EYES glinting with manic triumph, our visitor stomped i...

Salmagundi

September 14, 1992

EYES glinting with manic triumph, our visitor stomped i waving a copy of our favorite newspaper and screamed: "You see! Green is in. Green is back. Green is great. Green is spinach, string beans, peas, moss, Ireland, pistachio ice cream, dollars. . ."

By this time he was out of breath and as he collapsed we tore the paper from his hand. Sure enough, the headline read: "Green back on scene after decade in car-color exile."

After our visitor revived, he told us a touching story. It is about his Buick, a 1985 Park Avenue Buick that he met on a used car lot on York Road in 1988 and loved instantly.

Said Buick, said he, has more classic lines than any of its generation: a sloping hood that is still standard and a squared-off rear window that isn't. Besides, it was loaded and had been babied, at 23,000 miles. But this, our visitor explained, was not what won his heart.

It was the color. The Buick was -- and is -- green on the outside and green on the inside. It is so green that it looks like his wife's eyes on days they are not gray. It is so green his youngest son named the car "Zucchini" and it responds only to this name.

The date cited above is important, said our visitor. For in 1988, U.S. factories just didn't produce green cars. They were out of fashion. "In 1988, green didn't even register on Du Pont's list," said the news story. "Zero. Zip."

So if you wanted a green car, you got a used one. Once Henry Ford told his minions they could paint cars any color as long as they were black. This time the reverse. No cars if they were green. Greenies were oldies, heading for the dump.

Now vindicated, our visitor vowed Zucchini would be spared the ignominy of the cruncher's claw. He even had his Buick repainted the same color it had at birth and vowed to keep it until all the world acknowledged his good taste.

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