Love at First Sight!

“Driving a hot car is a lot like sex to me, or a lot like I keep thinking sex should be: A total body experience, overwhelming, to all senses, taking you places you’ve never been, packing a punch that leaves you breathless and touches your soul. The Viper was way more satisfying (than) my last boyfriend.”        – Karen Marie Moning, Fafever

*I had to chuckle when I read the above quote.

It’s finally summer in Saskatchewan and for car buffs that means bringing their restored gems out of hibernation. It’s a bittersweet time for me as I am reminded of what we once had.

A few years after my husband and I were married we decided it was time for a larger, more practical car, better suited to our rural lifestyle. What we ended up purchasing was an impractical, road-hugging sports model, but the car of our dreams.

It all started innocently enough. We wandered into a dealership and there it sat in the showroom – a candy-apple red 1974 GTO Pontiac Ventura. It was love at first sight!

We had never considered buying a muscle car, but the road test quickly changed our minds. The 4-speed stick shift transmission made driving pure joy, and the 350 blue-block high performance engine responded eagerly to the slightest acceleration. When the air scoop engaged, we felt like race car drivers. By the time we returned to the dealership, it was a done deal!

From the moment we purchased that car, it turned heads no matter where we went. Everyone, from roadside construction workers to suit-clad businessmen to giggly teenage girls, stopped to admire our GTO. The students where we taught school drooled over the hope that they might get a chance to drive it; however, a ride in the backseat was about as close as most would get.

Shifting gears took a practiced touch, but if you kept your ear tuned to the sound of the engine the tachometer was not necessary. And, oh, the sound of that motor was heaven! Although some of the older residents in town might not have appreciated the roar of that engine, it was sweet music to our ears.

No matter where we went, someone was sure to ask about that car, and we were more than eager to brag about its features. Occasionally it did garner some unwelcomed attention as well. Sometimes other sports cars would pull up alongside on the highway or at a traffic light, lurching beside us, taunting us to drag. Other times the police would pull us over expecting to find joy-riding rowdies, only to discover two young professionals enjoying the drive and the scenery.  But most of the time we just received admiring glances.

But, alas, the day came when we had to sell that car as it no longer fit our lifestyle – a baby seat in the back just didn’t fit the image, and we couldn’t afford the upkeep of a second vehicle. It was a sad day indeed when we had to part ways!

Nowadays we often see other baby boomers in their restored vintage cars cruising the streets of summer. It’s then that we long for our little GTO so that we too could pull up to the stop light, rev up the motor and imagine for a moment that we are 25 again!

 

Originally rolling off the assembly line in 1964, the Pontiac GTO is considered by many to be the first muscle car to hit the American shores. After a solid 10-year run, the classic GTO was discontinued after 1974. However, nostalgia hit the car industry hard in the 21st century and, along with competitors like the Dodge Charger, the Pontiac GTO was reintroduced to the North American market.        – Autobytel.com

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