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DAN'S PAPERS, December 19, 2008 Page 55


Enjoying Car Smells, a Personal Preference hospital. If I hadn’t made that last frantic phone call, both myself and the remaining house occupant would probably be dead. The house was finally checked by the police and gas company for carbon monoxide and sure enough it proved to be a death trap. It seems a snowstorm had blocked the exhaust pipe of the home heating system. Check your oil fired home heating system this season. Please. Now, for more pleasant car smells, like the smell of a leather interior. Both of my cars have a leather interior, but I’ve noticed as they age the leather smell seems to have gotten weaker. I’ve searched for an air purifier with a leather smell to retro-smell up the interior, but it seems nonexistent. It seems every car interior purifier I find has a perfume name like “golden flowers.” I don’t want the interior of my car to smell like the botanical gardens. I know the leather smell usually comes from the tanning process, but if anyone out there knows how to rejuvenate the leather aroma in my cars, please e-mail me. Another car scent I like and find very nostalgic is that of the original interiors of older American cars. It’s hard to pinpoint what the odor actually is, but I believe it emanates from the interior fabrics. In the ‘30s and ‘40s collector cars, it was the mohair fabric used on the seats and door panels. These old cars have the comfortable smell of the ages, a smell with which Humphrey Bogart or Indiana Jones would be familiar. In the ‘50s and ‘60s model cars, there’s always a

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feeling of plastic and chrome. Does chrome smell? I doubt it, but not before or since the ‘50s have cars used so much chrome on the inside and outside of their designs. Chrome certainly is a visually noisy material. It reflects, glares and shouts for attention. Maybe it fools your senses into actually believing it smells. Perhaps one of the most memorable movie lines ever was the one shouted by Robert Duvall in the brilliant film Apocalypse Now, is “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning.” Well, you may think I’m crazy, hopefully not as wacky as Duvall, but I actually like the smell of gasoline. Maybe the smell of gas reminds me of older cars, when they all smelled of gas when they were running. Racing cars emit the most memorable sounds and smells. I will always remember standing next to a big block Chevrolet powered Lola Can Am car at Bridgehampton racetrack in its heyday. To start that dreadnought racer, they actually had to pour gasoline from a large cup down the eight vertical intake megaphones. When the car finally started, it scared everyone as the ground shook and raw gas spewed from the exhaust accompanied by spitting gas flames from the intakes. It was the space shuttle on wheels. Most cars today smell like plastic. The really expensive ones have the scent of leather...and money. Some have that that new car smell. Unfortunately, you gotta pay for that new car smell and it seems to be getting more expensive every day.

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I hope this article smells, because it’s about car smells, both good and bad. An odorless emission found in both homes and cars is carbon monoxide, a gas that can kill you. In 1959, there was a hit movie called On the Beach. It was a tense, thought provoking doomsday film about an atomic war that was going to end all life on earth. Rather than die from radiation poisoning, one of the film’s stars, Fred Astaire, asphyxiates himself while sitting in his Ferrari race car in his sealed garage. Fast forward to today. Just recently, a poor fellow in Los Angeles tried to commit suicide by doing the same thing in his late model car. He fell asleep in the car and when he woke up, to his dismay he was still alive. It seems the air coming out of the exhaust of his late model, catalytic equipped car was cleaner than the air in Los Angeles. The point of this tale is that carbon monoxide from car tailpipes rarely kills people anymore, but if your tailpipe or muffler is making strange noises, you should have it checked out immediately because carbon monoxide is odorless and very deadly. Where carbon monoxide has been known to kill is in households during the winter heating season. I know first hand. Years ago, several friends and I rented a ski house in Vermont for the winter season. During the Christmas vacation, most of them went there for the week before Christmas. I was to join them right before the holiday. During the week, I was telephoned and told that all of them, except one, had been taken to the hospital, all sick with unknown causes. When I arrived that Friday evening, I found the one remaining friend in her room unconscious. Soon I felt dizzy and the last thing I remember was calling 911 and then passing out on the floor. I woke up in the ambulance on the way to the

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...