The Grey Mare

She was yours at one time. All yours. Or perhaps it's a he. Regardless, there was a time when you were inseparable. You spent untold hours marveling at her beauty. You knew each other's favorite songs. You stole away for long drives, just the two of you. You knew every inch of that body like it was your own.

If you're a car enthusiast, you may know that feeling of seeing a car that used to be yours. You may have fallen out of love. You may have needed to grow up and acquire a more serious vehicle. You may have grown tired of one too many repair bills. Whatever the reason, you parted ways.

In fact, I recently had that exact feeling when I came across the last 280SL I owned. Sold to an enthusiastic, young woman in London in 2003, the Mercedes roadster was painted grey with a red leather interior and a rare dark grey soft top. We parted ways on the dock at Newark as she was getting ready to be loaded onto a ship to make that long trip back to the continent she had left 33 years earlier.

Imagine my surprise to see that very same car a good nine years later on the Internet on the website of a dealer in the UK. Now repainted (same color) and with a new red interior and an ivory steering wheel, the car is priced at *gulp* $124K. Pagodas sure have appreciated over the past 10 years.

The car and its original owner, Mrs. Juana-Maria Flagg of Meriden, Connecticut, had a charming story. She and her late husband were horse lovers, so one day in 1970, they spent the morning as they often did, at a local horse show. Although it was her birthday, all indications were that he had forgotten the significance of the date. She described herself as feeling "blue," but that all changed when she made her way to their stable only to find a little grey 280SL Coupe/Roadster waiting for a ride. The car was painted "Arabian Grey," like an Arabian horse.

Mrs. Flagg loved that car and, even decades later, was thrilled to hear about the automobile she affectionately called her "Grey Mare."