The Bird Is The Word

dscf4918If you know what the title is about, you are as old as I am. Which means you are young enough to want a Pontiac like this one, but mature enough to know that you would be a nuisance on the road if you had it…

Well, while you grapple with that moral quandary, I’ll go on. This was the scene at the BP servo in Baldivis South this last Saturday. ( For North American readers, ” servo ” is Australian for service station. We also have servos who are servants and servos that are electro-mechanical actuators that operate at a distance from the control panel. It’s that kind of a flamin’ country…)

dscf4915The Saturday Night fever meet is a freebie – you just show up and talk cars…or photograph them. The BP has a Macca’s and a Red Rooster so you can eat if you want to, and they do a pretty decent meal, all things considered. If you are gluten, lactose, or hot rod intolerant you are out of luck – no-one will pay you the least attention. I would not broach the subject of protesting about road extensions either, as you are likely to be given a serve at the servo…

dscf4916But back to the Pontiac. The outside of the vehicle speaks for itself – and with that big bird on the bonnet, it speaks in a loud voice. The finish is flawless, and that tells you the builder knows how to do it right. In an age that sees slipshod building in houses, clothing, and household goods, and then tries to excuse it on economic grounds, it is wonderful to see an enthusiast who is prepared to spend time, money, and skill on making a car into a work of art. I’ve no idea who owns the car, but I salute ’em.

dscf4917Well, the interior is fascinating. When we get cars from Europe that are deliberately targeted for the Australian market, we get straight-out design that is a reverse of the continental pattern. I am not sure if we miss out on the dangly bits, but on the BMW, Mercedes, and Audi I have seen I think they include it all. The Japanese have no trouble doing this right down to the modest cars like my little Suzuki Swift. They drive on the right hand side of the road as we do so the whole design is ready to go as soon as they make it for themselves.

The American ones are different- and particularly American cars that have been imported and then converted to RHD. It’s not far-fetched to say that each interior treatment is a new departure of the imagination, as the parts don’t exist until someone makes them up. I sometimes wonder how much of what I see in street cars is made up…

Here it is padded vinyl. I assume that is vinyl. Leather would be  wretchedly expensive and not all that much better – let’s celebrate it for what it is. The wooden instrument panel chimes in well with the padding and I don’t think you’d need air bags in there at all. ( Indeed, I suspect air bags are a legislative boondoggle anyway. I would far prefer lap and shoulder harnesses and a decent pillar or roll cage in every car. Those people who refused to buckle up could bounce around inside to suit themselves…)

The most comforting thing about this interior is the carpet cover for the dash. Here in Western Australia the sun operates on a setting of 11 ( on a ten-part scale ), and frizzles up modern dashes in a year or so. You get deep furrows, cracks, and then the whole thing falls apart. No-one is game to make a metal dash any more for fear of getting sued by the people who won’t wear seat belts. We have taken to getting moulded fuzzy covers for most cars and this takes the brunt of the UV radiation. I am considering one for my head.

I wonder how long before some bright spark starts to put air bags on the outside of the cars to protect the fools that bicycle into them.

2 thoughts on “The Bird Is The Word

  1. Well done Dick, as usual always a good read sometime during the day, although if the internet is not working I have to catch up on weeks of blogs, regards Paul


    1. Paul, The best thing to do is blame the internet outages on the rest of the family. It also works when it is necessary to affix guilt for the shower drain clogging up or scuff marks on the bumper of the car.


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