The sun is shining, temperatures are rising, the trees are lush green and Canadians are fascinated by the common belief that life “starts over with summer.” Along with sun and heat and green, there is another sign that summer is here. Freed from their winter confines, refined vintage cars and supercars roam the city streets and country roads. Summer is the season of the Ferrari, Lamborghini, Pontiac Parisienne, 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, 1966 MG B Convertible, 1958 Buick, 1974 Volkswagen Van, 1983 Porsche 911SC, 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS and… well, you got it.
Summer is dream car season.
Dreams, by their very nature, are unique. Each reflects the dreamer, but this fact does not stop companies from trying to find common ground. They seek to generalize. For example, according to a survey of 2,000 American drivers commissioned by Chicago-based car maintenance specialist Gold Eagle Company, the top five dream cars are:
Millennials love Tesla, Gen X prefer Camaro and Boomers prefer Corvette. Car “experts” chose Mustangs and those who identified as “knowledgeable” automakers chose Teslas. Not all surveys give the same results. The 2022 survey of 1,172 drivers conducted by Compare.com, an auto insurance comparison site, rates brands differently.
- wade through
Gen Z loves Ford, Millennial BMW, Chevrolet Gen X, and Boomers Ford. There isn’t much up-to-date statistical information about the Canadian dream car. A 2009 survey by Synovate of 18,000 drivers worldwide and 1,000 in Canada, showed that 27 percent of Canadians said an eco/green car would be their dream car if money were not an issue. That’s more than Americans (23 percent) and less than anyone else (59 percent).
The only response I could muster for such an outcome was, “Huh?”
Dream car No. 1 is a Mustang? There’s nothing against the American classics, but drivers are either lying, or they need more (and better) sleep. If your dream car is a Tesla or Ford F-150, you need a new dream.
There is a universal and undeniable truth that applies to dream cars. The most important relates to the age of the driver.
- When we are young, we dream of the car we wish we had.
- When we are older, we dream of the car we once owned.
This is an important distinction. There are many people who earn enough (or inherit/marry enough) to buy the car they dreamed of in their youth. When they bought it, however, it was no longer a dream. It may be an endless source of pleasure, but it is no longer a dream. It’s a reality that requires parking (especially during the winter months).
Dreams are difficult to understand. They are in untouched (future) and unrepeatable (past) territory. We don’t hold on to our dreams; our dreams hold us. We know we can’t repeat the past, but there’s something about our dream car that tells us “Why, of course you can!”
That’s why many summer dream cars can’t be found on any surveys or lists. They are found in our gold-plated memories. I want a Ferrari just like the next man, but my dream car is a Volkswagen Rabbit (preferably 1982) like the one I drove as a teenager and in my twenties. It was a four-door hatchback, with a 1.7-liter single-overhead-cam four-cylinder gas engine capable of producing up to 74 horsepower. If you put a suitcase in the trunk, it’s full. My rabbit often holds six people very uncomfortable. The full tune-up costs $60. However, what I wouldn’t give is to have one more summer trip with the windows down and the radio humming. How could I forget how my old VW broke down in a downpour, or rocked at a certain speed?
Another truth about dream cars is that your “dream car” is someone else’s “car.” I ran into this a week ago when I found a Cabriolet Convertible (late 80s) parked nearby. Now, that’s not Rabbit, but it’s close. Some would say it is a much better option. I almost left a note praising the vehicle, but realized how odd it was. Imagine, you park your Cabriolet and some creepy stranger leaves a handwritten note and starts stalking your Volkswagen, as if it were the start of a movie about a serial killer – Cabriolet Assassin.
This encounter got me online where – instead of work – I spent hours looking for my long lost Rabbit. I found what looked like the perfect car: the 1980 Rabbit Convertible. It was finished in Colibri Green Metallic over Van Dyck faux leather upholstery and was powered by a 1.6-liter inline-four engine paired to a five-speed manual transmission. Like all dream cars, it’s nowhere near my location (in this case, Massachusetts). Bidding starts at US$1,000 and two days before finally reaching US$10,000.
“I didn’t know I wanted one of these until I saw this green machine,” commented one potential buyer. “Amazing.”
That kind of nostalgic power has not gone away from broadcasters. In April, the reality series 10 episodes My dream car debuted on Fox Business. It has been renewed for a second season. Hosted by automotive journalist and NASCAR expert Danielle Trotta, My dream car Follows a set of ten adult siblings as they secretly update a vintage car and surprise their family members with a reborn version. The first season featured classic cars like the 1960s Chevrolet Chevelle, Porsche 914, 1968 Pontiac Firebird, and 1970 Ford F100. I have no television expertise, but if Miss Trotta and the producers My dream car are looking for great episodes for Season Two, they may want to consider the heartwarming story of a Canadian columnist who was given a fully refurbished 1982 VW Rabbit by Danielle Trotta and producers. My dream car.
Until that day, I’ll be content to remember when life was seen through the window of a passionate, beautiful, whimsical and new VW Rabbit.
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