How many cars does one person need?
King Lear said as his ungrateful daughters were stripping away his skeletal retinue: "Reason not the need".
I grew up in an age where the car represented freedom and independence. Eisenhower was constructing our interstate highway system. Route 66 had two guys in a Corvette driving cross country adventuring and looking very cool.
In 1956 I fell victim to a ride in a black 1955 Thunderbird at a family reunion. The car was fast, the top was down, and I was transfixed by the idea of a an open cockpit automobile.
Prior to turning 16 my father and I had the long talk on what kind of car I should buy. He thought cheap. I had worked hard so I thought expensive. I was focused on a convertible but he clearly said no convertible.
I had discovered a 55 turquoise Chevrolet ragtop in Bremerton. He would not put his name on the title. So, I settled for a 55 hard top. I still think that delayed gratification has led to my owning many convertibles over the years. My one regret is that I didn't purchase a 61 Corvette in Honduran maroon with the removable hard top. That's what I really had my sites on when I settled for a 65 new Corvette. I guess when it comes to purchasing cars....it's a difficult time to be rational or realistic and to be willing to wait takes back seat.
Years later our kids where coming of age and learning to drive, so we put them in a heavy four door Peugeot tank fearing for their safety. So I guess ultimately the fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
I wish I had my own photos of this gathering of cars. But, alas, I did not archive my photos. I do remember all of their curves and crevices from the myriad washings and waxing sessions. So I feel a bit guilty grabbing other people's snapshots to represent almost all of these past vehicles. But then I had the originals and these reflections do a lot to bring them back.
When I returned to teaching I had a math lesson called "riebli's wrecks". The quest was this. Had I kept all of those cars, what would their value today be? Interesting question. Also, if I hadn't had these cars, how might the memories have to be edited?
Favorite car? Probably the silver Porsche. I didn't know that at the time. It had parts that broke, but they could always be fixed and the quality of manufacture of those parts was amazing. Also, the list price of replacement items was pretty stellar. Beth negotiated a really nice original silver repaint. The auto was by far the best handling car.
Worst vehicle? Definitely the Audi. It was constantly breaking.
Most fun car: All of the Miatas were great adventure cars. Show up at a campsite with a Miata, your favorite seat companion, a six section fly rod (with all of your camp gear in a duffle) and you are guaranteed one great evening after a day on the road.
In January of 2019 my 40 year maintenance shop told me my SLK was showing signs of a balance shaft issue. Repair cost: $4000 to $6000 with another $1000 to fix intake flap issue. I was told to try to sell the car. Instead, I started researching codes and symptoms. #2 son David and $500 worth of repair kits, thermostat body and eight new sensors cured all codes with about 7 hours of work. It pays to either know how to fix things and how to research with a wrench artist to cure big issues. Car did not have a balance shaft issue as it turns out.