Having now made a commitment to Mark for him to ride shotgun in Monterey and today also having purchased a Concorso Italiano ticket, I thought I'd better check I have a car to take! It's been well over 9 months since the GT5 has seen the light of day, in fact I can't actually recall when I drove it last, not since I started the new job last October, so in all honesty probably Monterey last year!
I dug my way through all the crap that had accumulated in that space between the front of it and the garage door, moving a scooter (pit bike) that didn't want to start, with thoughts of “so this is the way the evening is going to go” already crossing my mind… I ducked and shimmied myself between the car and lift careful not to bump my head, which I have done so many times I've lost count and I’m sure I have a permanent dimple to prove it (some might say brain damage). I disconnected the trickle charger, pulled the cover and even more awkwardly squeezed into the car with the driver’s door partially open, feet first into the foot well. Once in it felt much like it does pulling on my helmet at the race track; snug and reassuring with a sense of anticipation and trace of nervousness. It took a little time to prime the carb via the mechanical pump, but eventually she sputtered into life, quickly filling the garage with those ever recognizable fumes of overly rich partially burnt gas mixed with accumulated cobwebs/dust being burnt off of hot surfaces.
Carefully I edged her out of the garage and just sat and savored the moment while she got warm enough to idle, albeit somewhat rough, much like an old man the morning after a night of debauchery. I ran inside to find the registration tag and insurance card to replace those that had long since expired. Finally laid my hands on the tag, right along with the new plates, WTF why do I need mandatory replacement plates on my cars every 7 years? That’s the craziest money grabbing stint ever heard of; but wait, Nevada has transitioned back to stamped plates that the prisoners crank out rather than the decal style (which they introduced to save money at the prisons). They do look so much better, so I shouldn’t complain for $7 a pair and I get a garage wall ornament of the old plates to boot. I digress, and my car is idling in the driveway, waiting like the caged Panther it is to be released into its predatory hunting grounds, ready to pounce on unsuspecting coffee can rice burners that have a notion that a 70’s car can’t be fast and cool.
But this is no ordinary 70’s styling (albeit with a touch of 80's flare); I can feel the heads turning, eyes staring as soon as I round the corner from my neighborhood onto the main street. A guy in a big RAM truck rolls coal from his diesel pulling away from the first light in an effort to impress me. I cut through that crap in an instant and leave him wondering. The lights are against me as we pull up to the next one and he’s rolling down his window excited like a kid at Christmas, I honestly at one point thought he may be going to propose he was so enamored.
The other side I have a Jeep SR8, the Pantera is physically rocking as the idle is set a little low, I feather the throttle and it’s enough to make him think twice, maybe he had seen what happened to the RAM, sheepishly he pulls away (ewe that was a bad pun).
It’s a similar story at each light, I’m wondering if some whizz kid out there has an app that changes lights to red just to get another glimpse of this beauty. I look in the rear view mirror and over the vibrating air cleaner I see the Lexus behind me has a Mom driving and son in the passenger seat both with their noses stuck to the windshield, tongues hanging out and eyes squinting trying to read the script on the rear of the car. I don’t know if they got it, but if that kid wasn’t the one with the traffic light app I’m damn sure he’s on Google now and we are about to have one more convert to the fold.
I pull into the small mall and there’s a flurry of activity, smart phones come out faster than I can answer the questions. Its amazing kids nowadays can draw a smartphone, take a photo and upload it to Facebook quicker than a cowboy could get his finger on the trigger of a six shooter. But I’m not here to showboat; this is a grocery run, well sort of, more the precooked variety, aka fast food. I’m in line and a guy starts showing me photos of his buddies GT40, yes I have one of those too! We continue the car related chat out into the parking lot and part ways new friends, who said gasoline cars are a dying breed, there’s nothing to get excited about an electric motor! (Ooh another more subtle pun). I linger as the final few get there photo shot from just the right angle, after all who wants to be tagged in a less than perfect photo on FB!
I head home via the Freeway to be able to open her up a little, but the downside is it’s over all too soon, before I know it I'm home and eating dinner. Man that Panda Express tasted good….not because it’s a quality meal simply because of the pleasure it brought me to be out in the Pantera again, why did I wait so long dammit!
Who the f*^k said fast food isn’t good for you!