Street Burnouts: What’s the Point?

Camaro SS burnout

I appreciate a smokin’ hot burnout as much as the next guy, especially when one of the six muscle cars profiled yesterday is laying down the rubber.

A burnout, though, has a time and a place where it’s appropriate. Any burnouts outside that time and place are no longer cool, just pathetic attempts at trying to be cool.

Driving yesterday during rush hour, a beefed-up new Camaro SS was stopped at a light a few car lengths ahead. I could hear its massive V8 revving up, the 6.2 breathing in and out as the RPMs rose and fell. It sounded cool, and I anticipated a decent tire chirp at launch.

Then the light turned green.

Redneck Camaro 4x4

Burnout Boy's other Camaro

Instead of a chirp, the Camaro and the car directly behind it were enveloped in a white cloud of burnt rubber. The Camaro sat for a few seconds in what would have been a sweet burnout had it happened on a track. Instead all the moron driver accomplished was a hefty addition to the already palpable road rage that brews in stop-and-go traffic.

While burnouts on the street are stupid, burnouts on street tires are even worse. Is it really worth the wasted gas and thrashed tires just to piss off a line of commuters trying to get home? The guy might as well have gotten out of the car wearing his wife beater and camo hat, mullet flapping in the breeze, stood on the hood and flexed his beer-wasted muscles.

It’s guys like him that give muscle cars, and Camaros specifically, a bad name. Yeah, the engine is meant to be opened up, but save it for deserted back roads or days at the track. In traffic, cruise slowly and let the potential of your car and its low-rumbling V8 impress drivers.

And maybe a well-timed chirp of the tires.

What’s your take on an all-out street burnout?


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  1. I wasn’t aware that Car Gurus had become a breeding ground for people that drive in the manner of my ninety-year-old grandmother. I was under the impression it was a forum and resource for those who love the beauty and stunning mechanical ability of the motor vehicle. Randy, I agree with you. Those of adolescent age sometimes have the great idea to remove their muffler, making them sound like a duck that has burst an artery, and look like a moron as they clip your mirrors (and sometimes the ground judging by the height of some of their ‘sweet ride’) in their haste to collect yet another speeding ticket. Goods, I am inclined to say that I disagree with your opinion on the abolition of the ‘low rumbling V8’. Cars like that were manufactured with middle aged men in crisis in mind, and remind the rest of us who aren’t prone to having extra-marital affairs with our secretary about the glory days of the automobile. In my opinion, revving one’s engine is not distasteful or narcissistic in any way. It is simply some guy (who obviously posseses more cash than cranium) attempting to feed his vivid fantasies of ripping down a track in a ’73 Chevelle and then being surrounded by women dressed in the style of Miss Boop. All kidding aside, I do agree with your sentiment that burnouts should be reserved for the track for obvious reasons. It’s not something to do in the middle of downtown when the clock strikes five. (Although, as an athsmatic, I for one am not that worried about those ‘deadly burnout fumes’.

    Yours Truly,

    Mr. CR-V

  2. Let’s make it four. What happens when somebody gets hit in that white cloud of tire smoke? Or it causes an asthma victim to suffer an attack in traffic. Unfortunately, there is a rather large group of uncivilized turkeys out there (like Burn outs!) who think this is fun and usually accompany it with no mufflers, short drag races, speeding, cutting in and out of traffic, and crappy sounding sound systems that sound like a gravel truck rolling over. The nice thing is when they get busted, and they do get busted.

  3. Geesh, Senor Goods, why don’t you tell us exactly what you think?
    The official number of grouches and crabs here has grown to three. Welcome!!

  4. Both of you are wrong. Burnouts are for the driver’s enjoyment only. I do it because it makes me happy, not to impress anyone. If you don’t like it, I don’t care because I didn’t do it for you.

  5. Burnouts have NO appropriate time or place, none. It’s just childish showing off. Similarly, muscle cars—particularly the newer gas-sucking, overpowered, overweight versions based on antique platforms and old-old technology—ought to be retired: Camaros, Mustangs, all of ’em. Muscle cars have a bad name and not just because of their silly-looking drivers. They are cars built to encourage burnouts, street racing and other kinds of adolescent behavior.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am getting pretty sick of “low-rumbling V8s,” roaring throttle blips at traffic lights, tire-chirps, burnouts and the rest of it. Ford and GM ought to stop encouraging such power-mad performances by phasing out these cars. It ain’t the 1950s anymore.

    • Cars are a form of humor expression and burnouts speeding and the like are fun! jgoods if I ever see you I’m riding a burnout in front of you!

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