Photo by Genghis
MY VETTE “MARY:” I love her as much as I love my bike, Mabel.
HANGMAN AT THE SEEDY X-BAR & GRILL:
“Decided to treat myself to a new toy. 1975 L82 with a new crate motor, not a matching numbers car. I’ll run the numbers and find out what I’ve got. Needs work, all stuff I can do myself. Kinda glad it’s not matching numbers since I won’t be leaving it stock. It will retain the factory look but will be modified mechanically to suit my tastes. First blasphemy will be non-stock paint. Gotta be black. Other than that will look stock until the hood is raised and the heart of the beast is revealed. I’m not a Corvette guy, I’m a guy with a Corvette. And I’m a mechanic by trade. This is gonna be fun. The Bug has bitten. Is there a cure? I hope not.”
The Biker Subculture has always been precious to me, ever since I took the plunge and plunked down $1,800 for my spanking new XLCH at Harley-Davidson of Manhattan in May of 1968. To me, this opened up a whole new world of excitement, freedom, and yes commitment to my motorcycle, and to the ideal of loving my motorcycle forevermore. It did however, also expose me to a world where its participants—hardcore bikers—held exclusionary views on other forms of motorvatin’ freedom, namely cars. Let me rephrase that, as Mickey Haller would say in court. A world where some bikers would exclude the validity of car love. I can say emphatically, that I am not one of those.
However, bikers are just people, who have committed ’emselves to their Harleys, just like any segment of general society that builds walls around itself, segregating and isolating ideals that exclude extraneous entities. That’s human nature, and nothing to condemn. It is however, unrealistic. That would be like stating that a group of people who love eating food, would love it to the point of exluding the ingestion of liquids. People need food and drink, that is our nature also, to seek what sustains us physically and emtionally.
“I hate cages!”
There will always be brethren in This Thing of Ours, who hate cars. They see ’em as the enemy on the highways and streets that we share with ’em when we’re on our righteous Harleys. That’s understandable from a tactical point of view, since bikes move and maneuver on an almost different dimension, than cars. But to me, that’s the only perspective to see cars differently: As a different sort of mechanical animal that moves differently than our Motorcycle Animals on our roads.
If you’re familiar with sports car racing, an apt analogy would be the difference between two classes of racecars that inhabit races and the racetracks, at the same time: The faster prototype cars in one class and GT cars, which are slower and larger. The prototypes are like our bikes: Quicker and more nimble than the GT cars, that share the same track at the same events at the same event. The two classes of racecars have to be wary of each other because of the speed and closing rate differences, otherwise, there’s no hate of one class by the other.
Hangman came to the party later in life than I did. Most of you know my history, that I loved Vettes before I loved bikes. I did have to sell my beloved other Vette in 1968 when I bought my first Harley, but that wasn’t because I stopped loving cars. It was only because I needed the money from selling the Vette to buy the XLCH. The love for cars and bikes has always been the same for me, like loving two of your children. Parents don’t love one of their children, to the exclusion of the other kid. My passion for cars and bikes has coexisted for the last forty years.
The exhilration when I’m sitting in the cockpit of ’72 Vette Mary, is the same as I feel when I sitting on the saddle of my Harley 74, Mabel. Whether the thrill and love comes from stepping on the accelerator or twisting the throttle, the end result in my soul is the same.
It looks like Hangman’s passion for both his Harley and his Vette, are just beginning, and I’ll tell ya what, Hangman. There is no cure! Later.