Memories of cars past
In my 25 years (9 of which legally driving) I have owned 5 vehicles. OK, maybe not free and clear, but I’ve paid monthly for these cars. Allow me to go back into time and be a bit nostalgic…
1. My first vehicle was purchased for me by my Mom while I was at Basic Training. It was a 1997 Ford Ranger XLT. She bought it from a really nice guy with only one arm. I loved that thing. It was red and sure the second gear would grind when I’d try to put it in, but it was my baby and I loved it. When I had my yearly inspection on it, the guy at the garage (whom we’ve been doing business with as long as I can remember) said to me, “I’ll pass it this time, but your transmission is about to fall out…you should probably get that fixed.” When I looked into the price to fix that, I just couldn’t justify the worth of my truck vs. new transmission. In the end I traded it in…
2. 1999 Pontiac Grand Am. Again red. Again purchased from the one armed man. This car was OK, and it took me to Oakland and back when I moved there from Clarion. It rode smooth, I never had any mechanical problems with it and it blended in with the rest of the POS Pitt college students’ cars. I lovingly parked it on McKee Place every night and it was fine until one morning, I got to my car and my stereo was missing…so were my CD’s, a sweatshirt and my high school saxophone that was in my trunk. When the police arrived to take my statement, I said, “I have no idea how they got into my car! No windows are broken!” The cop looked at me like I was such a dumb blonde and said, “Um, well, he got in by taking off your lock on your passenger side door here,” as he pointed and I slapped my forehead. Ugh…dummy!
I never bothered to fix that lock, because a week later, when I parked on Semple, my car was broken into AGAIN but this time they only got the one dollar bill I had in my center console. but they smashed my window completely. I took my insurance money from that debacle and used it as a down payment for ….
3. My 1999 Ford Explorer. It had a stick shift. I didn’t care if they told me the engine was made of chocolate, and clearly that was obvious, because I bought it without having it been inspected by their mechanic. Turns out the electrical system didn’t work. Since I bought it in the winter, who needs their windows down, right? Hmm…this girl. Plus, the night I bought my car, I found out that my sister and I made out with the same guy in the same night. Like woah.
I loved my Explorer, though. I named it Roux and we went through thick and thin. The electrical system picked and chose what days it wanted to work, and we were OK with that. The air conditioner always worked, so no worries. When Matt and I first started dating and unofficially living together, he borrowed it a lot to take him to class since his POS was constatnly dying on him. This thing was a tank and reliable.
I later found out that the module that controlled the power options was recalled, and instead of going to the dealership to have mine fixed, I traded it in for…
4. My 2004 Mini Cooper. Oh boy. This thing was so bad for me it was good. I went through a whole lot of crap to get it, since the dealership didn’t want to take my Explorer as a trade in. But, I was sold on the Mini. Smart? Not so much. Expensive? You betcha. Worth it? Hells yes.
See, when you buy a Mini, unless you’re buying one of the few they have on the lot or used, you get to design and order yours to be made custom for YOU…in ENGLAND! Six weeks later, I was a proud owner of a Mini Cooper, baby. I watched it be born and put together LIVE on the internet. I chose a yellow one with black stripes (for the Pens of course) and that thing could handle turns like you wouldn’t believe. There was a sign off of 28 that said, “Have you hugged a curve lately?” It was an ad for Mini. Everytime I saw it, I said, “Yessir, I have.”
Then I got pregnant with Claire.
5. 2007 Jeep Patriot. We went to the dealership and I said, “I want this vehicle, I want my payments to be this much and I am only putting down X amount of money…and you have to give me my Kelly Blue Book Value on my Mini, or we’re walking.” The car guy looked at us, said, “Um, lemme see what I can do!”
By the end of the day, I had my Mini Cooper sitting sadly in the lot waiting for its new owner…but it was fully paid off, plus an extra grand, and I drove off the lot with my Patriot. It’s cute, it gets decent gas mileage and I haven’t had a single issue with it yet. I really can’t complain.
Nevermind that the Patriot I said I wanted was pretty much the base model and we left with the one that was “fully loaded” with premium speakers, Sirius satellite radio, premium wheels, upgraded no-stain fabric (where the dude demonstrated it by using grape juice…it was pretty sweet, and true!) and a really neat automatic tint rear view mirror. The last thing is bitchin’. Especially when I drive at night and some douche-nut has their brights on. Really. No need. But the rear view mirror automatically dims for me. It’s love.
As previously mentioned, Matt and I are going to be trading in his Volkswagen, and we have narrowed our search down to a Volvo xc90. It got the best crash test ratings, it was made in Sweden (sorry Grandma,) (Oh, we’re Norwegian, FYI,) and it’ll work for what we need. Wish us luck not killing each other during the purchasing process. It’ll go down in the next few months…
Please excuse my bad hair, bad wardrobe and all around wrongness. But my car was pretty f’ing sweet.