Rob slowly walked up to the car. The top was down and neatly tucked into the tonneau cover. The interior was black, just like the one he had years earlier. OK. Forget the thing about having anything black in this heat. Rob was in love. The car looked like the Ford factory had just preened one off the assembly line and taken it to the show. The only non-standard feature was the Hurst shifter in between the seats with its high gloss maple shifter knob.
“Get in,” encouraged Cecil Junior, seeing that Rob’s sense of awe had him frozen in reverent inaction. He opened the driver’s door and motioned Rob in with his hand. Rob slid into the seat and placed his hand on the wheel.
“Nice,” is all Rob could muster.
“I think it is time you two got to know each other,” said Cecil Senior, dangling the keys for Rob to take.
As Rob took the keys, the large hanger doors began to part, driven by unseen motors. As they opened, Rob could see a paved circular track waiting for a test drive. Rob inserted the key into the ignition. It felt good to place keys in the dashboard where they belonged rather than a keyless fob. He looked up at the Cecils, smiled, and turned the key. The engine took just one turn and fired. With a deep throaty roar, the car had come alive, promising all the power that Rob could want.
Rob pressed the clutch and slipped the shifter into first. Letting out the clutch to get its feel, he did not need practice. The car shifted like velvet, slowly into first, and began to glide toward the track. Rob stroked the shifter knob gently as the car approached the track. He wanted to take it easy, get a feel for the car, and understand how it would respond. He shifted into second as he reached the track, pushing gently on the accelerator; he reached about thirty before shifting into third. He read the RPMs on the tac and kept them low. There would be time for more soon. Shifting into top gear, he did a couple of loops around the track going no more than fifty. The motor purred. He came back to where the Cecils were now standing.
He stopped in front of the Cecils and looked at them with a broad smile. Rob uttered his monosyllable of the day: “Nice.”
Rob then turned the corner of the track, looked down the straightaway, and punched the pedal to the floor. The rear wheels squealed only slightly as the engine roared, pushing Rob deep back into the seat. He was doing sixty in a flash. Downshifting around the flat curves of the track, Rob picked up the pace on the backside and topped one-twenty just as he reached the next curves near where he started. He braked and downshifted. The brakes caught the car firmly and evenly. With small squeals from the tires, Rob stopped in front of the Cecils.
“Looks like you are going to do alright,” said Cecil Junior.
Cecil Senior produced an envelope as Rob step out of the car. Handing Rob the envelope, he said, “Well, here’s the title, bill of sale, inspection stuff and all the other paperwork you need. The permanent tags are on the car. It’s all yours.”
“Thanks,” said Rob, taking the envelope.
“Now, you have our card in there with our telephone number,” said Cecil Senior. “We have your cell number. We’ll stay in touch. We like to check in as you get used to the car. It’s a new experience and we want to make sure you two adjust to each other.”
“That’s great,” said Rob. The Cecils surely added a human element to the car. Rob guessed he did, too. “Guess I’ll be going. Which way out?”
“Just follow this road dead ahead for a couple of miles,” directed Cecil Junior. “Take a right on the main road, and you will soon hit the Interstate. Head north to Sedona.”
“Thanks, again. I really like the car,” said Rob.
“You be good to her and she’ll be good to you,” said Cecil Senior.
Rob dropped the car into gear, the motor purred, and he was off.
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