So this is sort of an eulogy to my late car, Buck. I didn’t used to name my vehicles, until I started dating my wife, even though I did used to refer to my old S10 pickup as Junior.
I met Buck, in November 2013. Both mine, and my wife’s cars had gone to crap, and I really needed some wheels for work. At the time, I was delivering pizza. I really did not want a car note, but I had no cash, and mine was really the only income at the time. It was serendipitous that I found this car. Other dealers were treating me like a criminal for having shitty credit (like I said, we were down to one, pizza guy, income at the time), pulling bait and switch schemes when I went to look. I checked out a local dealer, and wasn’t expecting much at this point; but there it sat. It was 10 years old, but had relatively low mileage. I always feel bad when I come across a low-mileage vehicle, because I know what I’m about to do to it; between work, and the fact I live so far out of town, I easily put on 35-50,000 miles per year. I bit the bullet, and took out a 3 year note; I really needed the car.
Buck was a nice car - not especially fun to drive or anything - always getting the job done. I drove Buck for 3 years, through what have quite honestly been the harshest Michigan winters; delivering pizzas, selling insurance, whatever it took to put food on the table. We got to a place where we were more financially stable; where we could take good ole Buck on a family road trip. The Buick Century, still came with a bench seat in the front, so the whole crew, plus a tag-along, piled in, and we got to see Washington D.C., New York City, and Sarasota, Florida.
One fateful morning, not too long after I finished paying the note. I had just gotten home after being held over, working a 12 hour, overnight shift. All I wanted to do, was grab a snack, and go to bed. My eighteen year old niece, was staying with us at the time, asked me if she could borrow my car. It was as if I was outside my body, watching myself hand over the keys, saying “Whatever. I’m going to bed.”
Normally, I sleep between 6 and 8 hours, especially after a 12 hour shift, but between 3:30 and 4:00, I heard pounding outside my window. I got up to see what the hell was going on. I saw my niece, and her husband, and Buck, up on jack stands. They were trying to pound out all the dents, before I noticed. My niece ran up and hugged me, as if she was trying to keep me from seeing what was going on. “Uncle Roger”, she exclaims, as I only manage to utter, “what the hell happened to my car?”
Technically, she was not at fault, as the other driver did pull out in front of her; but I’ve seen the way she drives, and the coating of soda all over the interior, all suggest that she wasn’t paying attention. Once again, I was without a means of conveyance.
I managed to bum a ride, with a friend from work, who lived nearby. That first night however, we were both nearly late, as she had forgotten that it had been daylight savings time. I resolved, that I had to buy another car. I bought a crossover, a Chevy Equinox, named Hope; I may write about that some day, but not sure anyone would be interested.
I couldn’t bear for this to be the end of Buck. Coincidentally, my daughter would be turning 16 in 3 months, and would have her license. I made a promise to get the car road-worthy once more, for her. A little late for her birthday, I finally got the car fixed. It had a broken sway bar, tie rod ends, headlights, and the exhaust had come loose.
My daughter was so proud. She was the only one of her friends to have her own car. They went everywhere in Buck, as I would later find out. Through what was probably one of the milder winters we’ve had in a while, and then some, she drove Buck for 12 full months, doing God-knows-what. To be honest, I don’t even know if she ever had the oil changed. One night, I came home. My daughter was home, but Buck was not.
“Where’s your car?” I asked.
“It has a flat tire”
“Nope! Just on the side of the road.” Like that’s a normal thing.
I went out, and brought the car back. Determined to get the car back on the road once more. But, the tire wasn’t just flat. The rim was bent. I changed the tire, and went to go get a new one. As I drove, I heard a scraping, and then a sudden gush of air escaping the tire, I had just changed. I took it back to the house, and upon closer inspection, I found that she had managed to break the strut, and it was rubbing the tire. There wasn’t anything more I could do with Buck.
I put Buck up for sale. His engine still ran great. His transmission was still strong. His parts could’ve kept dozens of mid 2000s GM cars on the road. I listed it as a parts car. Still the only interest I got, was from junk collectors, who wanted to cut off his cat, and sell the scrap metal. They kept throwing out lowball offers, like 150. I figured if I kept the price high (ish), the more likely he’d be picked up by an actual mechanic or something; hoping that Buck will live on. Yesterday however, a junk collector stopped by, and actually offered what we were asking. When we loaded it onto the trailer, he was shocked that it was actually running. I felt the need to write about my (former) ride, who will never ride again. So long Buck.
What engine is the best at being an engine?
In the aaaaaarms ooffff the angels
3800 under the hood I presume? I’m not a GM guy by any stretch, but I acknowledge that that was a solid engine. And you’ll find Buick Lesabres and the like will fetch a decent price as people who do their homework will find the desirable. Sure, you’re not going to dominate the race track, but you have decent power and reasonable fuel economy for the size of the car.
Actually, it’s a Century, with the 3100. Still a good engine, just not as much power.
God man, I’m tearing up over here! :’(
Aww, man… and by the end of that I was hoping that the guy who bought it was a Gambler 500 fanatic, and would give him one final blaze of glory…