16 September 2016

Answering the handling vs. horsepower question … for everyone except Cherry

Remember when a this-or-that question was answered with either this or that? Neither do we. 

We stepped to the social media podium again this week and asked car enthusiasts a fairly simple question (or so we thought): “What’s more important to you, horsepower or handling?” Two answers. Pick one. As it turns out, that wasn’t so easy.

Yes, many of you kept it simple by selecting one of the two words. Some of you even tossed in an additional word for emphasis, as in “definitely handling” or “obviously horsepower.” But not everyone was able to color within the lines. Rebels stepped in and offered crazy answers like “both” and “torque.” Then there was Cherry Thomas, who we’re pretty sure didn’t even know the question.

“Hi,” Cherry wrote. When no one responded, she got a little more direct. “Hi, Joseph. How are you doing? Would like to know you, if you don’t mind.” Joe ignored her advances. Hey, he had more important things on his mind – things like horsepower vs. handling. He wasn’t alone.

Rick Mahoney considered both answers carefully before revealing his choice: “Restoring cars professionally has allowed me and the people I work with to drive a wide array of collector automobiles. Unanimously, we all said that one of the least fun cars to drive is a big block ’70 Chevelle, and one of the most fun cars to drive has been a ’61 Triumph TR3. In a straight line, hands down, the Chevelle is quicker and more fun, but for everyday driving, the TR3 is a blast. Prior to having driven so many different cars I may have reversed this decision, but I’d have to give it to the TR3 for being the most fun; thus handling is more important to me.”

Stanley Pickles submitted as evidence a story about a mountain drive he took in the state of Washington “when I was younger and my TR7 newer.” It seems that at some point a muscle car appeared in the rearview mirror. “He was on my tail, anxious to pass. He didn’t get a chance on the straight stretch, and when we got to the twisty climbs in the mountains he slipped into the distance.” That’s another one for handling.

Several Pontiac Fiero enthusiasts joined in. “One of my favorite cars was an ’86 Fiero SE,” Doug Campbell wrote. “It was an automatic and had the Iron Duke 2.5-liter four banger. It was the slowest car I’ve ever owned but one of the most fun cars I’ve ever driven. A 95-year-old granny with a walker would be faster in a race, but just try to keep up in the turns.”

“Amen!” Paul Diaco wrote. “Had an ’86 four-banger. Still own an ’87 GT.” Rick Brandt posted a photo of a Fiero, along with “Always hold onto the fun ones.”

Tony Piscitelli agreed: “As I get older, handling. I’ve raced a lower-powered car that handled like a dream and had an absolute blast. I’ve driven high-powered cars that couldn’t turn and felt a different kind of exhilaration (like the one you feel before a good bowel movement).”

Duane Haas also cast his vote for handling: “I love cars that do more with less. Anybody can drop a huge engine in a car to make it fast in a straight line. Handling and balance take an artist.”

Or, as Rick Gent pointed out: “All the horsepower in the world does you no good if you can’t keep the wheels on the pavement.”

The power hungry among you are not convinced, however. “Horsepower,” Joshua Pritts wrote. “Handling is up to the driver.” Paul F. Clarke concurred: “Horsepower! Let them ponies run!”

Juan Carlos can see both sides. “If it has so much power that you can’t handle it, look into better handling. If you can handle it with one finger but it won’t burn rubber, look into more power. It’s all in the balance.” Then, he reasoned, “If you’re running from the cops you need both ... unless you're O.J. Simpson.”

Joseph Storer – yes, Cherry’s Joseph – also struggled to commit. “In my experience, frustration is always the result of having too much of one and not enough of the other!”

Apparently, that’s all Cherry needed to hear. Only one minute later, she gave up on Joe and moved on to someone else. “Hi, Sammy!” she wrote.

Wait, what was the question again?

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