Friday, August 04, 2006

The Hunt Goes On

Due to a problem with the transmission of my car - it doesn't, I'm looking for a new set of wheels. Traveling to work by bus and bicycle is not good for my health, especially in the dark times of pre-dawn, and a few times some lunatics have tried to mow me down. Be that may, I have searched for a replacement. Yesterday, I went to a "dealership" - the words Arthur Dailey came to mind (a used car salesman comedy show in the UK in the 1970s) - and saw several cars that had been advetised in my daughter's newspaper for about $800. There was one, a Buick that was long past its sell-by date, with the right side completely mangled in a wreck. I couldn't even open the doors. "Minor adjustment," retorted Dailey (his name was actually Rik...), "it has cold air (AC for any readers in the Old World). I next looked at a presentable Mercury Grand Marquis. Dailey told me its color was 'crimson'. It looked quite nice, apart from needing four new tires. My comment to this effect elicited a "what do you expect for $877." This one had "very" cold air it seems, and I nodded knowingly, as I suspect that there is a difference between cold and very cold air. One does not wish to appear ignorant, does one. It was even painted on the windshield that it had very cold air. I asked to start it, and after some tugging, the monster 5 liter came to life. There was much rattling, "It's been standing and the oil has settled," quoth Dailey. I drove it for 10 minutes, and said rattles did not subside. And the heat coming from the air system convinced me it was time to return to base. Next was a Pontiac wagon (Estate Car). Now this was cool. Another 5 liter monster, which makes tree-huggers grimace as you drive by. The car is about 20 feet long. The back area even had a seat which pulled out of the floor, complete with seat belts. Reminded me of my Renault 16 where I added a back seat from a disused Mini for the children to go on our annual holidays in Devon all those moons back. I drove it, and this had "extremely" cold air. I can attest to that, because after stepping out of it, my glasses steamed up for about 5 minutes in Florida's humidity/heat. This car was also $877. I queried the $x77 factor, but Dailey didn't understand the question. We retired to the "office" to discuss terms. He could see that I was pleased with this car, despite the hood (bonnet) having what looked to me like the paint had been attacked with brake-fluid - a much favored trick in S. London in my days if you upset someone. My thoughts were, it's transport. And if it does have a big V8, that makes it worthwhile! Dailey tapped furiously at his computer. The total came to some $2,200 and change. I grimaced. "How can $877 become $2,200?", I ventured. Dailey said there were taxes, titles etc etc. Oh, and he also confided in me that the price was actually $1,877, not $877. At this point, I bade him fare thee well, and left. He pleaded that the price had been an error. He even followed me down the road, as I was walking away. I thought I might recruit him as a salesman for IBM, but decided against that. His hair was the wrong color. Actually, it was multi-colored. Kinda like Rod Stewart's hair with red, blonde, grey and black streaks. So, I will jump on my trusty steed in a while, and go to see a Mercury Capri. A neat little convertible. Needs work, but as my weekly commute is barely 75 miles, it might be worth it. Belongs to the owner of my local watering-hole - Brophy's. Unfortunately, Tom Brophy's just had a DUI and needs the cash to pay for an attorney. In a league of used-car salesmen in my book.