Hello guys and gals – do you remember the car you lusted after in your youth? The one that made your heart do the four-on-the-floor chrome-rimmed tap dance whenever you spotted it in the rear view mirror of your adolescent dreams? For some it was a cherry-red muscle car, all growl and rumble, spitting flames like a four-wheeled dragon, sort of like the Little Deuce Coupe. For others, it was a sleek, space-age Jetsons coupe, built for moonlit skies – a silver moon dream with taillights like fallen stars.
Me? My object of automotive affection was something else entirely. It was sleek, yes. It was sporty, definitely. Oh it wouldn’t win any drag races unless the competition involved molasses trucks and uphill inclines. No, my beloved chariot was a testament to the sleek and shiny object with tail lights that blinked on and off with the urgency of a future disco ball on overdrive. I present to you, in all its glorious, chrome-coated absurdity, my desired 1964 Studebaker Lark Convertible first seen by me on my old favorite TV show Mister ED the talking horse.
Mister ED Was not just any old horse and The Studebaker Lark Convertible was not just any old car; it was a rolling chrome castle, a land barge sculpted from sheet metal and ambition. The paint job was a shade best described as “nuclear tangerine” that could induce sunspots if stared at for too long. And the interior? Plush red vinyl that stuck to your legs in the summer and felt like an ice rink in winter, accompanied by a symphony of rattles and squeaks that would make a mariachi band blush.
But oh, the memories! That car was supposed to be my chariot to college dances, the soundtrack of first crushes and fumbled teenage kisses provided by a crackly AM radio playing Meatloaf and his ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light’. The car was going to carry me on road trips fueled by gas station sandwiches and dreams bigger than the whole sky. It would keep me safe through fender benders that miraculously would involve only crumpled hubcaps and bruised egos, and it witnessed more spilled soda than a teenage slumber party at a bowling alley.
It wasn’t fast, it wasn’t efficient, and it certainly wasn’t practical. But that Studebaker Lark Commander Convertible would teach me the joy of the open road, the thrill of independence, and the hilarious absurdity of owning a car that looked like it belonged on the set of a Batman movie directed by Liberace.
So, while others may reminisce about Thomas Magnum’s Ferrari and Jim Rockford’s Pontiac Firebird my automotive nostalgia came adorned with chrome fins and an engine purr that sounded suspiciously like a lawnmower stuck in molasses. And I wouldn’t trade in those memories in for a fleet of Teslas because that car, with its ridiculous tail fins and questionable paint job, wasn’t just a motor vehicle, it was a rolling ode to a simpler time, a testament to the fact that sometimes the most unforgettable journeys can be made only in the most inexcusable and improbable machines – especially in our memories.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with an imagined can of Turtle Wax and my ongoing dream of cruising down memory lane in my chrome-coated chariot of yesteryear. Just watch out for those front grilles baby – they bite.
(Mostly) Vegetarian, Politically Progressive, Daily Runner, Spiritual, Helpful, Friendly, Kind, Warm Hearted and Forgiving. Resident of Braintree MA.