Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Triumph Love

My bedroom as a child was not very large. A twin bed. A great draftsman's desk my Mom found somewhere. A Peter Max poster. Some Packer paraphenalia. Piles of books. Ian Fleming, of course. Comics. Navy World War II stories. Detective yarns. And one picture of a car. Not just any car. My first car. I was certain of it. A Triumph Spitfire MkIV. Just like this one.

This car resonated with my James Bond honed sensibilities. Which became even more sharp during the long winters. I sent away for a British Leyland brochure and this red Spitfire was on the cover. It was love at first sight. I used to sit at my desk at night, scribbling little stories and staring at MY car. Thinking of the incredible people I would meet and the places I would go while driving it. Or the impact it would make upon the girls in attendance at an unknown future High School. I didn't know anyone that owned a red car. As far as I could tell, there wasn't a convertible in the entire state. The raw exotic power of the Spitfire was intoxicating. At least to me. Back in those dark, snowy nights. I used to imagine keeping a small, expensive, leather bag in the trunk containing just a few travel essentials. To facilitate immediate adventure when the urge struck. Or for immediate escape plans. To places like this...

No doubt just down the lane from a Chateau of some sort.

Alas, it has now been established without question that a large part of romance is not knowing everything there is to know. Like the fact that some pretty girls are really no fun at all. And the fact that some pretty cars do not run very long. Or very well. My Dad had a Jaguar that just would not start during the winter. Ever. But he kept it for a couple of winters just the same. Perhaps because of the burl walnut tables fitted into the back of the front seats. I never did get my Spitfire. I have never even seen one in person. But sometimes I will pull out that old brochure and it still makes me smile. And I get that same old romantic "drive off for the weekend and see where you end up" feeling.

For my birthday a couple of years ago, I told my wife I wanted a particular little Italian leather travel bag. When I unwrapped it, she said "whatever do you want THAT for"? "Why, for the trunk of my car of course.." was my reply.


Charles said...

Nice post. When I was a kid, there was a showroom downtown where I would go look at Spitfires, TR-6s, MGBs, and Midgets. I think it's where I learned to stand and stare. I still become sentimental when I drive past the old building.

*Pink Preppy Party Girl* said...

Oh, I love this car too. Last summer I posted a hunter green MGB that I would love to have. I remember a Lamda Chi driving my KKG sister right up the sidewalk to the front door of our house in his little green MGB.

Turling said...

I can second the Jaguar issue your father had. Unfortunately, mine has moved to not only not starting in cold weather, but it appears to not want to start any time I am conscious. Go figure.

That Triumph is beautiful, though. And, yes, sometimes they are worth the inconvenience.

tintin said...

Ooohh, the Spitfire. Remember the commercial with Jean Shepard doing the voice over with the car and the plane? Shepard was so taken by the commercial he actually bought a Spitfire and told Johnny Carson what a complete POS it was.

I bought a 1967 MGB (Red w/ Blk int) for $900 in 1975. I took it to Ft Bragg where it was stolen while I was on a field exercise but found it 3 years later in a used auto parts yard where it had been chopped up. The owner was arrested by MPs. A sad ending to my last British made automobile.

I do have a thing for the Jag Series II XKE 2+2 fixed head coupe in white with red leather int. Any car that looks like that has to be well made.

initials CG said...

Alas, little red European convertibles were so damned nice to dream about... the spitfire had beautiful lines. I'd gawk at it, just like one of those pretty girls that were no fun at all. I caved in and saved up, and bought a Fiat Spyder 2000. It looked great with a surf board in the passengers seat. I was such a poser! But like most European women they''re ridiculously jealous. Every date I ever had in that car ended with a cab ride home for me and my date and a thousand bucks to Guido who kept telling me there was nothing really wrong. What a jealous bitch she was! A lot more so than most pretty girls that substituted the surf board.

One day you should just get that damned car. It's better than getting into an extramarital affair. Only ... I think they laugh at you more, but you're the one having the fun, no?

Anonymous said...

Go get one. Live the dream, you've dreamed long enough. Believe me - life is too short.

M.Lane said...

Longwing, it must have been something to see them all sparkling new!!!

PPPG, how Gatsby is that! That fellow had great style, if little respect for his running gear. I think the MGB was a little more dependable. And the color you describe was probably "British Racing Green".

Turling, my Dad loved that Jag...but never got another one. I'll bet its sitting sullenly unmovable somewhere in a yard in Wisconsin even now...

Tintin, was the MGB a precursor to the infamous Fiat? In Shepard's defense, the Spitfire they had in the commercial PROBABLY actually ran. I agree on the XKE. Probably the most beautiful car ever made. Sometimes the beauty has to be worth whatever aggravation comes along with it...just ask Frank about Ava.

CG, Have you ever read Steven King's book "Christine"? The car that kills the owner's girlfriends? Sounds like you had the Italian version!

Sorrentolens, I will buy it. But I'm saving for the full time mechanic I need to go along with it. I'm not exactly mechanical myself.

Thanks for all your visits and comments!!!


Ben said...

You, sir, are a tasteful cat.

I love the Spit. Sure if you're talking British iron, the Jaguar E-Type or the early Astons are the icons, but for all-around fun-to-commitment ratio, it's hard to argue with the old Triumph. Gorgeous but not as dear when the checkbook comes out.

Also, it's called SPITFIRE. Probably the coolest name ever. I challenge you to think of a better one. Get it in BRG with a tan leather interior and an expendable oriental rug (preferably from someplace that was once a colony) for your garage floor, and I guarantee you won't look back.

tintin said...

Here's the Jean Shepard commercial from You Tube. It gives me goose bumps:


heavy tweed jacket said...

Enjoyable post. When I was a lad, my car of dreams was a Maserati Bora. There was an import car business near my parents' home, and I can remember riding my bike past it all the time and eyeing that Bora. Finally, one day I walked into the shop and was walking around the Bora, when the shop owner came up and asked if he could help. I asked if I could sit inside. He smiled and said, "Sure." It was a fantastic couple of minutes for a fifteen year old kid with no driver's license.

M.Lane said...

Ben, that would be SOME garage! And, I agree that Spitfire was the coolest name.

Tintin, man, if I had seen that commercial up in the woods I would have run off to find one of those cars!! Even at 13!

HTJ, what a very cool salesman. I guess he recognized another car lover when he saw one, even at a young age. What a great experience!


ADG said...

I had a GT-6

RIP - Triumph-MG-Austin