25 June, 2006

Vintage Lust

...she was a bright red '64 GTO with fins/ and gills like some giant piranha fish/ some obscene phallic symbol on wheels/ little rivers of anticipation ran down my inseam....

Okay, I like having my thigh bitten as much as anybody, but this is ridiculous.

I am wearing exactly one garment, not counting shoes. Admittedly, this non-form-fitting sarong is not the most flattering, hanging bag-like from my bosom, but it's nice to be nearly naked.

The weather is deliciously hot, and mostly sunny. Except for the bugs, I'm delighted to be outdoors. The bugs! Thirty-seven bites on my legs! Yikes!

Even so, when we pull into the parking lot to rent a DVD for the kids, I do not want to go into the shop. Well, there are cars. Cars on a cordoned-off area of the parking lot. Vintage cars. It's a club. They're here every Friday evening.

....earlier this week....

"My car's got a bad oil leak, so I had to drive the 'Vette today," C. told me at lunch.

Poor you.

"Well, it's not my thing, really. It's Kev's mid-life crisis car."

There's mine.

"I know, you love cars, but I just never had a, you know, thing, for them."

Like horses. Girls go crazy for horses at a certain age. I never got that.

"Right, I LOVED horses. Well, I love all animals, but..."

Yeah. For me, it's cars. Always has been, since I turned, I don't know, twelve or something.

I am the granddaughter of a Detroit auto worker. I have Motor City in my blood. I am entitled to my lifelong love affair with all things automotive.

As regular readers know, Primarily Decorative rarely experiences actual car-envy, but I had a recent moment of green lust. It was, naturally, a convertible. Plus, it was red. Plus, it was a Jaguar. Plus, it was new.

I'd have wangled a ride, but the handsome black gentleman driving it had installed his daughter in the passenger seat.

Plus, I had my own kids in the backseat of my car.

So, go inside to look at DVDs or stay outside to look at cars? No contest.

In deference to the Enjoy! But Don't Touch! signs posted on most of the vehicles, I carefully lock my hands together behind my back before leaning in to sniff the leather, check out the instruments, admire the shine on the Bakelite, grin at the crank handles for the windows. I bite my lips together to avoid drooling on the paint. I love the fins on this one, the steering wheel on that one, the chrome hubcaps on this other one.

My first boyfriend had a car like this.

"Bet he didn't."

No? It looks just like his Nova.

"This is an Oldsmobile. The boy who built it, he wanted a Nova so bad but couldn't find one. So he got an Oldsmobile, which looks the same except the taillights, and then bought all these Nova parts and built a Nova on top of it, but it's really an Oldsmobile."

I look at the taillights. They are different. But if he hadn't mentioned, I wouldn't have noticed.

I congratulate myself for managing to not drip spittle onto the white leather interior of this lipstick-red '65 Pontiac GTO. A fella named Wayne tells me he's owned it for eighteen years.

"Restored it three times so far. Last time, cost me thirty-seven thousand dollars."

Wow, I think. That's a house. Not a nice house, not around here, anyway, but it's a trailer, at least. Possibly even a doublewide.

The Mustang fastback has been lovingly restored by the owner. In hideous seventies dark olive green.

"My dad did it. I helped," offers the five-year-old crewcut cutie in between licks of ice cream. He hands his cone to his father and digs around in the car. He brings out a photo album chronicling the restoration.

How long did it take?

"'Bout eight months."



I think about the time and money spent, and about how his wife knew where he was every minute of his spare time. I think about the money he did not spend on beer or football pools, and how his kid "helped' with his dad's project. Bring me that wrench over there, Junior. No, the other one, baby. Yep, thanks, son.

As hobbies go, I'm thinking this is a pretty good one.

But that may just be because I've got motor oil in my blood.

(The Key To Her Ferrari; Thomas Dolby)


Inanna said...

My cousins restored a truck. Painted it blue, a beautiful blue, and what a beautiful blue it is.

Paul said...

Inanna, for some reason I'm reminded of Miss Agnes in the Travis McGee books. Was it once a Rolls Royce?

My late ex-father-in-law collected Lincoln Continentals. He had about a dozen of them in two barns, in varying degrees of decay. He lacked the money to restore them, so they mouldered away in there. I still don't like to think about it.

Cybele said...

Owning a showcar in my neighborhood would be stupid, but I can dream about a 1960 Thunderbird convertible in peacock blue with white leather interior.