Hammer Time: Trivial Pursuits

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
hammer time trivial pursuits

Knowledge is not always a good thing. Esoteric. Rarified. Just plain old pointless. High school? Anyhow, I have this strange fascination with car reviews. Not the new snuff. But those older wilted beaters that the marketplace has more or less forgotten. You talk to me about a Volvo 240 and my mind will recall a few of these write-up’s and a neat little side story. A 2011 Prius? I would almost rather watch the grass grow.

After years of thinking I have some genetic quirk within the mental framework… I figured it out. I’m not nuts. Or at least not nuts in that particular way. I like older cars because it reminds me of the people I’ve known in my travels. A late 80’s Cadillac reminds me of an old auctioneer who was about to score a threesome for quite possibly the last time in his life when the water pump went out on his ride in rural Georgia. He was married then. Divorced now… and managed to keep the Cadillac going well past the 300k mark. He had no choice after the alimony payments kicked in.

Old Lincolns remind me of a mule trader named Ray Lum. He wrote a book called, “ You live and learn. Then you die and forget it all.” Ray was one of the last mule traders in the South and had an amazing assortment of stories that he told the author, a folklorist, as he drove his beat up old Lincoln to the sales. One time he talked to a little old lady about a Model A that was at a cattle auction. “Have you ever ridden in the back of one of those maam?” he said in his Mississippi drawl. The lady, as cute as a button remarked, “You bet. I rode two men in that back seat before I got married.” Old Fords and Lincolns always make me smile.

Then there are late-80’s Celicas. All my brothers had one type of Celica throughout the 1980’s and it seemed like that model represented the country music of cars. It was very hard to dislike the olders Celica. Teenagers. Older couples. Even a few of the many mechanics I’ve met in my travels have liked em’. You go on carsurvey and the level of owner satisfaction for these models would make any Lexus blush. Except for the ‘one’.This guy I knew in high school thought that all cars that didn’t have the letters VW were unworthy. He always had a boner for anything American or Japanese. To the point where he started wearing jackets with the German flag emblazoned on the sleeves. One day he said the wrong word to a friend of mine about his Dad’s Oldsmobile Trofeo… out of all things. Yep, it was stupid but then again I grew up in New Jersey.My friend Tony, the felon that he was (he slashed someone’s throat when he was 14) decided that he would customize said VW with some nearby ice that could be used as projectiles for his project. To date whenever I see or hear about a VW, especially one that has a tailpipe the size of a rhino’s axe-hoe, I think of that car. Seeing an old Celica from that time period, usually driven by a Latino, almost always makes me remember a time period where leather jackets, jeans, and hideously bad accents were all I knew.
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3 of 17 comments
  • Dhathewa Dhathewa on Jun 11, 2010

    Let's put this in perspective... In 20 to 30 years, there will be plenty of people with memories like these of Priuses and the like. Every generation gets its own touchstones - or touchfenders.

    • PeregrineFalcon PeregrineFalcon on Jun 11, 2010

      "In 20 to 30 years, there will be plenty of people with memories like these of Priuses and the like." And the mid-life crisis cars that those folk buy will be EPIC.

  • George70steven George70steven on Nov 24, 2010

    I liked the dark blue interior, and really wish we would go back to the days when you could choose colors other than tan or gray. Spent the better part of one school year riding to class in an old Beetle. car insurance quotes

  • FifaCup Loving both Interior and exterior designs.
  • FifaCup This is not good for the auto industry
  • Jeff S This would be a good commuter vehicle especially for those working in a large metropolitan area. The only thing is that by the time you put airbags, backup cameras, and a few of the other required safety features this car would no longer be simple and the price would be not much cheaper than a subcompact. I like the idea but I doubt a car like this would get marketed in anyplace besides Europe and the 3rd World.
  • ScarecrowRepair That's what I came to say!
  • Inside Looking Out " the plastic reinforced with cotton waste used on select garbage vehicles assembled by the Soviet Union. "Wrong. The car you are talking about was the product German engineering, East German. It's name was Trabant.