Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cooper is home!

It just goes to show, that time is not wasted in waiting. Cooper has arrived!

The great majority of you may know my penchant for naming inanimate objects (my bass guitars, Gordon and Clayton, my ’90 Dodge Grand Caravan, the Phoenix…you get the idea); well, this is no exception! I named my new 1974 Volkswagen Beetle after the most notable character from the television series Twin Peaks, filmed in North Bend, Washington, which is where this car came from.

I keep very simple and distinct wants in life. I don’t aspire to own the useless excessive crap that plagues the households of America; there are a few things that are unmistakable reflections of my character.

Most people have a dream car. For most, it is a sports car, or a muscle car. Nowadays, people are actually dull enough to want an Escalade, or H2 or some other piece of shit! I can understand wanting a ’70 Cuda, a ‘69 Charger, ’57 Chevy or a ’68 Camaro. I can even understand the allure of an old Cadillac or Thunderbird, maybe a Packard or a Model A, but I can’t get excited about a car that is idolized only for its social status. That is why, in my mind, Mercedes, BMW and even Porsche are irrelevant these days; their design and engineering is wasted on the ignorant and the rich.

For me the ultimate car has always been the Beetle. Ever since I was young lad, taking a drive from my Grandma’s house in the orange-ish red Beetle of my Uncle Larry, down Dupont and back in Claremore, Oklahoma, I have been hooked! The Herbie movies did not help either! I knew then what I wanted, and over the years that fascination may have taken a back seat, I still never forgot.

As I grew, I learned more about the wonderful little car. In my life, I owned a ’68 Camaro R/S (a car I would like to revisit some day!), a ’68 Firebird, an ’86 Monte Carlo SS (another car I would like to revisit!), then slightly more boring, with the 1996 Sunfire and a 2001 Cavalier. Currently I own a 1990 Dodge Grand Caravan; she’s a mighty good ship! Yet, I never regained that truly personal automobile.

The Beetle was, and is, engineering genius. It outsold the Model T, and lasted for the entirety of its lifespan with little or no major deviation from the original design. I recently saw a book entitled “Crappy Cars”, in which the Beetle was included. Simply put, this bastard was way off base. The car was not designed for the egotistical, money-wasting and spoilt polluting motorists of the modern age; it is a car steeped in simple elegance and functionality, all of which sets it apart from any other automobile in the world! You can listen to people cry and moan all they want about the heater or the size or the lack of power, but my Beetle has only 48 horsepower, more than enough to bring the top speed to 81 mph. Why does anyone need a car that goes any faster? If I wanted to race, I would be at the track.

I am looking forward to driving Cooper. The steering is manual, as are the brakes, without any power assist. I will be able to feel the road as I shift through the gears, taking corners, and feeling the wind blow through the window.

He’s not in the best shape, but I know he’s a good ship, and he’ll sail soon enough. I have big plans for Cooper in the future, but for now, I am going to get him safely on the road. Then, my eccentric ideas for the ultimate car will slowly fall into place!


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