I’ve always harbored a deep affection for classic cars and motorcycles, especially the ones that announce their presence with a throaty, thrill-y purring engine. Anyone who’s ever spent time with me has seen the way I react when the bikers or the car enthusiasts come rolling down the road. I don’t care if I’m in the middle of the most intense and interesting discussion, having a heated argument, or flirting with a beautiful stranger. I stop what I’m doing or saying, and find the source of that sound, that most beautiful music of a well-kept engine. My eyes will follow the car or motorcycle until it moves out of sight, as if I’ve just seen the person I plan to marry, with whom I will forthwith start making babies like it’s going out of style.
The thing is, I don’t look at people like that at all. There’s the same head-turning and gaze of interest, sure. But it’s not the same at its most basic level. All thought is driven from my brain by a beautiful bike or automobile. I am existing in a universe bounded by the basso profundo of its passage, a thing of moments, and with a painfully sweet counterpoint singing through my head that can only be described as lust. There’s only been one human creature that’s ever had that effect on me, and it didn’t end well. But more on that later. Much later. As in, maybe never.
While I’ve always had that yen for well-made, well-maintained classic automobiles and heavy, classic bikes, until I moved to Albuquerque, you had to go to a show to really see more than one every now and again. It was a rare delight, something that merited stopping and looking. In that little desert town, they are more common, though I’ll never see them as commonplace. The variety and frequency of these beautiful pieces of mobile engineering in Albuquerque might be a factor of a better climate for preservation, more people with a bit of disposable income, and 300 days or more of great weather for convertibles or riding.
I think there is also a larger population of the type of personality that is drawn to purchasing, maintaining, and enjoying these types of vehicles. Both classic car enthusiasts and bikers that maintain their own machines seem to exhibit streaks of stubbornness and self-sufficiency. Is the fact that they work on these machines a product of this, or the other way around? Does it impact their world view, how they assess quality in their realm, or is that rather a source for why they are drawn to these well-crafted cars and bikes in the first place? This is not to say that there aren’t jerks, bigots or cads aplenty with beautiful rides. That said, I often find that even if I can’t appreciate the human operator, I’m in love with their machine.