The fall after high school, my parents offered to buy me a new car. So off to a dealership in Waldorf, Md. we went. They sold Dodge, Jeep and Triumph.
I, needless to say, was desperate for a Triumph Spitfire. The folks thought the Dodge Aspen the more appropriate way to go. Their compromise however was the 'sporty' Aspen RT.
I was predictably pouty and sullen. (of course I'd kill to have that car now) The car was bigger and therefore safer, my father reasoned. Actually, I countered, a smaller car would make me a more cautious driver.
The Aspen had automatic and power steering dad said. They don't make Triumphs with anything but standard transmissions and power steering would be silly on a little sports car, I retorted. The Dodge is air conditioned, he boasted. Who needs AC with a convertible top, I whined. Well, the Dodge is an American car and it's better built. Shit. The Triumph, by British Leland, was notoriously temperamental. He had me there. That is until I was having a stroll around the RT trying to get used to my fate. (my fate, their money. what a brat.) On the drivers side front quarter panel, just behind the wheel well, was the 'Aspen' name badge in a jaunty chromed script. In the same spot on the passenger side (as could only happen in the fantasy that was quality control in the late 70s) it said 'Volare'! (the look-a-like model by Plymouth)
I grabbed my dad. "American great building, huh?" I sneered as I marched him around the car. When he saw the fuck-up all the color drained from his face and he looked as though everything he ever believed in was slipping away. (Christ, first Nixon and now this).
And I got the Triumph.