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After traveling late the other night, to a party in the hills,

I found that all the parking there was absolutely nil...

The spaces marked for parking had disappeared, you see,

Under hoards of Alfas, Jags & Sprites, and a little MGB.

 

That night was dark and foggy--as thick as Russian borscht,

Yet my search was soon rewarded by a space beside a Porsche.

It was a speedster...marked & seared...by many years of use,

But I'd rather park by a battered Porsche than a brand-new Detroit moose.

 

So I pulled my Fiat over and backed it quickly in,

And headed up the nearby steps for a glass of icy Gin.

The Gin was chased by cold white wine, and after this, Champagne;

No wonder then, an hour later, I'd muddled up my brain.

 

Then going outside, a little later, to take a breath of air,

I glanced across the narrow street at my X1/9 sitting there;

Imagine my consternation to find, in my arrival's haste,

I'd parked my Fiat By the Porsche so the cars were face to face.

 

I'll swear it's true, I heard just then, above the party mob,

From the direction of my X1/9 , a distinct but muffled sob.

And following this were whispered words in Italian accent clear,

That revealed a tale of grief & neglect to the German car parked near.

 

Now I suspected I had had enough when I heard my Fiat cry..

But I knew this was true the moment I heard the Speedster's answering Sigh!

If this was all a fantastic dream, induced by drunken sot,

Then there's no harm in edging closer...to hear it all...I thought.

 

And so I crept, with tipsy stealth, across the tarmac roadway,

And sat beneath a nearby bush to hear what it had to say,

As my wretched little X1/9 proceeded to deliver,

A tale of abject woe & neglect....with many a fender quiver.

 

".....he throws me against Alfas, and Triumph Spitfires too,

And expects me to stick to a ninety degree turn like Epoxy Super-glue.

It's bad enough my clutch is going, much less I overheat...

God help me if he spots a Porsche, while cruising up the street."

 

"He blithely ignores my noisy valves, and synchros wearing down,

And curses me when my timing belt slips and wrecks a piston crown.

He's always grousing about my seats...the way the upholsteries wear,

But about my spark plugs' burned out gap he doesn't seem to care!"

 

"I know my engine is small, you see, but I use it to the max,

So what would you do with so little torque and 3 Alfas on your back!"

At this point I heard from the bathtub Porsche a must Teutonic oath,

And though the words escape my now, the last was clearly "...OAF..."

 

"This week I'm due for a service visit, and need new bearings as well,

But instead we're driving with the Fiat club like a bloody bat from hell.

Oh, I know I'm made from Fiat steel, but I've got a Ferrari's heart,

And I'd blow the doors off any car if he'd just keep me looking smart."

 

At this moment my nose was itching, which caused a sneeze and cough,

And the narrative I was eavesdropping on was abruptly broken off.

Did it happen or did it not? I still can't really say,

But the Speedster gave me awful looks as I guiltily drove away...

 

What lesson, you say, did I learn that night, when I recovered from the drink?

That my Fiat has a tremendous heart, and feelings as well, I think.

I've learned to care for and treat it well, and on the road relate,

To the things my X1/9 says to me, as we communicate.

 

For we've reached a mutual understanding, my X1/9 and I,

And though the relationship's sometimes strained, we get along just fine.

Despite its emotional Italian moods and finicky Fiat habits,

I'd rather own my X1/9 than a fleet of German Rabbits.......

This poem was first published in the September '79 issue of X/Sport, the

Famiglia X1/9 club newsletter. At the end of the poem the editor, Chris Carey,

made the following note;

 

The author of this poem is unknown as it was delivered

anonymously to my desk in the middle of the night. Curious

as to how it got there, I found Pirelli P-3 Cinturato tire marks

leading there from the front door after looking about

carefully. I am afraid to draw the only logical conclusion from

this evidence.......................

Familia X1/9 was a club for X1/9 "owners & enthusiasts" based in Oakland, CA from

1978 till 1981. Chris Carey was the club's founder, president, newsletter editor &

chief financial backer. In short the club was his baby. Sadly, the club folded when other

concerns made Chris unable to continue to do all of these things. In it's three year

history the club had about 140 members. I was member #41.

Familia X 1/9's elite Ohio division in 1979

Myself with my late lamented blue '76 and my X owning friends Jan Hemsoth with his red '75

and Dave Meredith with the yellow '78 that he bought new & still owns.

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