One unique facet of life in these United States is the Huge-ass Car I Once Owned story. Mine was a '79 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon. (Mine was not anywhere near the mint condition of the one pictured -- I paid $300.00 for mine, and twice as much to insure it and get it tagged.) Unlike the model in this picture, I had the two-door version,* and those doors each weighed a ton; by the time I got it the driver's side door had a broken hinge, and had a tendency to swing slowly open in traffic. One day I pulled into the yard of the hovel I rented a room in, and I heard a dull "clank." I got out and looked under the car; sure enough, the muffler as well as the entire exhaust pipe had fallen off.
I drove it like that for about four months.
It was a car to inspire fear in the mean streets of Miami. Suddenly all the demises-by-auto I used to envision for myself -- such as the one where my flimsy econocart was squished between a tomato-red Camaro driven by a smoove Cuban youth in Raybans and a white Ford Bronco piloted by a distracted suburban mom trying to calm her hysterical brood, and I had to spend eight hours listening to the same salsa tune playing over and over from the Camaro's jammed cd-player as the rescue crew tried to pry me out of the tangle of vehicular rubble with the Jaws of Life -- vanished in the humidity as I watched shiny ego-machines shudder away from my path on the Airport Expressway. Despite its age it had a pretty powerful engine (it also got about ten miles to the gallon, but hey, at least I wasn't taking the bus). And for the first few months I owned it, the a/c worked, the power window on the driver's side still opened, and it had a cassette player I spent $400 to get the door fixed, and (eventually) replaced the muffler and exhaust pipe. I also got the brakes replaces once.
Well, the end came: first the windows stuck, then the a/c failed. Summer came, and I had had enough of sweltering. I sold it to the junkman for sixty bucks. I think I'm about ready for another one.
*This is a correction; I posted this rather late, and I was tired; or my brain refused to let me take in the details of a vehicle painted such a hideous brown color, and I thought the link went to a picture of the two-door model.Posted by Andrea Harris at December 28, 2003 08:16 PM