My family is driving two used cars. One is a ten-year-old “Grandpa Car” that was purchased because it is reported to be the safest vehicle for teenage drivers. You will never see a picture of it in this blog, as the mere sight of it depresses me.
The other, the ’64 Rambler, is my daily driver. It is very cool, but it can be disconcerting to drive. When I am behind the wheel, strangers on the street frequently wave, point, and gesture–enthusiastically. Since I am always thinking about something other than my car, I am usually startled by the cheerful public response.
The Rambler has two features I adore. First, it has these tough little antennae that scrape loudly and “boing” when you are grazing too close to a hard surface, like a curb. It’s a refreshingly low-tech and durable solution to an enduring problem.
Second, I am charmed by the “Vibratone” rear speaker system. When you turn it on, your radio sounds are projected through two back seat speakers that are literally vibrating. The echo-ey sound is supposed to make you feel like you are in a live concert venue. Not exactly. It just makes me laugh.
But I found a new aspect of the car that charmed me yesterday. Under the dash is a swiveling chrome tissue box. I call it my “windshield defrost system” because it works better than the blower.
But what surprised me this weekend? Well, I have to admit that I have never looked inside the tissue box myself…but I was watching my husband fill it yesterday. And was so delighted to see that the tissues get placed inside this hand-crafted wooden box whose lining is an exact match to the seat upholstery!
Now those were the days…when a car was a car and someone fussed over the hidden rectangle of fabric in my tissue box. And to think the Rambler was a real budget car, in its heyday. (It still is inexpensive today…they call it the “orphan car” because so few people collect them. You can get one for a song.)
If you are really into this, you can see me driving my car in this video.