Paying Homage to the Automobile

My 1967 Camaro

My 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396

So . . . blog posts should have substance, should they not? They should tackle thorny issues and momentous decisions; social policy and government actions that affect us all. I’m sorry to say this one just doesn’t fill the bill. There’s nothing momentous about it at all. In fact, part of it is a commercial for Chevrolet, though that isn’t the reason I’m including it here.

I was born in downtown Los Angeles and raised in the San Fernando Valley. As is true with many of us native Angelenos, I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the automobile. My very first car was a 1957 Chevy Bel-Air. It had a 3-speed manual transmission, and the previous owner had transitioned the shifter from the steering column to the floor. It was a dream car, but for one flaw. It was a four-door. Still, I was only 16 and it was truly something special.

I’ve only had one new car in my life. A 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SS 396. Actually, if I remember correctly it was leased to the business my father had bought for me. I only owned the car for about six months, because I decided I didn’t want to spend the rest of my what at that point was a very short life working about 15 hours a day. The business was mine for about eight months. It was somewhat of a disaster as my father ended up having to sell it at a substantial loss. I didn’t realize just how much it mattered until, years later, I did a time-value of money calculation. I was an idiot. I chalk it up to youth, naiveté, and incredible stupidity. The Summer of Love may have had something to do with it as well, but that’s another story.

As the years went by I came to view automobiles primarily as conveyances to and from locations that were important to me. Creature comfort was nice, but much of it not absolutely necessary. I was in no way invested emotionally in my cars and, over the years I’ve had plenty of them. In my late twenties, when I was in Law School, I worked for a lawyer whose practice involved representing three of the largest car rental agencies in town. I drove everything from a Porsche 914 to a Mercedes 450 SL. They were fun, but I never once wished they were mine.

At any rate, this video was sent to me by an old friend from High School. We are only a few years away from our 50th reunion, so it’s been a long time . . . and some of us have stayed in touch. He, being an old man like me, still shares most everything via email (unlike me). I was moved by the story and, even though this is around a year old and is a commercial for Chevy, the story is moving and I thought I would share it. You might get a kick out of it. I did. The car sounds awesome.

About Rick Ladd

I retired nearly 13 years ago, though I've continued to work during most of the time since then. I'm hoping to return to work on the RS-25 rocket engine program (formerly the SSME) which will power our return to the moon. Mostly I'm just cruising, making the most of what time I have remaining. Although my time is nearly up, I still care deeply about the kind of world I'll be leaving to those who follow me and, to that end, I am devoted to seeing the forces of repression and authoritarianism are at least held at bay, if not crushed out of existence. I write about things that interest me and, as an eclectic soul, my interests run the gamut from science to spirituality, governance to economics, art and engineering. I'm hopeful one day my children will read what I've left behind. View all posts by Rick Ladd

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