New Car? But My Clunker Is Great For Me!


Let me begin by saying that Mark and I own three cars. One is a 2014 Ford something-or-other, an SUV of some kind. Another is a vintage 1970, factory-spec, showroom-quality MGB, which we never drive because we are afraid it will get a scratch. Another is the Clunker, a 1993 Ford Taurus wagon, which is my favorite car.

When President Obama tried to get me to turn it in as part of the Cash for Clunkers program, I refused. My clunker is worth so much more than cash — in more ways than one.

In the first place, I love the car.

In the second place, I need the car.

Mark has begged me for years to get a new car. But why?

Admittedly, it has a few quirks. Two of the windows don’t open, the a/c is busted, the headliner has been reduced to dust and one door won’t open from the outside.

But, on the other hand, the front windows do open, I only need the a/c nine months of the year, the headliner doesn’t bother me because I seldom see it, and one door won’t open from the inside.

Besides, the car is low-stress. I never have to worry about it. If it’s involved in a hailstorm or dinged by a shopping cart, oh well. If a piece falls off, I glue it back on. If the paint gets chipped, I touch it up with nail polish (now available in a wide variety of colors, making things even easier).

I replaced the transmission once, which is like a heart transplant for cars. I gave it a whole new lease on life, and it rewarded me by flipping over to 130,000 miles yesterday. Or maybe it was 230,000. The first digit is off to the left of the odometer, so I’m not sure. I also don’t care.

My car is easy to repair, cheap to insure and has been paid off for decades. Not to mention that it gets me where I want to go.

Because I have driven it for years, I know its dimensions, and it knows mine. The driver’s seat fits me like a glove, the arm rests are in the right places, the air ducts all point to me and the radio is set to all my favorite stations. I know how much air goes into the tires and which tire is likely to get soft first. I know exactly how much cargo will fit in the back and how many people can ride along.

Well, the answer to that last one is none.

In an emergency, I suppose people would ride with me. If the power went out and they had to evacuate the state and their cars were the plug-in kind, they might buck up and ride along. But usually they cheerily suggest we take their car. Fine.

What concerns me is how I am going to replace my wonderful car, should it ever decide to go to that big used-car lot in the sky.

Thanks to people shortsightedly selling out to Cash for Clunkers, it’s going to be hard to find another one.

Which, by the way, also makes it a valuable antique.

I love that car!