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Weston ******
English 101
10/20/2010

Seeing Red

My stepfather has always owned sports cars. I covet his old Porsche and old Lotus every time I see them, which is often, as they are in my garage. Being a teenaged boy, I constantly bug him to let me drive them, but only half-heartedly, because the criteria for me to do so is to graduate college and go six years without an accident. As it turns out, I couldn’t wait that long and a year ago, I bought my very own red Italian convertible.

I was at my computer on the 1st of October 2009, browsing Craigslist for cars, and I came upon a 1986 Alfa Romeo Spider. I showed it to my stepdad who had owned about five of these throughout his life, and he told me to ask the seller for specific information, like rust and the condition of the top. I did this and told him. He called the seller and liked what he heard. The next day he went up to look at the car, and when I got home from school that day he told me, “If you don’t buy this car, I will.” This made me extremely happy; the next day I conned my mom to let me skip school to go up and get it.

My stepfather, my grandpop and I went together. The drive up was an agonizing 45 minutes and I could not sit still. When we arrived, I was greeted by the seller, who promptly showed me the car. It was everything I was expecting and more. I happily paid him, and we loaded up the car on a trailer for the trip back. If I was anxious on the ride there, I don’t know how to describe how I felt on the drive back. I got nervous every time we would go over a bump, or get too close to the side of the road. We finally got it into my driveway and the first thing I was told to do was clean it. I usually wash one or two of our cars a month, but with this car, I took extra special care and cleaned every nook and cranny; the results were beautiful. The car was transformed from haggard to youthful and lively. That is when the actual work began.

My stepfather had me charge the battery and start the car. It immediately started and stalled. From his years of experience, and knowledge of foreign cars, he was able to determine that the problem was a vacuum leak. He looked for signs of leaks, and within 15 minutes he located the leaks and fixed the major ones; the minor ones, he had me patch. I turned over the engine again; lo and behold, it started with a growl. He had me run it for 5 minutes to read the gauges and let it warm up. He then told me that a sparkplug was bad and to go out and get a new one. When I came back, he had me install it and start the car again. This time, it sounded more civil and Italian, and when I pressed the throttle I was greeted with a concerto, not a roar.
At this point, I was itching to drive it, but I wasn’t allowed as it wasn’t tagged. I had to wait an agonizing week before my mom could take it through registration, and get insurance. Once I did finally drive it, something I cannot describe happened to me. I fell in love with it. I don’t know what it is, but now every time I get into the seat and go for a drive, all of the problems in the world seem to melt away.

Driving my car is a joy of its own. When you are sitting in the car you feel like you belong, like a part of it. The seats and ****pit seem to hold you in a constant embrace, and through the controls you can feel the feedback from the road, so there is a further level of connection there. Around where I live, there are many back roads to drive on; these roads curve through forests with the most beautiful scenery in the world. It’s amazing to drive with the top down on these roads, the day is best when it is an hour before dusk, the temperature is about 80 degrees, and you are the only other car on the road. You zip in and out of turns and feel the car react to your input. You know you are driving the car and it isn’t driving you. The song of the exhaust note as you accelerate out of a turn or floor it on a straight-away, and the overrun when you are slowing down to stop, just affects you down to your soul. It’s amazing how much this car will become a part of you and seem to give your soul what is was missing.

My stepfather and grandpop have had different reactions to my purchase. My grandpop wants me to sell the car and make money and move on to other things. My stepfather has been very receptive of me owning this car; he thinks it is a great step for dabbling in sports cars. I have always been apprehensive about driving it to my grandpop’s house because he thinks that I should not be spending my money on such things.
 

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This is a great write-up, Weston!

I think many of us feel just as you do when behind the wheel of our Spiders. And for me, it hasn't changed from when I bought my first Spider (in secret :D) while I was away from home going to college many years ago!

Best regards,
 

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Seeing Red : A Paper for my College English Class

Welcome to the bb!

There are less attractive and less rewarding things that you could be spending your money on...once you've acknowledged the feeling of exhilaration exhibited in your paper, there is no turning back. It is a lifetime disease.

I succeeded in weaving much of my husband's knowledge and love of Alfa Romeo into many of my Master's Degree papers and I had cites that no one else could imagine nor touch including the approach taken; most professors found it amusing as well as entertaining reading about something that was relevant to the topic, but not the same drivel that they'd heard countless times before on the subject.

Continued good luck and success with your studies as well as owning and driving your Alfa.
 

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Very nice!

Congratulations on your purchase and paper. I hope you got a good grade!
I was bit by the Alfa bug while in high school in the late 1970's. Upon graduation from college, I purchase an 82 spider that was less than 1 year old.

The car almost broke me and I swore I'd never own another.

Guess what I have now? Yup, a 1984 spider! The spider has been in the family (my brother owned it first) since 1986.

I've been fortunate to own some very nice sports cars over the years, most of which will run circles around my Spider. Funny thing is, the spider garners more attention and compliments than all my other cars combined!

Enjoy your car!
 

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A kindred spirit!

Weston-- I see your location is listed as "Delaware." Do you, by chance, go to the University of Delaware? If so, give me a call or shoot me a PM! I'm a sophomore at UD with an '88 Spider Quadrifoglio (sleeping at home in NJ). I bought my first Alfa (a '78 Spider) a couple years ago, then sold it last February after realizing I couldn't put the time into it that it deserved. I've been wondering if there are any other Alfa-owning students around here. I don't think I've ever seen an Alfa anywhere near here, though-- closest thing was a Fiat 124 Spider. Have fun with your Alfa!


Evan
609 558 1898
 

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You're infected. There is no cure except the one you have discovered. Enjoy.
 

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Weston ******
English 101
10/20/2010

Driving my car is a joy of its own. When you are sitting in the car you feel like you belong, like a part of it.
The very essence of driving an Alfa--a state not reached in many other machines.
 

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Wonderful essay. Your relationship (I can't believe I wrote that) with your car will only get better. You "get it"; not everyone gets it. Try this one: cold autumn night, top down, bundled up with gloves and hat, heat on, bright full moon, dry leaves blowing around. It's one of my favorite times to drive.
 

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Weston:
You are a talented writer! And you have great taste in cars!

I got my first sportscar, a 1970 Spitfire, at age 17, with money I made washing dishes. My dad also taught me how to work on my own car, all the while making snide comments about foreign cars. Anyhow 37 years, and dozens of British, and a few Italian, German, and Swedish, sportscars later I am still at it. I hope when you are my age that cars, as we know them, will still be around (and legal).

PS I hope your driving skills will convince your stepdad to let you drive his toys.
 
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