The Vehicular Economy

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Photo by Evgeny Tchebotarev on Unsplash

In my rear view the other day, I saw a fancy schmancy dune buggy/car. It was candy apple red and tricked out with awesome lights. All the bells and whistles! The first thing I thought was “Now that’s a TOY!”Aw Shucks, I don’t have pictures because, I was actually driving. The cops may take an exception to me trying to snap pics in rush hour while driving.  I’m pretty sure there’s a violation for that!

I haven’t seen one of those in at least 5 years! “Happy Days are here again!” Methinks the economy is looking up!

Did you ever think how cars can predict the economy? I’ve been a car watcher from way back. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big car fan. You won’t find me at a car show drooling over the latest models. I love my car and never want to buy another. I’m very loyal to the hunk metal in my life. When one dies, like my Silver Sweet (my 2001 Camry) did last year, I feel I’ve lost a close friend. Of course Spicy Mama (my ‘new’ 2011 Camry) has helped ease the pain this year.

Ahem…Back to my point. I like to see what people like me drive. You know the regular folks on the road. Back in the early 70s, during the Energy Crisis, most of the cars I watched where late-model sedans and pick-up trucks. There were few new cars. But most of them needed repairs or body work. They belched smoke, squealed, and ran rough. Some were even held together with the wonder of duct tape.

I know who doesn’t have money for the non-essential car repairs when, I seen someone driving in the heat with the windows down (Note: this doesn’t work on the beach). Being an A/C man’s daughter in South Florida that usually meant one thing, The A/C was busted. Other repairs came first because you needed transportation to work. Driving in the Florida heat without A/C is HOT and uncomfortable! But your car will still get you to where you need to go!

During the recession, if one of our neighbors did get a new or newer car it was fanfare! We all moseyed down to take a gander at the car. Lots of male bonding, slaps on the back and congrats all around. Of course the most common question was “Did ole (insert car name here) finally kick the bucket?” Back in the day, most of us did not buy a “new” car for the kids or just because we wanted a new car.

Here’s a little secret about me: If you haven’t figured it out already, I’ve never outgrown this mentality. This is part of my 70s hippie child that hasn’t changed. I see no reason to get rid of a serviceable car.

Cars in the 80s were beautiful, flashy, and sometimes downright trashy. Think big, bold, and expensive. SUVs and sports cars were the rage. South Florida was booming with growth and money. More fun in the sun than a body could stand. In my memory everything including the cars was shiny and new. SUVs. Bigger Trucks, Corvettes, Mustangs, Beamers, Mercedes, Jags, and Lamborghinis ruled I-95.  And if someone couldn’t afford a brandynew one. They got an old one restored it, tricked it out. They didn’t call it “pimping your ride” until the early 2000s. In the 80s it was called “collectible cars.

Cars turned over fast too. My “used” car in the 80s was a one year old Isuzu Pup. It had 5,000 miles on it and a warranty! It was $5K, taxes not included. I had that truck for twelve years. The Pup had over 250K miles on it when I sold it for $500. I loved that truck!

Fast forward to today: After the last ten years of watching people drive cars in disrepair and without A/C in the Florida heat, I’m starting to see newer cars on the road again. I’m seeing shiny Mercedes convertibles, Porsches, Corvettes (a new one blew by me on I-95 yesterday), Audis, Lexus’s, lots of Toyotas, and of course the new tricked out dune buggy. I’m also seeing lots of paper licenses on the back of cars. American’s are enjoying their ride again. Spicy Mama and I are enjoying my view. It feels so good.

Have a blessed day and a smooth ride my friends,

Milly

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