VL VICTIM

HEAD-FIRST DOWN A LONG AND SLIPPERY SLOPE

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

LET’S TALK a little about obsession. Now given the audience of this fine family organ, you should all be world authorities on the topic. I’ve met some of you and, believe me, to say you’re off your collective trolleys is being kind.

I’ll give you an example. For the sake of preserving his anonymity, we’ll call him Sam. Now he, bless him, developed an affinity for VL Commodores and seems to have stuck with them over the decades. He went through the low times when people would have cheerfully used one as an ashtray, to now when they’ve become very collectible.

To the best of my knowledge he’s owned three and the latest acquisition is unquestionably the prize. It’s a turbo wagon with, wait for it, a five-speed manual. And it’s a Calais. Therefore it is a very rare combination.

It’s one of those cars he tripped over while cruising the online classifieds, a practice his partner may wish to consider banning. It’s like loitering on a street corner – there’s something not entirely innocent about it.

Anyway, he trips over the car, agonises over buying it, then does the deed and collects it. By any normal standard it’s a bit of a peach and it runs. Sure there are a few little things that need fixing, but really a bit of patience and a few dollars would have seen it in a state that would keep any normal person happy. But not a car nut.

Oh no, now this is where our graphic designer and Thunderbird life-support system Angelo hoves into view. He’s discovered that what’s almost as satisfying as buying bits (or little presents) for your own car, is helping other people throw money at theirs. In my view, he’s an A-grade enabler, and I have the set of chrome VH Commodore wagon roof racks in a corner of my office to prove it. That’s another story...

Anyway, so he’s ‘helping’ Sam get bits for the VL wagon, which of course has now been stripped and given to a body shop for a restoration. Apparently headlights can cost $300 one side and, wait for it, over a grand for the other. Door trims? A set of newold-stock items will cost you a lazy $1200. And now he doesn’t want to fit them because they’re too valuable.

Of course he’s not completely nuts. With an eye to economy, he’s been sourcing some second-hand gear from the local wrecker. Very sensible. Admirable, even. Except the wrecker got this slightly wild look in his eye and tried very hard to sell Sam the entire business.

The would have been an interesting discussion when he got home. You go out to buy a door handle and come home with a wrecking yard. How do you introduce that? “Hi Honey, I’m home. Guess what? You’re now officially Queen of the Commodores!” Yup. That needs work.

In the end, maybe I shouldn’t fret as Sam is clearly over 18 and therefore able to take responsibility for his own destiny. What concerns me far more is I see clear elements of this psychosis in my own behaviour and that of nearly everyone I know.

Is it a disease of some sort, perhaps a virus? Maybe there’s a tablet for it, or a syrup. Maybe regular doses of medicinal single malt will cure it. I suppose it’s worth a try...

What’s your cure? Drop us a line and let us know…

Guy ‘Guido’ Allen

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