I’m not really sure exactly how it all started, but I remember it was late March and I was on eBay.
I think I had been looking at interesting cars. My birthday was coming up, and I really wanted a Bentley. Not just a Bentley, but a Bentley Arnage Red Label. I love Bentleys because of their interesting back story, their heritage, the race history, the attention to design, and the uniqueness. (I think a lot of that started to die off in the late 90s/early 00s, but that’s for another blog.) With a Bentley out of my reach due to enormous upkeep costs and an insurance payment that would make a Rockefeller choke on his beluga, I decided to look at other interesting cars.
Back in the late 1980s, I was sitting in my World History class and some girls were talking about fancy cars. One of them said, “Some day I want to get an Avanti.” This girl, whose name was Samantha, was quite the cosmopolitan. She had a worldly quality about her, the kind of presence that forms the fine line between laughing at fashion and admiring it.
I first saw an Avanti in 1983 when we moved to the US from Germany. One of the soldiers down the street pulled into his carport and honked his horn to let his family know that, yes, daddy had arrived. His Avanti was brand new, red with tan interior, and a huge crowd of us formed around it. The next Avanti I saw was in a hot summer in 1988. A car hauler had to unload it in order to get a different car, a less interesting car, off the hauler to deliver to a customer that assuredly wished he was getting the Avanti instead.
When Samantha mentioned the Avanti in my history class, I remembered the two Avantis I had seen before and I remembered the Avantis I had seen on “Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous”. When I sat in my study thinking about interesting cars, I remembered Samantha mentioning the Avanti. And there I was, typing a-v-a-n-t-i into the search bar.
There was something about the Avanti that really drew me to it. I spent hours reading everything I could find, watching YouTube videos, buying books. I fell in love with the interior’s design and the flowing lines of the body. I loved that the front and the rear didn’t match until you thought about the whole thing. I just plain loved it, and I had to have one.
The only one on eBay that day was a 1988 Avanti LSC. I decided to go for it and bid. Well, that one was ended early by the seller due to a $25,000 offer, and I thought my impulsive dream was over. But I kept going. And then one day, a silver 1976 Avanti with ruby red leather interior appeared. It was The One.
“It will be mine,” I said to my wife. “Oh yes, it will be mine.”