Hoon (v): To show off in a dangerous manner, mostly with a vehicle or engine powered item.
We've all been there: you're a newly-licensed teenager, it's late, a burning passion to burn rubber starts pumping adrenaline through your veins. Dad's fallen asleep on the couch, the keys are directly in reach.
You quietly sneak out the door after carefully snatching his keys up. As you raise your skinny hand up, firmly gripping the key, you feel more alive than ever. You jump in and gently slip the key into the ignition. After a second of deliberation, the sound of all six cylinders coming alive vibrates throughout the vehicle. Your
dad's '95 Ford Aerostar has never sounded so incredibly good.
Drunk with blind ambition, you think what a great idea it'd be to take the van down one of those narrow country roads you're oh-so unfamiliar with. Giving it all you've got, the Aerostar tops out at a measly 95. But it doesn't matter. To you, the inexperienced teenager, the feeling is comparable to topping out a Bugatti Veyron.
I suspect that this form of reckless endangerment can be accounted for the reason most Jalops are, well, the way we are. Our childish fascination with cars never quite faded away, however unhealthy that may be. This "fascination" likely stemmed from events in our youth, such as a mother teaching her son to work a manual gearbox, or a father teaching his daughter how to drift her car in a rainy parking lot. Regardless of generation differences, all Jalops hold some common ground: our love of everything on four wheels. Except the Camry.
Yet, the older we get, the more and more difficult it is to continue pursuing this forbidden love. In a time when boring and safe is the norm, Jalops stride to break the beige mold.
The general public consensus seems to find reckless driving okay – as long as you're a teenager. It's sort of expected in America for teenagers to act idiotic and unforgiving behind the wheel, like a rite of passage. In the same sense, we're expected to mature and grow out of that phase, entering the real world. The real world of 401k's, mortgages, and the slow, boring march towards death.
But we don't. The unmistakable passion of driving first sensed when a teenager gets behind the wheel has never left our body, and as a result of that, we act the way we do. I'm NOT saying that Jalops are bad drivers in any way; we're probably some of the best drivers on the road. Still, let's be honest – what we do is stupid. Hooning is immature. Hooning is asinine. But for some reason, it never gets old, no matter how old one gets.
However, we are a dying breed. A "normal well-adjusted human being" would never perform a burnout in an AMC Rambler. A normal person would never fantasize about owning a DeLorean well into their 30s.
There will always be future generations of Jalops, but with the slowly encroaching electronic computerization of new cars, the fun of driving is being slowly taken away. Finding the perfect union of car and man is one of the more rewarding experiences to be felt, and electronic interference kills that perfect union with a double-edged sword, the other side of this sword being safety. The civilized world is eventually to fall into a dystopian future of completely automated driving. Luckily the dystopian future I just described is exactly that: a distant future.
So many auto bloggers have made this argument before: the future of car enthusiasts is a future where electric cars are the norm for the daily grind, and internal combustion powered machines are saved for the track. To be frankly honest, I'm not looking forward to this future. I like hearing engines roar, not whine. I like pushing my vehicle of choice to its very limit and emptying the gas tank, not depleting the battery's power.
For now, everything is fine in the auto world. Car enthusiasts are still greeted with rumbling engines every time they turn the key, and Prius drivers are still sissies. Jalopnik has become a home for a certain breed of car enthusiast, and I hope this trend will continue as long as the site is alive and well.
I'd like to leave you with a video from the famous Murilee Martin, which was posted on Jalopnik back in 2007, but didn't receive the recognition it deserves. Dangerous? Yes. Completely insane? Very. Unparalleled amounts of fun? Most definitely. This is the epitome of hooning.