Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WILATU #48. The Art Of Automobiles

"A car can massage organs which no masseur can reach. It is the one remedy for the disorders of the great sympathetic nervous system."
Jean Cocteau
1889-1963, French Author, Filmmaker

There is nothing quite like the way the right car can stir me. It's shell is shiny and beautiful. It's interior is functional and aesthetically pleasing. It's roar to life is a siren song. From a very young age, my Dad instilled in me a love of automobiles and the internal combustion engine. When I was three years old, he'd put me on his lap and let me steer our 1970 banana yellow Cutlass Supreme the last leg of the journey home and into the driveway. When I was eleven, he let me drive our 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix home from the shop while he followed me in another. When I was 14, he taught me how to drive a stick shift in a 1983 Pontiac Sunbird. When I was sixteen, he bought me a 1979 Pontiac Firebird for my very own. And every summer along the way we went to at least one car show, where he taught me about style and how to capture it on film.

Fins, suicide doors,
Manual transmissions, running boards,
Three on the column, four on the floor,
V8, 442, motor oil,
Air filters, fuzzy dice, leather interior,
Woody's, mini's, DeSoto's,
Star filters, 35 millimeter, tripod
Flames on the paint and from the exhaust
Grills, chrome, pinstripes.

I'm a fool for cars, but I am a fickle mistress; as I drive my dream car, my head will snap to follow the sound of a Mustang or a flash of red paint. I have trained my eyes to scan a used car lot at 35 miles per hour, always looking for that next piece of tail light. My car is an extension of myself. I wouldn't be caught dead in a Ford Taurus or a Mini-van, both of which are a monuement to function over form.

To me, the art of the automobile means a marriage between beauty and functionality. It must look good on me; I must look good in it. It must have all the right parts to provide me with the ride I need: Pick-up, agility, feul efficiency, stereo system, heat/AC, glove box, lighted trunk, and windows that open and let the wind join me.

But even if most of that stuff is missing, Cocteau was right: a car is my remedy. Anything that makes me feel that good must be art.


anandamide said...

ok, you fell a little short on "girl-on-girl action", but you kicked ass on this one !!!

Blowing Shit Up With Gas said...

I agree. Awesome post! What kind of badass car is that in the pick?

Flannery Alden said...

Thank you, thank you.

I think that's a 57 Chevy, my Dad's favorite.

Anonymous said...


I've totally failed as a male in our society. I don't give a shit about football, politics or cars and know noting about any of the above and prolly ne'er shall.

But I DID read Stephen Kings "From a Buick 8" multiple times-- does THAT count??

Dale said...

I wish they still made them with fins. I know little about cars but when people ask me what kind I like, I always know what to say: blue.

Grant Miller said...

You should get your car procured out.

Evil Genius said...

Wonderful post Flannery! This really captures what I was after, with the obvious omission of the lines of a car subtly suggesting the female form. Even in the posted pic (Which I believe to be a Cadillac, the sweet god of motorcars)the preferred 3/4 rear view is used. Mmm mm mm.

pezda said...

big orange - Cars are a lot like women, in that, you don't have to know a lot about them to appreciate their beauty.