Photo: Ford

Though not common anymore, back in the mid-’80s “Topazzin’” was known as the practice of driving into oncoming traffic at speeds of up to 34 MPH while laying on the horn and sobbing. In a Ford Topaz (Mercury in US markets). It was illegal, of course, but also deeply embarrassing.

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Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)

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DISCUSSION

Topazzin was behaviour recorded by owners of the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz, in acceptance that their new machines could not perform the passing functions of the old. And so in a ritual meant to recreate the function, they began driving side by side in both lanes.

Over the years as the Peterson Empire failed and the Poling Empire rose, the ritual gained popularity as a more widely accepted alternative to Pintonalia. Many assume this is because unlike the pyre burned at the end of the celebration in Pintonalia, Topazzin invited drinking and debauchery, much like festivals of Dionysus to the Ancient Greeks.

Traca, the god of rust, was often given two ceremonial bottles during the ritual: One of WD-40, as a symbol of the impermanence of all things, and a bottle of something known colloquially as Busch Light, to show and acknowledge that the ritual was reckless and in bad taste. As archaeologists uncover more of the Topazzin cult it is easy to draw parallels to the modern day, and see which behaviours humans may inherently involve themselves in.