Babe Was a Good Car…

A car can be a funny thing. It is not a person or a pet but it has personality. We put it on them but it can feel real. Mine always felt athletic, bossy, a little sheepish of its few but obvious faults and a little sexy.

I got my Beemer more than seven years ago. She was gently used yet she sat and waited on a dealer’s lot for months. I visited her a couple times before finally picking her up; it was only after being told that if I did not buy her she was going to the auction,

Sometime later I met my old college roommate on the way to see a USMNT match. When he saw the car he mentioned that he had to listen to me always talking about how I wanted a BMW. He was right… I had wanted one since before I could drive.

Later while having a pint and getting a Growler fill at the old Troegs in Harrisburg a kid in a Jeep backed into the bumper. Cracked it badly enough as to replace the whole piece. He had left a note and his insurance took care of it but it was her first of many “bumps.”

On my way out of town on a business trip but still in Elizabethtown, I was stopped in the middle of the roadway while a mother duck and her many ducklings were crossing the road. The little furry ducklings were struggling to keep up and I watched as they waddled along.  I looked up and Dodge Ram was coming down the hill. I was at a dead stop. I looked at the ducks still in the road, looked up in the rear view mirror, looked at the ducks, heard the tires locking up on a big heavy truck and then held hard on to the steering wheel…. Crunch.

Everyone, the driver of the truck, the guy that did the estimate, the adjuster, the body shop guy all asked… “Where the ducks okay?” “Yeah… they all made it across okay.”

They put her back together again just like she was.

I drove like a mad man with my fully in labor wife in the passenger seat. I watched her hold on for dear life to the door handle while contractions coursed through her abdomen. Holding her hand telling her it was going to be okay while I made a 45-minute drive in 30. Thinking… Please don’t have this baby in my front seat.

Twice I watched helplessly as she was turned into a big blue golf ball as hail rained down upon her. Fixed both times.

Then two years ago she started to leak oil a little. Not bad… It was just a bit. I would say that she always did that but now it was a little more. It never leaked on the drive way or in a parking lot but the signs were there.

Electrical gremlins appeared with a dash that lit up like a Christmas tree. My tolerant wife never complained even though I know she never trusted the car after that. She knew I loved it and would never say a word.

Another car crunched the rear quarter panel a year ago. I was worried she would be totaled. But they fixed that too.

Eventually the oil leak became prominent and the car needed more investment than what she was worth on the paper. I dragged her on for months. The rear suspension started to sound like newlyweds on a cheap hotel mattress but I just turned up the stereo and tried to ignore that one speaker that is probably/maybe blown out.

The once vault like cabin of German steel now let in road noise, various other sounds resulting in a general din.

The one key stopped working even with a new battery.

The more than a decade old Bluetooth system in the car (one of the first) had always been flaky at best, but now was downright unreliable.

The engine still pulled like a freight train and the sound of the mechanical whirl of the inline six revving towards the red line was always sexy as hell.

She started without fail every time but as the cold weather came over the past two years she sounded hungover when doing so.

She had more horsepower than I needed but as much as I wanted.

RWD made driving in the snow and adventure by always fun. She was better at it than she should have been due to good tires.

Her name was Babe. I am really going to miss her.

Post-Script:

I drank a Brooklyn Beer Pennant Ale ’55 while writing this. It too was past its date.

I got to own my dream car from when I was a kid; a BMW. I always wanted a 3 series. This one, a 330i (E90), had the bigger naturally aspirated inline six. It was nearly perfect. Everyone should get to own their dream car.

All cars are female.

You should name you car.

Zoom… Zoom…

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