by John Babos



The Lighter Side of Owning a Ferrari

Something Missing



               I don’t know about you, but when something is missing from a unit, maybe not even an integral part of the unit, it really bothers me.  As an example, I have a modest library, and if a book is removed from the shelf or someone borrows a book, the empty space it creates is excruciatingly frustrating.  That void screams at me and haunts me whenever I walk by.  The mental anguish has been so bad that I’ve been known to hunt down the borrower and ask for the return of my book.  Of course I would make up a great excuse like the Dalai Lama is visiting and really wants to look at that book. And when the borrower returns it, I’m sure they are wondering why the Dalai Lama would be interested in the “Popular Mechanics 1913 edition of The Boy Mechanic Book 4.” But the void is filled and the world is once again in harmony, at least in my mind.

            When it comes to my Dino, there are a few miscellaneous parts missing; parts only important for the judging at Pebbles Beach and nothing else. The car’s performance or curvaceous looks aren’t at all impacted. But, those missing parts still bother me. It’s like that piece of steak gristle stuck in your teeth that requires nothing short of a root canal to remove.  However, I started coming to grips with it though (the Dino parts, not the steak gristle).  The few parts that are missing are considered “unobtainium,” they just don’t exist.  I was getting used to it in a strange sort of way.  It’s kind of like the extinction of the Do-Do Bird.  They were all gone, way before my time and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. But a problem occurs if a Do-Do Bird suddenly walks out of the forest, or in the case of my Dino, parts wash ashore in New Jersey from a shipwreck that occurred decades ago.  So there it is, that piece of steak gristle stuck in my teeth again.  The “un” from “unobtainium” vanishes and a void in my life can be suddenly filled.  

            Such was the case for my Dino. I’ve been missing the retention wing nut and washer that holds the spare tire in place. Low and behold, one was found among various and sundry items that came from a capsized ferry off the coast of Nova Scotia.  A simple device of sorts, eight inches of a threaded shaft with a wing nut affixed to the end and a three inch washer. I decided to call about the part to get cost and availability information.  The gentleman who answered told me that the part that I so desperately coveted was still available; in fact it still had some sea weed attached.  Numerous other Dino owners from around the globe had already contacted him, but if I acted quickly it could be mine.  When he told me the cost of the shipwrecked part I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I told him that the part was just a spare tire retaining wing nut, it would be unseen, under the bonnet and no one but me would know it was there.  He mentioned that that was the most important part of any purchase, satisfying the ‘me,’ knowing that I would know and I could sleep soundly at night. As I hemmed and hawed about the cost he reminded me that the part was in fact made by Enzo Ferrari himself as he taught young Dino the art of aluminum casting.   In fact, he said that if I looked carefully at one section of the shaft, I could even see Enzo’s thumb print. It is thought that Enzo personally delivered the part to the Sultan of Pettra where it was encrusted with rare gems and pearls. Well!  That did it.   I had to have it, even if I am but a poor working stiff, a cubicle slug, a slave to the man; but how?

            It occurred to me that the few dollars Crystal and I were saving to replace our broken refrigerator could be used to make the purchase. Our refrigerator broke a few months back, but this winter has enabled us to store our food outside under the snow. (Raccoons occasionally find the buried cache but they always leave some for us, even if they do spread the contents over 5 acres and leave the catsup jars unsealed.  Every morning Crystal and I would simply gather up our evening dinner for the day, scrape off the miscellaneous hair and let it thaw). So with credit card in hand I bought that ever so elusive part.  My only worry now is if we have a temporary thaw before I win the lottery (it’s the money I will use to buy a new refrigerator).  Another idea I’m toying with is to store our food in the little Dino as it is parked outside next to my blocked-up Buick. And you would have to admit that it would be the classiest refrigerator in the neighborhood, especially with one less missing part; a part that I am so proud of.