By most accounts, the epicenter of the automotive dark years was 1980. That was the year that the only Corvette Californians could buy was powered by a 5.0-liter V8 saddled to an automatic transmission. The early ’80s was the era of downsizing, sticker shock, and the furtive and desperate shade-tree “desmogging” of under-powered, low-compression engines.
I entered high school in 1979; thus, my formative car-guy years were among the lamest in automotive history. I still came to love the automobile, but perhaps in a different way than folks only 10 years my senior. I didn’t hate front-wheel drive, I accepted the passing of the big block, and I learned that handling could be appreciated as much as acceleration.
Folks roughly my age will understand what I am talking about. We read about cars more than we worked on them. We considered pegging an 85-mph speedometer an accomplishment, and we worshipped German cars as much as we did Hemi-powered anythings. We read Brock Yates before he became a self-promoting jerk, and we knew the difference between TBI, TPI, and SPFI.
In tribute to my kindred car lovers, and with all due credit to Jeff Foxworthy, I have created a list of 10 things that might peg you as a Generation-X car guy. If you can answer yes to five of the following, you might be a Gen-X car guy.
You might be a Gen-X car guy if . . .
- You remember 35-cent-a-gallon gas, but never paid much less than a dollar.
- You’ve replaced a starter or alternator, but never the points and condenser.
- The hottest engine on any new car you lusted after in high school was a 5.0-liter V8.
- No one you knew had ever owned a real muscle car.
- You ever argued with anyone about the Ford 302 really being a 4.9-liter engine, and not a 5.0.
- At any time, you thought the Citation X-11 was one of the coolest cars in the world.
- You just couldn’t accept the turbocharged 301 as a Trans Am engine.
- Your drivers ed car was an X-Car or a K-Car.
- You learned to drive stick on a torqueless piece of crap with no air.
- You’ve driven at least a trio of cars featuring some variant of General Motor’s 3.8-liter “3800” V6.