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As a people, we Americans are no more immune to not-necessarilly-rational fixations than other peoples skattered around the world.

So? You got a problem with that? You shouldn't.

I mean, just so long as your interests don't involve into blowing other people into kingdom come for some wacko sense of grievance, you can proseletise other like-minded citizens till the cows come home.

At this point, you may be asking: "Well, scribe, what lights your fire?"

Good question. Along with a band of other Amurricans, I have committed myself to securing the survival of things that go vroom in the night. And in the day, come to think of it.

That's right, my friend: As you may already have concluded from other pieces in this neighborhood, I am smitten by the automobile in all its gaudy glory, and I don't care who knows it.

Does this make me a wacko? Quite possibly, depending on who's talking. Believe it or not (you might send the children out of the room at this point, lest they be traumatized by grim reality), there are people who see automobiles as soul-less transportation modules, with no more character than a grocery-store cart.

These people aren't bad people - their clockwork is simply calibrated differently from mine.

Why? Who knows? From my toddler days to my, er, maturity, I have been absolutely, totally smitten by cars of all sorts and characters. And don't even think about exhorting me to grow up: While all of us of a certain age have to deal with tiresome realities, that doesn't mean we ditch the fun.

That, in fact, is the crux of the thing: It's all about fun, amigo. And note well: Automotive fun can take on zillions of different garbs. Obviously, Corvettes and the like are fun (are they ever) . . . but so are chariots that most of us would consider . . . well . . . mundane.

That's the point, friend. To drive is to have fun. Now, granted, the fun varies. If you're sweating your way through a Houston traffic jam, you're not having as much fun as you would be whipping along a sublime drive through the hill country . . . but even in the nasty going, you're motoring. And that can make all the difference.

So: those of you who share my passion for these wonderous conveyances, stick around for the ride. It may be a bit bumpy now and then, but you just may find it entertaining. And if you hang on for a while, you just may find yourself getting acquainted with all manner of conveyances, from British iron to Detroit. Could be an eventful ride.

Drive on, keep it safe, and, not least, party on - within the laws, needless to say. . .