memories. The smell of burning motor oil, the rattle and shake of a busted suspension, or the thrill of skidding sideways around midnight parking lots--we've all had a first car at some point. And now, Thursdays at Automatica are dedicated to reminiscing about the formative years of driving.

From the frustration of constant breakdowns to the freedom of purchasing your first set of wheels, all of the memories from the early days of driving privileges will be here on Thursdays to harken back to simpler times.

So, with that, stay closely tuned for Thursday additions featuring all of the things you remember from the past and your first tastes of automotive pleasure. It's sure to be a trip back in time for anyone who can remember their first experience behind the wheel.

Have something about your early auto-life that you'd like to share? Feel free to drop a line in the comment section below any Look-Back Thursday and tell us what you remember, or maybe what you'd like to forget...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Why Automatica?

 Let's be blunt: there is an undeniable culture that surrounds automotive things--such as cars and motorcycles.
More to the point, there is a culture that surrounds these things as much as they help to shape and form culture itself. Given this, I present to you Automatica, a blog dedicated to all things auto culture and culturally automotive.

Automatica is a blog conjured up when trying to decide how to make the most of the talents I feel I have, which, at present, seem to be writing, studying culture, and tinkering with automotive things in my spare time. To be honest, the first two are talents, possibly, but the third is a passion, an obsession, and, at times, an
affliction from which I seek no cure.

Culture is relative, cars are objects. These are facts. But if one only stops for a moment to look just below the surface, the truth bubbles from beneath and proves that both are so much more than a functional collection of their parts. cars and bikes have done far more for mankind than simply enable him to move farther and wider across the face of the earth; cars and motorcycles have liberated not only the body, but the human mind and spirit. They have created vast worlds, all of which are uniquely their own, both broad in range and scope and insular at the same time.

Culture, on the other hand, is not so cut and dry. Many still argue it to this day. But one thing can be said to be certain: that automobiles have played a vital role in shaping the cultures of those who possess them, and even those who do not. From the podium-standing elites of Formula 1 racing to the garage tinkerers and tuners of 1950's California, Automobiles have had a hand in both creating and altering cultures merely by their inclusion in the zeitgeist. Capitalists to communists, Dictators to dilettantes, we all live in an automotive world.

And I feel it is time we address this, in no short order. Without further ado, Automatica is here. Visit early, visit often...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Picture of the Day: Driven by War...

BMW. BSA. Mitsubishi. Rolls-Royce. What do all of these famous automotive marques have in common? Well, it may not come as a shock to everyone, but for the uninitiated, the fact is that these famous automakers once made fighter planes or military vehicles for war, either before their rise as auto-manufacturers or during.

To that end, I could not help but wonder about the state of the modern vehicle in war. With conventional warfare taking a backseat to less formalized, guerrilla-style warfare--with "no front-line and no identifiable enemy," as the late sportswriter Hunter S. Thompson once put it--the state of the modern military vehicle has changed in many combat theaters. 

Where once it was only common to see tanks, military aircraft, and specialized, up-armored military vehicles cruising through the fields and over the trenches of combat zones, today's conflict hotspots are a much different scene; the military-only vehicle has been replaced, in many respects, by re-purposed civilian models. Once seen in the streets of every major city and small hamlet from Santa Monica to Brighton Beach, these commoner-cars have been brought to a new life--one forged in the fires of conflict.

But why?

Sure, money is always an issue. And for non-standardized militaries and militias (I won't get into the differences between "military," "militia," and "freedom fighter" here), tanks and fighter jets don't come cheap or easy. But there is something else afoot, I sense. Something more...

Consider for a moment the bulk of conflict-footage coming from places such as Ukraine, Rwanda, Baghdad, and the likes. For starters, the terrain simply isn't the same. Where once war footage was of sprawling fields of battle or mud covered trench-rows as far as the eye could see, modern conflicts are found deep in the capital cities of the countries fighting them. And in these war-torn metropolises, tanks and other up-armored, heavy-duty vehicles simply don't have the agility, the speed, or the "run-and-gun" capabilities of the semi-modern, consumer-level vehicle. 

But, honestly, this is not the point. Well, it isn't really the point.

The point is, the modern war vehicle is actually the antithesis of its name--the modern war vehicle is not a war vehicle at all. Rather, it is a people's vehicle re-purposed for the field of combat. Which brings us to the very moment in which we might have to finally ante up, accept what we've become and realize that we all are following, in lock-step, with the state of the modern military vehicle: the specialists are taking a backseat to the civilian. And, frighteningly, this trend may not stay exclusive to cars and trucks in the coming years; people may be forced to join the ranks of re-purposed fighters as well...
                                                      an unfortunate some already have.

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