Sunday, May 30, 2010

Old glass eye


Light my way
Deerfield Beach, FL, December 2008
About this photo: Tonight, on a very special Thematic Photographic, we look more deeply, or through, the medium of glass. Are you feeling glassy, too? Click here for more.
I can't explain why my eyes are attracted to old cars like moths to a flame. Every time I see one on the street, I imagine what the world must have been like when it was first made, and what it took to ensure it survived all these years. In an age when cars have been homogenized by aerodynamics, focus groups and marketing types who wouldn't know the difference between motor oil and cooking oil, it's heartening to come across a piece of rolling history from an era when cars - and our lives - were so much simpler.

I'm sure I oversimplify things, of course. Nostalgia can do that. We forget the negatives and focus on the positives as the passage of time casts a deepening sepia tone over our memories. We ignore the messy mechanics and frequent breakdowns of the era, choosing instead to think about the adventures these often-dangerous machines opened up to us all.

The average Toyota Corolla could shame any one of these vehicles in reliability and efficiency, but I doubt it could ever make our hearts skip a beat as effectively as this half century-old piece of Detroit iron.

Your turn: Your first car. Please discuss.

8 comments:

NJ said...

Well it's not a post about glass but my latest post Portland Maine does contain a shot of one interesting large piece of glass. Check it out!

Farrago said...

The first car I drove as "mine," though it wasn't, was an old 1973 Chevy Nova that had passed through several hands in our family, from my #3 sister who had bought it brand new at the beginning of her doomed marriage, to my #1 sister who bought it from #3, only to move with it back home when her marriage failed... Jeesh... ya think maybe the car had something to do with it? Then, when that sister fell on financial hard times, my mom bought it from her, right around the time I got my license. That car took a beating, but it never stopped running. I cried the day my mom — with my blessing — sold it to the kid next door, who parked it in his garage and, a few months later unveiled an unbelievable transformation of bodywork and paint, and who sold it for $700 more than he paid for it!

The first car of my own was a 1979 Jeep CJ-5, about which I will wax rhapsodic some other time, some other place.

Mark said...

Love this shot. I have a similar fascination with old cars.

Anonymous said...

'73 Nova theme perhaps? My first car, and I still have it, is a 1973 Nova Custom Hatchback. A car my parents bought new and holds plenty of sentimental value for me considering I essentially grew up with it.
Picture taken last year, http://tinyurl.com/2bcwkgr (goes to flikr)
Alx.

Michael Manning said...

Carmi: You share my passion for real cars. Yes, it's so true. Pull up to any intersection and cars look like refrigerators on wheels. First car I drove--to quote Farrago--was a 1964 Mercury Comet. I had some real lemons, but a few cool cars too! BTW: my new blog address is:
http://michaelmanningtv.blogspot.com/

Great post, Carmi!
Michael

fredamans said...

I feel like a novice when I think about my first car that I bought myself.... I spent a whole whopping $50 and bought a Pontiac Firenza.
(This was 1994.)
I tell you I loved that car, but wish I had more time driving it. You see, I only had one drive in it total. The drive, I might add, was 5 minutes from home.... as I slowly saw home in the rearview, I heard a loud bang and the poor car died. There was no oil in it, and no light on to signify emptiness. You know the car was toast at this point, and my dad and I decided it was too much bother to fix, get a new one instead.

I would like to note, how much I loved this car. Before I got rid of it, I would sit in it in the driveway, and dream of the wind whipping me as I drove down the highway. The new Chevette, or rather new-to-me.... couldn't compare.

Rick Morayniss said...

I bought a "replica" of the first car I ever drove that was not my mothers, a 65 mustang convertable after my first wife pat away in 2004. It was a great midlife crisis/I need some fun back in my life car.

Funny how we use objects to make us feel different. It served it's purpose. I sold it when I no longer needed it. I get remarried in October of this year.

Ben said...

Fun stuff!

1976/77ish, I bought my uncle Bill's 1969 Ford Fairlane 500. (It's color was greenish, or more accurately "goat-vomit green.") Funny to think back that the car was only 7 or 8 years old then, but it was very rusty, and in fact in a year or so I had to tie a rope to the passenger door so it would stay closed/not fall off.
I did some serious modification to this car before it went to the scrap yard...From Canadian Tire, I got a Thrush muffler and a little black foam/chrome spoked "racing" steering wheel for it. (Those things made the car uncomfortably loud, as well as difficult to steer safely) Oh yeah, I also installed a 23 channel Realistic CB radio in her, as well as a huge whip antenna on her rear bumper. (which was yet to fall off the car)
STYLIN'!!!