Mr. V –from David

by Asymmetrical Saab

I remember coming out of swim practice. It was a late, February afternoon and it was dark. I carpooled with my friend Josh, whose father was a short, chubby small-town judge with a generous smile. Mr. V picked us up that night in a new 900 turbo. This was in 1984 when European cars were gaining traction in my area, in a large part thanks to the poor build quality of US cars. I can say this because, well, we owned a temperamental American carriage that was becoming a shared family headache.

Tired and hungry from practice, I wiggled into the back seat to feel the floating firmness of the cloth seat and register the tight thunk of the well-fitted door. Even as an 11 year-old with water-logged ears I was design-savvy enough to understand this proposal was fundamentally distinct from the chilly vinyl squish and metal clang of our machine.

I watched the glow of the dash from the back seat while Josh loaded Van Halen’s 1984 into the cassette deck. “Don’t blow David out of the back seat,” Mr. V cautioned as Josh fiddled with the knobs. On came the B-side opening track: “Hot For Teacher.” While spazz rocking in the front passenger seat Josh called out, “Make the turbo go!” Mr. V dropped the pedal, the turbo spooled and we opened up on a winding hill climb that passed through a rustic county park en route home. Over mac and cheese—the hearty, homemade, baked kind, which matched my family’s yellow and brown kitchen, incidentally—I marveled over my first ride in the 900. I think my father, though by no means a Saab man, was sold.