Do cars still backfire?

A beautiful sight at night.

Flames coming out the exhaust.

I remember those days.

Small nitpick (the best kind!), this is not true any longer. All cars are now built as 50 state compliant. This is in no small part due to the fact that 12 other states have adopted California’s emissions rules over the last seven years.

Obligatory semi-on topic fact: the British would say that a backfire is properly a loud pop of gases escaping the cylinder through the carburetor. The loud pop through the exhaust is an afterfire.

My brother-in-law had a '57 Pontiac hardtop, V-8 four barrel. He had the air cleaner off (like a lot of us young’uns used to do) and was in our driveway getting ready to leave.

He started it up and it sneezed through the carb and caught the hood insulation on fire. No harm done; he got it out quickly although I don’t remember how. Long time ago. :frowning:

Oooh, I want that!

A fellow Bimmer’s car wouldn’t start at the Sunday autocross and someone suggested it was vapor lock. I asked if that still happens with cars – we were puzzled and took to Google (it’s vanishingly rare in fuel-injected cars).

A fun thread would be “what DOESN’T happen in cars anymore.”

Well, making out on the front bench seat, for one thing. :wink:

When I was 17 I had a summer job that required me to drive a van. On my first day, I was taught how to cause a backfire like you describe. Scared the crap out of me, and also scared the woman who was walking on the sidewalk.

8 * ) I miss bench seats.

Interestingly I was thinking the same thing about not hearing backfires anymore a few months ago. Then, a few days later, while a Corvette was roaring by, it backfired.

Did you scare the pants off of her?

I was thinking about this driving through heavy rain Monday. It seems cars don’t drown out when splashing through several inches of water any more. That used to be common in the 60s/70s.

True story: we were behind a young couple snuggling together in the pickup in front of us. Watching them, mizPullin waxed nostalgic and said: “We used to do that.” I pointed to the bench seat where we sat in our pickup and said: “I haven’t moved.”

I’ll bet that went over well. :rolleyes:

I scared the pants off my GF one night when I picked her up in my dad’s '66 Rambler. :eek:

Honestly, I think she was hit by a piece of rusty muffler. :frowning:

Out and about today I heard a car backfiring every couple seconds. Couldn’t get a good look thru some trees but was definitely a recent-ish model.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang lives!

[quote=“RivkahChaya, post:20, topic:819555”]

It probably depends where you live, too. In Indiana, there are no standards for cars whatsoever. You can drive around with a plastic trash bag where one of your doors, or your rear window should be. You can have a spiderweb crack right over the driver’s side view of the windshield. You can be missing your hood. Your bumper can be a log held on with duct tape and bungee cords. You can spew a black cloud every time you leave an intersection, like a scared octopus. You can be dragging your muffler so it makes sparks. No problem.

Not to mention, there is no city here with anything like reliable public transportation. Even in Indianapolis, the buses run once an hour. Maybe once a half hour downtown during rush hour. The college towns aren’t any better. So it’s not like New York, where if you are poor, you just take the bus. Here, if you are poor, you have some car you paid a few hundred dollars for third or fourth hand, and work on yourself. You get parts, even tires, from a junkyard.

So there are a lot of really old cars on the road here, and a lot of newer cars in really crap shape. If you want to hear a car backfire, come hang out in one of the dicier neighborhoods in Indianapolis for a while, and you have a decent chance of hearing one.

You are not going to hear one in California, though, where the emissions standards are so tight, that manufacturers make one set of cars to sell in California, and one set for the rest of the country. My brother lives in LA, and was worried his four year old Prius wasn’t going to pass (even though he’s totally anal about maintenance), so he paid for a pre-inspection inspection. No car has backfired in California since 1972. When they need a backfire in a movie, the Foley artists create it. Probably by firing a s

My phone messed Rivkah’s quote up, apologies.

I was re-perusing this conversation and just caught your “scared octopus” simile – I’m cackling my butt off. Brilliant!

My wife’s motorcycle (a 2005 Yamaha Virago) went too long without being ridden last winter. When it you’d have thought a gun had been fired in our driveway.