Red Barchetta


My uncle has a country place,
that no one knows about
He says it used to be a farm,
before the motor law
And on sundays I elude the eyes
and hop the turbine freight
To far outside the wire,
where my white-haired uncle waits.
Jump to the ground
As the turbo slows to cross the borderline
Run like the wind,
As excitement shivers up and down my spine
Down in his barn
My uncle preserved for me, an old machine —
For fifty-odd years
To keep it as new has been his dearest dream
I strip away the old debris,
that hides a shining car
A brilliant red barchetta,
from a better, vanished time
I fire up the willing engine,
responding with a roar
Tires spitting gravel,
I commit my weekly crime…
Wind in my hair
Shifting and drifting
Mechanical music
Adrenalin surge
Well-weathered leather
Hot metal and oil
The scented country air
Sunlight on chrome
The blur of the landscape
Every nerve aware
Suddenly, ahead of me,
across the mountainside
A gleaming alloy air-car
shoots towards me, two lanes wide
I spin around with shrieking tires,
to run the deadly race
Go screaming through the valley
as another joins the chase
Drive like the wind
Straining the limits of machine and man
Laughing out loud
With fear and hope,
Ive got a desperate plan
At the one-lane bridge
I leave the giants stranded
At the riverside
Race back to the farm
To dream with my uncle
At the fireside…

Lyrics by Neil Peart, perfomed by Rush

No, I didn’t post this because I’m nostalgic for the 80s. Well, OK maybe I am a little.
But the real reason is all this talk about CAFE standards, alternative fuels and global warming hogwash. We’re probably a lot closer to the dystopian future that Neil Peart imagined than you might think. He was actually inspired by a short story that appeared in Road & Track back in the 70s.
If you like cars, I suggest you look around and find the one of your dreams and buy it now. Preserve it in a garage and take good care of it. In the brave new world going for a joyride in it may be the one simple pleasure you’ll be able to have. As long as the cops don’t catch you in their “alloy air cars”.
I don’t have a “Red Barchetta” but I do have this beauty, a 1966 Dodge Polara.
From my cold dead hand they can take the keys.

9 thoughts on “Red Barchetta”

  1. I can barely read the front tag, but does it say “cacharro?” Does that make you a Conductor de Cacharro? Can we get a closeup photo of the car.

  2. Henry, I promise I won’t run you over with my Acura to pry from your “cold dead hand” the keys to that 1966 Dodge Polara. I would not be caught dead cruising Flagami on Friday night in that vehicle. I bet the seat doesn’t even tilt back! No self-respecting teenage balsera will ride in that car with me. It looks more like a family car. Did you inherit that from an older relative?

  3. I saw that cacharro parked at Versailles near my new white Nissan Maxima when my passenger side got keyed.

  4. Henry,
    A 318 or a 383 cu. in. engine?
    I learned to drive on a 1968 Plymouth Fury with a 318. I was 16 and my Dad was taking a major chance. He just turned 50 then and it was the very first new car he owned in his life.
    The 1965 and 1966 Dodges were cool with their tear drop speedometer.
    If that were a hemi Charger or Coronet it would be over $100 grand today.

  5. Tio and Robert,
    The tag in that photo says “1966 Dodge” but that was before I put on the current “Cacharro” tag.
    JackW, That’s the “economy” model with a 318 Poly motor. Your 68 Fury would have had a different 318 called the “LA” model.
    My next project is to change from a 2bbl carb to 4bbl. I just won the intake manifold on ebay and am waiting for it to be delivered.

  6. 4bbl. carb. with the high price of gas? Pobrecito Bernardo. He shouldn’t be so visible at Versailles where Vigilia Mambisa hangs out. Those octogenarians don’t like dialogueros.

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