Featured Article: “Formula 1 roars in Miami, where cars are already king” by Patricia Mazzei
Do you like cars? What type of car do you hope to own or drive one day?
In this lesson, you’ll learn about the hot rod, luxury car, and collectible car culture that has thrived in Miami for decades. In a Go Further activity, we invite you to design the car of your dreams.
Part 1: Share your experiences and opinions about cars
Do you know how to drive? Do you have a driver’s license? If not, do you hope to drive one day?
Take a few minutes to reflect on the role of cars in your life and in your dreams for the future. Then answer one or more of the following questions in writing or by talking with a partner:
What is your experience, if any, with driving? If you have your license, how difficult was it to pass the test? In what aspects of driving are you particularly good or particularly bad? If you don’t have your license, are you working on getting it? Why or why not?
How would you describe the car culture in your community? Do people depend on cars? Is getting a driver’s license an important rite of passage for teenagers? Do people customize or collect cars? How central are cars to your work, school, family and social life?
What is your dream car, if you have one? How would you want it personalized if you could afford to do anything? Why?
Writing and Discussion Questions
Read featured articlethen answer the following questions:
1. The article begins: “The bald, tattooed man known as Juice cruises through South Florida in a car named Charlie Brown.” Why do you think Times reporter Patricia Mazzei begins with the story of Juice and his “donk,” a custom 1970s Chevy with big wheels? What does Charlie Brown tell us about Miami and its automotive culture?
2. Why is Formula 1 popularity growing in America, according to the article?
3. Look at the photographs and their captions featured in the article: What story do they tell about cars, car culture and their drivers? What images stood out to you and why?
4. How Miami’s car culture compares to that of Los Angeles, which Ms. Mazzei calls the capital of America’s iconic car scene. Why has a large community of people collecting and restoring cars developed in South Florida?
5. The article notes that approximately 80 to 100 cars per hour and more than 1,000 cars per day visit a single El Car Wash location in North Miami. What does the popularity of the car wash chain tell us about the challenges and importance of car protection in South Florida?
6. Geoffrey Karas, co-CEO of El Car Wash, and a New York native, says, “People spend a lot of time in their cars, and it’s also a status symbol and a way of life here, although more than in the Northeast. It’s part of the Miami lifestyle. How does the car culture in your area compare to that of South Florida? Would you like the love and appreciation cars in your hometown look more like those in Miami?
seven. Why does Ira Shapiro, 68, former president of the local Antique Automobile Club of America, have mixed feelings about the new Miami Grand Prix, when he has been a Formula 1 fan since the 1970s? Do you think the race will become a big hit in South Florida? Do you think the sport will ever rival NASCAR in America?
8. What are your main conclusions after reading the article? What did you find most fascinating, surprising or memorable? Are you more interested in the article about cars, car culture or Formula 1? If you could own any of the cars featured in the article, which would you choose and why?
Option 1: Learn more about the design of Formula 1 cars
Sweeping changes to the rules governing the design of Formula 1 cars have shaken up teams’ standings this year, representing “the biggest aerodynamic overhaul in 40 years”, according to Paul Monaghan, chief engineer at Red Bull Racing.
Read ‘How the redesign of Formula 1 cars is changing racing’ to find out more about these changes – the science behind them and their impact on the sport. Then, answer in writing or by talking with a partner: what was the most fascinating, surprising or memorable? In your own words, what roles do physics and aerodynamics play in the sport of Formula 1? Do you think the new changes will improve driver safety and the success of the sport? Why or why not?
Option 2: Design (or redesign and customize) your dream car!
Inspired by the hot rods featured in this article? Now it’s up to you to create the car of your dreams! Lowrider versus donk? Sports car versus all-terrain vehicle? Classic versus futuristic? What’s your fantasy ride?
Design, draw and label your ideal car. Whether big or small, practical or fantastic, be sure to consider the color, style and materials as well as the main characteristics of the automobile, such as the body, the interior, the windows, the wheels and rims.
Want more daily lessons? You can find them all here.