Of all the cars that Iâ€™ve owned, my favorite was a yellow and black 1975 Fiat X1/9.
Designed by Nuccio Bertone, the X1/9 was a two-seater, hardtop convertible with a mid 1489 cc. engine and a five-speed transmission.
It was beautifully styled and it handled like a dream.
It was tremendous fun driving this sleek little skateboard on the freeway.
The only real problem was the carburetor, which kept failing when it idled.
And you couldnâ€™t get parts, except by scavenging the junkyards.
And the mechanics here in Southern California would just laugh if you asked them to fix it.
I learned to keep it going (most of the time) using a combination of toothpicks and rubber bands.
Then my son was born.
My wife said:
The Fiat X1/9 is not a car for a parent.
Thereâ€™s no room for a baby seat.
Thereâ€™s no room for anything.
A sleek yellow skateboard racing down the freeway isnâ€™t a very safe place for a child.
There are no air bags.
There isnâ€™t much of anything between the driver and the road.
And Fiatâ€™s reputation for unreliability doesnâ€™t inspire the confidence that parents require.
You need a car that doesn’t require a toolkit of rubber bands and toothpicks.
So my Fiat X1/9 was abandoned for a safer, more sensible car, one that was appropriate for a â€œBaby On Boardâ€ sign.
My current car is a Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo convertible.Â All in all, a reliable but fun car with plenty of room for the kid, the dog, and the scout troop equipment.
But it isn’t half as much fun as the Fiat X1/9.
Over time, giving up the X1/9 came to symbolize my belated transition into adulthood and responsibility.
But now President Obama insists that my Chrysler must become a Fiat.
My son no longer needs to sit in a rear seat.
Is it time to talk to the wife about getting an X1/9 again?
Not just for me, of course.
But as a show of support for our president.