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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Car Pride

I'm proud of my car. Well that's no big surprise as I am an American. We've got the most car centric culture on the planet.

Here's the thing, I'm proud of '81 Mercedes Benz 240D. Ah, you may think. He drives a well preserved or perhaps even restored classic.

Oh no, it's a beater. It's hard to tell exactly how many miles are on it. I replaced the instrument cluster a couple times with used ones from e-bay. The odometer reading is a lying fiction. My best guess is that the car's got something like a half million miles on it. No exaggeration.

Picked it up about 8 years ago to experiment on. Converted it to run on waste veggie oil. Started with a heater tube kit and thought up improvements as I went along. Every time something breaks on it, I fix it anyway I can. Sometimes that involves actual Benz parts. However, sometimes new parts are unavailable or too pricey. Then I or my mechanic will find something else that works.

Never put much money in the thing. For the last couple of years, it's taken some quick and dirty work to patch up the rust to pass state inspection. It passes, but it's not pretty. The paint is patchy looking. Is calico a car paint scheme?

I'm proud that I've been able to convert the car to run on waste veggie. I'm proud that I'm keeping an old car out of the junk yard. I'm proud I don't have any car payments. I'm proud my friends and I were able to build specialized tools without having to buy anything. I'm proud of all the unorthodox repairs and improvements. Heck, I'm even proud of the Grateful Dead stickers on it.

So if you see a rusty old Benz with Grateful Dead stickers, a retired Firefighter decal, roof racks and a trailer hitch, and it smells vaguely like fried food, that's mine. Know that the driver is proud.

I hope to drive it until the end of the petroleum age. So far, so good.


-Sixbears

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