May 02, 2005

As promised, the tale of the hunt.

I had seen this particular shoebox about the same time I started looking for the Benzes, and kept it in the back of my mind for future reference. As you recall from previous maunderings, my peculiar itch that needed scratching was for a smaller, older, boxyish, and reliably stolid car. (I have always been fond of little rolling boxes, for some reason.)

Anyway, after the trip to Georgia, I fired up the Google machine and found the car again, and the price had been dropped by about two hundred or so. Hmmm. The picture you saw of it was the only one, and it was sufficiently grainy and dull that I couldn't tell anything about it other than it looked more or less intact.

But, I had already allowed myself to get too invested based on photos, so I called the gentleman and got the rundown from him. Seemed very promising, as did the Carfax report that showed nothing untoward had ever happened to it. He'd bought it when he was stationed overseas in the military, and took delivery of it in Germany, where he also had added on an accessory gauge package and some better speakers.

And since then, he seems to have slavishly devoted much rubbing and doting on the car. The paint is very thin on top, the combined effect of 20 years of Southern sun and obsessive polishing on his part. Good tires, glass clear, rubber still somewhat rubbery. There are some dings and scratches, and some of the trim isn't as tight as it could be, and the lenses on the lamps could use a good freshening. But, no rust. Anywhere, low or high or in the creases.

Over the phone, he'd said there was a bad place in the driver's seat, and indeed, there was an inexpensive cover over it when I first got there and looked in the window.

Hmm. Never can tell. I'd made a trip Sunday afternoon between church services way down to Childersburg to go look at another 240DL, one that the owner swore had been well taken care of, although it had a little bad spot in the driver's seat, too. And a bit of rust. But otherwise in great shape. I suppose if "great shape" means "ready to drop in a crusher," then yes, it was.

But the car I saw today didn't look like that. It looked...buyable. I went and got the fellow from his office and we walked back to where it was parked and he opened the door. Here we go--the test.

It smelled like...a car. One that had been vacuumed and cleaned, and loved and patted. No smell of decay--sure, it had lost that new-car smell, but what was left wasn't bad at all.

Oh, and that seat.

He pulled back the cover, and there was a tiny hole in the fabric about the size of a pencil lead. That was it. The rest of the seats looked nearly new. The dash does have more than its share of cracks, though, but at least it's not wavy and buckled. And it can be fixed pretty simply. Even by a moron.

We cranked it up and drove it. Tight. No squeaks. Good power. Nice. Different, but nice. Yep, this one's it.

We got back to his parking lot and I told him I'd take it. He fidgeted around with stuff, and showed me the half case of factory Volvo oil filters he had for it, and the two giant shop manuals, and the wax he wanted me to be sure and use. And then he just stood back and looked at it.

"You know, I don't--I just can't hardly stand to sell it."

Yep. You could tell, and it was about to make him cry. I know the feeling. But I assured him I would take good care of it, and it would continue to serve faithfully in the service of another.

We're going Saturday morning to go meet him and pick it up, and I may have to bring along a box of Kleenex for both of us.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at May 2, 2005 03:50 PM

Awww! We get attached to cars in my family, too. Must be a nerd thing.

Posted by: Lenise at May 2, 2005 04:18 PM

It's something, although I'm not sure it's JUST a nerd thing. Rednecks and good ol' boys tend to put great stock in inanimate objects.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 2, 2005 04:33 PM

I know this probably isn’t the proper forum but I have a car to get me from place to place. Nothing less nothing more.

Posted by: jim at May 2, 2005 05:01 PM

Oh, don't go and get rational on me now, Jim!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 2, 2005 07:44 PM

I suppose, Jim, that's better than some readers, who seem to have cars that get them nowhere at all.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 3, 2005 07:55 AM

I suppose, Jim, that's better than some readers, who seem to have cars that get them nowhere at all

Doggone it Skinydan, my poor tender feelings is plumb bruised now.

It's not that my spare vehicles don't run, because they do, but they've all got jusssssst a leeetle something wrong with 'em that makes me not want to drive 'em.

Posted by: DaveH at May 3, 2005 08:57 AM

Sometimes they are better for admiring than for riding. Like big rusty pieces of sculpture.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 09:11 AM


I express my disgust with the materialism of middle class AmerikKKa through the oxidation of ferrous component fossil fuel conveyances.

You, sir, do not understand aRt.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 3, 2005 09:27 AM

Man, Skinnday, you take off a week and come back all insane and all!

Good job!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 09:30 AM

Clearly, sir, you have not been reading my posts terribly carefully. My sanity has never been in question since I stumbled upon this House of Mirth and Pancakes.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 3, 2005 09:41 AM

Whoa--now don't go blaming ME for YOUR dementia.

::OR ME EITHER!:: Shut up! ::NO! YOU!::

Wait a second, Dan--I have one of my voices to put in his place.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 09:48 AM

I think all of your multiple personalities have been posting at Possumblog. The sad part is, I don't think any of us noticed the difference.

I'm only starting to wonder (don't tell Sugarmama) if there really is a Chet.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 3, 2005 09:58 AM

Well, they all pretty much write alike, but they dress differently.

As for Chet--next thing you're going to say is you don't believe Santy Claus is real! Or professional wrestling! Or Glenn Reynolds!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 10:01 AM

BlogNashville is this weekend. I plan to go just to see the man behind Instapundit. I don't know why there will be a man behind Instapundit, but I want to see who is standing there. ;)

Posted by: Jordana at May 3, 2005 10:44 AM

Chet the E-Mail Boy!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 10:55 AM

I miss LittleA *sniff* - More than I miss my '85 Cougar with all the toys, even. Of course, that IS the car that tried to kill me, but she sure was a pretty little thing, and fun!

Posted by: Lenise at May 3, 2005 10:57 AM

Gee whiz--I never knew Chet was a law professor at the University of Tennessee.

Posted by: Stan at May 3, 2005 10:58 AM

I know, Lenise--but he has things to do, and when he gets them done, he'll be back to play and frolic with us once more.

Stan, as for Chet, he's not. He just enjoys standing behind Reynolds.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 11:11 AM

Sorry - I don't get the attachment to cars. Now, my pets are a different matter. Last year I turned in my 12 year old Ford Ranger without a blink. There were 5 guys waiting to take it out to test drive it cause I took such great care of it.....~grin~. I was so thrilled to be getting an almost new SUV that overtook any thoughts I had of the truck going bye bye.

Posted by: toni at May 3, 2005 12:12 PM

But - I did forget to say Congrats on getting your new...ish Benz. :)

Posted by: toni at May 3, 2005 12:12 PM

Now, Toni--you can SAY you don't get attached, but I think there's still something more to it if you get a thrill with a new SUV. If you REALLY didn't care, I think you'd still have that Ranger!

Oh, and the Benz, isn't. We took the Swedish route and got an old(ish) Volvo.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 12:17 PM

Hmmm. Are you SURE it wouldn't be faster to go through Finland to get where you're going?

I've heard Sweden gets really backed up, especially around the Interchange.

Posted by: skinnydan at May 3, 2005 03:28 PM

It's those darned moose. Stupid ungulates.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at May 3, 2005 03:31 PM