You may laugh or smile begrudgingly at this blog.
The human race enjoys a love affair with the automobile (insert car, van truck as your preference). We use the car on many levels for business and/or personnel levels in the area’s of transportation, pleasure and work. I do not know about you, but I sense a symbiotic relationship occurring between us and the mechanical machine we drive, that moves us from point A to point B. Sitting behind the steering wheel in any vehicle evokes a sense of power on a mental and physical level … it FEELS GOOD.
Growing up I remember my fathers 1956 Chrysler Windsor, give him a destination he would drive you, the family, anybody there, his personal nirvana space to dream in was in front of the steering wheel of his car. As a family (including my brothers) we went through your typical blend of automobiles such as, Volkswagen Beetles (my oldest brother loved these … he drove 4 different versions), Chrysler Windsor … yes my dad bought a second one), Ford Pinto, Ford Maverick and Chevrolet Sunbird.
In the mid 70’s my first automobile was a 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle, red 4 door, with lots of problems. The most famous of issue, was driving to Toronto and back, using 30 quarts of oil. I laugh now, but I remember driving into a gas station, instead of the attendant asking filler-up? … he asked “Do you want me to check the oil?”. My second car was a 1972 Pontiac Lemans, Bonze, 2 door, loved and drove in for three years. I blew the engine driving 120 miles an hour to Wildwood Beach, New Jersey and back in 1979, it became an oil burner after that trip, it was never the same.
1979 Fiat Strada
In 1979 Fiat introduced the Strada to compete with Volkswagen Golf in North America. I read the reviews, especially the car of the year competition, it was second. I bought a a brand new 4 door version, green, 5 speed manual transmission, and loved it. Drove it for 4 years. It was a bomb, like a sports car and was exceptional on gas. Not the best car for Canadian winters. I probably could have kept it running for many years, much like every body else, I became part of the generation that changed their car every 4 to 5 years. In 1983 I sold it for $150for scrap.
For the next fifteen years my little family and I went through various automobiles, Lada (yes my wife had a Russian made Lada she sold it one week before the Russians shot down the Korean Jet, after that you could not given them away) Mazda 323 & 626, Saturn Vue, Mazda Protege and a Chevrolet HHR. They each had their own sense of style and useful purpose. Currently we are driving 2009 vehicles … Jeep Patriot and Chrysler PT Cruiser.
My true favourite car, is the classic vehicle I own … you may laugh a, two door 1982 Fiat Ritmo, the European version of the 1979 Fiat Strada that I mentioned above. I found this automobile for sale in 2007 in Toronto. I digress, but interesting side note, in the early 80’s while working in Recreation and Parks for the City of Ottawa one of my fellow colleagues noticed my Fiat Strada, he laughed, he said when I go back to Italy (he is a native Italian) I drive a Ritmo, great car he said.
There is even a web site call Ritmo World that links Ritmo owners across the world.
Back to the Ritmo, after driving it in the summer every year since I purchased it 2007, other than major mechanical work, I did nothing to the body, I let it rust. Parking it religiously in the garage every winter from October to March. April Fools Day is April 1st, so this is a metaphor for my foolishness in buying the car, and thus it is insured for driving on that day, so I take it out for a good spin.
I love driving around in the Ritmo, young and old look at me with a whimsical nod or big smile and say cool … good for you. The best feeling is when high school students and young drivers in their 20’s look and give a big thumbs up.
1982 Fiat RitmoTC105 restored
It is the simplicity of the car inside and out that attracts me. No electronic devices, no air (but it does have a sunroof) heck no radio, no air bags, just roar of the Italian engine and wind in your hair on a hot summers day brings a smile of satisfaction on the road in the city or the country. Just this last spring I spent a lot of money to restore the body, next year i hope to redo the interior and then detail the engine.
Why did I buy … not sure. It was something I had to do at the time, I was turning 55 and wanted a piece of the past. Perhaps I was in mid-life crises mode.
Thoughts to ponder and perhaps comment on the post …
- Do you have a favourite car from the past you would like to drive or own?
- Does a car remind you of your father/mother or any person in particular?
- Do you pine to drive a car that is just out of the ordinary?