I’ve never really understood the classic car fixation thing. I suppose you need an understanding of what it takes to keep a car in good shape and running well 50-plus years into its life and my understanding doesn’t go much farther than regular oil changes and when a tire gets soft, put air in it.
Derek has a 1961 Rambler. Now, a Rambler isn’t a terribly collectible car. They were family vehicles and not exactly coveted for styling although the rear fins are pretty cool. But a dusty-blue-grey ’61 Rambler with 3-on-the-tree is the car his family had when he learned to drive so this particular model has loads of sentimental value. And a 50 year old car in as great shape as this one definitely turns heads, even if just to inspire a “what the hell is that?” kind of a look.
We had planned to spend last Sunday on the shore of Lake Huron at a friend’s cottage just outside Kincardine. Knowing it would be a nice day, we talked about riding Derek’s Harley. But on Sunday morning he shared his preference for taking the Rambler; I was hesitant but I agreed. I’d never ridden in the ol’ gal farther than a few kms and I wasn’t sure how she performed on the highway. With no air conditioning (or seatbelts!) would it be stinking hot? Turns out I had nothing to be concerned about.
The window breeze provided ample coolness and while the Rambler might not be the quickest to take off from a full stop it can certainly keep up with just about anything on the road today. It’s also a pretty smooth ride. And when we’re stopped, say, at a store to pick up fixins for a cottage-side lunch, it’s a magnet for old men who haven’t seen one in decades. An impossibly old man – I’d put him at 110 or so – in a grocery store parking lot, gave us an enthusiastic thumbs-up as we passed by him. The grin on his face was as wide as if he’d been told he could toss away his cane for good. There was no inconvenience to riding Rambler-style for the day and I feel silly for even being concerned about it. Now I think of it as a happy-mobile, for those inside it and those watching it pass them by.