Unraveling while traveling; life between the windshield and the rear-view mirror

Call me…….Fred

−A cold morning, Saturday, 24Feb1973, Worthington, OH just north of Columbus, and the salesman, one Red Skinner, delivers.  Chocolate covered strawberries, helium filled balloon, singing telegram…none of the above.

It’s a car, a modest 4 door, entry level sedan, brand new, 4 cylinder diesel from dealer Ed Potter’s Mercedes Benz-Renault.  A surprise gift to one Frederick Ray, on his 50th birthday, special order from his wife, Dorothy (‘Dot’).

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Fred, a civil engineer/bridge builder/shade tree mechanic, admired German cars, and this beauty, in his favorite color, Db 430 Harvest Beige, was identical to the VW Beetle in their garage.  A ‘plain Jane’ to some, the Rays adored the match and vowed to save the 220D for special occasions.

220D 1973 msrp

As a childless couple, Fred enjoyed his garage time, the maintenance and care of the Benz was a passion, as he meticulously archived handwritten notes.   Noted too by a young neighborhood kid,  Jonathan Karnes, who visited often.  Fast friends, yes, but a metamorphic, surrogate grandfather/grandson bond emerged.

Dot’s odometer ended in 2003, mileage on the Benz, 26,576.  Rarely driven, Fred, too, passed away in 2013, age 90, mileage 27,003. The estate directed Jonathan inherit the car, although now grown, attending medical school, soon to be a 4/yr resident in orthopedic surgery, Morgantown, WV.  By necessity the car slumbered, as Jon, married, with small children, the chief resident accepted a post doctoral year in spinal surgery in Madison, WI.  The time had come to sever the umbilicus, an early 30’s physician with career and responsibility, surrounded by objects from Hasbro®, Fisher-Price®, and Tonka® in the crosshairs….the sedan needed a new home.  On 7April2019, the ignition keys and baton were passed to Insightout….mileage 27,571.

https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1973-mercedes-benz-220d-3/

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The stunning simplicity, French designer, Paul Bracq’s exquisite lines promise to resonate with age.  The current overload of tech advancement, unnecessary drivel of rear camera video monitor, g.p.s., parking assist, power excess, gadgetry ad infinitum has drowned the sensual pleasure of the freedom to drive. Where did we  go astray. Mercedes provided Dot, the minimalist, with the following for Fred’s enjoyment:

  • automatic transmission, AM-FM radio
  • power steering, power 4 wheel disc brakes
  • electric windshield wipers and clock

Paul Bracq graced us, a 270° greenhouse view, through tinted windshield, peering over the graceful arc of the hood, squared off fenders to the three-pointed star, and Dot thankfully excluded:

  • power seats
  • power windows
  • power antenna
  • cruise control
  • keyless entry
  • air-conditioning
  • heated seats, bluetooth, tilt wheel, yada
  • granite countertops

Yes, 0 to 60 mph times mean little, and an easily achieved top speed of 83 mph is rarely necessary, and yet, a finely tuned 46 y/o gets 28 mpg.

Commentary during the internet auction alluded to the pouring of cold honey;

‘teaches both the driver, and all followers, patience’

‘fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow- and this is a SLOW car’

‘lethargic performance, like it was on a heavy dose of Valium’

‘you have to choose either “lively” or “relaxed”, this an example of the latter’

‘on an unincorporated country road, where it’s never hot, all day to kill, this could be the perfect car for you’

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Collectors are inclined to name cars, usually in the feminine tense, which is peculiar, as the vehicle does not have headaches, a menstrual cycle, nor succumb to fashion or footwear fads.  Hence the 220D is simply, Fred.  

Not Frederick, not the teutonic Fritz, just plain Fred.

In honor of both Mr. Ray, and Paul Bracq, I designed my own vanity plate…which says it all.

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©insightout2019

Special thanks to Jonathan Karnes MD, & his father Jim, for (a) providing personal details, and (b) their thoughtful stewardship for 6 years.

David Z. Kil, photographer, for the finest rear view ever conceived.

Cartoon, courtesy, Crown Media Holdings®, 2018

And lastly, to Fred Ray, whom I never knew, but whose spirit will always remain although, at time & ½, my mind cannot find the words of gratitude. For the best ride ever. Today’s mileage, turned, with zero digital assistance, 28,000.

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….the ladies alumni, Ba T, Scottsdale, AZ, 2019

Welcome, too,  the CNBC Disruptor List 2019, through the windshield.

Pre-emptive, yes, however, a synopsis of the qualifications:

  • private companies transforming the economy and altering industry.
  • independently owned, founded after Jan. 1, 2004, are eligible.

0530 hrs. MST, Saturday, the civil sunrise begins to awaken the desert AZ floor. It’s chilly, but not to the bone. Runny nose weather. You won’t stick to a vinyl seat cover before this noon. Not today, a day when my ten lb. companion, Mrs. Wilson, can see her breath in the semi-darkness.

"ride the painted pony, let the spinning wheels turn"
“ride the painted pony, let the spinning wheels turn”

A very quick pee, hardened underside nipples, she doesn’t need a local TV disaster weather a!arm team to tell her the rattlesnakes are too cool to crawl.  The little princess is off to her favorite dogsitters.

Now, time to wake up the queen. “Honey, we’re headed to Scottsdale, get dressed”.

