Monday, December 01, 2008

An automotive milestone

So, OK, I forgot to monitor the speedometer after I left my parent's house on Friday, despite the fact I'd mentioned its upcoming 200k birthday several times in the past few days, including right before I left. So I missed getting a picture of the exact number (not that I couldn't PhotoShop it, but we have enough revisionist history going on, do we not?). At least this makes it easier to remember the year it happened, right?

I bought my Pontiac Sunfire in 1998, when it was a year or so old and was being put out to pasture by the rental company that owned it. It had about 30,000 miles on it at the time. The fact that the car is still running strong after all this time and mileage (all things considered) is due to a few things. I've had good mechanics I could trust, and I don't try to work on it myself; that has to be one factor. Another is that the engine was replaced after the original one died on me about four years ago. The car had 129,300 miles on it, and the replacement engine had (as best as my mechanic Jon could determine) about 60k on it. Jon, the most meticulous mechanic you're likely to meet, did a great job; let me know if you want his info.

Musician Eubie Blake said on his 90th birthday, "If I'd known I was going to live this long, I would'a taken better care of myself." I have to admit I feel the same way about my car, at least where cosmetics are concerned; I wish I had spent the money long ago on the paint job it's needed for years. Or, better, worked harder so I could afford to replace it. Sure, it gets good mileage (SUV owners, pay attention; gas prices will go back up), and it's paid for, and I don't have to worry too much about theft...but what can I say...I'm a guy, so looks matter. On the other hand, at least I don't have to worry about any women agreeing to go out with me just so they can ride in it.

Plus, I can't help but think of how, when the Israelites were in their 40-year "tour" of the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, the Lord made their clothes and shoes last a miraculously long time. Not claiming a miracle, necessarily, but when my car starts, it's close enough to divine intervention for me.


Janelle Martin said...

Your blog reminds me of our Volkswagon Bug, Dad drove that poor car for 14 years, it had over 400,000 miles on it, Lord knows how many brakes/clutches had been replaced. He taught 5 girls and one boy how to drive "stick" with that thing. Amazingly enough, he bought it for $1500 and sold it 14 years later for $500...not a bad return for his money.

Mark Kelly Hall said...

We had a VW for a while too; until my dad figured out how impractical it was for carting around a family of 6.

Unfortunately, I don't anticipate a wave of nostalgic enthusiasm for the Pontiac collectors' clubs Sunfire decoration contests. So it's unlikely I could get anywhere near as good a return on what I paid for it as your dad did (especially considering how long I stretched out those payments!). But, still, 200k of transportation is more than I would have expected for my money, so I can't complain.