Wednesday, November 02, 2005
The White Lady
Wild in the streets in a white Falcon ... way back in 1991 I think it was, I bought, for $800.00, an off-white 1965 Ford Falcon XP, a model I've always admired and associated with lux and style. Actually running and maintaining a classic car is not the same as admiring one however; now, fourteen years later, while I still own the car, I can't pretend to have restored her to her original glory as I always intended to do. She's out the back as I tap, covered with purple flowers fallen from the jacaranda tree in the next door yard. Mechanically, in pretty good shape: I've had both gear box and engine reconditioned and kept up with all the other dramas associated with old cars bar one: rust. Never sleeps, as we all know. Not sure how bad it is, last time I dared to get a quote it came in at about two and half grand. Plus the interior, apart from the re-upholstered front seat, is a mess. My relationship with this car is complex as any love affair. Many are the times I've thought to sell her; have never in fact even placed an ad. Sometimes she seems almost a part of me; other times, an entity sent to capture and torture me. Despair and exultation in about equal degrees define my feelings towards her. Anyway. The other night, after driving my friend home after the movies, I took the White Lady for a spin. The newly opened and controversial Cross City Tunnel is free for three weeks and I was curious to drive through it. It was dull and even rather tatty for something 'new'. In parts the white tile cladding does not even reach the roof and you can see the deeply scored sandstone that underlies our city. But the car ... went like a dream. Beautiful to drive. When I got the engine reconditioned I found out that she is probably an ex-undercover 1960s police car, because external details re: engine size do not conform to the big 6 motor that's actually under the bonnet. Well, that night, we owned the streets. I felt like just tooling on, south to Eden perhaps, or anywhere really. Now I think, no, whatever happens, I won't sell. I can't. It would be like letting a member of the family go.