Monday, January 21, 2008

Adios Old Friend

We said good-bye to an old friend a couple of weeks ago.
Our 1995 Dodge Neon gave up the ghost after 13 years, 150,000 km and countless trips in and around Georgetown and lately Ottawa.
We had noticed a smell of gasoline in the garage and then when I took the Neon out for a drive there was a trail of gas on the road behind me. This is not a good thing.
Having been warned about a rusty gas tank last summer, I expected something dire. The Arnprior Chrysler service dept. informed me that in addition to the leaking gas, I had rotting brake lines, and bad front end steering components. The total bill to fix it was about 5 times what the Neon was worth. We could not justify it at the age of the car.
So one of the most fun-filled and at the same time exasperating cars I've ever owned had its plates removed and went to the wrecker.
In its heyday it went like a rocket, cornered like a snake on sandpaper. At the same time it was noisy, had a poorly designed 3 speed transmission, rode like a lumber wagon and had the worst wind noise I've ever seen - thanks for those frameless windows, Chrysler!
I fixed the A/C twice, had the inevitable head gasket repair, tire replacement and various computer glitches an old car will give you. But I loved the old beast.
The Neon's spot in our garage is now occupied by a Jeep Compass - very smooth, great view of the road, sophisticated continuous variable transmission - a delight to drive. But I still get a lump in my throat when I go out there and get in.

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