Let­ters

Automobile - - Contents -

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!

PAUL SCIPIONE

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.

D.S. HOLMES

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.

CLARKE THOMP­SON

Pe­abody, Mas­sachusetts

BOO AU­TON­OMY

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.

STEVE SLATER

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.

JIM WALKER

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?

M.J. KNUDSEN

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

Tuc­son, Ari­zona

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