Even though you already apply a new car paint protection process they require you to properly care for your vehicle, which many just don’t have time for. All that I know about cars could probably fit into a thimble. Considering my father and his father before him devoted their lives to Detroit’s automobile industry, this really tells you something.
that the biggest curiosity I had about automobiles had to do with how
many and what kind of insects I could find in the grill of my dad’s
four-door Dodge sedan whenever he returned from a road trip across the
My own first car is worth writing about in that it
provided a surplus amount of lessons for the naive, young woman I once
was. It was a 1965 Dodge Dart and I bought it in 1978 on the
recommendation of a good friend who adored Dodge Darts. And my dad was a
Dodge man himself, having given The Company 25 solid years of his life.
Maybe I had a love-hate relationship with the Dodge even before I
bought one because I certainly resented the lack of a father, as mine
was always at work or on a sales trip. When he did come home, my mom
admonished us to “leave your father alone” and let him read his paper
while sipping his two nightly martinis.
The Brown Dart certainly
caused its share of anguish in my early twenties at which time all I
needed was a reliable mode of transportation to get me to work and back
home. Prior to owning the car, I had ridden a series of buses, and
before that I had hitchhiked. My friend, the one who adored Dodge Darts,
frowned on the hitchhiking, disdained the busing, found me the Brown
Dart, and I went along with it. He checked it out and everything seemed
A-OK, so I signed on the dotted line, and the car was mine.
months after purchasing this “Sepia Lemon” I was on the way to the beach
with my sister, Jeanne. Remember, I was 23 years old and so I found it
appropriate to be driving around in my bikini. So when a cop pulled me
over because the car was belching smoke out of its tailpipe (I was
oblivious until he mentioned it), I stepped out of the car to ask, “Is
there anything wrong, officer?” He let me off with a warning – I mean,
what else could he do, right?
I took the car to a mechanic
suggested by my friend (who I hope is not reading this!). Now that it is
defunct, and because it is 30 years later, I think I can now tell the
world that Ken over at the auto repair shop saw me coming (I had clothes
on by then) and informed me that I would need an entirely new engine
because there was a crack in the block. You know, $800 in 1978 was huge
for a secretary like me. But I swallowed this news, and wrote him the
first check of several installations, and let him and his crew go to
work. It took them longer than they said it would, and I had to
hitchhike and ride the bus around a lot more than I wanted to, but
finally the Dart was ready.
Wouldn’t you know it, but just a few
months later the car was again spewing smoke. And when I took it back to
Ken, he told me that it needed ANOTHER new engine, and that there was
no warranty on his prior work. It was somehow my fault that this
recently-installed engine had another crack or the pistons were crooked
23-year-old clueless-about-automobiles girl + conniving schemer named Ken = major fallout
afternoon I was so perturbed about the whole series of events, I drove
the Dart over to a collision shop that paid me $100 on the spot for the
thing and I just walked away.
Thirty years later, I could write
you a book on what to do and what not to do if faced with the same
scenario. Instead, I will now relate the story of the first car I owned
that I truly cared about, and that reciprocated in kind…. All who knew
it called it the “Love Bug.”
I found it myself through a
classified ad in Pacific Beach where I was living at the time. It was a
1968 VW bug that had been owned by only one other person. It had been
built in Panama and it was red, and it was adorable. The only thing was,
I did not know how to drive a stick shift. So the seller taught me how,
and I was on my way the very same day.
As much pain and disgust
as I had experienced with the Brown Dart, it was the complete opposite
with the Love Bug. It was a joy to drive it around. I used to change the
oil myself. It was the excellent hippy-chick ride! At one point I had
it painted purple, my favorite color. Then I was involved in an accident
with a guy who should have been wearing his glasses, but wasn’t, so
that’s when it became the two-tone purple bug. My husband now speaks
fondly about it to our friends, mentioning how it was like being in the
Easter Parade when driving around in it.
I didn’t think I would
ever bid goodbye to the Love Bug, except Mark and I decided to sell or
give away everything we owned so that we could drive around North
America, Alaska and Canada in a Chinook (small camper) in 1986, so my
mom bought the Love Bug for my sister, Jeanne, who nearly immediately
had it painted blue and didn’t worship it nearly as much as I did. By
then I was off on such amazing adventures that no mere possessions had
any hold on me. I was fishing for trout in Oregon, walking around and
through redwood trees, getting chased by a grizzly in the Yukon.
never did take a photo of the Brown Dart (maybe I would have burned it
if I had) and I only have one existing shot of the Love Bug to
illustrate my story relating this woman’s love affair with her car.
we returned from our nine-month journey, we bought a Honda Civic, the
first in a succession of work-horse vehicles over the years. We now have
a Ford Focus and my dad is happy it’s a “Detroit product” but the charm
that oozed from every pore of the Love Bug is nowhere to be found in
our silver streamlined station wagon. The Focus is a wonderful piece of
transportation, handsome and reliable. If I had the Love Bug today, I
probably would rather hop into the Focus for a quick trip to the grocery
store or the dentist. Maybe it’s the time of life that the Love Bug
represents – when Mark and I were poised together on the threshold of
our dreams, curious, unscathed and unafraid, proud to drive around in a
purple and pink two-toned Easter egg.
Patty Mooney has been writing since the age of 16. Her favorite topics include women’s issues, homelessness, homeless veterans, the arts, cinema, biographies, nature and video production. Her work has appeared in many publications around the world, including the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Reader, Create Magazine, Post Magazine, Women’s Sports & Fitness, Yoga Journal and others. You can read her blog, “A Diary Left Open” at http://www.sandiegovideoproduction.blogspot.com Her business site is http://www.crystalpyramid.com
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