I stumbled across this when I was cleaning out my bookmarks. Made me get all “the feels” all over again (and question why I’d ever sell a Morgan), so I’m sharing it on oppo again for all y’all. -Vee, 5/5/15
Originally Published 10/12/13
There’s something rather majestic about driving a car. Not driving for the sake of reaching a destination, but rather driving to enjoy the drive. It’s a liberating feeling, regardless of the vehicle. Every time I get behind the wheel of a car I hark back to that very first time I drove a car, I was 13, home alone and hopped in the family minivan and drove around the neighborhood. Terrified, but even in those 15 terrifying minutes the feeling was evident, I was free. That’s why I love driving, I get to relive the thrill of being 13, dumb, carefree and stupid all over again. Now a days the cars have changed, the location has too, but the feeling is all the same.
Note: All photos have been publicly sourced to protect author’s privacy and by author’s privacy...I forgot to take pictures.
I never drive up the Coast, for the most part I’m usually just too busy. Between life and career and other commitments taking a day to myself is almost unheard of, but sometimes a man’s just got to do it. Pack a backpack with some water, a jacket, and some tunes, throw it in the passenger seat, carefully take down the joke of a soft-top, and just drive away. Drive away from life, from worries, from all the responsibilities that we as adults have to deal with, mortgages, family, work, bills etc. Just enjoy the extremely visceral act of maneuvering a machine at speed to no particular destination. Let go of all the chains that may burden you and simply drive.
I like to consider myself a gearhead, but other than routine maintenance and repairs of my cars I rarely, if ever enjoy them. When I was a teen I’d just hop in my car and drive for an hour on the back roads just to get away from my family, instantly feeling better about my life and the silly little concerns that bother all 17 and 18 year olds. This drive was my chance to reclaim the title, to waste some gas in the passionate pursuit of absolutely nothing. To clear my head and to to come back ready for another go at the grind we call life.
The drive was an unmitigated disaster to start. The old Morg, as plucky Brits are wont to do, decided not to start. Jangling the Lucas Electrics got it going again, but not before the carburetor decided to spout off like an old man with COPD. A bit of carburetor cleaner and I was on my way. I’ll be honest, after those two issues I almost decided to just can the whole drive, but the old voice in my head told me to plant my butt in that seat and go for it. So go for it I did.
It’s hard to describe what happened next, somewhere between leaving Los Angeles and getting on Highway 1, a smile crept onto my face. Not the type of smile that you give to people you meet on a day to day basis, but a genuine smile that comes from those rare moments of true joy in your life. I don’t really know why it happened at that exact moment, there wasn’t anything particularly wonderful about the drive thus far, but I’m almost certain it had something to do with the happiness of being behind the wheel of this unreliable little beaut. It truly was a magnificent feeling, like a hearty laugh, I was completely lifted from my body and elated and it only strengthened as the day went on. This was true driving emotion. I was finally old enough and mature enough to understand that this is the feeling that we as gearheads clamor for. Automakers try and market this feeling to us at every given chance, but it’s not something that can be told, it can only be felt. It is pure, unadulterated, joy. I started to think back to the conversations I used to have with my late uncle, the whole reason I even have this Morgan. The way he’d describe driving his spitfire on the British A roads in the 60s, not going anywhere in particular, just enjoying the feeling of going, eventually finding some pub to grab a pint and some grub and drive home. It sounded wonderful, and now I was doing the same. When I lost my uncle earlier this year, it was these memories of him that I remembered most. The stories of the moments when (I didn’t realize at the time) he was truly happy. Of course he had other moments of great happiness, but there is something to be said of the private happiness that a man shares with himself, I was understanding that feeling with every mile I traversed towards the vineyards. Oh what a lovely feeling it was!