Another Car Phil Owned

Seems that when Phil and Tessa divorced, he owned a “Fiat sports car.”

The exact model isn’t mentioned, but a number of Fiat’s US models at the time were of a sporty variety. However, there is a clue in his story that pretty much gives it away.

It seems that this was the car he intended to kill himself in by running the engine inside a garage, distraught over losing his son in the divorce (admittedly I have no memory of this but it’s described in Valis). However, the engine kept stalling at idle.

Looking around, this seems to be a common issue with the 124 Spider model, the company’s best-selling model in the US up until (and perhaps including) the introduction of the new 500 a couple years ago. It is very likely that Phil owned one of these.

If I close my eyes I see a black interior, but that was such a common option (tan being the other common interior color) that I get absolutely no credit if I’m right.

It’s interesting, in my current life I have some history with this marque. When we lived in Spain, my father owned a Spanish Built Seat 133, which was basically a Fiat 850 with a body more like a 127. Also, the first man I ever fell in love with had a customized Fiat Panda that we went tearing around the hills of Cheshire in. I even have my eyes on the new Fiat 500 C as a car I might buy one day if I can ever afford it (in fact a character in one of my recent books has one).

This doesn’t mean that Phil didn’t own a Capri at some point, if the part in Valis about buying such a car in 1978 is correct. My memory of the high-end Pioneer tape deck remains to be verified, however.


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