Of all the cars that I’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 couldn’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.
There’s no room for a baby seat.
There’s no room for anything.
A sleek yellow skateboard racing down the freeway isn’t a very safe place for a child.
There are no air bags.
There isn’t much of anything between the driver and the road.
And Fiat’s reputation for unreliability doesn’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 “Baby On Board” sign.
My current car is a Chrysler PT Cruiser Turbo convertible. 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.