By Steve Laifman
March 27, 2000
Yesterday is Prologue, and Tomorrow Is Forever:
When we began this odyssey, which has been highly condensed, believe it or not, there was a question of Nature vs. Nurture on the origins of Carmania. You will recall the young racer, tearing up the streets of an earlier Los Angeles, in his Stutz Bearcat. A warning his parents could hardly have realized, with no family history of this disease.
Well, here is Jay, in most kid's dream vehicle, a bright red fire engine, complete with ladder and siren. You would think his plate was full.
Here, Jay shows the unrecognized signs of the same affliction. Parental blindness, again, failed to recognize the symptoms. Jay could not be separated from his supersonic X-15 fighter, with joystick steering, Traction-Avante front wheel drive still unique in the automotive world, full throated engine roar, and rear wheel tilt steering - yet to be achieved in motor vehicles. The signs were obvious, to the professional. Notice the telltale abandoned skate board in the background.
Jay, proud owner of his first car. His personalized Maxwell Smart license already affixed, Jay faces a brave new world. Notice this late S-5 has the Mk II headlamp rings. Nearing the end of production, I suppose anything in the parts bin got used. License plate lights on the rear bumper were a first. The car was faded, but ran strong, was straight, and had no rust anywhere.
Many years later, after law school graduation and a good source of income, Jay undertook a complete restoration. The car just returned from painting a deep blue, and the engine on the stand. Ignore the mess - this is a working garage. A quick glance at the Red Toi shows the position of the top/door open, the dual catalytic converters and intake manifold of the Fiero, and a good scale of size and height next to the Sunbeam. Note that the top of the car is about the same as the body of the Sunbeam (less motor). Imagine being at a stop light and looking down at the top of the car next to you!
Parked in the drive of Jay's first house, the completed restoration gleams. It will serve Jay well for many years, until an argument with a larger car, and an insurance adjuster who couldn't believe the work in replacing 5 layers of unibody door sill was any different than one layer, the car became a vital organ donor.