Some cars have an aura; some cars don’t.

‘Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ — into the future’

I used to own a green 1973 VW Bug with a tan interior and a four on the floor. Fun car, in a loosie-goosie way. Steering was light, due to it being rear-engined; shifter felt like a golf club stuck in a bucket of peanut butter. Brakes? Yes. Heater? Sort of. What, then, made it fun? Aura. Some cars have it; some cars don’t.

For example, nearly all Corvettes have an aura — with the possible exceptions of 1981 and 1994, the latter of which I owned. (Green, tan interior, just like the Bug.) My ’vette was a six-speed, small block V-8 boasting 300 horsepower. Comfortable seats. Great sound system. Decent mileage. (Got 28 mpg on a trip once.)

Right now I’m drivin’ a 2002 Honda SI hatchback, white with black interior. Nice little car. I’d take it over the Bug or the ’vette any day. Reliable. Easy to park. Parts not expensive. Etc. Anyway, the Honda is probably my last vehicle. Now that I’m retired, I can neither justify nor afford a car payment.

Oh, well.

Let me point out that cars aren’t what they used to be. Seriously. In the 1950s and early ’60s, cars represented much more than mere transportation; they were status symbols and statement-makers. For me, that proclamation peaked in 1959 when General Motors pushed chrome and fins to the limits of good taste and common sense with the Cadillac Eldorado.

Huge fins. Big, big, big. Lots of chrome. So recognizably iconic that the USPS put it on a stamp..

I bring this up because, sometime in the not-so-distant future, I’ll have to decide the validity of a keeping a vehicle that sits in my driveway most days. It’s vanity, I guess. Who wants to give up mobility? Not me; not now.

But soon — probably.

Then I’ll be like I was as a kid, when I’d see dreamy cars and say, “Someday I’m going to own one of those.” Instead I’ll probably respond, “I think I used to own one of those.”

That’s how fast time flies — it sneaks up on you, like a windshield rapidly closing in on an unsuspecting bug. Then …


Jim Lamb is a retired journalist and author of “Orange Socks & Other Colorful Tales,” the story of how he survived Vietnam and kept his sense of humor. When he was young, he wanted to be a priest, a car designer or a cartoonist for Walt Disney. For more about Jim, visit

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