The Lighter Side of Owning a Ferrari
Passing Gas by john babos
There have been times in my life when every nerve of my being was permeated with an impending feeling of doom and gloom. Whether it was when I was in the Army or starting my first 500-foot vertical ice climb of the year, the feeling that something just wasn’t right sometimes hung over me like a dark cloud. Most of that feeling was attributed to the complete loss of control or the possibility of facing irreversible consequences. And surprisingly, it’s the same impending feeling of doom and gloom, loss of control and irreversible consequences that occurs when I turn my Ferrari over to the 12-year-old specialist at the Colorado emissions station. Now of course they’re not 12 years old but they look it, and at that age how much experience can they possibly have with Ferrari’s? When my car was built their parents were probably starting high school.
My last trip to the emissions station was the perfect example of a bad time. I have never heard of anybody having a good time at the Colorado emission station and heaven help the poor souls that fail the emission tests. They are scarred and blackballed for the rest of their lives, spending more than the GNP of a small country trying to correct a perceived defect on a vehicle that travels only a few hundred miles a year. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m just as big a tree hugger as the next guy and I really feel for the environment. In fact, I designed my house so that when I start my fireplace the smoke and soot flows down the valley into Denver because the people there know how to deal with it.
On my last visit the specialist (the12-year-old) told me how pretty the car was and commented that Pontiac should not have discontinued them. He told me his brother had a Fiero that he paid $1500 for and mine looked at least that good. He then escorted me to a waiting booth and directed me not to leave under any circumstance. As you can imagine the feeling of doom and gloom, loss of control and the sufferings of irreversible consequences grew stronger. The second specialist armed with what looked like a converted 9 iron with a mirror on the end began walking both sides of my 328 looking for the catalytic converter. Not finding anything where he was conditioned to look left him yelling for his boss. When the boss appeared he told him that the exhaust system had been removed and my car wasn’t eligible for a Colorado tag. I broke out of the confinement booth that I was sharing with fourteen other prisoners and explained that the exhaust system and all that ‘stuff’ was in the back of the car. The emission specialists were astounded; remember they were born after the original VW Beetle, not to mention John, George, Paul and Ringo.
When another specialist entered the car only to be confused by the shift pattern, first gear in the lower left, I decided to cut and run. Immediately I began contemplating moving residences or getting a P.O. Box somewhere near Timbuktu; no emissions there. However, in the back of my mind I seemed to recall that Ferrari of Denver (FOD) trained and exposed the emission specialist in the station near them to the uniqueness of the car. Surely they would at least recognize that my Ferrari was from this planet. So making an excuse of some type, like the President needed me, I had the test cancelled, my car pulled forward and I departed as quickly as possible as I headed for the FOD trained specialist. Sure enough, the specialist at this new station found the catalytic converter, pulled the car onto the dyno and the test proceeded without incident.
As I was about to leave, a young lady armed with a machete raced to my Ferrari and with one lightning swish removed my emissions sticker from the windshield (seems it is no longer required). Amazed that the leather dash was still intact, I thanked her and prepared once again to leave. It was then that another specialist moved to the back of the car, brushed some dust off the chrome prancing horse and told me that this was the prettiest Mustang he had ever seen.
Note: No emission specialists were harmed or injured in any way during the testing of my Ferrari.