Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reminiscences

That undriven Porsche brought to mind the Jan & Dean song later covered by the Beach Boys:



When I moved to La Crescenta in 1975 to work for Jet Propulsion Labs I spent a bit of time in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd., and I was struck by how many of the Datsum 260Z and 280Zs, and especially the 2+2 variant


were driven by what seemed at the time to be very old people (in retrospect, my current age).  The 280Z was for a while my dream car, having edged out, for no good reason, the Porsche 911S.  It all seemed so unfair at the time, driving around in my Datsun B210.


which really wasn't a bad car.  I went around a corner in it so fast that body roll pulled the speedometer cable loose from the speedometer.  

There was an ad some years ago for some brand of liquor whose name escapes me that showed some guys dressed like Sinatra's Rat Pack on a good night in an apartment overlooking Manhattan with cigars and glasses of this silly liquor with the caption, "Success Living well is the best revenge."  It takes away the pain of my unsatisfied car lust from 40 years ago.  Envy can be a useful trait if properly channeled.


2 comments:

w said...

My Dad bought the last year 280Z (1978 in that year) and it was a limited edition California dealer special with a custom black paint job loaded with the best options including a digital auto-tuning 8-track (I know, laugh) stereo (forget brand, but it was a very nice high end, Japanese setup), black with burgundy velour, sun roof, ~$250 a piece wire wheels with high end tires and beautiful hand painted pin striping done by a guy who signed it "Crow" and my Dad was told the artist has done many celebrity cars including work for Steve McQueen.

It was a nice car!

He used to street race (remote highways in the southern CA desert) a friend of his who had a 911 (the guy was a hairstylist in Anaheim who had celebrity clients). The Porsche being lighter was faster in acceleration, but the Z did quite well on the high end (over 140 MPH as I recall) and being a water cooled engine held up for long distance at high speed better.

As I recall I think the 911 was like $25K new (this was a long time ago and I was a teenage kid so forgive me) and my Dad's Z had cost him from the dealer around $16K in '78 (a hell of lot of money especially for an industrial machine mechanic working in La Mirada which was my Dad).

Sadly Z cars became ruined by the 2+2 and power robbing add ons. I see very few now and many are rust buckets (Japanese cars from the 70's and early 80's had lousy factory paint and undercoatings--I imagine they knew nothing about US roads and salt, etc.

Sadly the car was wrecked after a Santa Ana car lot owned by a mobster's lawyer stole the money from the people stupid enough to write their check to the dealer instead of the lien holder (my Dad was selling on consignment because of divorce) and then the lien holder wrecked the car when a "young hot momma" in the office of the thrift and loan decided why should such a nice car that had been repo'ed and just sitting in storage (it was low miles and like new in '83 when this happened) should take it to Vegas for the weekend for fun and who would know as long as she had it back by Sunday!

As she pulled out of storage Friday evening she failed to yield to an old guy driving a '60's Buick (think barge) and it totaled the Z car! *SOB* Somewhere I have a color slide (pre-wreck) my Dad took of it...I should scan it...

Even more interesting...after that happened the S&L company office tried to cover it up and charge it as bad debt against my Dad and wrecked his credit. After we lost our home we couldn't rent because of it. We went over to the office and had an argument (my Dad, teenage me and my sister who was 8 at the time) with them. We never threatened them with bodily harm and there were no weapons present, but it did get heated. They called 911. We waited outside in the public parking lot (it was in a little strip mall in Orange County). The local police showed up. Talked to my Dad and them. As the loan office crooks were listening from right outside the office the cop told my Dad "I would sue their asses off!" and left. I will never forget watching those people's jaws hit the concrete sidewalk (this was '83).

w said...

I had a late 60's/early 70's Datsun station wagon hand-me-down from my Grandpa. It was a rust bucket--severe cancer. Those engines were notorious for blowing head gaskets as mine did...coolant out the tail pipe--I could hear it flowing down the exhaust! I was a broke kid at the time with no way to return to it in a storage yard so had to abandon it--they must have sold it for scrap. The roof would have to have been cut off and replaced the rust was so bad...