In the past, I mentioned that I do prefer more understated celebrations at this stage in life. This is true, but what if I wanted to go "all out?"
I am celebrating my birthday this week.
In the past, I mentioned that I do prefer more understated celebrations at this stage in life. This is true, but what if I wanted to go "all out?" What if I decided that understated birthdays would be better served closer to my cremation than while I am enjoying this fantastic time in my life?
I can see a My Favorites list coming up for this.
The premise for this list is simple: If I wanted a celebration that was not understated, how would I go about it. It has to involve either a vehicle and/or a historic point of automotive reference. It sounds like a brilliant game.
Enough introductions (you see, it was understated)! Let us get the bats out of the imagination bank…
A PROPER HOMETOWN BIRTHDAY: Los Angeles has always been about glamour and the celebration thereof. Reseda may have been the antithesis of Beverly Hills, but it does not exclude us from the party. I am certain there are many ways to do a birthday in my hometown, but if I were to "stay between the lines" to the caveats above, then let me dial this back a few decades. The Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach is where Brock Yates' took his Cannonball Sea-to-Shining-Sea rallies from the east. That would be my headquarters for a celebration. The location by the Pacific Ocean remains as stunning as ever. To honor the heritage of the Cannonball and the Portofino, a proper "birthday" vehicle is in order. A Porsche would do. More specifically, a 911 Carrera 4S (at least). A Porsche proclaims that you’d made it in the world. You upgraded from a humble one-story in Reseda to somewhere a couple of blocks from Jamie Foxx's house out in the hills somewhere. You have connections and contribute to pet causes – the Los Angeles LGBT Center, for example. It also means having a trophy man – even for a night. Yet, that night was made even more special with the sunset over the Pacific from the Portofino. It could easily be made more special when my family and friends in Southern California would show up. That trophy man could wait until later.
FLORIDA PERHAPS? This time of year, Florida is overrun with snowbirds – residents of Northern locales who spend winter in the state. It creates a dichotomy between locals and the temporary residents. Yet, I am amongst the many additional visitors to the state…um, wait, I have never been to Florida. Perhaps I need something to rectify that. I scanned the state and found that the majority of combined friends, colleagues and others who fall into my attraction paradigm just happen to be. Getting around the state would require plenty of driving. You may never know what kind of weather would hit early February, but it has to be something far from a rental car to do the job. An Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan would be a great choice. It is one fine and good looking sedan, born from the legacy of the Milanese. Florida may be ripe to revisit the Giulia, even if it means playing highway tag with the snowbirds and the locals.
THE RAIN IN SPAIN…IF THERE’S ANY? Let’s talk about Spain for a moment. For the topsy-turvy history it had, it is still full of some of the best roads in the world. They say that the tarmac is absolutely perfect – devoid of imperfections. Sure, a few COVID tests, proof of my vaccination (plus booster) and everything else I need to get into the country, will let me enter through the gates of Barcelona. Maybe a day looking at Gaudi’s architecture or some lovely gentlemen at Sitges. Or, drive along the Mediterranean coast to Valencia. With what vehicle, you ask? The easy answer would be a SEAT or Cupra. Nah…go with a BMW. A nice, rapid M440i xDrive Gran Coupe, to be exact. It is practical, but audacious. Bombastic, but damn good to drive. Something that can prove how good Spanish tarmac truly feels.
WAITING TO EXHALE? You know, Spain – or anywhere outside of this country – would be great if we had great immune systems to battle through this pandemic. However, I am a bit skittish about traveling abroad. I better be a bit more realistic and find something that does not require a passport and a host of tests. Something warmer and nicer. You know it’s been a while since I’ve been to the Valley of The Sun. I know some folks who live in the area – from practically every era of my life. What am I waiting for? Lower air fares? A ton of money for a resort? Dinner with Adam, Pa, and their family? While I watch Waiting to Exhale again – that Loretta Devine shimmy and Angela Bassett’s reminder that revenge is served very, very hot – I should take on the Valley of The Sun in something cool and worthy of consideration. OK, a Chevrolet Corvette. The mid-engine one. Why? Because you don’t wait to exhale when you’re going 85 MPH (with traffic) on the Pima Freeway. And, why not a C8 'Vette? Why not, indeed!
MAYBE I SHOULD STAY HOME INSTEAD?: It is always great when you can get your friends together for a meal and some conversation afterwards. The list of folks I would rather celebrate this inauspicious day has wavered, but this would call for a subtle celebration on my home turf than some crazy whirlwind tour somewhere inducing some want of being home or a spat of loneliness. A birthday still has to be special on some level. The Twin Cities has some great restaurants – Victor's 1959 Cafe, for example. It has to be somewhere I have never been. A select group of friends is also a must. Lastly, there must be a ride worthy of the day – something newsworthy and engaging for discussion. Something that would handle winter in its own special way. This may call for an Aston Martin DBX. It is where James Bond meets the family. Yet, it has all of the goodies that make it an Aston – with its twin-turbocharged V8 and moves like a Vantage – sort of. With my curiosity for this vehicle piqued, it might as well be the one vehicle to celebrate a birthday here in the Twin Cities.
All photos by Randy Stern