History Stuttering

Megan McArdle has a long excerpt from a PJ O'Roarke book that described a sudden acceleration panic around Audis in the the 1980s.  You will be amazed at how similar it all is to the more recent Toyota panic.


  1. ColoComment:

    Parliament of Whores was written over 20 years ago, IIRC, but as I read it recently I was amazed at its continuing relevance to today's political world. Change a few of the names, and it's deja vu all over again.

  2. dr kill:

    You should be ashamed to read Teh ATL bloggers. They are, to a man, or woman, enemies of the state.

  3. randy:

    Megan McArdle is an "enemy of the state?"

  4. tehag:

    "They are, to a man, or woman, enemies of the state."

    Were that true :).

    I wasn't amazed. First, okay, second--I own a Toyota--thing I thought of; third was that it was media-government frame-up to boost GM. I'm surprised the government allows an agency to take an independent examination of the acceleration panic. Shouldn't Kagan or some other Obama lackey re-write the report's conclusion to support a ban on drilling, er, I mean, um, fine Toyota?

  5. Mark:

    The first car I recall being railroaded was the Ford Pinto. It blew up, its roof wasn't strong enough, the memo stating that the company made a design decision in favor of cost vs safety, etc. But than when you look at the accident data, turns out that the Pinto was safer than the average car in its class.

    Than I remember Audi where 60 minutes drilled holes in the transmission, and the news show that felt it needed to add explosives to the gas tank of a GM truck, to show how unsafe it was. At least GM fought back, found the car and proved the news group used explosives. And now Toyota.

  6. Lyle:

    I am skeptical of these out of control acceleration problems also.
    Having said that, my wife and I owned a used Audi 5000 back in the early 1990's, it was a very nice car.
    My wife one morning dropped our kids off at school and on the way home she said the car started to pick up speed on it's own.
    I nodded and said it was probably nothing.
    A couple of days later it happened while I was driving, it was not this sudden "pedal to the metal" type out of control speed, but a gradual acceleration with my foot totally off the pedal the car would drive itself.
    I got home without too much of a problem and called our local VW/Audi repair shop about what I had experienced.
    He said the next time it happened to drive it in, as they could only diagnose the problem while it was actually doing it.
    A day or two later it happened again so I tried to drive it into the repair shop (it's only 2 miles or so away), well by the time I had gotten to the first red light I was standing on the brake with both feet to keep it stopped!
    I was able to maneuver into the repair shop parking lot and was hoping someone would come out and see if the guy in Audi with the screaming, fully revved engine needed some help.
    But no, no one came out so I turned off the car for fear of blowing the engine.
    The repair shop couldn't find the problem but they called the local Audi dealer and explained what had happened.
    Audi contacted me and told me to bring the car in, there was a recall on this model and our particular car had not had the necessary repairs done.
    Audi did the work at no charge, (the car was way out of warranty coverage) and they wouldn't say that the work they did had anything to do with an acceleration problem.

    Sorry to go on here, but my point is that at least in my case the Audi acceleration problem was real.
    But a person would have to be pretty moronic as a driver to let your car get so out of control as to cause an accident.

  7. Craig:

    "The first car I recall being railroaded was the Ford Pinto. "

    In my memory, the first car railroaded was the technologically advanced and stylish Chevrolet Corvair. Ralph Nader came to fame by writing a book, "Unsafe at Any Speed", filled with lawerly half-truths that wouldn't have withstood today's availability of information. Sales cratered and GM stopped production of its most innovative product.