04 April 2011

My new toy!

I would like to interrupt this drama broadcast to deliver a special bulletin.

I got a car! Woo hoo!

Yeah, I've already posted the few pics I have all over Facebook and Photobucket for my friends and family to see, but it bears repeated action here (OH yeah, I'm gonna post them here, too!) because I am just that damned excited.

Last Friday, my boyfriend and I narrowed down the list of Kijiji car ads in the area to two choices and phoned to see the cars. After looking at them both (the make of the other one escapes my memory) and doing so with our mechanic friend, we settled on a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix for $1500. I know, right? Totally good price!

I know what you're thinking. I got shafted. For that price, that year, heck even just because I was paying for looks. Well the answer is yes and no.

The guy who sold us the car hadn't moved the car in 9 months, and upon initial inspection, it was... OK. Our mechanic friend just wasn't as sold on this pretty one as he was the other car--which had a really good motor, good transmission response, good suspension, and working lights, but was a pearlescent mint green and in need of a new windshield and brake pads (which the owner had purchased but hadn't replaced and was throwing in for the asking price.) The Grand Prix got a similar-but-less "test score" from our mechanic friend with us, but it also had a good motor, good transmission, suspension, working lights, good brakes, even the oil was pretty clear and all the fluids good; it had just been sitting the whole winter. And with that comes risk.

And I would find out (today, specifically) that the garage found about $2500 worth of work to be done. Ouch-like. Some bearings have to be replaced, the mufflers are cracked, and the tires are as scrapped as Kojak. But the guy had also cut the ABS line because he didn't like ABS. Wtf? Granted, I hate ABS, too. I'm old school that way. But really! And the emergency brake--he cut that, too. Really, how dumb do you have to be? It's one thing not to like it (I catch the brake lever with my foot every time I get in the car--maybe he did, too), but it's completely another to disable a major safety feature. Yikes!

But... it could be a lot worse. $2500 is not a lot to put into this machine when you consider that A) the major parts are good--the engine and the tranny, the brakes and the suspension, all which would have been singularly, hellishly priced and B) to have "walked" away with that car for that asking price and have none of the problems be life-threatening (save for the duel mufflers that are cracked--which means not letting the engine idle lest the fumes choke the children.) No problem! We're going to be taking care of the issues on the list long before my girls get to ride in back.

And anyway, it was my first choice. I hadn't expected it to be in as good of working condition as it was, but when I got see it and finally test drive it, the steering was good, the brakes, acceleration, turn signals, and gleefully most of all, POWER! (V6 engine with dual exhaust--oh yeah,) reeled me in big time. I know I should have been more concerned that the ABS light came on, and the check-oil light, and made sure that all the joints and bearings were greased (lubricated), but when I opened her up on the highway, I could hardly care. All things could be fixed. But this... this was an engine, a machine, to be reckoned with. And she roared like a lioness at dawn. The best part was being able to open her up on the highway--gently--and thump some tunes out of pretty damned good sound system, for being factory and all...

In the meantime, all the girly things that matter about a car are there--working buttons and functions, CD player, well-maintained upholstery, heater, equalizer, pretty colors (black and silver), sporty look (without the sporty insurance!), and nifty little drink holders that flip out from the console both for front and back seat passengers.

Most of all, VERY most of all, it is a reconciliation with my independence. It has been twelve years since I owned a vehicle. I mean really, really owned it, in my name and everything. And the last one barely counts because it was a ratty old 1977 Ford F150 that my dad had taken from my brother and fixed up for me the day before I went to move into my very first apartment 6 months pregnant--I didn't earn it, I didn't pay for it, and in the end it spent more time on the side of the road than it did on it. This... is mine. No lease, no having to return it, and it's pretty effing sweet, even with the cracked rear light cover and spots of rust on the door.

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