"Sex in the Sixties" or "Oh, to be young, fertile and flexible!"

Ah! Memory. Just as it is true that we were never as fast in our youth as memory today allows, it is also true that what we today venerate as vintage "treasures" were hardly "treasures" in their day.

In my youth, my best friends and I owned a succession of well used and loosely assembled British cars which served as daily transportation. At one point four of us owned Bugeye Sprites.

To drive a Sprite back and forth to work all week, perform the required maintenance and then clean it adequately for a Saturday night "date" was no mean accomplishment.

These little cars, oddities on the roads of Quebec, were viewed with little charity by most, romantically by the few who owned them and with terror by parents of teenage girls we hoped would fall into our clutches. Our purposes in owning them were uniform; driving like hell on back roads on weeknights and Sundays and sex on Saturday nights. For the first, they were brilliant. For the latter...less so.

We drove these cars all winter long. Through snow storms and deeply rutted roads our little band of four would trundle along, driver's scraping the ice from the windshields with plastic scrapers, bundled up from the cold pouring in gaps in the sidescreens and the top and the porous firewall. Often In the winter we would get hung up on a snow crown in the center of the road that American cars wouldn't even touch. We would quickly jump out and push each other along until we got to our destinations. The light little Sprites, shod with cheap re-treaded snow tires would be dangerous at any speed over forty and spinning on icy roads was a simply part of getting there. But those little cars were cheap to fix and great fun to drive. We were always tuning them for greater speed by screwing with the needles and oil in the SU carbs. BMC made parts available that rendered them even more unreliable than originally designed but that mattered little to us. We could hardly afford insurance and gas most of the time, so a hot cam and heavy duty valve springs were just something to talk about. A favorite routine was to meet at a local dealer's place and talk about cars, then go to a bar and argue about cars and later to a chip wagon for hot dogs and fries for more arguments and then home to bed. A healthy life. The only women who would ride with us in winter were our sisters and only if they were absolutely desperate.

Sex was another matter. Our little cars had an appeal that somehow made us attractive. Some girls were, for some unfathomable reason, drawn to them. If Oscar Wilde was correct in saying that the sight of Niagara Falls was the second greatest disappointment in a newly married woman's life, it is fair to assume that in a yet unmarried woman's life in Quebec, sex in a Sprite was her first.

Where we lived, few days in the year afforded an opportunity to remove one's clothes in a car without suffering from frostbite. And one could easily be eaten alive by mosquitoes. So time was always a factor. Assuming that the stars had aligned and a willingness existed on the part of a hormonally, and probably mentally, unbalanced member of the opposite sex to move the process along, the physical challenge was virtually insurmountable. For any normal woman, and few were that, being required to partially undress in the passenger seat of a Sprite with the attendant grabbing and groping that passed for assistance would make a Three Stooges routine look like brain surgery. Then, assuming that partial nakedness had been achieved, space being what it was, a question always arose about what to do with one's best Saturday night clothes? Crumpled at the bottom of the shallow footwell was unquestionably preferable to rolled in a ball and pushed behind the seats where dwelled the filthy spare wheel, filthy spare parts and the equally filthy hand tools that kept the filthy little Sprite running. No girl did that twice. Or even once if she got a look back there. Enough! Suffice it to say that any child conceived in a Bugeye Sprite was destined for greatness because his or her parents were determined and imaginative people... and gifted athletes.

I still smile when I see one of those cars. Ah memories! Susanne, where are you now?