An American Dream

Published 4:14 pm Thursday, February 28, 2013

Most recently I ran across a story from a legitimate news outlet on a rare barn find of a 1963 Corvette with a split back glass.

Some people, I suppose, have all the luck.

Wow! What would I do with a 63 Corvette? Drive it, of course. Cars are meant to be driven and enjoyed. In deference to those who wheel and deal in such collectibles, that is why they were made.

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Not that I have been looking so much for such extraordinary finds, but I've not had the good fortune to run across such in my travels. Still, the story got me to thinking a bit-what would I want to find if I had some good fortune and a chunk of money?

We all have dreams and most men my age still dream about old cars or old trucks-something we once had and wished we had again; something we never had but always wished we could afford.

With my formative teenage years spanning the late 70s and early 80s, I was at the tail end of the great muscle car era. Though gas was still relatively cheap (certainly by today's standards), the classic cars that once were so plentiful were getting old. There were lots of Dusters and retired police cars on the road, but there were also Vegas and Pintos and ugly sorts of Mustangs, too.

And some other forgettable (at least that's what some automakers would want us to do, forget them) models out there as well.

America was making the move away from four-barrel carburetors, Muncie four-speed transmissions, and ignition systems that necessitated adjusting points. Smaller was in demand; better gas mileage, a plus.

If we had to get ugly on the outside to get there, so be it.

And, with few exceptions, consumers bought into it, too. Tank-sized gas guzzlers with style went to the car crushers.

That was then, and now, fixed up, many of these are desirable. Chevrolets, Fords, Pontiacs, Buicks, Dodges, Plymouths-they all have their fans. And we're not even going to dream about such things as Rolls Royces, Astin Martins, Jaguars and the like in some shed.

So what would I want to find in good shape? Something of the 60s era, of course, a convertible with all of the parts there with a low price tag. I have always wanted a convertible, though they come with their own set of troubles, which I suspect would make it like Dad's two-boat ownership experience. (He once told me he owned two boats, the first one and the last one.)

The 60s, to me, were the great golden age of automotive manufacturing. The 40s and 50s, with few model exceptions-though I know there are many who feel otherwise-not so much. (The early T-Birds, I think, are quite beautiful.) And, yes, there is another great automotive era-the 1930s.

Great elongated grills.

Big, round curvy cars.

Classic designs.

There were many, many beautiful cars and trucks and I find the convertible Packards particularly gorgeous. It's a dream, of course (though I'll concede over-use of the word in this space), and it will have to remain just that.