Automotive Idiosyncrazy

Time-07-30-18A little less than two days are left in July, making the month’s fifth week quite short, as seen in the graphic to the left.

Blog entries during diminutive weeks like this one are usually nonexistent, and my scheduled tirades are found on the following Saturdays, leaving the last few days blank on the journal’s calendar, as appears on the screen capture from May 2018, shown below to the right. May-2018

The end of June fell on a Saturday, so all five weeks had notations of a published entry therein.

However, today I was bored and decided to add my thoughts for making five literary contributions in this month.

I did my food-shopping online yesterday morning for the first time ever, since my wheels are disabled (see previous entry) and the pantry was bare. Hitchhiking with a load of shopping bags from the supermarket wouldn’t cut it, in my humble opinion; so I had the items delivered to my front door.

What a pleasant experience it was not to hassle with people’s dilly-dallying, blocking aisles with shopping carts, their running into me habitually; my rushing to look for the best deals to prevent other shoppers from giving me dirty looks for blocking them, or my having to make three trips to and from the car for bringing the supplies up two flights of stairs to my apartment.

The service costs $15.95 above the main total, plus a tip for the delivery person; which, to me, is well worth not having to deal with the dreaded chore, other than putting the stuff away.

While waiting for the groceries to arrive, I thought about not having the luxury of hopping into the Cooper and taking off to wherever I please. Maybe I’ll rent a car tomorrow, but, then again, maybe not.

The unexpected costs for these recent turn of events are not written into my fixed, monthly budget; and besides the forthcoming charges for Thursday’s repairs, a towing bill precedes that.

Thinking back at all the cars I’ve owned, and there were a lot of them, I decided to document each from when I got my drivers’ license and bought my first vehicle. The list goes as follows:

