Electric vehicles are marvelous things — powerful, silent, and durable. But they can’t adequately capture the visceral appeal that made the internal combustion engine the motive power of choice for the world of transportation over the past 100 years or so.

Yes, engines are fiendishly complex machines with too many moving parts, any one of which can fail and leave us stranded on the side of the road. But the sound of those engines fueled humanity’s love affair with cars. It’s why motor racing fans go to places like Indy and Monza.

My first race weekend was the US grand prix at Watkins Glen in upstate New York. That was 50 years ago and I still remember waking up on a frosty morning to the sound of Formula One engines coming to life at sunrise. On race day, a pack of snarling race cars came climbing up from the starting line, though the esses, and screaming to redline as they flew down the front straight.

The sound of the cars howling past joggled my gizzards. It made my heart race and my ears ring. All those pistons slamming up and down sent raucous, boisterous noises crashing against the hills surrounding the track. The hills sent back ethereal echoes that washed over the assembled multitude like waves crashing on the shore. It is one of my fondest memories. Credit: Ken Anderson Last Sunday, my friend Ken Anderson drove his F-150 down from Marblehead to meet me in the bucolic town of Bolton, Massachusetts […]

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