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Take me home country roads!

Dandy Don Cunningham and Baytown Bert
The Germans call it Fahrvergnügen. The condition starts for most of us at age 15 and if we are one of the chosen ones, it never goes away. It is the love of driving cars, trucks, and anything from a riding mower to a moped. You would think that in this country we would have our own word, but we don’t that I am aware of.

Some of us are like Jay Leno and own far more cars than the legal limit. I say that tongue firmly planted in my cheek, but don’t be surprised when the US government starts fooling with what you can and cannot drive. They will enact some law(s) to gradually remove our ability to physically operate automobiles in the manual mode. Count on it. It will be for the good of the people.

Others fall in love with one or more vehicles and shine them up and pour a good portion of their life savings into them to share at car shows like the one on Texas Avenue last week. By the way, my three favorite cars were the Buick Grand National owned by our own parable sage, Dandy Don Cunningham. Second was the peachy-colored 1953 Mercury coupe who someone said the owner has had for 38 years. It was spotless and beautiful in the extreme.

The third was a black Studebaker that was hot-rodded out and looked like a WWII bomber. Wow! What a car! One of my brothers is a MOPAR man. He has built and raced two Chrysler cars and drives a Dodge Diesel truck that runs the quarter mile in under 12 seconds — maybe 11. Myself and my other two brothers are Jeep guys and baby brother’s is a fully restored 1944 Willys Jeep that saw service in France.

My pal Larry Houston drives an early 1960’s black Cadillac convertible that if I’m not mistaken(!) is 28 feet long. Another neighbor, Butch Hodges, has a black 1967 Chevelle that he drags all over tarnation winning awards left and right. He cranks it up every once in a while and a few minutes later the seismologists are driving around the neighborhood. 

Motor enthusiasts watch videos and want to hear the motors rumbling exhaust and turn their noses up when they get AC/DC or Pearl Jam for background music instead. When they pull up to a red light and there is a VW beetle in the lane next to them, they unroll the window to once again experience the nostalgic sound.

At a car show they’ll stand and talk to total strangers and grin and blab on about a 1969 GTO Judge they always wanted, or a 1955 Chevy Nomad, that of course had to be competition orange and have Cragar 08/61 wheels. They’ll explain why so few Roadrunners had the Hemi motor and the 383 CU instead (No one could afford the $400 extra dollars).

True auto enthusiasts like to change their own oil because, “They want it done right, dang it!” They can tell you horror stories about work that was done by incompetent mechanics and like to use the phrase, “Buy tools, not labor” when around their friends to impress them.

I haven’t owned a truck in 15 years and I recently bought a 2004 Ford. It’s my first Ford other than one we took over from my parents in law years ago. I immediately fell in love with it. It had about a thousand dollars worth of work that it needed, but I got it at a cut rate cost from a friend and immediately fixed these issues. Now I am driving (get it?) my bride crazy talking about it, looking out the front door every so often to adoret it, and coming up with reasons to crank up the powerful 5.4 liter motor. “Hey baby, have I told you how much fun I’m having with this new truck?” She yawns.

She is not a car person. She uses them to get from one place to another. Can you believe that? “What? You need five bags of bark mulch? OK, I’ll be right back!”


Anonymous said…
BAM: My car crush!
Anonymous said…
Bruce Marshall: I love a car that is lovable. I have had 4
Anonymous said…
Anonymous said…
DDC: Bert, I read your column in The Baytown Sun this morning (still getting used to your column being in there on Thursday, instead of Friday), and it was another fantastic one.
You are right about that ailment (?) that hits young men. It hit me, my brother, my son, my nephew, and many friends. It's very addictive. Thank you so much for your comment about the Grand National. My son, Jarrod and I have worked hard to make the car what it is. I have owned it for 23 years and it is a 30 year old car. So, I've had it almost all of its life.
I'm so glad you were able to get a pickup, and it's a very nice one. There are things you can do with a pickup that you cannot with any other vehicle. I hope you have a long life of service out of it. Thanks again for the mention, brother.

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