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Friday, July 29, 2016

Goodbye to an Old Friend

By Douglas V. Gibbs
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I have only owned a few automatic transmission cars in my life.  I have always preferred a manual transmission.  I joke with my friends, "If you aren't pressing a clutch and shifting gears, you are not really driving."  I learned how to drive in an old Buick Opel back in the early eighties.  It, too, was a stick.

The Corolla pictured at the top-left of this article was purchased in 1997.  It's a '95, and when we bought it the miles were around 40,000.  My wife had been looking for a Corolla with a manual transmission and no power windows or locks.  We weren't making much money, but we needed a car, and Toyota had already proven to us to be long-lasting and dependable.  Prior to the car, I drove an old blue Toyota pickup, stick shift of course, putting nearly 300,000 miles on that thing before selling it to a friend of mine.

In 1997 we had gone to a number of dealers seeking a car for about $10,000, but all of them were around $14,000.  Finally, after visiting every Toyota dealer in the area, we found an ad for a Corolla at about $12,000 at a Nissan dealership in Temecula.  We went down there, and they still had the car.  We had $10,500 in cash on us, and we did not want to get a loan.  After haggling, finally my wife said, "ten-five out the door, or we walk away."

We drove the car off the lot, fully paid for, including tags.

Over the years that car has been to Arkansas, Oregon, Nevada, and all places in between.  It was our family car when the kids were young, and it became my work car when our kids moved out and the construction industry took a dump in 2008.  The grand total after nearly twenty years under our ownership is 297,000 miles in total.

Last Fall, the car finally began to show its age, and it began to sputter.  In December it failed to pass Smog.  After we figured it all out, with getting a new catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, two new struts, and an axle, the final cost, even with my friends doing the work, to repair the car was going to be more than $1,200.  That's a lot of money I don't have to keep a car on the road that might be worth $500 after it's all fixed up.

Plus, with a recent back injury, it was becoming more and more uncomfortable to drive a manual transmission.

By God's Grace, we have a 1998 Camry on the driveway, with an automatic transmission.  As for the Corolla, it was picked up today by pick-a-part.  I watched as my old friend was towed away.  You know, I don't normally place sentimental value on inanimate objects, but in this case, I have to admit I was sad to see the ol' car go.  I'll miss it.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

1 comment:

Cleve Watson said...

I sure understand. In 1987 I bought an Acura Integra four-door hatchback, 5-speed manual, for $13.5k. I loved that car. Years after I bought it I would go out at night and drive it just for the fun of it. In 2000, with 225k miles on it, the clutch completely disintegrated, and I sold it for $900. When the tow truck drove off with it, I cried hard tears. I doubt I'll ever own a car as fun to drive, as practical, and as reliable.