The Land Rover Writer

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Smelly Cars

I drove the Corvair onto the ferry the other day, but not without a grimace from a crew member who looked askance at the car. That fact was passed along to me by an off-islander in a pickup behind me. He saw the crew member stare underneath the rear of the car, and it left him with the impression "that I didn't know if they'd let you aboard."

The crew member peered into the window and asked, "is it leaking gas or oil?" I suggested oil as the engine was in the rear, and the gas tank was up front. He made a face and waved me aboard the boat. 

Ninety minutes later, when we prepared to disembark, the crew member listened to me start up the car, turned to face me, and held his nose. He attempted to provide levity with a grin, but all I could think of was duplicity. See, we were aboard a 40+ year old ferry with two huge diesel engines of the "black belch" variety and their fumes wafted through the cabin the entire voyage. Who, I might ask, are you calling "smelly." He would later protest that he simply felt the car emitted too many hydrocarbons, unlike apparently, the MV Everett Liibby.

When the Corvair arrived in the parking lot of a local discount auto parts place, it was very well received indeed. When the charming 20-something who cuts my hair saw the car arrive at her shop, her words and body language convinced me of her sincerity about the beauty of the Corvair [of which she knew nothing; her first car, she rhapsodized, was purple 1995 Chevy Cavalier, a car that helped lead GM into eventual bankruptcy.]

No wonder she liked the looks, the sound and the smell of the Corvair.