Audiologists warn you that hearing damage can come at 120 decibels. They have clearly never been around Raymond Grabowski’s supercharged 700-horsepower Dodge Challenger drag racer.
A typical, run-of-the-mill daily driver
At the Second Annual Morrisville State College Car Show and Bass-Off in Morrisville, New York, professor Grabowski’s Challenger (which sports the vanity plate “EXSIVPWR“) produced enough smoke on its dyno run to reenact the Battle of the Somme, blinding the crowd and sending them into loud whooping and arm-raised picture-taking. Unlike the previous cars that had lined up for similar runs, a C5 Corvette Z06 and a bright orange 1958 Bel Air station wagon, the Morrisville students and faculty rightfully decided that only one run would be enough to prove the point. When it ended Grabowski climbed out of the car in a torrent of smoke, a grin spread across his face, to the cheers and coughs of the crowd in front of him.
The Challenger, he says, is street legal and registered in the state of New York. This scene must happen to him every Thursday afternoon in the Wegman’s parking lot.
If you prefer your hearing damage to come from the inside of a car, however, then the Bass-Off could help you cure yourself of your pesky aural abilities—especially those of you who have never sat inside a cherry-red Jeep Wrangler and experience Kid Cudi through $30,000 of audio equipment.
There were a few other cars at the show and awaiting judgement: a 1995 Ford Escort with distressingly large rust holes, a Kia Sorrento with KDM (Korean Domestic Market) badging, about three or four Chevy Blazers/GMC Jimmys, and a CRX sagging on its rear wheelarches, all stuffed to the gills with tweeters, amplifiers, subwoofers, and electrical-taped PVC. People were drawn to this relatively stock-looking Jeep Wrangler, however. They spoke about it in hushed tones. “Have you sat inside the Jeep yet?” they asked each other, reverently. “It’s crazy!”
Approaching the Jeep would be akin to volunteering for a Mayan sacrifice, but the owner, Don, knew the reputation his car had. He wasn’t the sort of owner you would expect to have $3,000 worth of audio equipment in his Jeep. He wasn’t rocking a Fubu sweatshirt and Tims. There was no backwards flat-brimmed Yankess cap dangling precariously over his meticulously spiked and frosted tips. No Jack Johnson albums, Natty Ice, or Axe body spray were to be seen anywhere. Nonetheless, he offered me the passenger seat with a grin and fiddled with the head unit, while a small crowd slowly gathered to see the Jeep consume another victim…
I don’t remember much that happened after that. The last thing I remember were my breathing becoming more labored and coupled with occasional chest palpitations. A lump formed in my throat and bulged outwards, making my neck look like Frankenstein’s monster’s. Things started to taste purple. The ground moved in waves. After that, around the time Crookers jumped in on the “Day ‘n’ Nite” remix, my head hit the ground with a thud later described by spectators as “nothing short of spellbinding,” and I simultaneously sneezed, crapped my pants, and expunged air out of my ears in short, violent bursts that sounded suspiciously like the opening bars to Beethoven’s Fifth.
Note: none of this actually happened. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it could.
Morrisville State College 2nd Annual Car Show