My wife and I own two defective cars. They both have the same defect – NO HOOD ORNAMENT. One, has an additional defect – NO HOOD. At least not that you can see when you’re behind the wheel. The view out the windshield is like back in the day when I chugged around in a Volkswagen Bus.
In that case, there really wasn’t a front hood. It was a straight line from the roof to the road. Today’s cars, SUV’s mostly, and ours in particular, give you the same view out the windshield as my old VW Bus. You can’t tell how far the car extends in front of you, which is quite disconcerting when you are pulling up to an immovable object or into a space in a parking lot. It’s why you see so many cars parked in an off-kilter fashion, front to back, in most store lots.
Hood ornaments are (if we had one) essential to driving safely. So are strong, chrome plated metal bumpers, but today’s cars don’t have either. I miss the hood ornament the most. Not because of the decorative aspect, and many were quite distinctive, like that on a Jaguar, a cat crouched in a running stance. When I learned to drive, you looked out the windshield and aligned the hood ornament with the edge of the road. It assured you were properly placed in your lane. Highways back then were primarily two-lane roads; it was essential that your car be aligned in the center of its lane and not wandering off toward oncoming traffic. The speed limit was 50 MPH, but the force of an impact with a car coming at you is additive. If both of them are doing fifty, the collision is equivalent to driving into a cement wall at 100 MPH. (The sum of the speed of each car.)
I guess I shouldn’t worry about it. Tesla, Google and most automakers are working on cars that drive themselves. In some cases, the vehicle keeps an eye on the white markings along the edge of the lane to keep the car where it should be. Of course, a world where the roads are kept in good repair with perfectly clear lane lines doesn’t exist, so extra cameras, sensors and on-board computer intelligence has to compensate for the lack of acceptable lane markings. They’re getting it figured out, but they estimate it will raise the price of a self-driving car by $4,000. That will give me more substantial to complain about than a missing hood ornament.
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