Monday, February 10, 2014

Around Town ~ Retromobile

We no longer own une voiture.

Retromobile 2014 ~ Around the Show
 Jaguar C-Type
Just the thing for blasting from Paris to Le Mans
to take in the races...

Moving to Europe has allowed us to explore a car-free lifestyle.  Walking, taking the Metro, RER/Translien, and TGV have become our modes of transport.

So why is it that I find myself visiting all the car events I can possibly find?

Seems strange, doesn't it?  Well, it does to me when I look at it from the perspective of our current living situation.

On closer inspection, automobiles and motorcycles were a large part of our lives.  Jude had a neat little Fiat as well as the wonderful Datsun 240Z.  I owned a couple bank-account draining Jaguar E-Types.  Then there was our stable of Italian motorcycles.

Retromobile 2014 ~ in Red
 Lamborghini Mura
I can still hear one as it lights up before
heading out into Sunset Blvd traffic...

Transportation and dreams of Great Conveyances drove my wheels choices for years.

I used to read Road and Track magazine cover to cover.  That was back in the day when Henry Manny had to be the best American writer of the generation.  Each issue featured some delectable European car or other.

I fell in love with the Jaguar E-Type FHC when R&T published a test of it.  I fell in love again when they printed a test of a Ferrari GTO.  I was nearly off the seat with excitement when I first laid eyes on a test of the Lamborghini Mura.  I could've died a Happy Man on reading a test of the Ferrari Dino 246GTS.

Retromobile 2014 ~ in Red
 Ferrari 246GTB Dino
Make mine Fly Yellow, please.  It'd be
Just the Thing for touring northern Italy...

Make my Jag any color but silver!  Let me become rich enough to afford the Ferrari GTO with it's monster V12, 6 twin Weber downdraft carb motivator!!  Can I once again hear a Mura's "whooooop!!!" as it fires up at 5:05pm?  It used to sit behind the building in the parking lot where I worked as a B&W print technician on Hollywood Blvd.  Can you make my 246GTS Fly Yellow?  Please???

After I grew up and realized it took Serious Money to own any of these toys (and I only ever owned the Cheapest Most Unreliable Jags I could find), my moto-head swiveled in the direction of Italian motorcycles.  I bought, sight un-seen, a Ducati 500 Pantah, and had it delivered half-way across the country.  Black was it's color and Sophia was her name.

A colleague sold me his old Ducati 860GT.  It'd eaten a valve and made a mess of things in the motor.  While it took me a couple years to find a 900SS crank, a replacement cylinder sleeve, and a new pair of pistons, it was worth the wait.  It started first kick every time.  It ran strong and hard.  It barked a beautiful note out it's twin Conti pipes.

Retromobile 2014 ~ in Silver
 Ferrari 512BB
Have you ever seen 6 twin Webers sitting
atop that glorious flat-12?  Such art, this...

A good friend who goes by the moniker Guru-ji sold me his Ducati 750GT.  Godders had done a beautiful job installing a Fly Yellow glassfibre tank, with clear gas level sight gauge down it's flanks, and side covers.  It came with a 2 into 1 custom pipe.  It started with ease, first kick every time.  His (the bike's) name was Thunder.

Alas, all that is just a distant memory.  I'll likely dig out my old large format film negatives and bring them back to France with me later this year.  They'll need to be scanned so I can work on them some more.  Perhaps I'll make a print or two.  Which leads me to wonder if I still have the negs and slides of my old Jags?

Yes, these were the vehicles of my youthful dreams.  To see them now... well... it nearly brings tears to my eyes... as I haunt the car festivals here in Europe... to re-live... to remember...

[My Flickr set from Retromobile 2104]

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