First order of business: MyStarCollectorCar wishes to isolate the “burnout” term and separate it from other meanings like a career burnout or a sketchy burnout who panhandles for money in parking lots.

Instead, we will stick to our knitting and discuss burnout in car guy terms.

Jim Sutherland

Car guy burnouts refer to any situation where rubber temporarily meets road and a vehicle’s drive tires are frontline casualties in the ensuing chaos. Therefore, we intend to discuss what happens when a car guy does a burnout and beats up the pavement like a motivated young Muhammed Ali beat up Sonny Liston. 

There is very little doubt that kids will cheer on your burnout performance because it will be a noisy and very visual event- plus they will love the fragrance of a burnt tires and race fuel bouquet. This kind of pure sensory overload is a big-ticket item for the younger generation who would view the burnout specialists as gas-fueled rock stars who love to melt tires for a hobby. Additionally, the burnout vibe is not lost on adults who may also be car guys that love to hear tires screaming in agony before their untimely death by BBQ on pavement.  

However, not every burnout is viewed in a positive light if it takes place on streets or roadways. Most law enforcement agencies take a dim view of these kind of hijinks and may spoil the festivities with a generously applied anti-hijinks traffic ticket.  

It would also be fair to assume a driver’s skill set (or IQ numbers) may fall well short of the required numbers to tame the herd of horses corralled under his vintage ride’s hood if its engine has enough factory or resto mod ponies to create a major burnout. The unhappy result may be a nasty car vs tree incident–or any other immovable object in the way of a major uncontrollable skid.

The traffic violation/misadventure domino effect will likely extend to a car guy’s insurance company when they get wind of his burnout performance in front of a traffic cop. The worst-case scenario is the one where the lead-footed car guy’s collector vehicle insurance policy gets nuked by the car guy’s insurer after Mr. Fast and Furious’s hijinks are duly recorded with a giant traffic ticket because of his burnout act. 

The vehicle itself may also have a negative reaction to a burnout if some of its mechanical components are not up to the task. For example, a big block monster engine that has been shoehorned into a vehicle that left the factory with a humble six-banger will require a transmission, driveshaft, u-joints, and rear end that can handle the massive power boost of a giant V-8.

Otherwise, the weakest driveline parts may grenade during a burnout because they were never meant to handle big torque and horsepower. And every car guy knows dying mechanical components make an awful sound just before they check out of a game.

The bottom line is burnouts provide smoke, noise and an endless supply of controversy when they take place in the wrong situation.

Just ask any car show organizers who got kicked out of their host location because of a test pilot’s very poor burnout decisions.  

Jim Sutherland

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.