Neil Wiley

Many readers have promised me stories about their old cars, but none have surfaced from my supply of mail, email and hate mail (only kidding, sort of). So I’m using this space to tell you about another car in my huge collection (two cars). 

The WORDVET is my “driver” car. Although I love my old Jaguar, it is too precious and too cranky to waste on trips down to the Silicon Pit. Anyway, the Vet suits the valley better. It’s loud, aggressive and conspicuous. Just like so many marketing types I worked with for too many years.

I remember the first time I saw the “new” Corvette. I was driving home from Seagate when it passed me on Highway 17. It was lust at first sight. When I got home, I began calling dealers all over the country. Every dealer had a waiting list and a big markup over retail. Then I searched the classifieds. (This was before you bought cars over the Internet.) I finally found the car of my dreams by way of a navy pilot from Guam. In a deal so complicated that it is difficult to comprehend, I picked up the car from a dealer in San Mateo.

What a gas! A brand new, bright red ’84 Corvette, complete with big fuel-injected V8, four-speed manual transmission, electric overdrive and big wide tires. I drove it everywhere. I wanted to bring it inside. I gave everyone rides. This was the answer to the mid-life crisis.

The only downside was that two clients immediately reviewed my contracts. They thought I was making too much money, even when I explained that my last car was a 1970 model, After all, if you buy a car every 14 years, you can afford to splurge a little.

The WORDVET lived up to its name. It delivered lots of words from this veteran copywriter to clients on the peninsula. It was well known in the parking lots of Intel, Hewlett Packard and a hundred other high-tech firms.

Now the WORDVET has joined me in semi-retirement. The red is even brighter with a new paint job. The roar is even louder, with old pipes that deliver that great “baloogada, baloogada.” And it still carries words down to the valley, but now they are burned on a CD for our printer.

You can keep your boring BMWs, prissy Porsches and monster Mercedes. I love my American iron. It may ride like a truck. It may sound like a tractor. And yes, it may drip a little oil from an aging rear seal. But under that plastic exterior is a real macho machine.

I’m not bragging. I’m not apologizing. I’m just driving my red Corvette into the sunset.

“Baloogada, Baloogada.”




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