Friday, January 13, 2012

A brief history of our American made cars

Until 5 years ago, we bought only American cars. We tried and tried and tried to support the U.S. car industries in spite of our experiences.

Our 1960 Chevy Be-Aire had windshield wipers that stopped every time there was a hard rain. The mechanic showed us where to hit the hood, during the driving rain, to restart them. That car was stollen and we kept hoping that the thieves would get caught in a heavy downpour.

Then, we bought a 1965 Chevy Impala that rattled as we drove out of the showroom. That car was stollen.

Next, a 1967 Plymouth Fury with an electrical system that could not be fixed. We were stranded in Atlantic City. The car failed us on the Benjamin Frankling Bridge, and finally had to be towed from our house to the junk yard. We gave up on the Agency because they could not fix it. Their story - "it's running perfectly at the shop."

Then, we bought a 1973 Ford Gran Torino station wagon. The rear window fell down before we even got out of the agency and we became experts at opening the rear panel to reattach the glass on the runner. The timing chain went twice. When the transmission failed, we bought a Horizon.

We did not have that car long enough to fully evaluate it because our neighbor rear ended our car while it was parked in our driveway. He was using our driveway to make a U-turn, hit the accelerator instead of the brake, and pushed our parked and locked car through the garage doors. That accident resulted in extensive body damage and a ruined transmission.

Next, we bought a Pontiac J-2000. That car seemed to be OK until the radio got only static on the AM stations. Again, the agency could not fix it.

We bought a Chevrolet Vega to go with our Pontiac and we became a 2-car family. Except for the rear, which the agency fixed under warranty the first time, the Vega was more or less OK. The last time, a High school neighbor went to a junkyard, pulled out the parts that he needed and fixed the rear.

We traded the Vega in for a 1988 6 cylinder Chevy Nova. Except that it leaked coolant with regularity, and there was no rear window defogger, our children seemed to enjoy driving it.

We bought a Pontiac Sunbird to replace the J-2000 and our son used that in college. Finally, in order for the J-2000 to keep running, the mechanic removed the heater.

Then we bought a Buick LeSabre that was fine until it wasn't. That was after 80,000 miles when the car would just die. It didn't matter where - in the middle of the Expressway at 60 mph or on a neighborhood street at 20. The agency couldn't fix it. So we bought another Buick LeSabre and, believe it or not 75,000 miles later, same problem - the engine would cut off without any warning. This time, the agency fixed it by removing the radio.

Enough was enough.

We bought a Nissan Altima, and after 3 years, we traded it in for another Nissan Altima. Superstition on my part. The car had been damaged in 2 accidents - nothing serious, no people injuries, but I did not want to risk a third one. That's the car we're driving now.

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