Romance and the motorcar
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  • 9 Post By P.J. Romano
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Thread: Romance and the motorcar

  1. #1
    3000 Post Club Site Supporter P.J. Romano's Avatar
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    Romance and the motorcar

    (Excerpts from Peter Egan’s article)

    I always imagine myself doing with a car is motoring. This is different from just driving around or even travelling comfortably from one part of the country to another.

    Motoring, to me, implies certain sense of adventure in our travels and it demands a vehicle with some semblance of romance. More than that, it implies that we are intentionally driving across the countryside for the mere sensation of motion, or for the appreciation of interesting machinery and the unreeling of new vistas. Motoring seems to require modicum of charm in both car and the roads we choose, a proper platform from which to observe dips and ridges, small towns, stone bridges, curves and lakes. Above all, it asks for a car that begs to be driven when we really have nowhere we need to go.

    For instance, it is possible to go motoring in a Morgan Plus Four on the Blue Ridge Parkway, but I am not sure that driving your Taurus wagon from Indianapolis to Chicago on I-65 really qualifies as anything but driving. One is loaded with magic; the other is merely efficient and comfortable. One is romantic, the other is devoid of romance.

    What is that makes one vehicle romantic, while another is merely competent?

    Age helps, I suppose. It adds a romantic element of uncertainty to the trip. When I drove my 1963 Cadillac from Wisconsin to New Orleans, cruising two-lane Blues country of Mississippi with all the windows down on my hardtop and one elbow on the door, I was motoring.

    Convertible tops are a factor, too. Any car on which you can throw the top gives you a chance to get beaten up by the wind, burnt by the sun and exposed to smells and aromas of the countryside. When you get to your destination at the end of the day, you feel as you’ve been somewhere. You’ve earned a drink and good dinner while you suspect the couple who arrived in air-conditioned four door sedan have not.

    Mechanical decrepitude or unreliability is also a great boost to the romance of motoring which is why almost any British car, especially an old one, offers an immediate escape from the ennui and low status of mere driving. Reaching the destination in your 1972 Opel GT is a cause for celebration and it leaves you with a sense of astonished wonder and accomplishment unknown to driver of, say, a Lexus ES 300.

    You need the car that is loud and windy and stiff in the springs. A car that makes you tie yourself to the desk, so you don’t plan pointless trips to nowhere in particular. The kind of car you might find parked in front of Toad Hall in the Wind in the Willows. Something that sits poised in the garage and hears the distant Lorelei call of the Great River Road, or highway 421 through the Appalachians.
    -------------------------------------------

    Lorelei, a beautiful maiden who threw herself into the Rhine in despair and was transformed into a siren who lured fishermen to destruction and I hear her call again. She is calling me to make another road trip next weekend to Pennsylvania and Deutsche Clasics. Romance of destruction…
    Last edited by P.J. Romano; 1 Week Ago at 05:18 PM.
    Old racers never die. They just go bench racing.

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    Hoosier Opeler Site Supporter rrossjr's Avatar
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    Nicely said. I wholeheartedly agree, particular about the distinction between driving and motoring.

    ...I am not sure that driving your Taurus wagon from Indianapolis to Chicago on I-65 really qualifies as anything but driving.
    To me, it qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.
    Cheers,
    Ron in Indy

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    Member pumpkindriver's Avatar
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    Its an adventure everytime I pull Penelope out of the driveway, even if I am just running down to the corner store. I absolutely love every minute I am behind the wheel in her. She has flaws, needs a paint job, a better drivers side door that isn't warped, some attention to the R&P steering, there is some play in it and some insulation to make her quieter and to make the A/C keep the interior cooler, yet I am always eager to take her out for a spin as soon as I get home and off the road. She has become my drug of choice, I get so high while motoring down the road in her, jamming some tunes and breathing in the feeling. That Opel GT aroma, as soon as you crawl into the driver's seat, is always there, heady, intoxicating and comforting. Nothing beats driving an antique sports car, doubly good if its an Opel GT!!!
    soybean, guyopel, rrossjr and 3 others like this.

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    Member ejota's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pumpkindriver View Post
    That Opel GT aroma, as soon as you crawl into the driver's seat, is always there, heady, intoxicating and comforting.
    I got my GT almost 25 years ago when I was 16 and every time I sit in the driver's seat that aroma takes me back to when I was just a kid learning how to drive without all the adult worries.

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    Hoosier Opeler Site Supporter rrossjr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejota View Post
    I got my GT almost 25 years ago when I was 16 and every time I sit in the driver's seat that aroma takes me back to when I was just a kid learning how to drive without all the adult worries.
    Someone needs to do a chemical analysis of the volatile components found in classic GTs. They all smell similar (at least the ones that
    are not drenched in mold, rodent pee, or fuel leaks) I dubbed the odor "Opel Essence".
    Even after almost 50 years, it was still easily detectable in my '70 GT.
    Cheers,
    Ron in Indy
    soybean and ken2 like this.

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    1000 Post Club kwschumm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrossjr View Post
    Someone needs to do a chemical analysis of the volatile components found in classic GTs. They all smell similar (at least the ones that
    are not drenched in mold, rodent pee, or fuel leaks) I dubbed the odor "Opel Essence".
    Even after almost 50 years, it was still easily detectable in my '70 GT.
    Cheers,
    Ron in Indy
    Mine had the same unique smell. All these years I thought it was just me or mine
    soybean likes this.
    Thurston County, WA, effective motto: "Gophers, Gophers Über Alles"

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    2000 Post Club soybean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ejota View Post
    I got my GT almost 25 years ago when I was 16 and every time I sit in the driver's seat that aroma takes me back to when I was just a kid learning how to drive without all the adult worries.
    Me too. My first Opel was a Jade Mist Manta Rallye.
    Pumpkin Driver please don't take offence, but that Red in a large Font just blows my eyeballs out. Sorry Man. Jarrell
    You lose your dreams, you lose your mind. (The Rolling Stones)

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    Reaching the destination in your 1972 Opel GT is a cause for celebration
    -------------------------------------------


    I know this feeling well. I have done at least a half dozen motoring trips of more than 20 hrs in my 72 GT. I am always on edge until I get to that 100 mi from home mark and know AAA will tow me home
    soybean likes this.

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    [ [/SIZE]LaBamba has had that distinct smell since I drove her out of the showroom almost 50 years ago! I enjoy the scent each and every time we go for an adventure. She has NEVER been towed. I was but 22 when we became inseparable. Oh do we have stories...………...When I have been in need of a smile, she was there to accommodate. Not to say challenges and frustrations have not existed, oh they have, but we have persevered. Very few things in life last 48 summers, but we have!
    soybean, rrossjr, opellane and 1 others like this.

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    Senior Member Timbo's Avatar
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    I always thought a romantic drive depended more on who was in the passenger seat than the car you were driving. A nice road helps and a good destination can add to the excitement.

    And, wagons may not be the hottest thing on the road (although the memories of our cross-country trip in our RX-4 wagon have lasted a lifetime) they really shine when you stop.

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    Senior Member ken2's Avatar
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    Motoring, cruising, whatever you want to call driving just for the sake of driving...Love it. Using your Motoring car of choice for an actual trip that you need to make inspired my tag line at the bottom of all of my posts. My GT was the first car that I drove by myself, and brings that feeling back every time I drive it. Thanks for sharing the article, PJ.
    Opel GT... Even when the destination sucks, the trip is gonna' be a BLAST!

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