Car Talk

I drove pickup trucks for over 35 years. I finally got tired of hauling a relatively large vehicle over the winding roads that are necessary for us to reach the more civilized world and bought a Honda Fit 3 years ago. Which was a dandy little car. $17K complete (new). 1/3 more storage than similar size cars, 35 mpg, nimble on the curves.

All that ended when a rolling rock that I hit knocked the motor off its mounts a few months ago. It was so expensive to fix that AAA declared it a total and gave me $12K, a fair deal. Which helped a lot because Shelter Pubs was running on empty and it allowed us to pay a printing bill and avoid borrowing to stay afloat. I know, small peanuts in this day and world, but we’re a small peanut company.

I’m going to wait a while to get another car (meanwhile driving my 14-year-old Toyota 4-cylinder, stick shift 4×4, which gets about 20 mpg and is a magnificent vehicle and can go anywhere and pull other cars out of ditches).

I’ve looked at the redesigned Fit, Mazdas, the smaller Prius, Toyota Yaris, and pretty much settled on a Subaru Crosstrek. Much as I admire the Fits, the Crosstrek looks to be of another octave. 8.5″ of road clearance, 30+mpg, sturdy in body (which the Fits are not), and many other advantages. I’m waiting for the 2018 model, which reportedly has a bunch of improvements. It may well be the last car I ever buy. If it lasts 18 years, I’ll be 100.

If I lived in a city, I’d do most of my getting around on a bike, but out here, internal combustion is a necessary fact of life. At least if your livelihood depends on getting into the more populated areas frequently. As well as being a part-time traveling photographer.

All this brings up a list of the great cars in my life, and this will only be of interest to people (I should add, car nuts) of an, um, certain age: my first, a 1939 Pontiac convertible with bucket seats in the back; a 1946 Chevy with 3-speed vacuum shift; my mom’s 1950 Ford woody station wagon; a 1929 Model A Ford with chrome headlights and rumble seat; a 1937 Chevy pickup with square cut gears (you needed to double-clutch every shift); a 1960 VW 40 hp VW van that hauled a ton of bldg. materials, and carried me through Mexico and on a mid-winter across-USA round trip;  a Ford Cortina, wonderful car and I believe the prototype for the Beemer 2002; a Beemer 2002, a rhapsody, a song of a car; a 1964 Ford pickup…don’t get me started. Hey, my brother Bob has had 85 cars. We’re California kids.

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