I am one of those horribly shallow chaps who measures himself by the car that he drives. It would be a deceit to deny it. My only defence – if indeed I need one (I mean, really, who even cares?) – is that the allegation of hopeless materialism fails to stick because my objects of importance are too narrowly defined to warrant such broad condemnation. I haven’t for example any desire whatsoever to own a large house. Or a boat. Or a truck. No, my yearnings for physical comforts are confined to cars, jewelry, furniture and oil paintings. It is probably no accident that each of them is moveable and transportable; and that I have lived a good deal of my life as a nomad in rented cave-like dwellings. I certainly never coveted sitting on a deck in an uncomfortable wrought-iron chair pestered by annoying insects while attempting to read an improving book and drink a preprandial cocktail. And the prospect of flying my own plane or sailing my own yacht is to my mind nothing more than a prescription for endless worry and expense. I have even known people who exaggerate the vexation by living on an island as though it were some redeeming persecution.
A fine automobile on the other hand is a joy to behold and a pleasure to drive! Assuming you’ve got the right interior and the mandatory rumble of the engine, you’re set! It is a misdescription to label the owner of a luxury car as someone who hopes to impress others. No, the fraud is upon oneself. One need only reflect but a moment on those other assholes on the road who are driving their particular model of choice. No one thinks any more of them because of what they are driving. In fact, we are often inclined to think less of people who indulge themselves in what is characteristically either a poor “investment” or a “mid-life crisis”. But catch sight of someone driving the car you admire, that’s another story!
In an effort to fulfill my lifetime ambitions before my precious time runs out, I have most recently dedicated myself and my meagre resources to the acquisition of my dream car. My dream car is not by most standards anything special and there are certainly those automobile enthusiasts who would have to look a very long way down their noses before embracing the vigour of my passion. It is however literally my dream car, a car which I have dreamt of having for as long as I can recall – a dark blue Cadillac. Like most psychological aberrations, this one too goes back to my childhood.
The earliest I can recall contemplating a dark blue Cadillac is when I was about 15 years old (basically more than 50 years ago). Oddly my introduction to the car was not first-hand; I had never been in one. I had however seen them from a distance. As for what were then other prestige cars, I had driven (or rather, been driven) in a Thunderbird, a Mustang (when they first appeared in 1963), a Wildcat, a Riviera, a Park Avenue and the car once dubbed the “Poor Man’s Rolls-Royce” – a Rover. Fifty years ago in Canada the BMW, Audi and Mercedes were virtually unheard of. And there was certainly no such thing as a Lexus. The North American automobiles represented pretty much all worth aspiring to though the stately Chrysler Imperial was even then an anomaly.
I distinctly recall having seen the blue Cadillac most frequently in Toronto on Avenue Road just south of Upper Canada College where we played high school football matches. Many of the visiting parents of the boys must have had the vehicles and they paraded off campus after the game. It was always the dark blue Cadillac that caught my attention not the black ones (which especially then looked like funereal vehicles). I cultivated the opinion that the dark blue Cadillac was the reserve of the private individual. The dark blue colour epitomized what for me was the height of sophistication. I even nurtured psychiatric evidence that dark blue was the colour of conservative thinkers.
When I was about seventeen years old I spent a month during the Christmas holidays in Kingston, Jamaica with the family of one of my school chums. Although my friend’s parents were separated, he nonetheless had the use of his father’s Jaguar. I mention this because the interior of the car was dark brown leather. I recall the leather had a particularly strong smell to it, the sort you’d expect in a gentleman’s club. While I have never recaptured that smell in modern vehicles equipped with leather seating, the colour continued to attract me – dark brown.
The synthesis of those little tales is that I have ordered a 2016 Cadillac XTS, exterior Dark Adriatic Blue Metallic, interior Kona Brown w/Jet Black Accents w/Full Leather Seating. Luckily for me this combination of exterior and interior colours is only available on certain models, specifically ones which do not have the more powerful (and more costly) engine. This is somewhat odd for me because I have always enjoyed an 8-cylinder engine (when they were still available) and most recently the Lincoln MKS Eco-Boost which has plenty of power. Nonetheless I have made the accommodation to more sedate performance in view of the necessity of choice. For reasons I have yet to discover, the Cadillac XTS is about 20% more expensive than the Lincoln. I have enough faith in the buying public to imagine that there are indeed differences which are not merely based upon commercial hype.