Rush's Red Barchetta-is it 'real' or a 'dream'?

In the Rush song Red Barchetta, the singer describes his adventures in some future totalitarian society, driving a vintage Ferrari illegally (after the Motor Law) and being chased by, and escaping, the officials in their over-sized aircars.

My question: is this song supposed to be ‘literal’, that is, the events happened in the world of the song, or is the whole thing meant to be a ‘dream with my uncle by the fireside’, and there is no car, nor chases with the authorities?

I could see it either way. I prefer to think it is ‘real’. Just wondering what other people thought.

Seems more dream-like to me. Rush has a lot of songs that are kinda sci-fi themed.

I view it as a science fiction story.

Do science fiction stories set in an imagined future count as “real” under your definition? If so, then I vote real.

FWIW, I just looked on wikipedia because I had thought “Barchetta” was a brand name of some future sports car and you said it was a Ferrari–a barchetta is a type of sports car, but isn’t necessarily a Ferrari. Ferrari did make the first one that was called that and they’re strongly associated with that brand, however, so it was most likely a Ferrari, but yay for ignorance on my part fought.

The song’s based on a sci-fi short story “A Nice Morning Drive” by Richard Foster. So in the context of the song itself, yes it’s real and not Memorex.

I did not know that.

But now I worry about the narrator, because if the authorities really try, it wouldn’t be hard to find the kid, the uncle and the car. Then there won’t be any of them left.

Maybe it is a benign totalitarian state. One can hope…

For what it’s worth, barchetta is Italian for little boat.

In the original story - which I have a copy of somewhere - the bad guys win. The car is destroyed and the narrator has no more drives. So, all in all, he comes off OK in the song.

Ignorance fought here, too!

And it does sort of look like a boat:

“From a better, vanished time.” Though I prefer the lines of a '62 GTO, you can’t feel the wind in your hair.

Here’s a link to the original short story that was published in Road & Track Magazine:

It takes place in a future where the “Motor Law” requires modern cars to be essentially indestructible. Drivers of these modern vehicles tend to target vintage cars because their own cars can’t be damaged.

Yes, equality’s the stock-in-trade. Hold the Red Star proudly, high in hand.

The song is better than the story.