Ode to the King

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I’m currently in the process of finding some new wheels after my last car spontaneously combusted while I was overseas. It’s a taxing operation that many of us can relate to. It also happened to trigger the memory of the first time I bought a car.

Buying a car is marketing’s quintessential example of a high-involvement purchase. You spend weeks researching, evaluating alternatives and eventually selecting your beast. There are factors for this process, some more obvious than others; make & model, kilometers on the odometer, interior condition, colour, service history and street cred.

My first car was a Holden HZ Premier wagon. To help paint a picture for those unfamiliar with Kingswoods, the primary factor in selecting a Kingswood was to find one that had spent the majority of it’s life away from the degenerative salt-winds of the ocean that accelerate rust. I was only to buy a Kingswood from the country. A few weeks and a half-dozen road trips later, I had found the one.

They say it’s hard to put a price on beauty. However John from the town of Cockatoo managed to round it up to an even figure of $1800.

She had many dints. She was on gas, but thanks to a V8 engine, she had a fuel-economy that was on par with driving four Corollas concurrently. In her glory days, she was advertised as Bronze Pearl, but over the course of three decades faded to a dull fecal colour. The starter motor was on it’s way out and would often get stuck. The tailgate had been replaced by an ill fitting after market solution that was covered in primer, a reminder of the disproportionate expense to get it matching the rest of the vehicle.

She was beautiful. And like all signification emotional relationships, I loved her because of these quirks, not despite them.

As part of my consumer psychology, I will often give my posessions names, in an attempt to humanise things I interact with often. Below are some examples:

  • Macbook is named Samantha
  • iPhone is named Wesley
  • My wireless home network’s name is Gandalf

The naming process of this particular asset item was as follows:

HZ -> Zed -> Edward -> Ted

I was aware (and repeatedly reminded) of the masculine nature of the name Ted for an inferred female entity. Titling this post as an ode to the King hasn’t helped either. But her majestic existence transcended any gender naming convention.

Ted recieved many irrational upgrades. I had keyless entry installed that always managed to get a chuckle from bistanders when they would see this rust bucket light up to a ‘beep beep’ and the door locks spring up. Extractors drastically improved her note, enabling her to purr like a honeymooner. The sound system installed would wrestle with the rattlings of every interior component.

I saw my first Kingswood wagon when I was 16 at football training. One of the senior players owned one and I’ll never forget the impression it had on me as it rumbled around the oval. It would park on top of the scoreboard hill, music blaring with the tailgate dropped behind bench seats. It represented everything that was glorious about the Australian 70s. It was a way of bringing back the biff.

Ted, although you were welcomed into the afterlife via an ebay bidding frenzy, no car will outbid my love for you. Here is a limerick that best expresses the love we shared.

There once was a kingswood named Ted.
Her weight suggested construction of lead.
Forced me to befriend a mechanic,
A turning-circle like the titanic,
When she dropped dead a tear I did shed.

Ted