The polls have closed and the ballots have been counted and certified, but the results are not what was expected.
Steelers Nation has voted on which car best symbolizes the Pittsburgh Steelers, and it isn't even a car. By a 10-vote margin, yinz have selected the modern version of the Ford F-150 pickup (106 votes or 16%) as the vehicle that embodies the characteristics of our beloved Steelers.
This shiny, luxurious vehicle was chosen by readers as the vehicle they think of when they think of the Pittsburgh Steelers:
The Steelers are anything but shiny and luxurious. Yes, the Ford F-150 can haul a load of stuff, but can you imagine something so shiny and smooth actually gutting out a full season of work in the mud, snow and rain. It might survive, but it wouldn't be shiny and pretty for too long, much like the Dallas Cowboys' QB Tony Romo won't keep winning when it counts the most.
In second place with 96 votes (14%) was the Dodge Charger.
And tied for third with 85 votes (13%) were the Chevy Camaro and the GM Hummer
Surprisingly, the Ford Mustang only garnered 8% of the 677 total votes, barely beating out the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
While yinz may have spoken, PaVaSteeler doesn't agree. Thus, allow me to fully disclose what I had previously hinted in Part I:
PaVaSteeler thinks this car best represents the Pittsburgh Steelers and, since she's now residing in my garage, I'd like to introduce all of you to "Renny".
Renny is a 2015 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 392. She was born on July 19th (July being the seventh month of the year dontcha know!) and her particulars are:
197 inches long and weighing a little over 4,200 pounds; she has a 392-cubic-inch Hemi engine (6.4 liters for you Eurocentric snobs), capable of 485 horsepower and 460 ft/lbs of torque, capable of a top speed (as yet untested by its owner) of 183 mph.
"Renny" is short for, yea you guessed it, "Renegade".
The modern Dodge Challenger is to PaVaSteeler, the penultimate vehicular expression of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fast, powerful, yet modern in every way. While the Steelers of the 1970's embodied the true down-home, "blue collar" work ethic of the people of Pittsburgh and, as such, were the best counter to the pretentiousness of the Dallas Cowboys of the same era, we're now in 2014. Just as the Steelers of today are not like the Steelers of lore, nor is the Ford Pickup of today that yinz selected much like the down home, blue collar pickup of the 1970s.
Frankly, none of the cars today are like their namesakes of the ‘70s, just as NFL football of today is far different than the game was back then. Back in the day, defense ruled the turf, and offenses relied on the run to score; the West Coast offense and its flashy passing game was but in its infancy. Times have changed and, just as football has become faster and more corporate, so have muscle cars. The famed muscle cars of the '60s and '70s were owned primarily by the "average Joe." They ran fast in a straight line as on a drag strip, like Rocky Bleier or Earl Campbell; they pounded the competition into submission. Cars that were known for performing on swerving curves were looked down on, much like Franco Harris was for much of his career because he'd swerve to avoid contact (but oh how he could run!).
The Dodge Challenger only got 7 percent of the votes but, like politics, there's no telling what the electorate is thinking. The Challenger is big and bulky like LeGarrette Blount but, also like Blount, the Challenger is fast and powerful and surprisingly nimble for a car its size, and it's capable of far more than just running fast.
The Chevy Camaro of today looks like the realization of Hollywood, thanks to Chevy's tie-in with the Transformer movies. Sure it's faster than the Camaros of the long-gone first muscle-car era, but it looks like a cereal-box toy on the outside, and its interior is cheap and contrived.
The Hummer isn't even being made any more and it too is contrived. Derived from a vehicle designed for the military, the civilian Hummer just "screams" pretender. Yes it's big and powerful but, really, what civilian needs that kind of ground clearance and what military vehicle comes equipped with a sunroof, air conditioning, and a CD player?
Those of you who voted for the modern Charger came close. Also a Dodge, the Charger is both a muscle car as well as a family vehicle. Unlike the Challenger, the Charger has four doors but, when equipped with a Hemi, it not only represents Detroit's best muscle of the ‘70s, but surpasses it.
The original muscle cars usually had horsepower ratings in the high 200's, some broaching what was then considered the "holy grail" of 300+ horses. Today, six-cylinder cars easily rate 260 to 325 horses, with some even higher when turbochargers or a supercharger are added. But such things are not factory-produced for the most part.
While the Ford Mustangs have a long and glorious history, they fall short of personifying the Steelers. Yes, they have back seats but, for all intents and purposes, those seats aren't practical for day-to-day use. Anyone larger than Shaun Suisham would feel cramped and claustrophobic if they rode in them for longer than it takes the Steelers' field goal kicker to save the day.
The modern Challenger, on the other hand, seats four full-sized adults comfortably and is actually a muscle-bound touring car. Plus, it looks just plain bad-assed with its Daytime Running Lights glaring beneath its brow slower drivers up ahead, as you can see below:
For those of you who have followed my comments and articles over the past few years, you know of my love for the English language. You may have noted the license plate on Renny: "URBTSC" or "You are Behind The Steel Curtain." Obviously, on one level, this is my homage to this site that has brought me so much satisfaction in combining my love of writing with my passion for the Steelers.
It's also a play on words with the fender badge I designed for Renny as part of the Steelers' theme I aimed to achieve while, at the same time, letting other drivers know who and what they're trailing:
Finally, the central feature of my design theme was the sleeve from Mean Joe Greene's 1974 uniform. The stripes on the hood are the exact colors and proportions worn by the Steelers in that great year of their history.
Here's the last shot, tying all of the elements in: Pitch Black car, Steelers stripes and the unique hypocycloid symbols of our team. To me, this is the quintessential image that comes to my mind when I think of cars and Steelers football:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on cars and football, and thanks for letting me share mine. Regardless of their performance or record, I have been and forever will be a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan, and I'm not afraid of declaring that in public every day that I drive.