Saturday, August 24, 2013

Vintage cars, dream bodies and time machines


The only type of automobile I was ever truly passionate about was the old British Jaguar. When I was living in England, I owned a Jaguar XJ6, circa 1970, that I was able to acquire very cheap. When I moved to the United States, I made the dreadful mistake of buying a similar Jaguar, the 1973 model, dirt-cheap, from a dealer in Manhattan. Needless to say, that one was a lemon. We called it the Beast, because whenever I stopped at an intersection, it would growl for forward action. However, its growls were heard less often than my moans, because it kept breaking down. 
     The only mechanic I could find who would consent to work on it on the eastern end of Long Island (I was living in Sag Harbor at the time) was a German named Uwe. Every time I brought the car in, or had it towed in, he would shout, "Once again you bring me this British piece of sh-t! Don't you know the English are no good at electrics? Why don't you get a good German car?"
    This is a prelude to some reflections on how the state of our cars, in our dreams, may reflect the state of our bodies. Of course, the dream car may be our physical car, or a symbol for something else, like a way of getting around in the world (a relationship, a job), or even an aspect of soul (the word "car" sounds like the Egyptian Ka, a soul vehicle that travels outside the body).
    Many years ago, I dreamed I was driving a racing green Jaguar XJ6 at high speed, over 100 mph. I was exhilarated, and turned a corner without touching the brakes. I seemed to have made the dangerous turn safely. But then everything stopped. A little dazed, I saw a man in a physician's white coat opening the hood of my car. Inside, instead of the engine, were a set of medical monitors. The car doctor took a look and said to me, gently but firmly, "This is a beautiful car, Robert. Drive it carefully. If you smash it up, you may not get one as good as this right away."
    Waking, I got the message: Slow down!
   
My experiences with the Beast and the German mechanic ended my love affair with Jaguars. I no longer dream of driving that make. I started dreaming, more than a decade ago, that I was driving a vintage Rolls Royce, circa 1950. I could hardly miss the fact that this was an analog for my body, since the Roller was pink. I smiled at the mirror that dream held up to the state of my body: larger and chunkier than it used to be, certainly  pink, but still (I hope) a class act.
    A few years after his death, my father appeared in a dream and handed me the keys to a car. He said, "I helped to give you this car, but how you drive it is up to you." That was nice.
    Now I am thinking about other car dreams. They include the rather literal dreams that rehearsed me for problems that lay ahead on the road (and helped me avoid possibly fatal accidents) and the adventures in which a special car becomes a time machine. I set off on some of my adventures in time travel in a snazzy 1930s touring car, or a recent-model zippy little yellow Mini Cooper.

42 comments:

Tam said...

I often dream of highways and roads which tell me where I am in my journey in a particular situation. I've dreamed of cars too. Once, a beat up old Ford Anglia lost on the road and then driving into a dark forest. More recently, a vintage Rolls Royce, too. Convertible. Silver. I love vintage cars. Thank you fo rthis post.

TheBusyMom said...

I also dream of driving a cor quote often. My most common dream of this sort varies in detail and setting, but involves me driving through a parking lot when my brakes fail. I end up going faster and faster, and unable to stop, until I turn the steering wheel sharply and send the car into a spin, crashing wildly into nearby vehicles until my car comes to a halt.

I invariably have this dream when I am anxious about my finances and feel like I am overspending. It is always a message to me to be more frugal in how I chose to spend my money.

I would be interested to hear what other readers have to say about it, though...if it were YOUR dream, what would you think about?

Ashely Redden said...

“...a special car becomes a time machine.” - Who wouldn't love a car like that? Be able to go to the place and time you choose would be so cool. You certainly had quite a lot of adventures with your cars. You definitely know how to make the most out of these. #Ashely @ Infinitiofannarbor.com

loyloy tuxie said...

wow... really awesome vintage car. I also dream of that one day I can have my own vintage car customized by me.


regards,
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Danille Folson said...

Your car looks awesome! Vintage cars never fail to amaze me, and I wonder where are these fantastic creations hide. I hope you continue its regular maintenance and keep it at its best condition!

Danille@CarBuyCo.ca

Rhonda Burgess said...

What a great post! Car enthusiasts will always find the way to get to drive their dream cars. It feels great to know your story, and how you value your cars. I do hope others will do the same: drive their cars like there's no tomorrow, take time to admire the new places that they drive through, and be proud of their car whatever the model is. Thanks for the share, Robert! :)

Rhonda Burgess @ BobDunnHyundai.com

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Thomas Watson said...

High-end luxury and sports cars stir the imagination, yet few will ever be able to buy them.

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Ankita Shukla said...
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Priyanka Seth said...

My dream car is a BMW 7 series. I hope to buy it some day. I did a test drive of the car at BMW Deutsche Motoren. This car is a true beauty

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Greg Prosmushkin said...

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