Motoring Under A Microscope: Pedal To The (Bare) Metal

It’s a phrase that you’re likely all too familiar with. ‘Put the pedal to the metal.’ If you’re anything like me, your ears first encountered these words as your mate belted them into the side of your face whilst you performed a most unrealistic drift in Need For Speed: Underground on the PS2 gaming system. Good times.

But in today’s motoring industry, where it is commonplace for soft carpets to obstruct the pedal’s travel to the proverbial metal, it is something of an infrequent affair for one to ever thrust the hammer down so far that it clanks against the exposed surface of cool bare metal.

That makes it all the more special, then, when a car, often in the fixated pursuit of lightness, tosses the carpets out of the door in a frenzied attempt to reduce weight. It’s hard to describe what it is that makes one so giddy to peer into the dim foot well of a sports car and find (preferably) three non-plastic pedals situated before a screen of naked metal.

Maybe it’s the knowledge that a glance at a racecar’s pedal box would reveal much the same sight or maybe it’s simpler than that; maybe it’s the sheer nudity of car that we can’t help but find so bewitching.

And it really doesn’t matter which sort of car it is that provides pedals suspended so gloriously over bare motoring metalwork. From £30,000 lightweights that provide you with guilt for driving them fully clothed, to six (and sometimes, frighteningly, seven) figure supercars that puts your wallet on a Weight Watchers diet, there is most certainly a wide-ranging variety of cars just burning to produce the wonderful clank as a throttle pedal makes acquaintance with chilled metal.

Take the Lotus Elise as an example. Such a simple but pleasing sight for one’s eyes to meet if their curiosity induces a sneaking snoop into its functioningly clean and grey pedal box.

The same can be said of the Ariel Atom and the Morgan 3-Wheeler. Although not as clean as the Lotus’ pedals, they are equally functional and still gobsmackingly awesome.

Moving on from that which you can afford into the costly and exorbitant realm of supercars, this time the supplemental money can be seen with your own two eyes, chiefly in the form of carbonfibre and composite usage.

On cars like the Ferrari Enzo and the McLaren F1, the adoption of carbonfibre on these examples of high-end motoring exotica can be witnessed throughout, all culminating together in the pedal box to draw jealousy, er, I mean wonder from petrolheads who don’t have £1,000,000 to buy a 600 bhp+ supercar with.

However it must be said that not all six-figure supercars have carbonfibre-wrapped pedal boxes, as the Ferrari F40 will prove. A body wrapped like a Christmas present with kevlar and carbonfibre it may have been, but when it came to the pedal box, one would have spotted an extensive use of dark metal. Cool…

There’s an undeniably special aura about bare metal pedal boxes, and it’s something so special that it has to be looked at more closely (under a microscope, in other words) to be properly celebrated. As much as I would like to egg on manufacturers to start tossing out carpets from underneath the pedals, I must refrain from such encouragement, as there is an unpleasant feeling that doing so would only make nude pedal boxes less special. And because we see things in this motoring industry too often repeated and occasionally all too similar, speciality is something of a necessity.


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