Tuesday, December 26, 2006

So, You Want A New Car.....

In another entry, I mentioned the elder classman who was the son of the Chevrolet dealer from whom my dad bought all his cars back in the old days. Wes Rydell, the guy who always drove a new Chevy Impala Convertible when we were in high school, has inherited the dealership, and has increased it by tenfold. Not only does he still have his dad's dealership in Grand Forks, but there are several Rydell Chevrolet and GM dealerships in the San Fernando Valley.

Now, I've been toying with the notion of selling my Kroozer and buying a modern, up-to-date car with its warranty, its relatively maintenance-free driving and its high gas mileage. I've been observing the little Chevy HHR wagon for several months, and I kinda like its retro look. Today, I finally took a few minutes and stopped at Rydell's in Van Nuys to take a closer look.

They really are small, but they're like a pint-sized 1954 Chevy Suburban, so there's some room to carry stuff, and room for four--five in a pinch (if they're good friends).

They're front-wheel-drive, with a sideways-mounted four-banger; 2.4 liter (that's about 146 cubic inches in American). Teeny.

So, I opened the doors and looked inside. It looked teeny. I opened the hood. Teeny. I got inside and sat in the driver's seat. I never did close the door because, well, it seemed teeny. I'm not claustrophobic, but this car seemed like it'd make you so.

The gas pedal and brake were very small, but in the right place. There was no place for your left foot! The floor to the left of the brake wasn't flat, it was curved away from what must've been the front wheel housing.

Remember how we used to love that new-car smell? Well, this car doesn't smell like that. It smells like plastic. New plastic. The entire interior of the car is plastic--the headliner, the dash, the interior door panels and the entire rear cargo compartment. The seats are sort of like leather, but they're plastic. The sun visors are plastic.

The car reeks of plastic!

There are little labels everywhere. They tell how not to hog-tie the kids in the car. They explain how the air bags can kill you. They admonish you to wear seat belts.....and many other things.

My next thought was to tell the dealer that, if I buy the car, they have to remove all these stickers at no charge to me. I'd also like the air bags removed, but I don't think they'll do that. It just doesn't seem safe to have a big bag blow up in your face while you're trying to control the car after a crash. What if I'm smoking a pipe, at the time?

Sorry, Wes. I think I'll just hang on to the Kroozer. The safest way to survive a crash is to steer clear of it, and that'd be hard to do with a big bag in your face.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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