Back around 1980 there was a great Aussie sit-com on TV called, Kingswood Country where the central character, Ted Bullpit owned a Kingswood. His famous catch-cry that he constantly yelled to his son whenever he needed to go anywhere was, ‘You’re not taking the Kingswood’. Which of course was terribly funny because a Kingswood was certainly not worthy of being elevated into sacred status nor due any idol worshiping but for Ted Bulpitt it was his most precious possession.
My husband doesn’t drive a Kingswood but he does have a precious possession in the form of a 1967 convertible Mustang that only he drives. That is, Carl has been the only driver until last Friday. Up until then, Carl has never needed to say, ‘You’re not taking the Mustang’.
The laws in our part of Australia are that no provisional driver (first three years of holding a driver’s licence) is allowed to drive a car with a V8 engine. The Mustang was off-limits to Archie.
But time marches on and suddenly, Archie approached me with his hand out-stretched and asked for the money he needed to sit the test for his black licence. Yes, the three years on his P’s had come to an end. Archie drove off to the RTA in my ‘Rice Burner’ as he calls it, returned an hour or so later waving a black licence in my face and asked, ‘So where’s the Mustang?’
Now the Mustang had that morning been collected from the panel beaters where it had been tenderly having every little ding and scratch lovingly removed/buffed/polished or whatever it is that panel beaters do. Carl drove it up the drive and asked me to come down and inspect the fine workmanship saying, ‘And remember how it had a scratch here?’ and, ‘Remember that little ding on this side?’, and, ‘See how well they’ve matched the colour’, and ‘I didn’t even ask them to do this panel but they’ve done it as well’. And after I’d circled the car five times feigning interest in Carl’s obsession I said, ‘Archie’s home; he just got his black licence’.
Carl was pulled up short. He had no idea. Hadn’t been counting the days. ‘He’s not driving the Mustang’.
But Archie is persuasive. Very persuasive. About the Mustang. Because since 2004 when Carl bought this fine specimen of motoring history (who is older than he is), Archie has been biding time, counting the days until he would be behind the wheel.
We’ve just had a long weekend and on Monday Archie’s girlfriend was here bright and early. Archie was taking her for a drive. In the Mustang. All the way up to Palm Beach and back. Handing over the keys was very difficult for Carl who had gently backed the old girl out of the driveway then given Archie another verbal lesson on how to drive it including how much space to leave between you and the car in front of you and if it looks like rain, do put the top up etc. Then came the moment when Carl had to step away and watch Archie with his girlfriend beside him disappear down the street.
It was twilight when we heard the car returning to us. Carl rushed out to greet his old girl, circled her a few times and had to admit that apart from the tank being on empty, the car was unblemished.
Difficult days ahead for Carl to be sure.