Tag Archives: Serial

Rochester (III)

Rochester was the (for me at 20-something) dream car; cheap, low-maintenance, took a licking and kept on ticking. He was ugly as sin (kind of a puke green, boxy, square-ish body), but I don’t hold that against him too much.

Rochester was a 1977 Dodge Dart. A low-powered but very, very stable slant-6 engine (stock). Bench seats, front and back. Big, kind of cubical trunk. Box with wheels.

But damn Rochester just kept going and  going and going. After a series of costly cars, it was a relief to have one that didn’t suck money out of my wallet every other week. As old as he already was when I acquired him, that was a really, really unexpected bonus. Reliable; feed him a quart of oil now and then, and he just wouldn’t give you any trouble at all.

Rochester was the car I was driving when I met Annie. Thanks to Rochester, I was able to volunteer a ride home when she needed one. (Smooth!) Thanks to that Meatloaf cassette, I didn’t stumble over my own tongue too much on the trip…and thus failed to scare her away. (“Ain’t no doubt about it”).

And he kept us going, without embarrassing breakdowns or incidents, all through courtship. Unlike my other cars, he didn’t even endanger us at any time, what a guy!

We did finally kill Rochester. While driving Annie home in December, Rochester finally gave his dying gasp and blew a rod…that slow oil leak, simple age maybe. He was pretty decrepit at that point. We had to hike across a sub-zero corn field through the snow to borrow a phone (no cell phones, kids!) which was an adventure in Wind Chills…but the nice folks let us in and kept us warm until help arrived.

So remember Rochester fondly, he gave his all for us. :sniff sniff:

RecDave Seal



The Mustang (II)

Between Beauregard and Rochester, there was the Mustang.

It didn’t have (or earn) a name; I didn’t have it nearly as long, nor did it make much of an memory. My really only remaining impression of the car was…crap. It wasn’t even a Real Mustang; it was an early-70s Mustang II. A Pinto with a Mustang-inspired body.

The Top Gear guys picked the Mustang II among the Worst American cars ever made (S5E16), and I must endorse that choice.  All I remember about the Mustang II was how quickly it fell apart.

Ford committed larceny on a grand scale producing this…thing, and they should be ashamed. Less than six months from a car to a piece of yard art. In between, it was a money vacuum, sucking up dollars and producing only smoke.

RecDave Seal

Part III: Rochester

Beauregard (I)

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Today’s twist: Make today’s post the first in a three-post series.

Beauregard was a 1971 AMC Javelin SST, in metallic silver-blue. I acquired him (used, of course) for a paltry sum, six or seven hundred bucks, which I borrowed from Pop.

He didn’t have a name, at first. Cars don’t receive names until they demonstrate a personality.

It didn’t take long. In less than a week my brand new (well, new to me) car had an ugly snarl (but not his ugliest snarl–that was still in the future). The first and only time in my life I’ve been front-page news. Please let’s not talk about that though, all right?

Beauregard had acquired a shattered windshield, and a thoroughly crumpled, dented hood. He looked angry, with the snarl where his grill used to be. If I was him, I’d have been angry, too. My beautiful lines!

We got him a new windshield, and pounded out the dents a little bit (well, enough to keep him drive-able, anyway, if not very pretty).

Beauregard settled into “semi-public college buds transport” role fairly readily, and for a while he did behave. But the solenoid went…and Beauregard had to be started with a screwdriver. Watch Dave jump out, pop the hood, short the solenoid to start the car, and jump back in. Fun, right? My buddies seemed to think so, they laughed pretty hard.

He developed slowly-rusting holes in his floorboards. Air-conditioning, in the summer. Even more so (the slush flew up inside) in winter…

Once or twice, Beauregard tried to eject whoever was in the passenger seat during left turns. Didn’t succeed, but he did give it his best try! The passenger door popped open, and we’d grab for whoever the chosen victim du jour was, pull them back inside.

Terrifying. But my friends quickly learned to buckle up! A good habit to have!

Beauregard got his Snarl-Plus Upgrade at the start of a winter break “headed to Chicago” road trip. Icy exit ramp, locked-up breaks, frictionless surface, and a (very expensive, as it turned out) highway sign. But despite the new-and-uglier facelift, we did manage to get everyone home–150 miles north. Somehow.

That epic final road trip was pretty much Beauregard’s Last Hurrah. Too much damage accumulating over time. Too many miles. Too many terrified passengers.

But despite his…eccentricities…I loved that car. Maybe because of his foibles? For every annoyance, every time he didn’t want to start or petulantly demanded more repairs…I had a  lot of good times with some of my best friends, ever, in that car.

Don’t think my college buds loved him quite as much as I did.

RecDave Seal

 Part II: The Mustang