Struttin’

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Who doesn’t like to strut their stuff?

I remember well my first acceptably cool car, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air. True, it was a 4-door and that wasn’t as cool as the 2-door model, but it was a Chevy and that, to the judges of such things, was at least a foot in the door. But, owning a car is not in and of itself a cool enterprise.  I had tried that with my Austin Heally. To be cool, you gotta have the right kit and then say to the world “here I am, and I want you to notice me”.

Enter my ’55 Chevy’s aftermarket chrome air cleaner, a round, bright silver canister about the diameter of a small pizza that perched itself atop the car’s red engine, and with the car’s hood opened for service or simply gawking, announced to the world that its owner was struttin’ his stuff.

Weekends were spent polishing, then waxing that air cleaner as the final touch—the crowning glory—to my car’s weekly cleaning and preening ritual. I would leave its hood open just to watch the sun’s glint catch my eye off that bright shiny chrome surface. Friends had explained to me that keeping it polished improved airflow and would add to the performance of the machine. I knew enough to realize that was likely not true, but still, it felt good to believe.

In the same vein, some stereo equipment manufacturers like to add a sparkle of chrome, a touch of wood, a sprinkle of precious metal, a shouty meter, or a tricky light to their front panels. Not to enhance performance, but to get noticed. We do it. And we’re not alone.

What’s the old saying? If ya’ got it, strut it?

Hell yes. Why not?