Automobiles Anonymous

From Moss Motoring 1985 

by Pete Cosmides

I call it automobilism; the burning desire for things automotive. That’s anything automotive; real cars, models, toys, posters, photos, etc. You know you’re really hooked when you start spending ridiculous amounts of money for an auto part only because its NOS (new old stock) or NLS (no longer supplied); whether you need it or not it may not even be for a car you own, but if it is hard to find and you found it you’ve got to have it. You might even have a spare room in your house devoted to all these peculiar bits of automobile collectibles, in the hope that someday you’ll have a houseguest that really cares to see this display of obsessive behavior.

Those of you who have this condition I call automobilism know exactly who you are. In my case it started when I was eleven years old. My older sister had a date with a guy who had an MG Midget. From that point on it was a hopeless battle. I tried getting involved in sports, but it just didn’t work. Between the age of twelve and seventeen I made my weekly bicycle trek down to the MG dealer to sit in my dream car. I saved every penny I could get my grubby little hands on so when it came time for me to buy a car, I wasn’t stuck driving a 5 year old Dodge. It was an MGB I wanted and it was an MGB I got.

Ever since the first day of ownerships years ago, that has ruled my life; I am it’s slave!

Of course to apply for automobilism anonymous, it doesn’t have to be an MG. Any car type will do, even Corvairs have their cult followings. There is always a very strong following of German cars, particularly Porsches. I’ve noticed a particularly strong automobilism rate among British car enthusiasts.

As for us British car owners the first symptom of trouble is the pure obsession with owning more than one British car. Followers of other car types blame this obsession on the lack of reliability of British cars and that owning two cars is almost a necessity to travel. However we know better, let’s be realistic, the more British cars we have the more places we have to put all those Union Jack stickers we’ve accumulated over the years.

What about those of us who read our Bentley manuals while eating our Corn Flakes in the morning? We read them like a great novel, we just can’t put them down. Corn Flakes and milk dripping from our chin while our eyes are fixed on a Lucas wiring diagram It’s a sad sight but it happens to the best of us.

How many of you young executives out there have a separate Charge Card account billed to your office for the purchase of your British car parts? If your spouse found out about that secret balance due, that lovely little British Car would be history.

Now, of course there is hope for this condition I call automobilism. You can attend therapy sessions and share your experiences with others; these ‘meetings’ are called Car Shows, and if you’re not careful you could be attending one every weekend from May through October. It’s at these car shows that we Car-aholics can show off our pride and joy sports cars. In addition we can now begin to divulge all the bits and pieces of sports car trivia we’ve all studied so hard at. After all, this is your big chance. Where else can you ramble on and on about your recent restoration of a Triumph Mayflower? The guys on the bowling team certainly don’t want to hear about it!

So you see if you’re willing to devote your life to automobiles, it can be “rewarding”. You might even win a trophy at one of these shows. Which brings us back to that spare room in the house- you will need a place to keep the trophies! It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s great! If any of you have any symptoms I’ve described I guess I’ll see you at the next “meeting”.

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