Liam Dwyer’s story resonates and autonomous cars aggravate in this month’s reader missives.
I A M T R U LY inspired by Arthur
St. Antoine’s profile of Liam Dwyer (“Warrior at the Wheel,” June).
Liam lost his leg to an IED after serving in the Marines in both Iraq and Afghanistan but is now racing Mazdas in IMSA. Hardcore! I am a Vietnam veteran (101st Airborne Division, 1969-70) who fell last summer and shattered my ankle and foot. The ankle has healed, but now I’m dealing with Charcot foot and signals that only slowly reach from brain to feet, due to MS (from Agent Orange) and diabetes. I am not driving IMSA events yet, but I’ve graduated from wheelchair to walker to Lofstrand crutches, and now, after the VA installed hand controls on my Subaru, I’m back driving around the Finger Lakes. Too bad I sold my 2002 WRX. Drive on, Liam—maybe I’ll see you at Watkins Glen!
Canandaigua, New York As I sat down tonight to read the latest edition of Automobile, I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your magazine. The article on Liam Dwyer was not only gratifying, but, I have to admit, I had tears in my eyes. This man is incredible, and I personally want to thank him for his service to our country. I will now be his biggest fan, and please keep us updated on his future endeavors. Great article! GREG JORDAN
Abingdon, Virginia Liam Dwyer’s story is both searing and inspiring. The tale of a severely wounded Marine who achieves his dream of racing cars is one of the finest articles ever published in Automobile and is a reason the magazine stands out in the automotive-media sector. When JFK became president, he challenged Americans to find ways to serve our country, not just ourselves. While it often seems Americans have chosen to focus on finding a comfort level and pursue comfortable lives, Dwyer and his comrades-in-arms prove there are still many who will not shirk a challenge. Well done to them and to the staff at Automobile.
South Hill, Washington My wife is used to seeing me read Automobile while giggling and laughing, but I believe this is the first time she’s seen me read it with tears in my eyes. Thank you for sharing Liam Dwyer’s story, and thank you, Liam, for your incredible sacrifice. SEAN CAIN
Champion, Texas Your feature story on Liam Dwyer is an example of exactly why I maintain my subscription to Automobile over all other car magazines. Terrific story, and told well. Thanks, Arthur St. Antoine, for your writing, and thanks, Liam, for your service and courage. Race on.
Mike Floyd in his July column mentioned how geofencing will probably be necessary, at least in the short term, for human safety during testing of autonomous vehicles. Like maybe for all of Manhattan and other urban business districts. Boo! We humans pay taxes up the wazoo to maintain the roads that allow access to said business districts. So now not only do we not get access, but we will also have to find alternate parking arrangements and transportation to our workplaces? And that “temporary”
geofencing “just until the bugs get worked out” for autonomous cars: Have you been inside a modern auto-assembly plant lately? All of the plants I’ve been in have permanent geofencing around the robot work areas; the places where humans are allowed are clearly marked with yellow lines—and robots have been in those plants for decades.
Waterford, Michigan As a longtime car guy presently driving a stick-shift Mustang
GT and putting a small-block
Chevy into a ’40 Special Deluxe (generational reference points, shall we say), I found myself pondering a handful of the million or so variable sets likely to be encountered by self-driving vehicles. For instance, will the car change lanes if it “sees” three boys perched on an overpass? Will it avoid a zigzagging squirrel? How about sensing patches of black ice when it’s 32 degrees outside? Would I be comfortable cruising at 70 mph on a foggy night while trusting fog-piercing technology? Our magnificent human brains are unlikely to be surpassed soon by artificial intelligence, and we still get into trouble on the road. I’m not saying I’ll never ride in or operate such a vehicle, but I feel I can say that I’ll never be turned around and playing cards with friends inside one like the Jetsons did.
Massillon, Ohio I grew up listening to Dinah
Shore sing, “See the USA in your Chevrolet.” And I did. The pure joy of independent personal mobility and a passion for the vehicles that provided it has been a big part of my life and that of many of my contemporaries, as well as, I suspect, a lot of your readers. It’s going to take some pretty creative writing to make all the little lifeless, spiritless, soulless electric pods sound interesting. Toaster, anyone?
Trauco Canyon, California Mike Floyd’s column struck a chord with me. Perhaps it was his comment regarding his aging parents and his desire to “have them hit a button and have them whisked to my house.” I am 67 and have loved cars and driving for as long as I can remember. I have never been a professional driver or raced (legally), but the thrill of driving a great-handling and -performing car has always been a true pleasure. Until 2016, my personal daily drivers have been manual-transmission cars; I prefer to drive the car rather than have the car drive me. However, in 2016 my beloved 2002 BMW
E39 M5 reached a point where it would have cost more to repair and refurbish than it was worth. I asked myself (then at age 65) if I would still feel that way about manuals when I’m 70. I compromised by purchasing a BMW E92 M3 with DCT. I enjoy the M3, but I sometimes question whether I made the right decision. Today, you couldn’t give me an autonomous vehicle. But attitudes can change. Check back with me when I’m 90. JEFF DICKERSON
Warsaw, Indiana I am a steadfast loather of selfdriving cars. The whole idea is foreign to me. I am stuck using mass transit due to budget reasons. I want to drive myself. There is nothing more fun than driving somewhere. I don’t care if it is a trip up to Summerhaven or just going to Circle K. A set of wheels means freedom. I am 52, and I am not old enough for a four-door car. Then again, I think a four-door pickup is a crime against nature, so what do I know? BOB LONG