It’s an old story…a man hits the “mid-life crisis” and trades in the minivan for a Corvette, Porsche or something sporty. Or he buys a Harley and relegates her car to the driveway so that his new love won’t have to sleep outside. “Recapturing his youth” is the theme of the day.
For those of us in the House Spouse age group, “youth” revolved around mobility. We did what we wanted to do because we had wheels, and those wheels set us free. We could go out on Friday night, cruise the town, meet friends, and have fun because our cars let us do that. We had cool cars – at least that is how we remember them now, from a distance.
Today I have two vehicles that I use on a daily basis. I have an eighteen-year-old Ford pickup that has over two hundred thousand miles on it; it does the heavy lifting for the family. I also have a Porsche Boxster that I use as a daily driver to get me to work, run errands, etc. Now before you jump to conclusions about my own mid-life crisis, make a couple of notes here…first, I have had a Porsche of one type or another in my garage for nearly thirty years, and second, this is not “mid-life” that I am talking about…there are very few hundred-and-twenty-year-olds out there to place me at “mid-life.”
That said, the classic and custom car market tells us what is going on right now with the House Spouse generation. At the auctions, people are paying big money for muscle cars from the sixties and seventies, such as Road Runners, Mustangs, Camaros, and such. These are the cars that we lusted for in our youth, and lots of House Spouse-ers now have the means to acquire and enjoy them. Price is a great indicator of demand, and we are not buying these forty to fifty year old cars as complete original restorations. Instead we are buying resto-mods that look like the old cars we remember, but have modern drive trains, brakes and interior conveniences like efficient air conditioning, heated leather seats and top-end stereo systems.
At a recent national auction, a guy named Vincent Furnier (you know him as Alice Cooper)
purchased several resto-mods for his extensive collection. In an interview, he said that he loved the old cars, but that they were “basically crap, requiring a lot of maintenance and care, with no brakes, no power and really uncomfortable.” He wanted to look of his youth without having to suffer problems that went with it.
Vincent wants to drive his cars, and so do we. We want to go out to the garage, turn the key, crank up the air conditioning (or put the top down) set the stereo and go cruising. We want to get an ice cream with our “date” on Friday night. We want to head over to the local custom car gathering next to the McDonald’s, talk about cars and socialize with our House Spouse friends. We want to feel like seventeen all over again.
When I was seventeen, I had a Porsche – well, sort of a Porsche…it was a 1964 VW Bug that leaked and burned oil faster than it burned gas. It was slow, noisy, troublesome and red. But it represented a freedom that made seventeen a great place to be. I take my honey out in the Boxster today, top down, stereo playing, shifting through the gears, meeting friends and socializing. And I am seventeen again, but without noise and without the smell of burning oil.
That’s what it is all about. And it’s a part of my life that I love.
House Spouse Kevin
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