Yes, the road.

Yes, the road.
Eagle Nest, New Mexico. “People like to drive because driving is actually and symbolically an almost perfect mechanism for escape…there is probably no human being who does not have troubles, real or imagined, from which he at times feels the need to flee.” George R. Stewart.


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Brooklin, Maine, United States
We own a 1975 GMC Sierra Grande 15 in Maine and a 1986 Chevrolet Custom Deluxe 10 in West Texas. Also a pair of 1997 Volvo 850 wagons. Average age in the fleet is 28 years--we're recycling. I've published 3 novels: THE LAW OF DREAMS (2006), THE O'BRIENS (2012), and CARRY ME (2016). Also 2 short story collections: NIGHT DRIVING(1987) and TRAVELLING LIGHT (2013). More of my literary life is at I was a Fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. I'm an adjunct professor at Colorado College and in the MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte. In 2015-16 I was a Fellow at Harvard University's Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The Autoliterate office is in Car Talk Plaza in Harvard Square, 2 floors above Dewey Cheatem & Howe. SUBSCRIBE TO THE AUTOLITERATE DAILY EMAIL by hitting the button to the right.

Friday, December 30, 2011

West Texas Wide Tracks

I have been tracking a couple of Pontiac convertibles. The 1964 Bonneville is part of the Food Shark fleet, and on days when the Shark is serving, the B'ville can be found parked on Highland Avenue or El Paso Street. Hector Sanchez pulled some major dents and repainted the car this year at his shop at the west end of town.

Out towards Chinati this evening, I was glad to see a 1963 Catalina that I've had my eye on for a couple of years. Both these Pontiacs are survivors and seem to be mostly original. My favorite kind of ride. The Catalina has an issue with its top, which I hope gets resolved before the rains return to West Texas, if they ever do.

The interior is rough--but why oh why did Detroit stop making cars this cool?

I was passionate for Ponchos as a kid. My father had a 1959 wide-track Catalina,

and a 1962 Pontiac Laurentian.

 Pontiacs, and especially 1959 Catalina steering wheels, were somewhere near the source of my car obsession/fetish as a kid. (I've written about all that in an essay, "Love Cars", which you can find here.)

Most of the Pontiacs generated since @ 1975 were terminally dull, including some spectacularly ugly ones (remember the Aztek?). And now the "brand" is extinct. Though I guess no "brand" is ever beyond re-inflating, and I suppose Pontiac will be revived by GM at some point as a "brand" if not as a Division that once produced some wonderfully sleek chunks of automotive machinery.
40 years later this was someone's idea of a Pontiac.

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