About six months ago we bought this fantastic little toy called a Fiat 124 Spider. It's a little slice of Italy that is neither glamorous nor expensive, but a whole lot of fun! Step back about fifteen feet or so and she looks like a fine collectable but get in behind the wheel and the car turns immediately into a grin factory.
The smell of fuel and oil is not an uncommon odor nor as unpleasant as you might think. It adds to the air of the classic roadster romance! Fire up the little engine and the steady rumble just entices you to GO!
Once you settle in to the decidedly Italian driving position behind the wheel the urge to find the windiest back road grows even stronger. The engine eagerly revs as the accelerator is pressed and the tiny car lunges into motion. Granted, none of this happens at nearly the enthusiastic levels one imagines it to be happening, but the little 90 horsepower engine does its very best to fulfill the wildest of sporting imaginations!
The tachometer includes both a yellow line in addition to the red line that we all know should never be exceeded. This yellow line indicates where Fiat thought it'd be the most beneficial to shift the car. Surprisingly it lies only a couple hundred RPM behind where that scary red line sits and the Italian roadster is more than happy to comply with those lofty RPMs. It's hard to distinguish the scream of the engine from the shrieks of joy as you toss the oversized go-kart around the corners and down the winding roads.
Road after road is devoured in this fashion. Turn upon turn. The gearbox crunching solidly from one gear to the next and back again. Wind flying through your hair, the subtle squeal of a rear wheel as you carve a tight switch-back, a mild numbness from the gentle vibrations passed from the roughness of the road up through the steering wheel to your hands. Ecstasy!
Back again in the familiar confines of your own driveway the car rumbles again at idle like a panting after a good, hard run. There's a list of little things that you noticed that need tweaking. The list continues to grow, but the work is almost as fun as the drive. A little odd clunk here, an oil leak there, a slight pull when you brake hard. They are all just more excuses to perfect the little thing that generates such enormous excitement.
As the ignition is turned off and the sound of the exhaust clacking as it cools you walk away from the car with a sense of satisfaction. Looking back it is there just waiting for the next adventure through the winding paths and so do you. For just a moment you feel like an Italian racing driver as you turn out the lights and shut the garage door. Such is the thrill of the drive!