Why do Automotive Publications & Car Journalists Hoon & Damage Cars?

New Hellcat Dodge Charger
New Hellcat Dodge Charger

As the publisher of the The Fast Lane Car let me just be very clear about two important points.

1) The more people that watch TFLcar videos on YouTube and read about it on TFLCar.com, the more money we make and the more successful we become.

2) It is exceptionally easy to get people to watch a video of a car or truck being hooned or damaged.

Wikipedia defines Hoon as, “a term used in Australia and New Zealand, to refer to anyone who engages in loutish, anti-social behaviors. In particular, it is used to refer to one who drives a car or boat in a manner which is anti-social by the standards of contemporary society, i.e. too fast, too noisily or too dangerously.”

Such behavior is on obvious display in MotorTrend’s latest Roadkill video where the publication destroys countless tires and damages a new Dodge Hellcat Charger, Challenger and Viper. Check it out for yourself below.

Personally, I found this video exceptionally hard to watch as I’m more inclined to treasure new cars and restore and repair cars instead of destroying them. In fact, as my mother will happily tell you, I still have all of my old Matchbox cars from when I was a kid.

As someone who has produced countless YouTube car videos I’m also very well aware that hooning or damaging cars is an easy and fast way to get tons of video views. Give me a new car, an AR-15 and a cliff, and I’ll give you a video that will get a million views in less than a week.

Dave Erickson, the self proclaimed Everyman Driver,  learned this lesson when last year he damaged a Toyota 4Runner in a frozen pond.

Once again, I personally find this video very hard to watch. It seems pointless beyond the potential entertainment value of seeing a car get damaged. Sure, Dave makes the point that he’s testing the cars off-road ability, but you don’t need to mount multiple cameras and drive onto a small frozen pond to figure out what will happen to the Toyota. Just watch an episode of World’s Dumbest drivers for this map to automotive destruction.

This week I watched Furious 7. In this latest installment of the Fast and Furious movie franchise, dozens of cheap and expensive cars are damaged and destroyed simply for the entertainment value. But that’s a movie. I get that new cars are hooned, damaged and destroyed for for the sake of the movie’s plot, but what’s the plot when Automotive publications hoon, damage or destroy cars?

Roadkill has always been about entertainment. I’m a huge fan of the show. But the core of the show has been about old cars, used cars, and that rusty old American dream. I love watching old cars brought back to life , or going on crazy long road trips, or getting a good old fashioned engine transplant. This is America at it’s libertarian best.

But what did we learn by watching three new and expensive Dodges get thrashed to within inches of their automotive lives? What did you learn by watching Dave do thousands of dollars of damage to a new Toyota? How did MotorTrend test or evaluate the new cars besides proving that The Enthusiast Network has an unlimited tire, drone and marketing budget?

Both of these “automotive” videos go well beyond blurring the line between fact and fiction. In fact, they burnout across the line between journalism and entertainment. When Roadkill destroys an old car it is fun and entertainment. But when three Enthusiast Network Editors hoon three brand new cars because Dodge doesn’t know “wink wink” what they will do with the cars – it’s simply automotive journalism breaking bad.

Editor’s Note: And yes, in some TFLcar and TFLtruck review videos TFL editors do burnout, donuts and even get stuck in the snow or dirt. The point is – TFL never does burnouts, donuts or get stuck in the snow or dirt for the sake of hooning or damaging a car or truck. We do it in the course of testing the car or truck and we never put a car or truck in obvious peril. Roman just doesn’t have it in him.