When I was twenty-three years old and in my first "stable" career I set out to buy my first luxury car. What happened to the car I was driving prior to that point can be read here in the somewhat infamous Explorer lawsuit article I put out about a month ago.
The car I had set my mind on as my first big car purchase was a six-speed Infiniti G35 sedan and I spent months tracking down and test driving them to find my ideal car. While cruising Craigslist during this time, I kept running across an ad for a car I wasn't initially interested in, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to see it. This car was nowhere near the cost of the G35, nor was it even in the same class or produced within the same decade. My curiosity became so strong that I gave the owner a call and set out to meet him at his house. The next day, I spent the down payment money for my Infiniti on this:
My 1979 MGB, the night I brought it home.
Because I am apparently an idiot - or that's what everyone in my automotive circle told me.
As soon as I started driving that car around, people began paying more attention to me and those who weren't well versed in car culture often asked what sort of car it was. The attention from the car community mostly concerned people saying how they are garbage, leak oil, rust like a tin can, are unreliable, and have a tendency to spontaneously catch fire.
Oh yeah, Lucas wiring...
Lots of it...
Also, in complete honesty and full disclosure, the car did catch fire randomly... Three separate and unrelated times...
Just look at it though.
When everything was working properly and I wasn't having to take bits of the poor girl apart to maintain her, she was a stunning little nugget of machinery.
The thing is, people often asked me back then and still do to this day if I would recommend they purchase one of these British-Leyland beauties and I have come up with what I feel is an accurate representation of how a person can come to a solid answer.
Everyone knows or has known someone who has a dating life which makes you ask yourself certain questions about their decision making abilities. Most of these friends are great people who have their lives together overall, but miss the mark when choosing their mates and you just don't understand it. I have seen really intelligent friends date men and women which I could tell were a bad match upon even our initial encounter. My brain hurts when I see one of my peers who is on a good track and solid direction start taking interest in someone who is a woman/manchild, on a separate level of motivation in life, carries excessive baggage, or simply gives you and the rest of your peers a bad vibe.
I think we are are all guilty of everything I mentioned above at some point, myself included. A few years ago, I dated a woman for some months who couldn't hold down a job, talked as if she had ambition but didn't, and stayed stoned fairly often around me even though I won't touch the stuff.
The writing was on the wall with that one and I still fell into the trap. What does this have to do with owning an old, British car?
Most people like to get in a car, turn the key, and know that the majority of the time it will start right away and all you have to do is take it in for an oil change every now and then. Your daily life works much more easily and everything stays on schedule just as it should, but you won't get this with an old British car because they can be temperamental and moody.
-Just like most people would rather date someone dependable who isn't always late, too drunk, or otherwise too unstable to see on a regular basis.
Most people would rather use their enclosed garage as the area they walk through when getting into or leaving their car and that is the end of it. These same people probably don't own a set of Feeler Gauges or know how to adjust a mechanical valve train. Old British cars require tools and are not for you.
-Just like most people would rather be comfortable in the environment they share with someone and not have it be a constant battle of having to continually tweak their relationship to make it work properly.
Most people aren't really into the person they are dating calling them things like "flavor of the week", "Mr. Right Now", "My bitch", or insert anything else fairly offensive whether said in public or private (these people are absolute scum, by the way). Old British cars make very strange, often aggravating, and ever-changing noises, and as such are not for you.
-Just like most people would rather be called by their name and not subjected to things which make them cringe or feel as if they have done something improperly to deserve it.
Unlike the world was a few decades ago, most people don't like smoking of any variety because of the odor and health hazards. Old British cars smell, they just do, and if you don't like strange smells, they are not for you.
-Just like most people have an issue with kissing an ashtray and not wanting their partner's residual smoke to stick in the fabric of their clothes.
Some people have fond memories of a person they knew from years before and this sometimes skews their perception of what sort of person they are looking at and forming a relationship with in the present. If you romanticize expectations of someone being ideal for you because of who you knew in the past, old British cars are not for you.
-Just like we sometimes place someone's personality at a particular place in time and always think of them that way, even if they are nothing like their former self, old British print ads make cars look exciting and unique; but this comes at a price of either getting familiar with how to fix their constant little issues and sometimes driving yourself crazy. This usually results in pawning the responsibility of the required operations upon someone else.
Does this make sense now, or have I reached too far outward with my comparisons?
The thing is, I loved my little MGB which I took a chance with and purchased on a whim. I also knew going into this experience that there were many horror stories floating around from people who had made the same decision as me in the past. Often times, going into a situation where you know drama exists and having some sort of amazingly romanticized expectation of the results can put us at a loss for our original intentions.
Sometimes we end up buying the problems which were created by others whether it be the manufacturer (family), wear and tear (past relationships), or the roads traveled (personal experiences). Everything we do is somewhat of a calculated risk and if you ever have to question whether or not you should take the plunge into anything at any level of commitment, it is probably best to limit your personal involvement in said situation.
Are we still talking about cars? Sort of, because you can apply my idea either way. Just know that if you go into something having to ask too many questions about the situation, are afraid to show your experience to your immediate circle, or are wondering if your perceptions are skewed by your own mind, take a step back and look in as an outsider before making a decision.
Sometimes situations serve their purpose, but be mindful that attachment also usually requires letting go at some point.
I sold my MGB in 2010.
If I ever have another one, it will be exactly what I want and something I will never willingly let go.
I feel the same way about women.
Grace and Peace,