This morning Joseph Dennis did a splendid job of self-identification with a 1965 Corvair, finding numerous similarities in its qualities and life trajectory. It just begs the question for all of us to answer: Which car best reflects your personality?
I really wanted to narrow mine down to one car, but I guess I must have a split personality. And although the question doesn’t limit it to cars you’ve owned, for me that’s where the answer lies. My 1986 Mercedes 300E reflects my Germanic side. The W124 was a forward-thinking car, as well as a timeless one, and it blended a superior mix of performance, advanced aerodynamics, efficiency, solidity, comfort, and a timeless design into a very influential package. I don’t pretend to be the W124 of humans, but I do aspire and relate to its many qualities, in one way or another.
It was also somewhat of an arrogant car. Owning it fed my budding superiority complex, and driving it very fast much of the time reflected my risk-taking (and asshole) side. I was pretty full of myself at the time, given that I also had a budding career in the tv industry and stock in a start-up. Needless to say, that all didn’t turn out quite as expected. But many of the 300E’s qualities are still very much a part of who I am today, and I still like to drive fast. And be right, 99% of the time. Hopefully I’m a bit less of an asshole.
My ’66 F100 reflects a rather different side of my personality, one that has a love of old things, whether it’s houses, steam engines, tractors or old cars and trucks. It reflects the summers I spent on a Mennonite farm in Iowa as a kid, absorbing their slower-paced life, love of the land, and the ability to make a living with their hands, and to keep simple old machinery going seemingly forever. I bought it just two years after I got the 300E, largely as a counterpoint, to balance an executive lifestyle that was not really organic to me.
Sitting in its bed with bales of straw for our first garden in 1988, I dreamed of a very different life. One that was financially independent, and based on my own efforts, mental and physical. And one that afforded the freedom to garden, hike, travel and pursue other interests (like CC) with more time and energy. Isn’t that what beds are for, dreaming?
I had no inkling then that the old Ford would become the key vehicle in my future life as a builder/renovator (and old car blogger), or that it was possible to start that kind of career late in life. The two of us got a late start, but we’re both seemingly built to keep running a bit longer than average, and with very little maintenance. We’re also both losing some of our faculties; my ears are shot, and a few other parts are showing signs of wear, as is the Ford. It’s something of a race to the finish: which one of us will give out first?