Saturday Car Talk and Tunes and Pics
I couldn't think of any good songs for Wednesday, Thursday or Friday but here is one that is a good driving song for date night. Pump up the volume, guys and girls, but keep it under the speed limit as you listen for six minutes and fourteen seconds to a remix of The Saturday's "Notorious".
The car that got away.
Has anyone ever wanted to buy a car but passed up buying it and then regretted it? Ghibli: A fiercely hot wind from the Sahara Desert, Sirocco, a jet fighter aircraft. Also, the quintessential Italian GT that I should have bought and kept. And at the time it was almost affordable. I bet that no one has ever seen one.
It was a warm afternoon in the late 1970's. Saturday Night Fever was a big hit and stars like Travolta, Paccino, and DiNiro were on the big screen. I still had adolescent visions of Gina Lollobrigida dancing in my head. Everything Italian was hot. And then I saw it, parked in the front of a garage on River Street in Haverhill with a sign in the windshield that didn't say "For Sale" but which advertised what seemed to be an unbelievably low price. There.. was a light metallic blue Maserati Ghibli. Celeste Chiarro. It was amore at first sight!
A few minutes later I was buckling my seat belt on the passenger side. He wouldn't let me drive it but he offered a test ride. How could I say no? Cruising onto Route 495 he proceeded to demonstrate the car's stuff and as I glanced over at the speedometer I couldn't read the speed because it was in stated in kilometers/hr., but I did notice that the pointer was at about the four o'clock mark and pinned. 140 MPH? I don't know but we were passing everything and "the lines on the road just looked like dots".
Normally I am an apprehensive passenger even at legal speeds and should have been "white as a ghost" but that day everything about the driver and the car exuded confidence and even at this high speed I felt strangely serene even in my excitement for the ten or so mile run that flashed by in minutes. We made the exit curve at a velocity so fast you could feel the g-force in your stomach and yet I didn't flinch as we slickly merged into the two lane traffic at about 55 or 60 after some fairly hard braking. It was more fun than a roller coaster.
Back at the garage he lifted the hood while the V-8 sat idling. The sound. The black crackle finished headers (?) and the four shiny chrome Weber carburetors. Stepping back to look at the smooth lines, the form of the Italian sports car. Celeste Chiarro. Bellisimo! If I could be behind the wheel of that I would indeed see heaven on earth. I told the owner I would check with my mechanic.
At the time I was having my oil changes at Walton's Auto Lab in Newbury and Bob Walton knew cars. And he wasn't the kind of man who drove his father's Olds either. He always had a Ford Cobra, De Tomaso or some other similar exotic toy in the back of the garage for his customers to drool over while he was draining the SAE 20W out of their Saab or Corvette. For me the oil was in a four cylinder Volvo which was a far cry from the Ghibli of my dreams. I think Bob not only tuned his race cars but drove them on the raceways on the weekends too. Long story short, Bob said I would have to be crazy to buy a new Maserati let alone a used one. "You'll have to learn Italian, establish a phone connection with Modena, and shell out thousands of dollars for parts and be prepared to pay half my week's salary if you buy it." I respected his opinion and took his advice but now that the years have passed, as I reviewed the pictures for this story, I recalled the test ride, and I still fantasize driving the Ghibli to one of the Subie meets to give you all some exhaust music competition at least, I wonder if the reasonable decision is always better than irrational exuberance. Today, what was once almost affordable is now out of reach. Or is it? There are always new days and new fantasies:
Japanese beauty and excitement without the Italian drama is worth the wait. It's never too late.
Imma gonna make me a test drive next spring! Plasma Blue?
Live your dreams.