Recently, I called “that new car smell” the most expensive fragrance in the world. Thanks to Stephen Gilbert for pointing Susan Sprechter’s excellent letter, posted on “the car guys‘” excellent web site. (You know the car guys? Tom and Ray? One more reason to listen to National Public Radio — or visit its excellent web site. On NPR, excellence abounds.)

To wit:

“This week a friend showed us her new Malibu, and as I smelled that seductive ‘new car’ aroma I felt myself strangely compelled to go out and purchase a brand-new automobile, too. Later in the week I was putting up a recently purchased plastic shower curtain and noticed that it had exactly the same satisfying odor as a new car with a three-year warranty. May I suggest that people save themselves from a very expensive form of chemical dependency by carrying a little piece of new shower curtain in their pockets? Just one sniff at the first urge to visit a dealership, and the fit passes. You are once again cool, calm and breathing normally.”

The alternative, I should think, would be to fit your car seats periodically with shower-curtain seat covers. Is Rayco still in business? When I was five, my dad had the Rayco Seatcover advertising account and put me in one of their commercials, jumping up and down on the seatcovers, presumably to demonstrate their protective qualities. (I was five, what did I know?) Thus began and ended my acting career.

I believe you can also buy that aroma in a spray can as well. I don’t know the official name of the scent, but I call it eau de saved money.


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