Southern Man

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Test Drives

The current crop of test drives ended today with a double-header. First stop was at a Buick dealership where the deal was to drive any vehicle with Buick's "in-car navigation system" (whatever the heck that is) to earn a $50 gift certificate but Southern Man ended up drooling over a gorgeous 2006 Rainier instead. Southern Man really is (sort of) in the market for a new vehicle, as his current ride (a '91 Explorer) is sixteen years old and has about a quarter million miles on it, but the Rainier hadn't even been on his radar until now. It was pretty enough to convince Southern Man that maybe he doesn't really want a pickup after all and should get another SUV. Across the lot, Southern Man's partner in test-driving-for-dollars crime drove a perky little G6. Yeah, just like the ones that Oprah gave away a while back. I ended up in the back seat and my only contribution was to note that said back seat had way more headroom than her daughter's new Mustang.

Southern Man knows fully well that he can't get a new vehicle quite yet and he was fully prepared (or so he believed) for the high pressure sales pitches, and still almost drove off in that Rainier. If it had been all-wheel-drive instead of just rear-wheel... And his partner was ready to trade her Grand Cherokee for the G6 right there on the spot. Kudos to the Buick sales team; they almost had both of us today.

Last stop was the Saturn dealership; test-drive any Saturn and get a $25 gift card. I let my partner handle this one and she played around with an Ion quad coupe, notable for putting the instrument cluster in the middle of the dash (which took some getting used to) and the cute little suicide back doors.

Since this is a car post, Southern Man will mention that his ex is rumored to have been looking at the PT Cruiser as a possible replacement for her '96 Grand Marquis. She doesn't ask Southern Man's opinion on much these days but he thinks that would be a pretty good vehicle for her and he hopes she finds a nice one. Southern Man's son thinks the same thing, since he has his eye on the Grand Marquis for his first set of wheels. He gets his permit in less than half a year...a frightening thought. On the other hand, Southern Man's daughter has had her eye on her grandpa's Maxima for some time now, but the trannie is making some unsettling growling noises and may not last long enough to hand down to her. You would not believe what they want to fix that transmission - more than what Southern Man paid for remanufactured Explorer and Grand Marquis trannies combined (older Explorers are notorious for chewing through the factory trannie in no time). But, one way or another, the next few years could see three or four new vehicles enter our combined fleets. It will be a shock after a good ten years of no car payments at all.

Cars Southern Man has loved:
  • '62 Chrysler Newport - owned by best friend in high school; a fabulous, futuristic car passed down to him by his grandmother.
  • '64 Mercury Comet - first car, a family hand-me-down in which Southern Lad had ridden as a child.
  • '72 Ford Maverick - first "bought" car and first car loan, for $900
  • '76 Buick Riviera - owned by best friend's dad; we used it for double dates.
  • '68 VW Bug - owned and wrecked by a girlfriend; bought the carcass from the insurance company and converted into a Baja Bug
  • '62 VW Bug - owned by best friend; taught us both how to rebuild carbs and adjust valves on our Bugs.
  • '68 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser - a family car, would love to find and restore one
  • '69 Ford Galaxy 500 - bought in college, drove for a while, then sold again
  • '75 Chevy Monza - neat little car, purchased first year of grad school to replace the Baja Bug and drove it 'till it dropped
  • '87 and '88 Honda Accord hatchbacks - Southern Man's first brand-new cars
  • '88 Chevy Corsica - ex's car when we married
  • '84 Pontiac Bonneville - bought used for $1400 and drove for many years
  • '88 and '96 Mercury Grand Marquis - both purchased from ex's dad
  • '91 Ford Explorer - an "almost new" vehicle bought in '92 at about 50K miles; served as kid-hauler and family vehicle for a long, long time; Southern Man's daily driver today.

We started with the Corsica and second Accord - both relatively new cars in great condition - then foolishly sold both when money was tight. They were replaced by the Bonnie and first Grand Marquis (which we bought from her dad after he bought a newer one). We added the Explorer when it became clear that two babies required more of a kid-hauler than the cars we had, then got the second Grand Marquis (again from her dad; he's now on his third) after Bonnie and the older Grand Marquis finally died.

Not that anyone actually reads this, but if you do feel free to post a comment listing the cars you have loved...


At Thursday, January 04, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is an impressive list of previous cars. I have two Pontiac Firebirds, which I love. I have 1995 black and a silver 1985. The 85 is the best but needs a little TLC right now because it has a minor electrical problem. When that gets fixed then its back in business. It has an awesome v8 engine and only had three owners, one of which was my dad. The black one is okay but the other is a classic. Let everyone know if you find a great car on one of these test drive excursions.


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