Test drive The Hague

The first sketchAfter my three-part monologue I can’t withhold the result of the paint job. And we lived happily ever after.
Now I’m back in the presence.
Yesterday I was still dizzy of the gig Errol and I did the night before; from the hip and off-the-cuff! But I decided to go to the ‘Saturday Night Cruise‘ anyway. It was the last time before the winter stop, so no chance to postpone any more.

I think hope the fuel tank is finally free of leaks, but maybe my optimism will be destroyed after visiting the gas station; Friday night I parked the Lincoln 50 metres before my drive because the fuel gauge said no.

My first bad trip

The first sketchSo, they saved her. The gold metallic one. Born in 1969.
The next friday Alvaro drove me to the far north, to pick her up.

The way back was the first time in my life I drove an automatic transmission car. And the trip home was a 2,5 hours drive. So, yes, it was a bad trip. I bumped, rattled and jumped through the streets. Mechanically the car was ok, but I needed to get used to the 2 pedals, in stead of 3. I constantly kicked the wrong ones. And every mistake made me more nervous. The general opinion of real men was that automatic transmissions were for grannies. That were the little painful reactions on my ravings, I thoroughly tried to deny the last couple of months. But my driving style at that evening looked very granny.
Beside that, the springs in the seat had broken. I am tall, but I almost sat on the floor. Alvaro, who was driving behind me, said: “It looked like nobody was in the car. And then it moved like a jerking duck.” I was glad I hadn’t seen his constantly diabollical laugh in my rear mirror.
It was dark already, and cold and foggy, so while I was stretching my back as long as possible, at the same time I maniacally turned every exotic button on the dashboard trying to find the one to heat the windshield.

Sandpapered and nakedSeven months after that night, I slowly and carefully undressed her from all her shiny parts. I stripped the window trims, bumpers, light trims, door handles and hub caps and drove her to the sprayer. The metallic paint was so aged and faded, it was more a kind of matt beige powder. She needed to be sandpapered down to the naked metal and redone in new primer and fresh metallic. Also some dents should be beated and filled.
This job would take weeks. Actually, almost 3 months! Another summer without an ego-matching car!!! I’ve cried my eyes out.

The purchase

The first sketchMy hunt had started. In first place the hunt for money. In the worst scenario I had to steal it, but in any case I had to have it. Soon.
Slowly I became ruthless. I could not think & talk about anything else. So, in the summer of 1997 I lost all my friends.

Every month I spelled the ads in the car magazines. In September I had checked at least 6 Lincolns in real, all over the country. Most of them looked too neglected. Dusty, rusty, dented, torn interiors, flat tyres … one car even had no engine inside!
After every review I cried louder on my way back. And no friends to comfort me.

For some reason I stuck to private sellers and skipped the specialised shops, thinking the last ones were too expensive. But at the end of October there was not much choice left. The specialised guys imported the cars from the USA and at least their cars were running and fixed up to an acceptable level for sale.

The shop I visited in the far north-east, was a crossing between a large hall and a workshop. There were around 40 American classics available. One third was parked outside in the cold rain. Mind they came from steamy hot California!
Our marriage certificateThere were 4 Lincolns eligible and I spent at least 3 hours to sit in them, to sit ON them, to open every hood, trunk, booth, bonnet and lid of them, to talk to them, to squeeze them, to kick them and even … oh joy … turn on the ignition.
The specialised guys were patient with me. Almost like friends.

On my way back home I made my choice. I should buy the ‘gold’ one.
I would call the guys on Monday. To save her for me.

My first love

The first sketchThe car I drove ...This blog is antedated to 1997. I wanted to try if it is possible to step into a digital time machine, to tell you about my fist love.

On my 21st birthday, a few months after I got my driver’s license, I drove my lousy old Fiat onto a busy intersection in Alkmaar and I was waiting for the traffic lights. I hated my job and was glad the weekend has just started.
Staring to nothing specific, my eyes suddenly got caught by a shiny, long, black beauty, cruising by from the right. It looked tremendously vicious and dignified at the same time and I was paralysed. By pure love.
In retrospect I think it was me who invented the phrase OMG in the year of 1997! For one eternal moment I felt every single fiber of my body being alive.

There was nothing else I wanted more than to follow that car, to find out what brand it was. But I was locked in, in the traffic and I wasn’t able to chase the phenomenon close enough to read the characters on the trunk, what was shaped like there was a too large wheel inside.
At home I excitedly told my Dad I had seen God’s car and I described it as far as I could. He attentively listened to my rant and later that night he came to me with The Car Bible. Thumbing through the book I found her. The Lincoln Continental Mark III.
It felt like I discovered a new body part.