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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Car Itch, Scratched

Light on reflexions about politics today; light but not non-existent.

As mentioned before, I had been suffering from the disease that commonly affects the retired FOG (Fat Old Guy). I wanted a classic car! I spent hours on the internet and visiting a collection of rusty, dusty car lots. I hankered for that Buick with the Queensland's plates, but--alas!--the paperwork would have been a nightmare. I did not fancy spending days, weeks, months dealing with hostile bureaucrats at the California DMV trying to register a car with Aussie papers and tags but which had been in California for some eleven years.

"What kind of papers and plates are these?"
"Where's that?"
"No, not the home of Adolf Hitler, the home of Geoffrey Rush."

And on and on. Sigh. Had to let the Buick go.

As so often happens in life, however, one door closes, another opens. I got a line on a beautiful blue 1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible in Las Vegas. Phoned the dealer, got a good vibe from him and from the superb packet of pictures he sent, and grabbed the Diplowife (ret), and said "Vegas!" We strapped ourselves into the trusty Chevy Tahoe and headed off on the 310 mile trek across the California and Nevada deserts to tacky, crazy, wonderful Las Vegas. The Diplowife (ret) admitted, incidentally, that she was only going along to talk me out of this nutty purchase.

Well, we visited the dealership, which had dozens of stunning cars--more than appear on their website. I drove the Olds, fell in love with it, and turned loose the skeptical Diplowife (ret) on the dealer, Mike, a very nice and honest guy who did not deserve getting the Diplowife (ret) treatment . . . but I wanted that car! As noted before, the Diplowife (ret) has formidable powers of negotiation. She hit Mike with one of her classic barrages. The dealer was good, but no match. She got a very good price. Her negotiations might not have been helped, I confess, by my dancing around on the hot pavement, tugging on her blouse, and, like John Kerry at the Iran nuke talks, crying "Please! Please! I want it! I want it!"

As Mike and I sat in his office filling out the papers, the Diplowife (ret) took a stroll among the wonderful gleaming machines on display and--wham!--she spied a pristine 1976 Cadillac Coup DeVille with only 19,000 original miles, recently arrived from an estate sale in Arizona. Now the itch hit her! Ha! She had to have that Caddy! I insisted that she drive it. She loved steering that great beast around the back roads of Vegas. It is a magnificent piece of cutting-edge 1970s engineering and excess. I swear the thing still smelled new. Riding along, I felt like Robert De Niro in Casino. All we needed was a couple of dead mobsters in the cavernous trunk to make it a perfect day--our 37th wedding anniversary, by the way. A new round of negotiations and another car added to our growing fleet. The cars are to be delivered next week. I'll let you know how all that goes.

Here are the babies.

66 Olds

76 Caddy

I have two concerns about the Caddy: It measures 18'11" and my garage space is 20'. No room for anything else in front or in back. A more serious worry is the Golden State of California, a nanny state if ever there was one. California has declared war on fun. Well, on any fun that is male-centric. Let's face it, of course, fun is a male invention. Women are more than welcome to come along, but fun is, at heart, a man thing. I am talking planes, trains, cars, guns, deep sea fishing, hunting, video games, bowling, archery, belching, etc. What women call "fun," is not. Not even they believe it; hence, women want to go on or control male fun excursions, whereas men rarely want to go on female "fun" excursions or care about them enough to ask the state to intervene. The feminists' greatest ally in the ever-more frenzied progressive war on fun is the power of the state. Deep blue California, of course, is more than willing to play along. In California, any car model 1976 or newer--note that date--must pass smog inspection. It is not a rolling date, say, declaring that any car under thirty years old, with the cut-off date moving forward every year, must pass inspection. No. It is an arbitrarily fixed date that cuts into the classic/collectible car market. Given that the Caddy is stock, only has 19,000 miles and runs great, I have high hopes that it passes, but the fear remains that the fun-killers will strike.

OK. Now that I am in deep trouble with the Diplowife (ret) I sign off before she and Megyn Kelly come gunning for me . . .


