I’m the exact opposite of this, and here’s why. If you drive a Miura or some other flashy car on the street, people will look at you. And I don’t like the attention. I know that sounds crazy coming from a comedian who has spent the last 20 years making his living in front of a camera or a microphone. Wanting to be the focus of attention while performing is one thing. Wanting to be the focus of attention while driving to the hardware store is something else entirely, and it’s not in my DNA, believe it or not.
Plus, as cool as my Miuras or any other old cars are, there’s always something that’s going to break. No matter how well you maintain them, no matter how much rebuilding you do, they will always surprise you with some little leak or shorted wire. It winds up being too much of a hassle. All of my cars are in very good shape, but I’m just too busy to fix the nickel and dime problems that keep me from using one of them as a driver.
And you see those old car TV shows where Dennis Gage will ask some guy if he ever drives his beloved blown ‘41 Willys pro street coupe. The guy always says, “She ain’t no trailer queen! I made the 375 mile drive from Fresno to be at this event today. I drive her every day to work!” That’s great, but those guys are always living in some small town.
Sure, if I lived in Carmel, I’d be taking my cars out for a stroll up and down Pacific Coast Highway every Sunday. But I live in Los Angeles, which is a scary and freaky place to drive. Our streets are full of crazy, uninsured drivers. You always see some guy with his ‘82 Toyota pickup that he’s converted into a stake-bed with a Sawzall. He’s got wood pallets stacked 30 feet high, all held on with one frayed bungee cord. I don’t need that guy and his poor life choices anywhere near one of my Miuras.
Also, you’d think that once I started vintage racing, I’d be crazier on the streets, but it’s actually made me more mellow. Driving on the street is kind of a let down compared to being on the track. If I’m not in a fire suit and helmet, getting cinched down in a six-point harness, it’s a snooze. And L.A. streets are just lined with cops waiting to give you a ticket for speeding or any other damn thing. It’s hard to hit the apex when you’re looking over your shoulder for a CHiP with a radar gun. So, between not wanting to deal with breakdowns, the over-zealous cops and already getting my jollies on the track, I just want the drive from my house to work to be as uneventful as possible.
And besides all of that, why do people insist that a car collector has to use his cars to enjoy them, anyway? Does anyone ask a stamp collector if he uses his stamps to mail in his gas bill? Hey, how come coin collectors never fed a parking meter with their ancient Roman denarius?
Maybe I’ll change my mind someday and hire a full-time mechanic to tend to my herd, like Jay does. But until then, I’m fine with just enjoying the beauty of my vintage cars.
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