Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nostagia on Four Wheels

The Lanierland Old Car Club's twenty-ninth show was a genuine trip down memory lane. Psychologists talk about "imprinting," and while the cars at the show were better looking than the ones I remember from my childhood, there were quite a few iconic motor vehicles from the era of my childhood. I was glad to see several cars which were similar to cars from my past. One '57 Chevy and two '56 Chevies made me think of the first cars I can remember. A '61 Studebaker Lark, which had far better paint than the '60 model that mom drove when I was in elementary school, was the first of those I have seen in years and years. A black 1956 Chevy truck reminded me of my neighbor's farm truck. Mr. Walt used to stop by in his, offering fresh veggies from the bushel baskets in the back. Instead of produce, this show vehicle had a gorgeous stained wood bed. There was a '69 Camaro which reminded me of the one my cousin had, and a '71 Chevy pickup which looked rather a lot like the one I used to borrow from my father when I was in college.

Some of the cars were similar to the ones I would have liked to have, including a '70 model Monte Carlo and a '72 Buick Skylark convertible. The event was also billed as a swap meet, and the only '65 Mustang in it was for sale. The asking price was roughly ten times the selling price way back when, making it a dream car then and now.

Since the show was open to cars over 25 years old, there were plenty of cars which were interesting, but not anything like the cars in our driveway or in my dreams. A '36 Mercedes convertible was one of the more exotic cars in the show, and it was clearly hubby's favorite. Cars of that era at the show included luxury monikers Packard and Lincoln. There were a few '40 Fords as well. Diametrically opposed to the high end cars were some more utilitarian rides, including a forties era Jeep, with canvas covered seats. The '28 Ford even had the tool kit on display. There was a red Saab with a belt across the hood. This was not a hasty repair, but was color matched to the rest of the car. One of the more beautiful cars was a '56 Thunderbird convertible with less than sixty thousand miles.

In years to come, my children may enjoy seeing a restored Ford Windstar or a well-preserved Honda Civic, since those are rides which will no doubt be "imprinted" upon their minds. While each of those vehicles has spent quite a while in our driveway, they don't seem particularly classic.

I chatted briefly with the wife of one of the Chevy owners. She laughed and said that the car is "his baby" which he lovingly cares for on a weekly basis. Since that car is the same age I am, I admire the way it looks. If there were people restoration shops to make folks like me look as good as new, that would be great, wouldn't it?

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