Readers of this blog will have noticed my repeated references to a very pretty Guards Red Carrera Targa. To say that I was enamored of it might be an understatement. However, living in a family with 3 others who lacked any real enthusiasm for it, can get a little exhausting. Still, the sunday morning blasts and the rare car event, made it worthwhile.
A few weeks ago, on a whim, I was visiting a classic showroom. I happened to see a really cool looking Dodge Viper. It had many of the things that would make owning a classic, fun. Air conditioning. A water cooled engine that mechanic joe in any small town garage, would be able to set right. A noise that was exhilarating and a menace in it’s appearance that would ensure you knew that messing with the owner was not cool.
Meeting with the crew at Fast Lane Cars, I wandered through their huge collection of American muscle and, was amazed at the ingenuity of my own country’s ponies. For years, the lackluster 80s, 90s and 00s, with the exception of an occasional flash of brilliance, US made cars represented the dreary and mediocre. As a formative car enthusiast in these years, I gravitated to fantasize about wildly stylish Italian, the staid and precise weapon-like German and, yes, even some mad high revving Japanese cars. Unsurprisingly, my car history is checkered by a series of German and British cars, buying American never an option.
As I walked through this temple of chrome, tuned to the sonorous drumbeat of thundering engines, I stood amazed, in wonder. The beauty, and artistry of manufacture of these wonderful wonderful machines. The ability to distill the American spirit into a tonne of chrome and steel is truly incredible. To embody our own brutish, boyish, rebellious, devil-may-care and ferocious yet lovable, simple and easy to please nature into 4 wheels and a transmission, is art. These cars are who we are. The ones’ that noone thought was really capable, but in a pinch would be the only ones to count on. America, indeed.
I just had to bring my wife, another firm believer, in the American ideals to see this (and that Viper).
That did not go as I expected. Having dragged her to innumerable car shows with her “Yes, Dear.” expression plastered to the face, I expected the same lack of enthusiasm, despite my own Ameri-car-na Epiphany. She did not disappoint.
The puckering of the lips and wide eyed shock, as well as the disdain for the “old look (read 1980s look)” flashed across her visage. Even sitting in the aforesaid large cushy seat in this north american serpent car did little to assuage her complete disinterest.
To watch the transformation of facial expressions from “the unsweetened lime juice” look to one of slack-jawed wonder is an interesting sight. After 3 decades of traveling through life together, it isn’t often that we surprise each other, but this is one that surprised me. This Porsche Blue replica car with stainless steel side exhausts had her smiling with a longing that I have never seen with ANY vehicle. Ever.
Comfortably sliding into it, she looks at me and says, “This is what we should get.”
Even in my wildest dreams, the original Snake was always out of reach.
Of course, we could not afford this (no, not even the replica!) at this time without dipping into our savings. But to find something unexpectedly that we both liked and enjoyed, after nearly 30 years, 6 homes, 12 cars, 2 children and a dog, was a shock of unimaginable proportions.
So. Here we are. We have decided to put an end to my dalliance with the Europeans and stick with our own this time. The Red One, bids us adieu as we look to save up for Venomous Vixen, somewhere in the future.