Sunday, February 01, 2009

Cars - Part I

People that know me well know about my obsession with Ferrari. Hell, people that don't know me well probably know about it, too. I do tend to go on and on about them. It's gotten to the point where I've overheard people talking about me and saying, "Dr. Chako? Yeah, he's that Ferrari-guy." But where did this come from?

The love affair begins at, of all places, IHOP

Dad and I were just coming out after breakfast. There in the parking lot sat two beautiful sports cars. I had never heard of Maserati before, but Dad sure had. The reverent tone he used when talking about them must have rung differently to my 8 year old ears. I would come to find out later that I was looking at matching Meraks, one red and one blue.

They looked mean just sitting there. I was hooked. We talked about them on the way home. Seeing my enthusiasm, Dad was sure to mention how unreliable they were and how rare it was to see one in the wild, since most were sitting in a shop somewhere, waiting on expensive parts that might never come. He wasn't convincing, though. I don't think he wanted to be.

What's a Ghia? Sounds Ghey.

Despite the horrible-sounding name, the next car to catch my fancy was the Karmann Ghia. I think it was even this color:

We again saw it in the parking lot of another restaurant, this time at a diner on Route 9 in Wappingers Falls, NY. It intrigued me because it was unlike anything else on the road. The name sounded cool, too. It was a car with hips. And it was small, too. Small and sexy with hips - does it come as a surprise that I was hitting puberty right about this time?

Gotta love Italians

Next up was the Detomasso Pantera. This was the first car I actually heard as well as saw. In a neighborhood filled with Iroc's and Mustangs, this car really stood out. The rear tires seems wider than they had a right to be and the sound was intoxicating. I was a little disappointed to find out they weren't true blood Italian sports cars, having a Ford powerplant, but I could tell by the curves that no American was at the helm of the design team.

I'm never washing this gash on my face again!

The last major formative car from my youth (besides the Ferrari) was an El Camino.

I hated the design and I hated the guy who drove it. He was one of the older boys and he was mean. Still, he had a car and I, being about 15 or 16, didn't. He used to pass us when we were waiting for the school bus. On more than one occasion, he'd gun it and spin the tires, throwing rocks all over us. I hated him for that most of all. Still, I envied him and vowed that some day, I'd be the one with the cool car. And I'd never abuse the power, either.

Next up, the inevitable transition to Ferrari.


Unknown said...

My dad just got his Karmann Ghia. I've never seen a happier face than his when he picked it up.

Sometimes the dreams you have are even better when you achieve them.


Unknown said...

Actually an American WAS at the helm of the Pantera design, Tom Tjaarda!

Unknown said...

You need to do some research. The Pantera was deigned by American Tom Tjaarda, who's father designed the Lincoln Zephyr (good taste was in their blood). He was working at Ghia in Italy at the time he designed the Pantera (and the Fiat 124 spider and many others) As for it not being a "true Italian", check out the likes of Italian cars by Bizzarini, Iso, and other Euro makers that had American engines (Monteverdi was Swiss).

Unknown said...

To the author, did you not know that the Pantera was designed by Tom TJaarda? Google it. An American. The fact that you state it’s not a true blood Italian sports car when it was built in Modena makes you uninformed. Maybe you try and use Wikipedia a bit more...

dets said...

Speaking for Ferraris, Tom did some of those, as well, when he was at Pininfarina said...