Saturday, August 7, 2010

Baby, You Can Drive My Car

It's the Husband again.

Let's begin at the beginning. The story of the Altima started way back in 1999 when we bought it off of some guy's driveway in Temecula for about 7 times what it's worth today, and that's being generous. From that point on, it's a bit of a blur, except that it seems like I drove it ALL THE TIME for the next four years, and maybe the story is best told in terms of repairs.

The car is currently on its second front bumper, rear bumper, front passenger window regulator, radiator, CV boots, paint job, and front left quarter panel, its third distributor, and at least its fifth battery. The brake rotors have been resurfaced at least three times (that one's on me. I admit I drove a little crazy back then.), and the right side mirror has been glued back on three times, once with gorilla glue and twice with two-part epoxy. From experience, I recommend the epoxy.

When I was a teenager, every weekend found me in the driveway or the garage, washing and then sometimes waxing it, topping off fluids as needed, and otherwise trying to preserve that all-important mode of transportation. And of course, to a 16-year-old in California, a car is way more than that. Over there, and especially at my high school, it seemed, cars were everything. The auto shop students almost all drove classic hot rods, including an acquaintance of mine with a souped-up old Dodge Charger, and another guy who rocked a yellow Barracuda.

Imagine- that was his high school car. No muffler, of course, just horsepower, huge headers, and 6 mpg. It was loud enough to wake the dead, and smelled terrible going by in the parking lot, but man, it was a thing of beauty.

But back to the story. I drove the Altima until I went to Spain, and apart from a few incidental drives on holiday trips to San Diego, it's been out of my hands ever since. At some point, which I've never been able to pin down, the neglect started. Trash started getting left in there, stains weren't cleaned, oil wasn't changed, paint was left unwashed and exposed to the sun, where it badly oxidized. And to top it all off, a key was broken off in the trunk latch. This, coupled with the fact that the lever you pull by the driver's seat to open the trunk broke 10 years ago, means that for the second time in its history, the trunk lid is stuck closed.

This was the state it was in when I found it, just over a week ago, and you won't believe some of the crazy crap that was in that car...

No comments: