Fellow reader Thom recently shared his experiences of his Trak Yellow Peugeot 504. I was immediately inspired to do a review of my own, but it couldn't be a slavish repeat of everything he wrote so accurately and beautifully about the car. It had to come from another angle.
I'll park two wheels in the gravel and quickly describe the photo before getting focused again on the review. Taken around 1983, it shows a young me barreling the 504 through a Hopkirk slalom at a Peugeot Car Club motorkhana. We used to joke that if you didn't need to buy replacement door handles after the event, you weren't trying hard enough.
My 504 wormed its way into my psyche in the most unusual of ways - it was the main star of a recurring dream I had for decades. The dream sequence ceased after a resolution dream on the night I learned my partner and I would be leaving our life in Melbourne and returning permanently to Perth.
I was shattered. And in the deepest of sleep that night, things turned irreversibly. Here's how I shared - very cryptically - in a written communication to my friends that life was on the move. Only a handful of them knew the meaning behind the words. It's deeply personal, but I hope you enjoy it all the same. Here goes...
"Last night represented a significant turning point in my night-time travails and reveries. Over the years, my revolving dreams have come and gone. There's always been a resolution dream of some sort that banishes the snakes on the garden lawn or which makes the lonely farmhouse in a darkened valley with its deeply haunted middle room give up its secret forever.
Now, there's been another. For many years, I have taken surprised friends for a ride in the country in my old yellow Peugeot 504. I always seem to surprise myself that I still have it. But sure enough, all I have to do is swing open the barn doors to the garage, and there it is. Under its dusty coating, it's still lustrously yellow and, once rolling, its sheer mechanicalness and pillowy soft ride (real-life qualities, both) make everyone on board smile happily.
In dreams, cars represent a way of travelling through life. I always assumed that the frequent appearance of my old Peugeot was trying to beckon my conscious self for a return to a simpler, less complicated time of few worries and just the one bank account.
Last night, I inspected it in a grassy paddock. Or was it a shed? At once, it seemed both. A young lady with lots of paperwork motioned me toward the car. The purest, brightest of yellow paint was still there. But despite Jonathan sprawling in the passenger seat in great comfort only a short time beforehand, it had no interior. The engine was gone. It was too far gone. In tears, we both examined the paperwork that proved the car was once mine. The chassis numbers on the paperwork and the firewall were a match.
The old 504 can't go back, because it now can't go anywhere. And the point of all this, I think, is that I'm beyond going back myself. I'm no longer uncomplicated. I need to hitch a ride to a different place, in something else. I've moved a long way on and the future - excitedly - holds more of the same in store."
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