One of the benefits of going back to school and being unemployed is the freedom to dream about things you cannot afford to buy. Granted, that can be done at any time but those dreams are usually things that are out of reach. “Money is no object” is different than “if circumstances were just a little better.”
The other benefit of no job and no income is the chance to examine yourself and what fuels those dreams more closely.
Pretty much anyone in high school during the late 70s wanted to own a musclecar. You hoped to find a decent used one you could fix and make it look cool. We all had cars we wished for but I didn’t really have a singular one my heart was set on. After graduation, I got a job at a local Chrysler-Plymouth dealer and the Parts Dept manager loaned me his 1968 Road Runner if I’d get lunch for him. Deal!
I watched the Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons religiously as a kid and still enjoy them today, so the love of the Roadrunner hit a childhood nerve. But then Smokey and the Bandit hit the movie theaters and the Pontiac Trans Am exploded in many young hearts. The Trans Am was already a desirable musclecar, but the black-n-gold Bandit machine was larger than life. Several years passed and after I landed a good paying job, I seized that dream only to have a work layoff wipe it away a scant three months later.
Ever since I parted company with that car, I’ve yearned to replace it and have twisted myself into all manner of rationalized actions to do so. Necessities of life will overpower many dreams and I followed that road trying desperately to find a compromise I could live with. I’ve had some cars that came close and took a strong hold on my heart, but in the end I parted company with them for various reasons, some that I have lived to regret.
I almost every instance, I have tried to re-create the Trans Am or Roadrunner in various forms, but in the end, I was pretending they were something they were not.
In another post, Caught off Guard
, I recounted the purchase of my 2013 Escape and now that I am closing in on a year of ownership, I have discovered an amazing thing. I did a few simple cosmetic mods to the Escape and of course, changed the exhaust, but to this day I still enjoy driving it just as much as the day I got it, maybe more so. I have no expectations of it being anything other than it is, but that alone I still find fun to drive every day I get behind the wheel. I’ve taken several road trips with it and I never tire of its scoot, sound and comfort. The fact that its useful is a pure bonus and when I wash and shine it up, I smile broadly at the finished product. I don’t care if it rains 5 minutes after I’m done, I still love it just for what it is….that’s just pure and refreshing.
Like all of us, age takes its toll on us physically and many tasks I used to tackle without a second thought I find myself shying away from now. I’m still fine with doing my maintenance items but the big modding jobs are feeling like huge projects that I simply don’t have the same passion for as years past. I find myself enjoying the shine-n-drive aspect much more. Give me a few simple add-ons for looks and fun, then roll the wheels and enjoy.
In another previous post, The Modern Pony
, which also has a link to the docufilm,
“A Faster Horse
,” I expounded on the virtues and advancements of the latest generation Mustang (2015-up) The Mustang is truly an icon that was the catalyst of the “Pony Car” phenomenon that continues to this day. While I’ve always thought the Mustang was a cool car in its different forms, I was never overwhelmed about owning one. I considered one when I was shopping for my first convertible, but at that time they simply weren’t in my budget and the car didn’t push my buttons.
Recently, I have found myself more and more drawn to the latest gen model and after actually sitting in one a few times, I find it even more compelling. I ran across this gorgeous wallpaper the other day and I find it moving me on an emotional level.
Partially, it reminds me of the color of my Chrysler 200 vert which also had very similar wheels. The setting on the beach also hearkens back to driving on the sand at Daytona, one of my fondest memories of that car. The other things are more unique. Never since my Trans Am has a car teased my imagination like this one. Maybe its because the Mustang was the link that sparked some interest in my daughter, maybe its because the car has a heritage almost as old as I am, maybe it strikes a similar chord as my Escape, a car that isn’t a blank canvas to be sculpted and modified. No, this is a car that would get the same simple, personal touches as the Escape and doesn’t need to be “transformed” into something it isn’t.
I honestly never thought I’d look at another car like I did the Trans Am, but this might be that car. I know if I ever wind up driving one, that could tell the story. In those scant few miles a car speaks volumes. This isn’t about trying to recapture the past, its finding that same passion that took hold of your heart once before.
Will it ever actually happen? Anybody’s guess, but that’s what dreams are all about and if we never chase them, what are we living for?
– T. August Green