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Joys of a Used Car
By:Duncan Kelly

My 1988 VW is not just a used car. It is also a previously abused car. There's bits of airconditioner left bolted on in the engine compartment with big gaps where the working bits should have been. My mechanic tells me that the engine's got piston slap, and needs a major transplant. My kids tell me that if I gave them the car for free, they would still walk.

Which isn't a bad idea. They need to get some exercise and fresh air.

But hey, there are some advantages in owning a beat up relic of a bygone era. For one thing, I don't fear shopping trolleys banging into my car, or people opening their car doors onto my car, because it actually makes it look better. Knocks some of the rust off as well. Putting the gearlock on is like locking up your used teabags. I mean, who wants the thing anyway? If a thief steals my car, it's his own fault. He musn't come crying to me when all his robber buddies laugh at him, and the thing squirts oil on his freshly stolen shoes. And when the starter motor drops out on the freeway, that's not my fault. The car forgot long ago what a freeway is anyway. It shakes too much at speed, and I can't hold the steering wheel. When it sees an on ramp, it says "Let's not go there!"

In between all the body filler and rust nestles little oases of virgin metal. Where these are is not known to man, but they must be there or I'm sure the car would collapse like a pile of dry sand. With no airconditioner, I would normally open the window on hot days, if the window winder hadn't broken off. Luckily the rust holes provide quite a lot of ventilation. In rainy weather I use a small mop to clean the rainwater off the inside of the windsheild. Otherwise it drips on my feet.

I took the car in last week to see what I could get as a trade in. It was quite funny looking at the saleman's expression as it changed. "Where is your car sir?" "Uh, it's that VW over there, that dirty cream colored one." "Oh. Uh... Oh I see. Have you tried the scrap dealers, sir?" "Yes I have, but they say it's mostly body putty and filler, so there's not much metal to sell..." At this point the conversation becomes somewhat predictable, as the salesman suddenly remembers a previous engagement and disappears from view.

Well, at least I have no onboard computers to worry about. Or electric windows. Or windows. The windows are there, but that's about it. I don't have to worry about getting puffed up with pride. And speeding fines are only a distant fantasy. Hitch hikers put down their thumbs when I approach, and then put them up again for the garbage truck that is trying to overtake me.

I'm thinking of selling the car, so if you want it you gonna have to be quick. I may decide I like a car with character, and change my mind!

Duncan Kelly

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Thank you for your support. I hope you enjoy the articles!

Duncan Kelly

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