The lure of the older woman

As it turns out, older cars — and we do, after all, tend to name our cars after women, or at least I do — may have the same sort of pull on us as does the woman of a certain age:

I’ve been married to my [Citroën] SM for nearly eight years, with an initial purchase price of $20,000. She had 52,000 miles. I’ve spent approximately $8,000 on maintenance, and $14,000 on an engine rebuild. She runs perfectly. So, for $42,000, with approximately $1,000 per year for maintenance, I have finally found the perfect long-term relationship with a gorgeous French woman. A woman about whom I know virtually everything necessary to keep her happy, who is always ready to go to dinner or on vacation. OK, maybe not always, and maybe not far, but such relationships aren’t supposed to be easy, and long-term relationships less so.

If fourteen grand sounds high for an engine rebuild, well, this engine comes from Maserati, with whom Citroën was in a marriage of inconvenience when the SM was developed. So the elegant French lady has more than a trace of Italian fire, and already I’m thinking, um, fairly suggestive thoughts.

That said, Gwendolyn, my Japanese ice princess, cost me $12,400 nine years ago. She had 88,000 miles. I’ve spent about $12,000 on maintenance and repairs. So for a hair less than $25,000, I have a worthy travel companion, albeit one who never, ever shows her feelings. The respect is there, but nothing beyond that. Still, were I to draw up a map for a nice long 4,000-mile road trip, I’d have no qualms, no worries about something horrible happening along the way.

Then again:

I’m happy, and so is she. True love is out there, waiting, from Alfa, Porsche, Tatra and dozens of other parents whose older models are still waiting to meet the right person, but the hour is drawing near.

At this stage of my development, I question my ability to sustain my end of the commitment.

And there’s this observation from Jack Baruth: “For the record, dating a flesh and blood woman older than yourself is a fate worse than death.” At 40ish, he can say that. At 60ish, I can’t. (The Citroën SM is in its middle forties.)


  1. McGehee »

    3 December 2015 · 9:11 am

    Relationships with vehicles used to become romanticized because maintaining such a relationship in the face of the inevitable drama required an emotional investment.

    There is little dramatic or romantic about being almost perfectly dependable, and comfortable as an old shoe — but it’s a damn sight more pleasant. And a long-term pleasant relationship brings about an emotional investment of a different and, I think, superior kind.

    Of course, I’ve had my current car for only a couple of years. There may be drama yet to come.

  2. backwoods conservative »

    3 December 2015 · 10:02 am

    I’ve always longed to have a woman who would be as good to me as the best of my vehicles have been. Unfortunately, they’ve mostly tried to outdo the worst of them.

    If all of the women older than me I’ve been involved with were somehow removed from my romantic history, I would still be a virgin. I have my own opinions about a fate worse than death.

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