Sunday, January 16, 2011

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History - Bad Car Karma

This week's blog prompt is "cars." Actually, my first vehicle wasn't a car, it was a motorcycle (a Yamaha 50cc stepthrough, much like the photo below). But that's a story for another day.

 My very first car was a used, powder blue 1969 Mercury Cougar "pony car," designed to compete with the fabulous Mustangs of the era. I didn't have a GT model, shown at top, but all other details were as you see them . The headlight covers rolled up when the lights were switched on, the center console was sporty and elegant, the seats were cushy and comfy, the engine purred. It was a real creampuff. So why don't I have a photo to put here, instead of a photo from "HowStuffWorks" site? 

Well, one night I was working late in my job as a retail store manager in suburban Boston, while a hurricane raged outside. After 9 pm, when I locked up to go home, I looked around the parking lot--my car was nowhere in sight! (It wasn't hard to figure this out, because there were NO cars in the lot at that point.)

I reported the theft, called hubby to get a ride home, and waited for the call that finally came two days later. The cops found my car! Only problem: They fished it out of a lake 200 miles away. (Now ask yourself: Who would steal a car in the middle of a hurricane and drive it into a lake?)

The insurance company totaled it and with the pittance I received, I bought a 1968 1/2 Mustang, another blue pony car. This one was the opposite of a creampuff: There was so much underbody rust that if you picked up the floor mats, you could see the road beneath your feet. Seriously. But the car had 4 wheels and drove well enough, and the price was right ($150 in cash). I drove that car for less than a year when my bad car karma struck again.

One morning, when I was already late for work, I went to unlock the driver-side door and noticed something funny. Instead of wheels, the car was balanced on cement blocks. Overnight, thieves had stolen all the wheels! New wheels would have cost more than the old car, so I sold the car ($50 net) and carpooled with hubby for a while.

My next used car was a 1970-something Dodge Dart, nicknamed the "Green Battleaxe." That car had one of the best engines of all time. It just kept going and going, with more than 140,000 miles on it, no problems at all. The outside was, well, beat up, but that was OK, since I was parking the car on city streets and didn't want to attract attention. The engine would have lasted for another 100,000 miles, easy. That's why bad car karma had to strike.

Getting ready to drive to the shopping center one day, I couldn't find the Green Battleaxe where I'd parked it. I walked round and round the neighborhood, but no car. Finally I came to the reluctant conclusion that once again, my car had been stolen. The cops mentioned how many thieves target Darts for the parts (especially that strong, sturdy engine). Many months later, the Dart was found at the other end of the city, abandoned and (you guessed it) with lots of parts missing. By then the insurance company had long ago settled the claim and all that was left was the paperwork (ugh).

Bad car karma may have left me, finally. From 1995 to 2009, my husband and I have replaced 13 windshields in our various cars, because of road debris kicking up to crack the glass again and again and again and again. Now we're in our 3rd year of no new windshields. Can that good luck last??

7 comments:

  1. A Cougar - what a glamorous American car compared with what we had in the UK! Your Car Karma has obviously had a long overdue change for the better :-) Jo

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  2. Hi Jo, Thanks for stopping by. That Cougar was a dream to drive. Looking forward to the next 49 weeks of pers gen!

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  3. I wish you much Good Car Karma this next year. But your car adventures through the years do make a great story.

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  4. Beatrice Martin WoodJanuary 16, 2011 at 4:05 PM

    Wow, Marian, car karma...the first rule is to not talk about it! Better have a bike ready, just in case. Loved reading about your adventures as an auto owner. And this blog is wonderful!

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  5. Thanks to Mary and Beatrice for reading and commenting. Bad car karma is fun to have had "in the past" (as a good story to tell) rather than today!

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  6. Great story but I am sorry about the bad karma especially with the Cougar! Here's hoping your Good Kar Karma lasts and lasts and lasts.

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  7. Michelle, glad you stopped by and left a comment. So far, good car karma has been with me, and I hope with you as well! "Cars" was a great blogging prompt for the week.

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