The Rules of Speeding, Part III: Why Seventies Porn Is Better

Pro tip: Always choose a tree over nuns

Kenn Bisio/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“Never was so much accomplished by so few on behalf of so few.”

This was how I was introduced by a senior FBI official to an auditorium full of agents in 2008 on my book tour for The Driver. Why would our nation’s top law enforcement agency invite me - arguably the most infamous professional speeder since Brock Yates - to speak at Quantico? I’ve struggled to answer that without laughing ever since.

The answer should be obvious.

Driving from New York to Los Angeles in 31 hours and 4 minutes—breaking the prior record by over an hour—requires military level precision in planning and execution. To do so safely and without speeding tickets required years of preparation and practice. The FBI was fascinated by the level of information a civilian like myself was able to gather, process and successfully apply to a problem. That the problem was as absurd as breaking the Cannonball Record was irrelevant, because what they wanted to know was how a layperson can go about learning enough to do something that seemed impossible before October, 2006.

However much I’ve bragged about the Quantico invitation, it’s become clear that the humor of my host’s introduction—an inversion of Churchill’s quote about the sacrifices of the RAF during the Battle of Britain—masked an error. The 31:04 record wasn’t accomplished on behalf of few. The volume of incoming incoming emails hasn’t decreased in the nine years since Dave Maher and I went across. It has increased. Dramatically. Exponentially, in fact, since the publication of my first two articles in this series, “The Harsh Truth Behind Speeding” and “The Rules of Professional Speeding.”

There’s a reason children need to be force fed broccoli. It’s the same reason seventies porn is better. You’ll get diabetes by age ten if all you eat is ice cream, just as your ability to have a mature relationship is nil if all you’ve ever watched are moneyshot compilations.

So if you didn’t read through my original list of rules, you’ve made a mistake. Read the whole thing, then come back here, because the cumulative effect of this free advice may save you losing your virginity a second time. In prison. Oh, you’re back? Read on.

1. Always choose the tree over the nuns

Ah, the Trolley Problem. This has been brought up primarily as a hurdle in the march toward the Autonomotive Singularity. Almost everyone who resists the inevitability of self-driving cars cites the Trolley Problem. What is the Trolley Problem? It’s a thought experiment in ethics, and can be illustrated with this hypothetical: if you’re guaranteed to crash, and you must choose between 1) hitting a busload of nuns and possibly saving your own life, or 2) swerving and hitting a tree, almost certainly losing your own life but sparing those nuns. What is the ethical choice? And how does a self-driving car make that choice?

The Trolley Problem isn’t a problem when it comes to professional speeding. If you’re driving fast enough that you’re reading this, you should be thinking about The Trolley Solution.

What’s the Trolley Solution? It’s derived from the clarity of ethics inherent to the sort of professional speeding that I do. The professional speeder is solely responsible for anything that goes wrong. When faced with a busload of nuns and a tree, the professional speeder must choose the tree. All the volcanic, man-magma-spewing, alpha-dom, ego-driven power claimed by one who chooses to drive a car quickly goes hand-on-steering-wheel with accepting the consequences of doing so.

Even if fatal.

If you have to ask why, you shouldn’t be speeding. Professional speeding requires judgment, which means never putting yourself in a situation where you might have to choose the tree, and, if you must hit the tree, the skill to execute a maneuver that will determine your epitaph. Will it be Moron Hits Tree or Asshole Kills Busload of Nuns? If there’s an afterlife, and a majority of Americans seem to think there is, you want to be on the right side of the Lord.

I know what I’d do.

2. Eschew Needless Exhaust Upgrades

Woe unto you, all who hath upgraded to that killer exhaust. Count ye one of my brethren, for I too have fallen prey to that cheapest of “performance” upgrades, that killer exhaust. My E39 BMW M5 has a Kelleners Sport system. It’s barely audible after startup, largely because it’s drowned out by all the car alarms it sets off, you guessed it, on startup. An aftermarket exhaust only makes sense for two reasons: 1) you’re racing at the track, in which case noise doesn’t matter, or 2) you want to meet the local law enforcement officers...

There are simpler ways to visit a police station. Cut out the middleman who sold you that exhaust, go find the nearest police car and just ram into it. Or you can leave your car idling in front of your house and call 911. Tell the operator you saw someone driving recklessly, and give them a description of your own car. Voila! You just killed two stones with one bird.

I know, I know. A sweet exhaust is awesome. Of course it is. So is that sweet, sweet herb my SoCal friends love. Even if it’s legal, you don’t want to smoke it when a cop is walking past. A big exhaust—like that Mexicali Ditchweed—suggests you’re someone who deserves a ticket for something else. A cop will always find a way to write you one. Don’t be a target. Don’t gift them the opportunity to be creative.

