Monday, September 15, 2008

The End of an Era (or my car died)



So as my Rov told me, baruch dayon ha’emes. My ’97 Bonneville finally died. It was a long time in coming, and it was the worst investment we ever made. The sad part is that someone in my immediate family has owned a Pontiac for the last 40 years. So goes the end of an era. I was really lucky to be able to get a 2001 Camry. Driving a Japanese car is definitely a different experience. First, even though it’s a used car, nothing rattles. It was always something I looked forward to in an American car, getting used to the sounds. Every GM I ever owned had its own unique sounds at different RPM’s, and I could tell if something was going wrong by different rattles. Not in this car, everything feels like one solid piece. It also doesn’t have unwieldy pieces of non functional molding that fall off. This falling off of pieces of car is a way us American car owners gauged how much longer our cars would last, as well as how “Yeshivish” our cars looked. It also would help us keep our wardrobes current, because you’d be likely to rip your pants on a stray bracket that used to hold on a piece of molding, so then you’d need new pants. The new shirt would come from the invariable grease stains you’d get while jumping your car because a light was left on and the battery got drained. Japanese cars tend to shut the lights out after an allotted time. GM cars as a rule also have bizarre electrical problems. My Bonneville had a short that caused the engine to die right in the middle of normal driving. I’d be halfway down the street and everything would shut off. It would refuse to start up again. My mechanic charged me $400.00 to change a module. The same problem happened a week later when I had a day off and decided to take my daughter to the Children’s Museum in Staten Island. AAA charged me for tolls, and I was panicked because I had no idea where I was specifically, and it was at that point in time when my daughter was toilet training. No bathrooms in the middle of unknown residential neighborhoods! The problem persisted so many times that my mechanic eventually ripped out many parts of the electrical system, and as a result the domino effect of things not working properly took place. (BTW, my mechanic never charged me more than the original $400.00 and worked on the problem four separate times). What finally got me in the end was the fuel and break lines corroding through. So goodbye Bonneville and hello a used car in our price range. A non-descript plain gray Toyota Camry with a plain gray interior. My wife said we should just put a black hat on it and pronounce it Jewish.
Anyway, I got to thinking about Japanese cars. Do sales drop on Pearl Harbor Day? And just how did the Japanese start making better cars than us? The obvious answer is that we bombed them! Let’s just take a look at history. Bomb the Japanese, get Honda and Toyota. Bomb Korea, get a Kia. Bomb Germany and get Audi, BMW, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz. Now I finally know why we’re at war with Iraq! We need better made Iraqi cars! Now if Mr. Bush could only bomb Detroit…

6 comments:

Lion of Zion said...

how many miles on the new car?

i had a problem with my car stalling out for no apparent reason. a few hours later it would be fine. we got stuck twice in pennsylvania. once on erev shavuot and once on erev shabbat. of course the mechanic said it's one of those things he can't diagnose unless he sees it when it stalls. he replaced some of the likely culprits. and then yesterday, as i was parking . . .

i hate when a car is in this state. it's one thing if you now what is wrong and how to predict when it will stall. but like this i'm afraid to drive anywhere. certainly not to PA

Curly Girl Studios said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tr8erGirl said...

Damn - I was using the wrong login!

Anyway -

Japanese cars rule!

LOZ - PA is great great place to break down, IF you're gonna break down......although, we don't have Chavayrim!

:-)

frumpunk said...

Good post. The most interesting car I ever owned was the 1984 Pontiac 6000 that I was given when I was 17. It had been sitting outside someones house for half a decade and was once blue but by the time I got it was simply rust. It had no muffler, and we spraypainted the inside and tires blue and red. Definitely a unique car. American cars just seem to have character. Most of my driving was done in my parents 2001 Camry (The same color as yours even) but my favorite cars were American, such as the 1994 Chevy station wagon. I've never had a car like it, the seats were like massive leather recliners, and it had a V8. Sadly, it got stolen, along with my Sony Xplode stereo.

My 3rd favorite car was a Volvo 940, it was a 1988 I think. Slow as hell, but built like a tank. All black leather interior, I guess it was originally a luxury car.

Lakewood Falling Down said...

Lion- the car has 70,000. It sounds like a lot, but it's not my primary car.
Frumpunk- The most fun car I ever had an experience with was an old bright yellow Chevy station wagon our dorm councilor owned. He'd stuff us all in it and take us to play pool, go to movies, anything the Rosh Yeshiva would have had apoplexy if he ever found out. One Motzie Shabos, we had 16 teens crammed in and we got pulled over. Believe it or not, the Officer just wanted to let us know we had a broken tail light! Let's hear it for American cars. Like the Beis Hamikdash, they just stretch!

Lion of Zion said...

i don't think 70k is a lot for a toyota. i'd rather have a toyota with 70k than a pontiac with 40k (which is what mine came with)