  1. First of all, congrats on the 37 years of matrimony to the Diplowife(ret). Next, those two new family members are smooth looking.

  2. I would love to have my 1953 Buick Skylark again. It was gorgeous and was mandarin red. Thirty coats of lacquer and the latest technology, such as a radio that changed channels with the push of a button. I sold it for $600.

  3. P J O'Rourke suggested a hankie soaked in Pine-Sol up the tailpipe for the smog tests...

  4. Will you adopt me? I can cook...

  5. Driving my dad's 98 Caddy Deville now. I love it more than any car I've ever owned including my 70 911s

  6. Civilization, i.e., Texas, exempts cars over 25 years old from emission tests, I think.

  7. Excellent Oldsmobile Bob, the old cars are so much better as they have CLASS. I always wanted a Pontiac Parisienne myself, my Grandfathers car of choice when he lived in Pacific Palisades for 10 years. Big old American muscle cars go for silly prices in Australia, even unrestored models. Having lived and worked in the USA I know that what 2-5 grand in cold cash will buy you in the States will go for 20-50 grand in Oz.

    As I said I love the old cars better, maybe because growing up around the coal mines we couldn't afford anything but old bangers which Dad and his brothers would basically rebuild and run till they died then do it again with another. In fact Pop bought his first ever NEW car in 1979, cash on the barrel. He was pleased as a dog with THREE tails for a long time.

    My first love of course are motorcycles, always have been. As I have got older I have culled some of the more outrageously fast machines but I have kept three which are respectively 34, 40 and 44 years old and I have no plans to let them go, even though hopeful harrys keep sniffing. Even my favourite truck (ute) is nearly 30 years old and has its second engine installed and it is super reliable. I've had much more modern vehicles but they just aren't as good and when they fail, which every one has, they cost mucho dinero to repair. Nuts to that. Some of my early cars and trucks could be repaired with a hammer, chicken wire and chewing gum (and were). Enjoy your Olds.

    1. Thanks, PF. I love the old cars, too. I know the new ones are probably "better" in terms of speed, acceleration, braking, and even durability. The old ones, however, were human scale machines. A modestly intelligent person with a hammer, a screwdriver, a wrench, some duct tape, sweat, and swearing could fix a lot of problems, at least well enough to get to the next mechanic's shop. Now, of course, something goes wrong, and you have to call Bill Gates. The new cars are impersonal, cold, lifeless creations full of plastic and microchips. No soul.

    2. Ah, yes. But when our cars were big and powerful, we were big and powerful.

    3. Ah, yes. But when our cars were big and powerful, we were big and powerful.

  8. And they say gallantry is dead.........
    James the Lesser

  9. The Caddy is beautiful. But that Olds...DUDE!!! Score!

    1. Yes, when I saw that Olds on the dealer website, I immediately called him and headed off across the scorching desert . . .

  10. Since you're spending money...

    Get a new powertrain from an Escalade then get a CARB exemption sticker for the swap.

    Easier testing procedure since there's less that can be wrong visually and the combination is better everything. More power, usable under more conditions, better mileage.

    1. Also, that fixed date used to be a rolling 25 years. I think they were looking at all those potential mid-80's hot rods in Camaros and Mustangs out there and they freaked out at how much happiness could result.

  11. Great anniversary gifts! Love the Cutlass. I have a 69 442 that I love to drive. Get lots of thumbs up and conversations from folks at the gas station, etc. However, the best thing is that driving it makes me feel like a teenager again. I have to watch myself and try to resist the temptation to peel out and haul ass down the freeway. It just feels so cool to drive her. Enjoy!

  12. Nothing wrong with the Olds, as Olds go.

    Kudos to Diplowife (ret.) on her taste in makes. Not that there's anything wrong with year and model, neither.

    It's a pity (to me, your mileage may differ--and, of course, they aren't my cars) that the colors are so sedate.

  13. My first car was a blue 1972 Olds Cutlass convertible that looked exactly like yours, except the interior was white leather instead of black. May you love and enjoy your car as much as I did mine.