A couple of weeks ago the Cubster’s van died. The motor is seized and in need of replacement. We have been waiting for the car dealer to find a suitable motor so he can get back on the road. In the meantime, we have looked at a few vehicles to be considered for replacement.
Last night we drove up to my hometown to the used car lot where I bought my second car way back in 1985. The first car being a ’74 Chevy Vega where the frame eventually broke in half, my second car was a 1976 Pontiac Astre that was nicknamed “the Disastre”. It was basically a Vega with a Pontiac nameplate, but it was $200 and a steal for a senior in high school. The car served me well and as an added bonus, when I wore my red snowsuit it looked like an olive with me as the pimento. This garnered laughs from family and friends.
Anyways, we drove up to the car lot where I bought the Disastre and took a look at a 1994 Honda Accord. Earl has little experience in buying a used car and Jamie wasn’t really feeling the Honda in any way but I talked with the guy that my family has known for a couple of decades. After asking important questions like how the brakes and the tires were, the history of the car and if he would feel comfortable driving the car cross country (not that anyone planned on doing that, but it’s a good question to ask), I decided to take the Honda out for a test drive. Just like I did 25 years ago, I drove through the village and through the neighboring village, ending up on back country roads where I could “open ‘er up” and see how she handled at around 65 or 70.
She handled pretty good for a ’94 with 130K miles. There was no shimmy at all and all the lights worked. I deemed the car safe after slamming on the brakes a few times to make sure they worked and listening for the telltale pings of an oil starved engine (it didn’t have the pings). One slamming of the brakes was mandatory; there’s a lot of deer running across the roads up in those parts.
It’s been a long while since I’ve test driven a used car and surprisingly it’s something that I miss. My last used car was the ’86 Hyundai Excel (the first year Hyundai sold cars in the U.S.) which I bought in 1989. The Honda was holding together much better than the Hyundai did, despite it’s bit of rust around the wheel wells. It felt pretty good to going bombing up the Ridge Road and it made me feel young again.
Jamie ended up not buying the car but the trip was well worth it. It’s little things like this that keeps me grounded. And as I mentioned before, I feel a little younger again.