|1987 Renault GTA|
I’m stuck with a similar affliction, but at least my bank balance has been kept intact. So far, that is. I’ve already admitted my tendency to shop for cars on eBay, AutoTrader.com, etc. that only an eccentric would long for – cars that no sane person would buy. Alfa Romeos from the 1980s and ‘90s, anything French (there was a really good-looking 1987 Renault GTA coupe – basically a “hot-ish” Renault Alliance – going for cheap the other day), some offbeat German models, you name it.
|1990 Audi Coupe Quattro|
A 1990 Audi Coupe Quattro caught my eye the other day. It was an awful shade of lime yellow, the color of something that comes out of your nose when you’re sick. I’m pretty sure this was the launch color for the car 21 years ago, because my father road tested a similar model back then, and mentioned the garish color in his Santa Barbara News-Press column. I’ve never had a particularly strong affinity towards Audis of this era, but since the Coupe is such a rarity in this country and because I used to spend hours with my father’s old newspaper clips, pouring over every word of the review, I feel a much stronger connection to this car. The “buy-it-now” price of $5,995 is far too tempting. Of course that price comes with the liability of locating parts for an Audi of this vintage, the inevitable electrical infidelity of a European car as old as I am and the core issue that I have nowhere to put a car and should really use the six grand to pay forthcoming student loans. That's common sense knocking.
Cars from my childhood are high on my search list. Lately, the first-generation Mazda Miata's been near the top of that list. This was, again, my father’s primary mode of transportation in the early-mid ‘90s. It was a silver, five-speed, midlife crisis. I never grew much of a taste for riding in it, partly because with the top down and my luggage usually in my lap on trips between LA and Santa Barbara, it wasn’t as much fun as you might think.
|1993 Mazda MX-5 Miata|
But then I began to understand why my father loved that car so much. Shifting gears feels a lot like engaging a rifle (except I’m better at finding the gears than I was trying to hit a target at Boy Scout camp), the engine is so willing to rev and the steering does exactly what you want it to do when you tell it. You forget you look a little ridiculous as a grown man in a tiny red sports car and that the college bro in the lifted 4Runner can hear what you’re listening to when you’re side-by-side at the stoplight.
|1990 Sterling 827 Si Sedan|