J.Lynn is apprehensive. “a 150 miles to do what…?…an alumni gathering. “Please, not one of those cattle-call, testosterone-laced, endless rat-a-tat_white noise_flashing klieg lights_models in lemon chiffon gowns_parading signs_white gloved, pony-tailed thugs, dressed in black, pushing used cars across a stage….is it ?”

Funny how she can remember 1998, Barrett-Jackson, and her exact words, ‘never again’

"you'll get the fur coat"
“you’ll get the fur coat”

“I’ve seen enough gold chained, cigar smoking, peter pans with hairy cleavage to last a lifetime, and I will not wear a lanyard noose.”

No, no.  This is a gathering of the faithful, alumni of a favorite website, the antithesis of the live auction industry, where we’ll be certain to meet lovely ladies, just like you. Promise.

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Both JanetLynn & myself, virgins in the popular ‘cars & coffee’ ritual, are welcomed by the BaT staff and personnel of the Stables.  A stunning, off the grid, warehouse, a premium facility where  freshly brewed coffee melds with a whiff of 110 octane jet fuel from adjacent Scottsdale airport, the aroma triad completed with a warm poppyseed muffin.  Intoxicating.

"Grandpa, I want a 21 window VW"
“Grandpa, I want a 21 window VW”

Well traveled cars, driven by their owners, sparkle. Who knew asphalt, encircled by meticulous landscaping, could provide a glamorous backdrop ?  Not a single car made in China.  Our task, self-appointed, photoshoot the shotgun seat passengers;

  • a professional model, Knoxville, TN
  • career long distance operator, Bell® System
  • gorgeous 60 y/o, an owner wife, in love with a west highland white terrier
  • dental hygienist, classmate of Hillary Rodham, Maine South HS 1965
  • Biltmore®advisor, a marketing crackerjack in cars and celebrity capital.  And sexy cute.
  • Stay-at-home Nova Scotia mom, 2 MBs, 2 BMWs, one cat, one dog, one husband
  • retired pediatrician, Sun Valley, ID
  • Southwest Air®, corp. head of stewardess services

Unidentified photos; personal privacy prohibits the dissemination of names, addresses, SSN #, credit card, date of birth, body weight listed on driver’s licenses….all remain anonymous.

"Mom, how much longer is this going to take ?"
“Mom, how much longer is this going to take ?”

Full disclosure, this writer has a prior arrest record, perjury/bribery, and currently wears a GPS ankle monitor…not by choice.  A federal judge described the photo below, in only five words,

L-R, "Motion Denied", "Guilty", "Next Case"
L-R, “Motion Denied”, “Guilty”, “Next Case”

below,

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and a celebrity parking lot attendant, who, along with co-founders, will auction ~ 10,000 lots. in 2019, in xs of $250M, from an office in the Bay Area with < 30 employees, and not a single tent, auctioneer, glossy catalogue, or physical venue.

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"Toto, when we get to AZ, you'll get to go"
“Toto, when we get to AZ, you’ll get to go”  
©insightout2019

Choosing Gym Shoes

 

As youngsters, we often referred to tennis shoes as ‘sneakers’, characterized by rubber soles, faded black cloth uppers, and the aroma of the 7thgrade boys locker room.

 

For 30 years I wore a cheap pair in honor of Fred Perry, the last British player to win a men’s singles Grand Slam title, Wimbleton 1936.  Until my children, in their early teens, began mocking my fashion sense. Apparently, shoe branding equated to social standing.

Fred_Perry_01 Fred Perry was also a table tennis champion.

Sooo…May 20, 1987, a Wednesday, I opted for an upgrade to an adult grade leather casual, Bass Boaters®.  I recall this, not from memory, but a curious habit of always dating each pair of shoes when purchased.

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Stylish to me, although never having owned a boat, I learned too late they were a second tier brand….admonished because the best, most desirable, with patented non-slip soles for walking a damp teak deck on your cabin cruiser, were Sperry TopSiders®, the choice of eastern elite Ivy leaguers.

Sperry

Now,  31 years later, I still wear the boaters, walking my dog, down to the DeTour marina to look at other people’s boats.  And their shoes.  Posing as the ancient mariner.  A patina of ‘previously owned’, the soles have the Firestone tread depth of a 1941 Studebaker Champion headed to Kaminski Salvage on South Bend’s west side. DSCN4999

There are more cracks on the perimeter than my ladyfriend (Judy Starbucks) in Patagonia.

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These shoes, like Keds®and Uniroyal’s Red Dots®were among the last made in the U.S.A. Now, all manufactured in Asia, decades after Don McLean’s, the day the music died, Feb.3, 1959.Unknown

 

 

Once, only briefly, I considered an eBay purchase, used,  from the legendary NBA Bull, so I could walk the ‘hood in Chicago’s Bridgeport…or MoTown, Watts, Harlem, Ferguson, but the potential for a hospital bill and trying to get on a CTA bus, barefooted, without a token, and not having $556 dampened the enthusiasm.  And a lot of other ‘asms’, for a honkey clown with size 9½ wearing a pair of size 13 EEE.143547-17792cce22a44fef8909f94fc4a68e16.mpo

Jordan 1 Retro Bred “Banned” (2016) $556 pair

Convinced that I’ll never be able to touch the rim, hampered by a four (4) inch vertical leap, nor ever own a boat, should I even consider a replacement  in the future.DSCN8228 DSCN3017

Not likely, as this writer, these Boaters and my pal Starbucks are barely broken in.

 

©insightout2018