Salt and Pepper

Today, I took the opportunity to visit a friend who lives nearby who just happens to have a gorgeous 1995 Cabriolet tucked in his garage. In fact, this was the first Cabriolet I'd ever driven. It's a striking silver model with under 40K, a spotless black leather interior, and a terrific original black soft top that I covet. 

Oddly enough, both our cars were manufactured in November of 1995, so these cars likely crossed the Atlantic at the same time two decades ago. The fact that these cars have led similar lives makes comparing the two vehicles a natural. 

The cars have more in common than their age. They're both now in New York, but had previously spent a good part of their lives in sunny Florida. The sun has taken its toll on bits and pieces of both cars, including the infamous rear deck lid trim where you'll notice a split in the black plastic lip that runs the width of the rear. They all do that. Mine has the break in a different spot, but it's there.

The silver car also had signs of a Northeastern winter not in the form of salt damage, but from a mouse nest in the space directly in front of the brake booster. Not a pretty sight, but at least they didn't chew anything up. (Apparently, the eco-friendly wiring harness from the mid-90s isn't tasty to rodents.)

Both cars have had their wheels refinished over the past two decades of ownership. Both previous owners opted to have the wheels painted silver instead of restoring the original machine finish. This is a practical decision, but one that, I believe, diminishes one of the many handsome cosmetic touches on a late-model A124.

Like many Cabriolets still on their first windshield, my friend's A124 is showing signs of de-laminating in the corners. My car has an aftermarket windshield, so even though the part is poorly fitted, it is still intact and shows no signs of deterioration.

Finally, moving his car just a few feet in his driveway showed me that the bushings in my shifter need to be replaced. His shifter was much tighter, much more controlled, consistent with a car with under 40K.

Personally, I found it helpful to see the cars side by side and to spend a few moments comparing issues. As these vehicles enter their third decade, it's important to note how they're supposed to look and drive, as God (and Sindelfingen) intended.