Monday, September 15, 2008

Heavy Metal

I thought I'd scoot up route 116 late Monday afternoon, looking for something to see or do. Coming over the Notch in Amherst I was immediately rewarded. They were having a cruise night at Atkin's Farm, the oddly named Octoberfest Cruise Night at Atkin's. This looked like a pretty big gathering of vehicles, so I swung in for look around.

I'm no car fanatic, but I've had more than my share of jalopies (junks) in my flowering years. Allow me to recall, and list them here: First was my mom's Grand Torino, then two Celicas (a 77' & an 82'), then there was a 77 Camaro, a 74 Nova, a Thunderbird (80's vintage), a VW Jetta, a 74 Datsun 280z, an old Cadillac Seville, a Chevy Z24, the Jeep...and I'm pretty sure I foggily remember having a couple others that quickly came and went. Some were freakin' awesome, some were humbling to be seen in, and most were obtained at bargain-basement, below Blue Book prices. So as a consequence of that groaning train of wrecks I was forced to become pretty handy with a socket wrench, if I was to maintain the mobile lifestyle that I found so critical during said and subsequent years. During some greasy late night repair, somewhere along the way, I developed an appreciation for the engineering marvel we call the car.

A couple decades of looking at bland bubble cars and neutered minivans zipping down the highways, quietly and rust-free, has me yearning for yester-year's tributes to imagination and bold, chrome-lavished extravagance.

Style, baby. Curved lines. And not just around the hood. Everywhere. With colors that matter.

Fins...That's right, like a Shark. You got a problem with that?

Dashboards that moved even while standing still.

Solid, heavy construction. Hit a telephone pole, or bridge abutment, and still make it home.

Even the really old ones had plenty of style mixed in with the simplicity of functionality.

Yes, son. Those were the days.

Every once in a while some feisty engineer at one of the Big 3 will try to sprinkle some of that lost magic into a new computer program, resulting in overpriced retro-mayhem.

Kudos for trying, but they don't seem to get it. It's basically about being wasteful. And that's a state of mind from a different era, that we can probably never get back to.


Mary E.Carey said...

I'm no car fanatic either but I love these old cars, and your commentary really adds a lot. We had either Volkswagon but, Chevette, Novas or Saturn, which is what I have now, the whole time I was growing up and beyond. My dad always insisted on having no air conditioning and no power steering.

Tony said...

Fewer power accessories means fewer things that can break...

Elizabeth said...

I *love* those old cars with tailfins! Nice pictures!

Tony said...

Thanks Elizabeth.

KBrady said...

We miss the old, solid cars too.
This time also brings thoughts of Atkins Farms, apples, cider and cold, brisk mornings. Thanks, Tony!