To make a short story long, let me tell you what the two guys in the front bench told me.
So there I was on the corner b an immaculate 1962 Chevrolet sedan and I couldn’t get my phone to turn on before the light changed on 4th and Lafayette. What did I do? I walked up to the window and thought I’d ask the inhabitants some questions. I had no pictures, I had to interact with the thing somehow, I couldn’t just walk away I had been bowled over and I was smitten.
I could try and describe the guys inside – they were two young, fit, well groomed, hip guys. I remember a few things about them: there was a good bit of distance between them and the driver felt far away on the other side of the car, that’s how wide the thing seemed, they both looked North African to me, and they had shining smiles like the front of their ’62 Chevy. There was that wide-eyed, welcoming look of riding around, driving without a destination. I had to know, though, why spend all the time and the money to make an old car shine and gleam and rumble? Why’d you buy the car?
because it’s beautiful
But there are lots of beautiful things – things that don’t take up garages, things that don’t need carburetor tuning, things that don’t suck gas and sit in traffic. I only asked him that first part, with moments alone before the light turned green.
I guess it’s a hobby
And then he drove off. So here I am, autofrei as it were, left to only think about cars and not hop into my own and drive around. Now, it’s a difficult thing to sum up strong feelings in a second or less. That’s why we have the word “love”, that’s why we have the word “beautiful”. To take him at his word, the 1962 Chevrolet I saw is 1) captivatingly good looking and 2) involving and engrossing in its upkeep and operation. What a wonderful view of that old Chevy – cars, especially old cars (though not so much when they were new) are involving pieces of machinery, requiring a knowledge of the specific car and its specific quirks and handling characteristics. you have to get to know how the wheel turns the car and where those faraway corners are. beauty is harder to get a handle on, but there is certainly a beauty in operation, and I would certainly say that the feel of the red bench seat is part of the beauty and the heft and clunk of the door. Beauty is sometimes very outward, and I’m sure that the world looks different through that curved windshield and that buildings, people, cities all melt otherwordly as it passes round the edge of the windshield and into the complex glass bend along the A-pillar. It’s hard to say that a blurry dark cameraphone picture would’ve captured any of that transporting essence, but I would’ve liked to have one anyway.