(meme) Past Cars

I sort of did this in my last post, but then countfroggy picked it up as a meme.

List all the cars that you’ve owned/have been part of your household. Include small size images, if you can find them. A good way to get images is to grab them from the thumbnails on images.google.com.

1. 1968 Buick Skylark. My first car of my own. Olive green, 4 door. V-8 engine. Perhaps 10 mpg, if I was lucky. This car was indestructable; I remember shifting it from D to R with no transmission damage. Modified the radio so I could plug in my big clunky cassette player. It was a nice large car for parking up on dirt Mulholland, if you get my drift.
2. 1977 Toyota Corona. White. I got this after my grandfather died; he picked it out. Luxury, with velour seats. My main memories of this car include driving out to the valley to visit a girl I was infatuated with, and proposing to my wife in it.
3. 1982 Datsun Stanza Hatchback. Silver. Manual shift. This was my wife’s car, replacing a suicidal VW Rabbit. But after a point, it became my car, and we drove it into the ground. The car was indestructable.
4. 1985 Nissan Stanza Coupe. 4 door. Yellow. Bought to replace the ’77 Corona. Didn’t run this into the ground, as I recall exhaust system problems, or problems with the CV boot.
5. 1992 Mecury Sable. Lt. Brown, 4 door. Bought to replace the ’85 Stanza; we’ll never buy Ford again. Had the transmission fall out on the freeway. At that moment, we decided it was going. Was never quite quiet after we drove to hot springs near Mammoth.
6. 1999 Honda Civic DX Hatchback. Silver. Bought to replace the ’81 Stanza. My car (sob). Died an untimely death by being tipped (sob) with only 55,790 miles on it. A wonderful car.
7. 1996 Toyota Camry. White. Bought used to replace the ’92 Sable. A wonderful car, but it gave its life to a drunk driver saving GFG. Discovered when we traded it in that there had been body damage repairs we were never told about. That’s why we won’t buy used.
8. 2002 Honda CR-V. White. Bought to replace the ’96 Camry. My wife’s car. She loves it. I’m not that crazy about it, but if she loves it…
9. 2006 Toyota Matrix. Silver. We’re picking this up at 2:30pm to replace my Civic. Oh, it’s just about time to go…


Vehicle Update #2

We’re picking up the car at Frontier Toyota at 2:30pm tomorrow. The Auto Club buying service really does simplify things. My arm will be complete again, and perhaps some of the stress since the incident will go down. Then it will be only waiting for the check from the insurance company.

Folks will notice that the userpic has been updated to reflect the correct car (in the color we’re getting), with a little bit of a pun included. Note that I can’t escape silver cars, it seems: my 1999 Honda Civic DX Hatchback was silver, and the 1982 Nissan Datsun Stanza hatchback that the Civic replaced was silver. That Stanza, however, was originally GFG’s car — the history of my cars is: 1968 Olive Green Buick Skylark -> 1977 White Toyota Corona -> 1985 light-yellow Nissan Stanza sedan -> 1992 beige Mercury Sable (it was at this point that GFG got the Sable and I got her Stanza) -> 1996 white Toyota Camry -> 2002 white Honda CR-V (the one in my travel userpic)).


A More Appropriate Car for a Math Major

Today, we drove out to Frontier Toyota to talk to their fleet manager, as we had a referral to them from the Auto Club Buying Service. This is a great service where the dealer has negotiated a set price above dealer invoice for vehicles, in exchange for AAA referrals. In this case, we are guaranteed $350 over invoice. We met with the fleet manager, and did a real test drive of the Toyota Matrix XR. We fell in love. Although the Honda Fit is nice, it just doesn’t have the power or the room that the Matrix has. Besides, what self-respecting Math/Computer Scientist doesn’t want a car called a Matrix (as long as folks don’t attempt to invert it, I’m happy. That’s a math joke, folks).

Unfortunately, Toyota seems to only deliver the Matrix in three ways: a bare-bones package, an “every option” package (the only way to get side air bags), and a moderate package that includes the Extra Value Package #2 (16-in. aluminum alloy wheels with P205/55R16 tires, power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, cruise control, fog lamps, and color-keyed front and rear underbody spoilers), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Tire Pressure Monitor, and an AM/FM 6-disc in-dash CD changer with six speakers. We’re going with the moderate package, adding floor mats and a car alarm (which will be dealer added, if the vehicle isn’t pre-equipped). The moon roof doesn’t bother me, as I can pop it on hot days so the heat doesn’t build up.

What colors, you ask?

1st Choice
Super White
2nd Choice
Cosmic Blue Metallic
Silver Streak Mica
3rd Choice
Indigo Ink Pearl

Right now, the fleet dealer is calling around to find the car to our specs. He should have it sometime Tuesday, and we’ll go get it Wednesday, when I’m working from home. This is *much* easier than the hassle we had with the Fit.

Expect the userpic you see now to change, once I know which color we’re getting.


Fit to be Tied

My wife has been calling around on the Honda Fit all day. It seems there are 16 of them in Southern California… and 12 of them are black… and the other 4 have been presold! Needless to say, it looks like it will be difficult to get one.

As a result, we’re considering our second choice: The Toyota Matrix. What are the plusses and minuses?

The plusses: The Matrix is slightly larger and slightly heavier. It has a larger (1.8l vs. 1.5l) engine that gives more horsepower proportional to weight. It has significantly better emissions (Tier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II vs LEV II for the Fit). It is slightly roomier, and it think it has slightly more cargo space. It is easier to find; there are more of them on dealer lots.

The minuses: It costs about $2K-$3K more, has a slightly larger turning radius, and gets milage equal to my Civic, instead of being better. It isn’t as “sporty” has the Scion xB or the Fit.

The Fit has an engine roughly equal to my Civic. I remember how the hamsters would pant trying to get up Sepulveda Pass at 65mph. The larger engine might do better on the freeways. We’re going to give it another test drive tomorrow on our way to see Tick, Tick, Boom.


Finding a Fit

According to my wife, the Fits are disappearing even before they are loaded off the trucks… and the dealers seem to be ordering only black Fits, as that’s what the kids seem to want (didn’t they take science). She’s calling Bakersfield next…. I keep pointing out that the Matrix would work, but I think she’s fallen in love with the Fit (but even if she has, it’s my car… mine… mine… mine… I tell you!)


But the Color Is Fine! Black is a great color! It Sets Off Your Wig!

[OK, who gets the reference in the subject line?]

Yesterday I did a long post looking at the different potential replacement vehicles. We’ve pretty much decided on the Honda Fit. Of course, just like when we purchased the Honda CRV a few years ago, we’ve picked a model that is in short supply and disappearing off the lot as soon as they get in (meaning we’re going to be paying MSRP :-(, and we’ll be lucky to not have them add “Extra Dealer Profit”). Luckily, going in with internet or repeat customer pricing often gets rid of that extra.

Today, I’m capturing my thoughts on the most important question. Color. Now, black may be a great color for crossing the Delaware, but it is horrible in the San Fernando Valley in the summer. Red is also a bad color, being a ticket magnet. Thus, I will not get a black or a red car. So, given the remaining options, here is my current thinking on colors and priorities:

Read More …


More on the Car Tipping

  1. My wife took some photos when she cleaned out the car today. You can findthem in my Scrapbook Gallery. They are all annotated, if you click on them.
  2. I learned a bit more about what happened. There were about 10 teens in a pickup truck. The neighbor heard them talking and went outside, and they ran to the truck and drove slowly off. They had already tilted the car on it side. He noted they were all white. He didn’t get the license plate.

So that’s what I know.