Cars have been on my mind lately. It started because I saw an article in the Sunday Times a couple of weeks ago about a car auction. But it wasn’t any old car auction. This one featured autos with provenance – like a purple 1919 Pierce-Arrow, owned by the silent film star, Fatty Arbuckle, and a 1941 Packard, owned by the ice-skating actress, Sonja Henie. These cars were gorgeous.
Then I was talking to a friend of mine, who was in the middle of multiple car transactions, like selling two cars (including a beloved sports car), and simultaneously buying a new, used, practical car. He was doing everything over eBay. It was natural for our conversation to segue from cars we “loved” to cars we “hated.” We ended the conversation with the conclusion that everybody has an opinion about cars, even if their opinion is, “no opinion.”
It’s true. I know people who only want to be behind the wheel of an automobile that makes them “feel like they are driving a living room couch,” and others who are passionate about their hybrids (especially the gas-to-mile ratio), and some who just love the majestic height afforded by an SUV. Me? I have always cottoned to small cars with convertible tops.
After all these car musings, I started pondering whether one’s car preferences has anything to do with one’s past? Most people would probably say their car decisions are purely arbitrary, or simply pragmatic, but I am sure there is a Proustian component to my predilection for two-seater convertibles.
Fifty years ago, when I was a kid (just saying that phrase, “50 years ago,” cracks me up – can those words actually be coming from my mouth as an accurate statement of fact), I did pop about in an MGTD. My father, a true-blue sports car devotee, would squeeze me and my sister, and our two Chatty Cathy dolls, into the trundle seat of his MG, and off we’d go up the Garden State Parkway, through the Holland Tunnel and over the Brooklyn Bridge to visit my grandparents. The top would be down, of course, and the wind would fly through our hair. I can’t imagine anyone with a four year old and a six year old contemplating a journey like that today. We live in a world where car seat safety dominates.
In any case, perhaps it is because of those early road trip memories that I love two-seater convertibles. The wind in my hair never gets old. So, while I was reminiscing about the “old” days, I asked my dad what other cars he owned. He replied:
We had a few MGTDs 1950s; also MGA 1960; also MGB 1962; Corvettes – three of them, 1964s. When you were a baby in Fort Lee, we had a ’52 Morris Minor. Grandma made a convertible top for it. I forgot to mention our 55 T-Bird convertible with the hard top.
They were all small, two-seater, convertibles, except maybe the Morris Minor. Not sure if he, too, loves the wind in his hair, but the car genes were passed down.