Besides, a sweet exhaust doesn’t get you any closer to accomplishing the task of speeding without getting caught. That’s why you’re reading this, right? Oh, you say the noise is a safety feature? People get out of the way when they hear you coming up on them? Trust me, if you’re relying on your Imperial-Star-Destroyer-at-full-throttle-exhaust to clear traffic, you’re doing this wrong. You’re better off with strobes and a siren. Wait, no you’re not, but you’ll have to wait for my next article for that one.

So why do I still have my Kelleners? I love how it sounds, I don’t drive as quickly as I used to, and I retain a bit of vestigial dickishness. I should have gotten the Dinan, or left it stock. But I love it. So there. Be smart. Do as I say, not as I do.

3. Avoid Mad Fuckin’ Aero

I love car meets, especially the ones where guys show up with mad aero. Fuckin’ mad aero. Wings, splitters, ducts. I’m talking AERO. The best part of car meets with the aero crowd is that I don’t have to talk about racing. I mean, I like racing. I watch racing. F1. Le Mans. BTCC. But even I, with a wealth of friends who know every detail of Ferrari’s newest nose cone and wing geometry, wouldn’t consider myself an expert. I’m always a little insecure when I attend an F1 viewing party. People seem to think I must be an expert, and so I always have a few stock phrases ready when someone asks what I think about McLaren’s new ducting. It’s very inventive. I wonder if it’s in the rules. I have a theory. You go first. Then they go first. Then I nod. Then I go to the bathroom and Google what they just said.

I never have to do this at car meets, because most of the people with crazy aero don’t watch racing. At all. If they did, they wouldn’t bother with all the aero, because aero on street cars makes no sense. Does a stock M5 of any generation have any aero? No, but it will do 170+mph. So will a late model AMG. Boom. What is street aero, really? It’s a splitter waiting to be torn off when you hit a ramp too quickly. It’s a wing upon which cops can rest their ticket books.

No professional speeder will wear aero that wasn’t factory installed. And even if it was...

Cops read car mags. Maybe not all. But most. Even if they don’t, trust me, they’ve met someone like you before. Was it the other guy with a wing who got a ticket? Or was it the guy in the sleeper they let go with a warning? Which one will you be?

Here’s the test of whether you’ve got too much aero for professional speeding. Pull up to any elementary school when the kids get out. Make sure your windows aren’t tinted, because that’s creepy. If ONE child screams, points at your car and begins running toward you for a closer look-

Too much aero.

4. Suspension, or Torquenstein’s Folly

Everything in #3 applies to suspension, with one caveat. A little bit of suspension work can improve performance. The myriad options are for another article, but in general a little bit of stiffening and lowering can improve handling and reduce drag. That’s a big CAN. Too much, at high speed and especially on bad roads, will cause bottoming out. This is what led to the most spectacular Gumball 3000 crash of all time, also known as Torquenstein’s 120-mph Dodge Viper Morocco Flip Party of 2004. I was there. Two cars behind. That’s my co-pilot, Amanda Kinsley, in the NYPD uniform, surveying the aftermath. She didn’t want to do another rally after this. I did. We broke up. Don’t be broken up.

Alex Roy

5. Stance Guys Who Speed Are All Dead

Which brings us to Stance, otherwise known as I-Never-Took-Physics-But-Check-This-Out, or How-I-Learned-To-Avoid-Cornering-And-Love-Roundabouts. I haven’t actually seen a stanced car speeding. Is it even possible? I don’t know, but I have a theory: Owners of Stanced cars don’t speed because they’re the safest drivers on the road. I’m serious. If you see a stanced car nearby, you are safe. The Stance crowd are the greatest learners in the world, because unlike your Kia-driving commuters, stance drivers will never do anything dangerous. Because they can’t. They’ve learned. They’ve evolved.

Whenever Ted Cruz or Mike Huckabee claim the earth is 6000 years old, they are wrong. When Ben Carson says there is no evidence of evolution in action, he is wrong. Every stage of Darwinian theory has been demonstrated with the rise of Stance culture. Why do you never see stanced cars speeding?

Because the Stance guys who speed are all dead.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Stance. Not for the style, but for the self-awareness. It’s the only subculture that’s really taken it all the way through irony to parody to automotive self-actualization. The Stance crowd knows exactly what it’s doing, and they—for the most part—are driving within the limits of their art.

So there you go. Five more rules for professional speeding. I had thirteen more for this article, but we’re already at 2000 words, which is triple what most people want to read on a mobile device, which is what 75% of readers use.

I hope you’re not reading this while driving.

Tune in next week for Part 4, which will be chock full of advice regarding drinking, legal and illegal drugs, expensive legal advice I will share for free, insurance advice, how to select a co-pilot of the opposite sex, and what kind of dog is best to have in the car during a police traffic stop.

Enjoy.

Alex Roy is the author of the LiveDriveRepeat blog, author of The Driver and Editor-at-Large for The Drive. Please follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.