Get ready to pour a can on NOS into your gas tank for extra speed, because here’s some of the most embarrassing braggadocio you’ve ever heard about cars, and even worse untruths you’ve told to others.
The very best (or is that worst?) of these stories come from our youth, when we maybe didn’t totally understand how a turbocharger worked, but we sure as hell weren’t going to let anybody else know that.
[Welcome back to Countersteer, where we ask you to tell us your greatest stories of success and failure, then we pull the very best of them to share with the rest of the world.]
Even Tavarish, one of our wrenching experts, had to learn the hard way.
In high school I thought a straight pipe exhaust meant an exhaust with no bends.
I also used to think rev matching was letting out the clutch slowly to slow down. Essentially I was using the clutch as a brake pedal. God, I was stupid.
Didn’t everyone hear shit like this in school?
“Vipers are illegal in the US because the chain that drives the rear wheels snapped on them, destroying the car into many pieces”
-some kid in 6th grade 1999
That would actually make racing slightly more interesting, but no.
When my brother and I were 5 and 6, I asked him what the spoilers on racecars do. He said “It’s aerodynamics so the heads of the drivers behind them don’t fly off.”
Seemed reasonable to me at the time
I love this story so much. We all get this mysterious non-knowledge from somewhere. I learned it from you, dad!
I was telling my 15 year old kid about how light cars with too much horsepower and lack of traction control can actually render them very difficult to drive.
A few weeks later his older brother told me that the 15 year old was talking about cars that will rip the wheels off if they have too much horsepower. So I asked him where he got that idea from, and he responed that he got it from me. Because I had told him that a very high horsepower car can “break the wheels loose” at freeways speeds sometimes if you give them too much gas.
If you’re going to argue, make sure you’re right.
In high school I about got into a fist fight when this rich kid started bragging about his Lexus’ V8 engine. I had seen his car I knew it was a SC300. I Proudly told him, “No dumbass, your car has a three liter, non turbo, inline six cylinder, like a non turbo Supra.”. this argument went on for some time. It was until like 3 weeks later when I say his car at Burger King an noticed it was a SC400. I didn’t know there was such a thing. Then I realized that an SC400 probably had the same engine as an LS400, a V8...
Way to win at high school.
Waaay back in my wee years of high school and auto shop we were covering different types of engines in class. The know-it-all genius in the class (whose father owned a “2000 horsepower Camaro”), laughed at me when I identified a “spark plug” on one of the demonstration engines as a fuel injector. He then informed the class that this was an AMC straight 6.
I left him embarrassed and my teacher pretty surprised when I said “actually, this is a Perkins A6.354 direct injected diesel engine. It’s a naturally aspirated variant, equipped with a Lucas CAV worm drive mechanical injection pump and is rated at 110 engine horsepower.” I spent a lot of time in the shop with my dad who worked on diesels in tractors and combines so I had seen this engine 1000 times before. Still my proudest moment in all of high school.
As we get older, we get prouder, and our college days aren’t always as wise a we think.
I knew a guy in college who would drive his Grand Am around in D all day because, “Overdrive is only for racin’.”
If only this were true!
Kid told me once that his Saab 93 had to be fueled at the airport, cause you know, “Born From Jets” means it has a jet engine.
No, Lexuses drive away unexpectedly, they don’t explode. You’re thinking of Ferraris.
My roommate in college was a valet back in the mid-aughts when a woman pulled up in a brand new RX hybrid right when they first came out. She told the valets she needed to park it up front and that they couldn’t move it because if they started it up wrong it would blow up.
Our adult years, sadly, don’t always get much better. The amount of nonsensical misinformation that people hold onto for years is almost unbelievable.
There are people out there who still think it’s safer to be thrown from a crash than to wear a seatbelt, that their car is so reliable it can run for 30,000 miles without any oil, or that they should take out their transmission’s synchromesh to make it smoother. These are all cringeworthy.
Oh god, this one.
“My car doesn’t need winter tires because it has 4WD”
At least it seemed to work.
Gotta hand it to my wife. Our old C5 Audi A6 2.8 Avant used to get a recurring exhaust leak in the same place they all do, the flex pipe. My Chinese mom-in-law was in town and I had to take her someplace. She got in the car and said “why so loud?” My wife turns around and says “It’s a turbo, mom.” MIL who knows nothing whatsoever about cars goes “Ah.” Wife turns back to the front and I drive off loudly, trying to keep a straight face.
“Use the torques better” is my new favorite phrase.
Hard to choose. Knew someone who swore that they were going to put a cold air intake on their 4 cylinder Camry to make it a sports sedan, and knew another guy who swore that shifting 1-2-3-5 in his Chevy 1500 got him faster acceleration because it let the truck “use the torques better”.
Apparently if your tires are off by 1.5psi, it’s going to drive uncontrollably.
As it turns out, the motorcycle world is not immune to bullshittery. And I’m not just talking about people who think buying a Harley is a good idea. (I’m kidding, please don’t hurt me.)
Not cars but motorcycles / four wheelers. A guy that came in the shop was bragging about how fast his Yamaha Banshee motor was(2 stroke) because he sent out to Arizona and had the shop put an “extra power band” on each gear. He couldn’t fathom that a power band wasn’t a part of the engine even after I had one of our mechanics try to explain it to him. I hope he paid a lot for that extra power band.
This article would not be complete without the legendary turbo encabulator, the perfect spoof of every fake-but-important-sounding device like the Fuel Shark or the mythical 100 mpg carburetor that the government is hiding to prop up the oil industry. As it turns out, the turbo encabulator is older than you think.
Here’s the original.
The YouTube description has a pretty good explanation of how it came about.
If you’ve ever heard any more bullshit that’s even worse than this, please let us know in the comments below.
Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.