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The One That Got Away

Confessions of a car enthusiast



 According to my parents, when I was a toddler, I could correctly identify every car that passed by. When I was barely old enough to ride a bike I was already fantasizing about driving my own car. To me, cars aren’t just a mode of conveyance, they’re engineering marvels sculpted into works of art. To date I have owned 28 of them––as many as five at one time––muscle cars, sports cars, luxury cars, and SUVs. But it is my first car, a “Calypso Coral” Ford Torino Cobra, that I wish I still possessed. 

My early memories are all car-related. When new neighbors arrived in 1966  I was dazzled by their fire engine red 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible with a red leather interior, white top, and tail fins visible from the next county. Nineteen feet of conspicuous consumption. And although I was only ten years old I knew that at $8,000 this was the most expensive American car on the market.

When they decided to buy a college graduation gift for their son and asked me—the acknowledged neighborhood car aficionado—what car to buy, I immediately responded: “A ’66 Chevy Chevelle Super Sport 396 convertible with four on the floor, positraction, red line wide oval tires, turquoise with black interior and a white top.” A few weeks later they drove up in the exact car. I was ten and had vicariously made my first car purchase. It was thrilling.

In 1967 we moved to a nicer neighborhood and it was then that I realized there was little correlation between how much money one had and what one drove. Cars were either transportation or a personal passion. The new neighborhood was a combination of senior managers and professionals. Most people drove standard Buicks, Pontiacs, and Fords but there were two households that, automotively speaking, stood out: A contractor and his bookkeeper wife had a white ’66 Thunderbird 390 coupe, an electric blue ’67 Camaro 396 coupe, and a turquoise ’68 Shelby 350 Convertible. These were some of the sexiest and fastest cars of their time, and would collectively be worth $250,000 today. 

At 11, I was the local paperboy. When a dermatologist moved in next door and the first time I crested their steep drive and saw a 1967 burgundy Corvette Convertible with black leather, and a 1966 silver Jaguar E type 2+2, my brain went into sensory overload. I was mesmerized and stood looking at those cars for half an hour. Finally, I delivered their paper, went home and did the math: I had five years to save up for my first car.

There are others like me but on a much larger scale. The Sultan of Brunei, for example, has the world’s largest car collection. He owns 7,000 cars, which are stored in five aircraft hangers in top-secret locations. His automotive obsession is estimated to be worth over 5 billion dollars. Entertainer Jay Leno owns 130 cars and has taken his passion to a new level by creating the television series, “Jay Leno’s Big Dog Garage.” And the rest of us? American drivers keep their cars on the road an average of 11.4 years.

A few months ago my permanent dental retainer lost a battle with a spare rib so I paid a visit to orthodontist Dr. Gregory Sanford in Wilton. We share an affinity for BMWs and Jaguars, and I told him my “paperboy meets Jaguar” story. He laughed and said, “It was in 1963 in London. My mother asked why I was getting home from school so late. I told her I was in love with an E-type Jaguar at the dealership and couldn’t stop staring at it. The memory of that car stayed with me for forty years until I bought one for myself. Occasionally my wife will ask, “Where have you been?” and I’ll reply, “In the garage staring at the Jag.”

So back to my first car. When I was a senior in high school I bought a four-    year-old 1970 Ford Torino Cobra 429 SCJ for $1,750. The dashboard rattled and the body shook going over bumps, but it was crazy fast, obnoxiously loud, and I loved it. But my Dad feared for my life and made me sell the car. Ford built a total 502 of this model and only 20 with the SCJ engine. Currently, an unrestored model is for sale on antiquecar.com for $1.6 million. Given that there were only 20 built I can’t help but wonder if it’s mine. Definitely, the one that got away.

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September 2018

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

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Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

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The Wilton Rotary Club will again sponsor its traditional family carnival from Friday-Sunday, Sept. 14-16 at the corner of School Road and Route 7. The event is a fundraiser that benefits the...

Cost: Admission & parking free. unlimited rides $25. Individual ride tickets available

Where:
Wilton
, CT


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Explore three private gardens in Greenwich, Westport, and Wilton, open for self-guided tours to benefit the Garden Conservancy. Highlights include water features, terraced perennial gardens, a...

Cost: $7 per garden, children 12 and under free

Where:
Pixie Perennials
200 Nod Hill Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: The Garden Conservancy
Telephone: 888-842-2442
Contact Name: Open Days Program staff
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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Woodcock Nature Center plans Under the Harvest Moon Benefit Event Friday, September 21 One of the largest fundraisers of the year for Woodcock Nature Center, Under the Harvest Moon on Friday,...

Cost: $80/person

Where:
Woodcock Nature Center
56 Deer Run Rd
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Website »

More information

Wildlife trafficking generates more than $10 billion a year for transnational organized criminal networks. Join us to learn about the work our Nature Initiative is doing to further the strategic...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Website »

More information

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Join Music on the Hill for "An Evening in Paris," its sixth annual auction fundraiser. All are welcome. The evening begins with a cocktail party and silent bidding, followed by a live...

Cost: $45

Where:
WEPCO Parish Hall
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Inspired by the upcoming New York Fashion Week (September 5 - 12), the Wilton Historical Society is presenting a fashion exhibition "A Century of Style: 1860 - 1960", which will run...

Cost: suggested donation of $5 for non-member adults is welcomed

Where:
Wilton Historical Society
224 Danbury Road
Wilton, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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