Presidents Day is a strange holiday. It began as a day to commemorate George Washington and Abraham Lincoln but seems to be mostly about sales and big bargains.

Ads, flyers, giant banners flapping in the wind. All the stores join the action, but the big daddy, the apex predator if you will, is undoubtedly the car dealerships. They even outpace the furniture stores, which is saying something.

Brunswick resident Heather D. Martin wants to know what’s on your mind; email her at [email protected]

Despite my best attempts at refusing to engage, I’ve been noticing cars. Not Looking, with a capital “L” mind you. I refuse to go that far. But noticing. Particularly in light of an oh-so-casual comment from the honey that it might be time to hand my car over to the youngest so he can get himself to and from college.

Set aside the sad reality that even if I could afford a new car (I cannot), I find it objectionable to pay more for an automobile than I paid for my first house.

Set aside the headache of trying to navigate which is worse: a gas engine killing the environment through the use of fossil fuels or an electric engine claiming to be the eco answer while killing the environment by mining rare earth metals.

Set aside the fact that I would rather go to the dentist than converse with a dealer or that this is, by all accounts, the worst moment in all of history to be in the market to purchase a car, thanks to chip shortages and whatnot.


All that and more aside, there is nothing that I want to drive.

Let me amend that. There is nothing practical that I want to drive.

My father, a man who took design seriously and for whom the universe moved in mysterious ways, always stumbled upon the most beautiful cars. They weren’t reliable (my folks had a Karmann Ghia they named Zsa Zsa because she was so beautiful but so unfaithful) or safe (there was the Benz that required dad to yell out “puddle!” so we could quickly cover the holes in the floorboards with our feet to avoid being splashed). But they were beautiful. Really beautiful.

So here’s my question: Why can’t we make cars with the reliable engines, working brakes and safety features of today but with the lines and look of the cars of the past?

Why are we stuck in this design wasteland where everything looks alike, and not a good alike? It is a sad, sad day where you have to look twice to tell if the car driving past you is a Porsche or a Nissan. Not that I’m slagging on Nissans, but you get my point.

I yearn for a car that makes me actually want to get behind the wheel and take her for a spin. A classic MG, a sporty little Volvo 1800 series, a 1976 Jensen Interceptor. Heck, a friend posted a pic of a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer woody and I thought, “Yes! Sign me up.” That would even haul hay and take me over winter roads! But the current version of that exact same vehicle? Meh.

I agree that the kid needs a car, and it makes sense that it will be my airbag-loaded, good-on-gas car that he gets. Which means I will need to find something for myself. I’m resigned.

All I ask is, while I am driving safely to work and being mindful of resource consumption, could I have just a little bit of style?

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