Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vintage Vehicle Santuary

As a kid, I got so much joy out of watching the 1968 Disney film The Love Bug. The adventure of Herbie, a little Volkswagon bug with the ability to communicate (without actually speaking…which would be lame) with its owners gave me such an affection for the 1973 baby blue bug my Mom bought when I was 9. I used to imagine our “Baby Blue” could understand me when I would talk out loud or sing songs while waiting in the car for my Mom to quickly buy some milk in the grocery. I thought our car was the best listener...not great at giving advice or feedback, but an amazing listener.

She eventually sold that car when she remarried and because I was so bummed, I received a light blue bug for my 16th birthday. It was a 1967 in mint condition and I named it “Baby Blue Two.” This car was with me through all my ups and downs of high school. It was there during teenage make-out sessions, long conversations with friends, summer road trips, late night fast food runs, contests of how many teens could fit inside a bug (the answer is 12), it drove me home after being instantly fired for burning 35 dozen Napoleans at the French bakery I worked at, it offered me a place of rest when I felt lonely and disconnected from all the other girls in school, it listened to me rehearse my lines for every single play I starred in, and it was there as I nursed my many broken hearts. It had heard all my laughter and tears and secrets. When my step dad persuaded me to sell it because I was moving to the hilly streets of Seattle, I went and sat in Baby Blue Two and emotionally broke down. It had been my safe place during a faze of life that felt anything but.

I recently took Jake, the 3 year old boy I baby sit, to the Petersen Automotive Museum...twice. Not only do they have the original buggy car (as Jake calls them) from The Love Bug, but they have three floors of beautiful classic cars all in perfect condition. From the first cars in the 1890's to the most contemporary sleek sports cars of the present to famous film cars to all the Hot Wheel cars that have ever existed, this museum has a striking collection of autos and motorcycles. Gazing at these vehicles gave me an appreciation for the artistry and architecture of automobile designers and engineers. There are such intricate details, vibrant colors, and a remarkable evolution of style. Out of all the various styles, I prefer the cars of the 1960’s (Mustangs, Oldsmobiles, Jaguars, Mercedes Heckflosse, Peugeots, and of course Volkswagon bugs) more than any other decade because of their edgy cool panache. What I really loved while strolling through this museum was imagining who had owned these cars--who had loved, laughed, celebrated, and cried inside each of them. After all, a car is not just a hunk of metal. It’s a refuge with a story.

My 1967 VW Beetle

6060 La Brea Ave.
Los Angeles, CA
Hours: Tues - Sun 10am-6pm

This reproduction of a 1960's garage with station wagons parked inside reminds me of The Wonder Years. Love it!

Hot Wheels room

The Volkswagon beetle from The Love Bug movie.

Vintage 1940's sundress from Paris; vintage basket purse; vintage 1980's red ballet flats.

Close-up on my 1940's blue, red, and white sundress. Pockets on the side have white plastic buttons, and the dresses cinches with a tie made from the same fabric.

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