Home » Why I Feel A Little Like St. Anthony And Let’s Talk About The Dodge St. Regis, The First Saint-Car I Could Think Of: Cold Start

Why I Feel A Little Like St. Anthony And Let’s Talk About The Dodge St. Regis, The First Saint-Car I Could Think Of: Cold Start

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So, I’m still in the damn hospital, and I don’t mind telling you, I’m pretty sick of it.

The graft in my shoulder was all gross and infected, so they grabbed some blood hose from my thigh and replaced the bad section by my collarbone. The issue is that I can’t leave until the slow-growing and “insolent” (as the doctors called it, excitingly) infection is definitely confirmed to be out of me, because if that mess gets to my main aorta graft, I’m, to use a medical term, boned. So, I have to stay here a bit longer, and it’s getting to me a bit.

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It’s not any one thing: it’s the endless cavalcade of pokes and blood draws and IV insertions and the always surprising pain of adhesives pulling out hairs and being connected to wires and drain lines and being woken up at all hours to get blood stolen or something injected into my abdomen. It’s just so many nonstop little annoyances, a situation that always makes me think of that famous engraving of St.Anthony tormented by demons and his amazing look of just being fucking over it. And, to shoehorn cars in here, let’s talk about a car named for a Saint, the Dodge St.Regis.

I’m not Catholic, but I have always liked the Greater Catholic Cinematic Universe, populated as it is with so many exciting characters like Saints, lots of whom are depicted in really memorable ways, like St.Sebastian looking like a human pin cushion all the time, or St. John the Baptist, looking like when you order lunch without really reading the menu. This 1470 engraving of St.Anthony by Martin Schongauer always sticks with me, though:

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I love the demons here, with their strange animal-derived forms and cruel claws and strange suction-cup appendages and, on at least one of them, a fierce-looking anus. But what I like best is Tony’s over-this-shit face:

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He’s fucking done. He doesn’t even bother to grimace or scream out anymore. These miserable demons are just a constant annoyance to him now, and they’re not going anywhere, and while he’s not happy about it, he’s too over it to make a Big Thing about it, either. Just another day, full of more stupid demons.

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I get the easy saint tie-in would be to do the car from the old British television show The Saint, which featured a lovely Volvo P1800:

I had a P1800 (well, the 1800S version) and loved it, but I decided to make it harder on myself and find a car actually named for a saint, so instead we’re going to talk a bit about the Dodge St. Regis.

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And if you’re wondering what sort of saint St. Regis was, he seems like a pretty good guy. Before he got his post-mortem gig as a saint, he was Jean-François Régis, living from 1597 to 1640, and doing a lot of work for orphans and at-risk women. He’s the patron saint of lacemakers (so all of you with doily seat covers on your Toyota Crowns should know him), along with bastards (the kid kind, not the kind that snipe parking spaces from you), and medical social workers.

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He’s one of only two saints to have a Dodge named for him (St.Neon being the other, of course, unless you count St.Viper, but Viper’s beatification has been held up in red tape at the Vatican for centuries).

My friend Jeremy’s dad had a St.Regis, and referred to it as the “flagship of the Chrysler fleet.” He loved that car, and one morning woke up to it resting diagonally across the street, smashed and battered by another car, the absent driver of which just left a woefully inadequate note saying “Sorry, fell asleep.”

He was devastated.

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My friend’s dad’s ardor aside, the St.Regis was kind of a half-assed car, only lasting from 1979 to 1981 and being a sort of rushed full-sized fill-in after Chrysler discontinued their previous huge full-sized cars. The St.Regis was an R-Body car, which was really just the old 1962 B-body with more modern body bits grafted on. Man, I can’t escape grafts!

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Marketing for the St.Regis seemed to really embrace early ’80s yuppiedom, with the mentions of “soft Saxony and Whittier cloth,” whatever the hell that is, and the “Feelings” headline there next to the nuzzling yuppies, all in front of the former World Trade Center.

Cs Stanthony Stregis Lights

The best part about the St.Regis were these transparent headlight covers. I remember them always having condensation inside them, but they were still strangely cool, a novel way to dress up boring old square sealed beams.

These came with slant-sixes by default, but you could get a fairly disappointing 318 or 360 V8, too, the 440s sacrificed on the altar of fuel economy. A big chunk of St.Regises were earmarked for police and other fleet uses, and they all got pretty well used up, making a St.Regis an incredibly rare car to encounter today.

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I just got another IV shoved into me. I’m so sick of this. Oh well. Soon, I’ll be free, like a St.Regis on the open highway, with my 85 hp slant-six shoving me relentlessly into the unknown!

 

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Lioncoeur
Lioncoeur
29 days ago

Actually 1979 wasn’t the first time the Chrysler Corp used the St. Regis nameplate. In 1955 and 1956 it was a variant of the New Yorker, more specifically an upscale two-door coupe.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
30 days ago

Great cold start today,hope you’re outtathere soon.

GuiPira
GuiPira
30 days ago

For a time, we had this in Brazil: the Santa Matilde

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Matilde

Jake Harsha
Jake Harsha
30 days ago

Clever article! Get well soon, Torch!

Robert Swartz
Robert Swartz
1 month ago

Feel better, Jason!

The nastiest detail on these R bodies was the wrappers around the bumpers – which were held in place by a pair of bungee cords. A true letdown after having done the best job of using plastic to integrate the 5 mph bumpers with their ’74 C-Bodies – with the added benefit of not disintegrating, unlike their GM counterparts.

James Carson
James Carson
1 month ago

Feel for your suffering Jason. Every time I was stuck in intensive care after unscheduled motorcycle or horse dismounts I had the same experiences. Restricted to bed, woken up every hour or two for blood tests, poked, prodded, scanned, irradiated until I was ready to risk my life to get out of the place.

Keep up the stream of interesting article subject matter for your fans. We all love you for it and it will keep you distracted until they are ready to spring you.

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