I came across this magnificent machine at the car show that I wrote about in my previous blog entry. What makes this vehicle so significant to me is that it marks the end of an era. The Ford Mustang Mach 1 as shown was manufactured from 1970 -1973. This is when the muscle car era started to come to an end. The War in Vietnam was coming to a close, the economy was not so great, and the price of gas was rising. One side effect of the changing world was the idea of planned obsolescence. Granted nothing lasts forever but this car and those before it were made to last. I am inclined to believe that as this era ended designers and bookkeepers realized there was more profit to be made in cars that would need to be replaced rather than repaired. If I were to guess the early 1970’s was the time that the WWII generation began to retire. Twenty-five years or so earlier the Auto factories in Michigan had manufactured the jeeps, aircraft, and tanks that won the campaigns in Europe and the Pacific. These machines were rugged and were easily maintained. They were not only pretty to look at but also utilitarian in nature. These ideals carried over into the Great American Cars of the 1950’s, 1960’s, and early 70’s. After the mid 1970’s everything changed, as that was the time that disposable culture came into total fruition. In short the era of “Built to Last” had ended.
This past weekend as I drove by a local burger joint called the Fabulous 50’s, I noticed a car show was taking place. I had to stop and admire the sculpted metal before me. For most of my driving life I drove an American classic. As those classics became antiques their age caught up to them. It was no longer feasible to have one as a daily driver. I reluctantly updated to a new vehicle that has the solid reliability and empty soul of an appliance. Even though I drive a plastic foreign car my heart still belongs to the Detroit of yester year. What was so cool about this car show is that all of the vehicles that were present were like the people who owned them, they were real. These were cars that were considered plain jane in their time. The Mustangs were not Shelbys and the Camaros not Yenkos. Not all of their numbers matched but they ran strong and were maintained solid. There was not a museum piece in sight and not one auto collector, only cars and drivers.
While driving on East Lancaster in my hometown of Fort Worth Texas, I came across this beautiful piece of sculpted metal. It lay displayed high above the other wrecks that occupied the parking lot of an auto body shop. It stood out like a Thoroughbred among a field of mules. Most likely this car will never be restored to its former glory but I am grateful that its owner thought enough to showcase its regal beauty.
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — General George S. Patton
Is this the future? It sure as hell looks like it. Imagine if Jack Kerouac had to pay a toll while On The Road. What if the Dust bowl Okies had to pay a toll on the way to have a shot at a better life? The Grapes of Wrath, never would have made it to paper. To me America is all about open spaces, rugged individualism, and self determination. Although the American People are of many faces and ideas. We are people who like to be on the move. There are no boundaries to stop us from heading out west or to the moon. That is the essence of who we are. I hope to hell the America of endless highways and open roads does not become a myth in the American Psyche. Tolls are what Kings charge their subjects for traveling on their private roads. I’ll pay my taxes like any good Citizen to maintain the American Highway System but it pisses me of to pay a private toll for a road that is on public land. Heres to you my beloved America as I proudly drive the long way Free!
Recently we went to a local German Restaurant that has been around Fort Worth for so long that it is now an institution. Edelweiss on Camp Bowie Blvd. I had been wanting to go for sometime. For one reason or another I just never followed through. I am glad I did as I enjoyed as authentic a German meal that one could have in the Metroplex. I was deployed to Germany several times during the 1990’s while serving in the military. Most of what I experienced could be classified as European as opposed to German. There were Discotechs,Raves, Cafes, Posh Clubs and Swanky Bars. More Techno than Polka if you know what I mean.The Beer Halls of yore were no more unless it was a holiday or you traveled outside the city. However there were several times that I would dine at the traditional German Restaurants that always seemed to be located like Cold War relics outside the gates of the American Airbases. I was never disappointed with the food or the beer. Back to Texas now, Edelweiss hits the nail on the head. It’s as good as I remember the food, beer, and campy Bavarian atmosphere. Prost!
My wife likes the furniture and I like the food. OK I admit it I like the furniture too. We seem to visit at least twice a year. I know we are in Frisco, Texas, USA, but I wouldn’t know it. This may piss off the average Swede but the atmosphere feels generically European. No complaining here though, its way less expensive then a round trip ticket across the pond. I can pretend that I am a world traveler all day long. I can almost remember having the same feeling of sleek foreignness when arriving and departing from the Frankfurt am Main Airport in Germany. Ikea is proudly Scandinavian but this does feel like the Continental Europe that I remember from my military adventures in Post Cold War Europe.
This is the most snow that the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex has experienced since 1978. I suppose that makes it something for the record books. It was serene and beautiful and felt like a vintage postcard far from the time and place that I know.