  1. 1962 Hillman Super Minx – Started off my love for British cars. Sold it to a Hillman afficionado with whom I went to school, because no dealers were able to repair the vehicles’s lack of back brakes. Wouldn’t pass state inspection.
  2. 1963 Honda CB77 Superhawk Motorcycle – The engine seized on the NJ Turnpike on my way to the Shore. Had to have it towed off. My brother picked me up. I sent the towing company the bill of sale to pay for the towing charges.
  3. 1950 Ford Custom – Had a wonderful, big back seat. Sold it before heading to college.
  4. 1949 Willys Overland Jeep – Bought that while in college in St. Petersburg, Fl. Drove it home to NJ one summer, and then to New Hampshire for meeting up with some buddies, where the vehicle bit the dust and was buried.
  5. 1961 Pontiac Tempest – The engine caught on fire while I was on a date. It burned to the ground. That scenario in itself could fill an entire journal entry.
  6. 1971 MGB  – Bought new. Threw a piston rod which cracked the block in 1975. Left it in a garage for a couple of years.
  7. 1965 Oldsmobile Delta 88 – Given to me by my uncle-and-godfather to drive in the meantime before that engine seized. Bet you’re thinking I’m rough on cars.
  8. 1952 Chevy Pickup Truck – A friend gave it to me while I was at my first job in radio up in the Catskills (NY). It was in the winter, extremely cold; and the truck didn’t want to start up in the morning before I had to be in work. Junked it.
  9. 1965 Plymouth Valiant – After getting fired from my first job in radio, I moved to Asheville, NC, for my second and third jobs. Bought this old clunker for $150.00. It ultimately died.
  10. 1966 VW Beetle – My next cheap car. Made it from Asheville to NJ and back for visiting my dad and brother. That trip did it in.
  11. 1960 Ford Falcon – Think I paid $125.00 for this one. The man felt sorry for me. Brought me to Johnson City, TN, for my fourth job in radio. Should have kept it. It was still a good-running car, but sold it for chicken scratch after getting my MGB back on the road.
  12. 1971 MGB – Resurrected from New Jersey. A friend drove me up there, and we brought it back down by using a tow bar. While in NJ, we stopped in at an old friend’s bachelor party and brought out a mason jar full of moonshine, passing it around for the duration. The groom was late for the ceremony the next day. He was hungover and sick like a dog. His bride never forgave me for that. Anyway, back in Tennessee, I fixed the MGB (replaced engine). Ended up flipping the car over into a gully during a snow storm. Luckily, I wasn’t injured. Some guy at the top of the hill yelled, “He’s alive,” when I crawled out the side window. Reminded me of Gene Wilder’s line in the movie, Young Frankenstein. The couple then gave me a ride home. The car was towed away. I figured it was totaled and wrote it off, never going to look for it.
  13. 1969 Dodge Charger – I bought it from a guy I had worked with, unbeknownst to me that one of the motor mounts was missing. I drove it around gingerly for about six months before selling it to a backyard mechanic for a decent price.
  14. 1971 Mazda – While I was living in a communal arrangement, one of the house members’ brother was a used-car salesman, who sold this vehicle to me dirt-cheap. It had the Wankel engine (no pistons), and the main seals blew. Couldn’t afford to fix it. Unfortunately, I had purchased the car as-is. Too bad, it was otherwise a nice station wagon. Junked it.
  15. 1962 VW Beetle – Bought this little blue gem from a nurse in Kingsport, TN, for $200.00. Lasted almost two years. Drove it up to Canada and back to visit my dad. It was rough-looking. While I was stopped at a traffic light in Montréal, someone yelled over, “How the hell did you make it all the way up here with that bomb?” He saw the Tennessee license plate on the rear evidently. The engine ultimately seized.
  16. 1964 Dodge Polara – Another under-$300.00 car, which, after I had it for a few weeks, during a bad rain storm, I discovered the floorboard under the driver’s-side mat was rotted. The gaping holes were covered-over with cardboard. Ruined a good pair of shoes as a result. Nevertheless, the old car did me well for a couple of years.
  17. 1973 Honda CB500 4-Cylinder Motorcycle – After Gilbert died—my previous car that was named by my girlfriend—I bought this motorcycle, which became my only ride until the following winter when I bought the next car.
  18. 1967 Dodge Coronet – Sold it for $300.00, which was more than I paid ($250.00), when I found my next investment.
  19. 1974 Ford Pinto Station Wagon – Car began to smoke a lot. Probably needed a valve-and-ring job. More money than I wanted to spend. Sold it for $200.00.
  20. 1976 VW Rabbit – Bought this one from a woman who said she was selling it for her son. He was in the service and had bought another car. It was in good shape, until the blasted CV joint blew in Montgomery, Alabama, on my way back to Tennessee from Mardi Gras in 1985. I had it fixed down there. Luckily, while the repairs were being made, I stayed with a friend who was a program director at a radio station in that state’s capital city; and he gave me a job. Ended up getting fired (long story) and drove to Denton, TX, to visit old friends before heading to Northern California. Had family up there. Stayed a few months while selling radio advertising for a station owned by the Grateful Dead’s soundman, but moved back to NJ  later that same year.  Found a better job, working with my brother. Drove the Rabbit all the way to the east coast and kept it until buying my next car at a bargain. Sold the Rabbit to a neighbor in Wallington.
  21. 1980 MGB – Sold it after getting married, when our son was born. We needed a bigger car. Wife had a Pontiac Fiero, also a two-seater. We sold both of them to get the next auto brand-new.
  22. 1989 Ford Mustang – Left the car with the ex after our divorce. Drove a company vehicle thereafter until retiring from a Philadelphia-based company in 2009. I had moved to PA from Bricktown, NJ, in 1994.
  23. 2004 Mini Cooper S – Bought brand-new and have been driving it as a leisure car ever since.

After my getting the Cooper’s CV joint and right axle replaced later this week, my beloved car will need to be state-inspected.

As seen in the photo on the left, it’s due at the end of August.  I’ll push it off until September 3rd (the 1st falls on a Saturday) to be able to procrastinate for an additional month in 2019 until getting it inspected again.

I’ve been pushing off  yearly inspection until the next month mostly every year since the the car left the showroom, except for a few. The auto was inspected originally in November of 2004. After another couple of years it will be back to square one.

So much for this long-winded history of my vehicle idiosyncrasy. Until next Saturday, thanks for stopping in to read another rant, and for your continued support.

About Mike Slickster

As an early retiree with an honorary doctorate degree from the proverbial "School of Hard Knocks," this upcoming author with a lot of free time on his hands utilizes his expansive repertoire for humorous yet tragic, wildly creative writing that contains years of imaginative fantasy, pure nonsense, classic slapstick, extreme happiness and searing heartbreak; gathered by a wealth of personal experiences throughout his thrilling—sometimes mundane or unusually horrid—free-spirited, rock-'n'-roller-coaster ride around our beloved Planet Earth. Mike Slickster's illustrious quest continues, living now in Act Three of his present incarnation, quite a bit on the cutting edge of profundity and philosophical merriment as seen through his colorful characters, most notably evident in the amusing Thirty Days Across the Big Pond series, all of which can be found at Lulu.com.
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