Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Out with the old, and in with the new !!

My 1992 Sunbird, appropriately named "Monster" due to its finely-tuned, earth-shaking stereo system, has been a fixture in my life since my days at University of Toronto.

Monster was a trooper. In his time with me, he had been in four accidents - three when other people were driving, and one where I was hit from behind at a red light. His trunk was dented by an errant foul ball at one of my softball games. He'd been hit while parked on the street by the neighbor's daughter, who had been trying to back a massive pickup truck into their driveway when the mishap occurred. Monster had had two alternators, one head gasket, and a complete cylinder head replacement. And just kept on going.

At 11 years old, and 165,600 miles (265,000km), he was starting to show his age. So we bought an almost-new replacement vehicle, and sold Monster to Scott's coworker, who wanted a car for his son. More on the new car below. :)

After we sold Monster, we heard the horrible truths.

About one month after the sale, Monster was parked on the street overnight. A couple of neighborhood 14-year-olds decided to take their parents' SUV out for a joyride, and ended up playing bumper cars with a number of the parked vehicles on the street. Monster was no exception. His new owner decided to make repairs.

Then, a few short months later, the unthinkable happened. The driver was casually going through a green light, minding his own business, when he was annihilated by an SUV running a red light. The driver (the coworker's son) escaped serious injury. But Monster did not survive the impact.

After years of dedicated service and unrelenting reliability, Monster went down with a bang. He refused to die - mechanically he was in top shape - he was simply a victim of circumstance and bad luck. May he rest in peace.

Now for the scoop on the new car.

Scott works for a GM dealership that often finds smoking deals on slightly-used cars. We asked the folks in the front office to keep an eye out for a 2003 Cavalier, 2-door, with the super-peppy and environmentally friendly EcoTech engine. I'm not freakin' old enough for a 4-door, so nothing but a 2-door would suffice.

It took about 3 months of waiting before the right one came along. And she is a beauty.

Red. Just like Monster. The Cavalier is the same platform as the now-defunct Sunbird line. Monster's cousin. Younger, spunkier, more powerful, but still with the same funky, stylish personality as its predecessor. We obtained this beauty, a mere 13,000 miles on the odometer, for almost half the sticker price. I'd say that was a good deal.

We went to the dealership to pick up the new car. As I sat in it, it felt like home. I didn't have to get used to anything in the car. Everything was natural, normal, comfortable. This was my new car. My new baby.

I rolled down the window and pushed on the horn honker to get Scott's attention. What followed was the puniest, most unconvincing -heeenk- I've ever heard. I recoiled in shock.

No flippin' WAY any car of mine will have a wimpy horn.

"I need a MAN'S HORN !!!! Get this little squeaker on outta here and get me a horn with some cojones !!!" Scott set to work that evening on the Internet.

He came up with a beauty. Two horns. One high and one low note, that sound in unison. The dual horns give it a great depth of sound.

138 dB.


Yeah, baby. I am Cavalier, hear me ROAR ! And don't even think of cutting into my lane when I'm in it. I'll let you know very clearly that you are about to hit me. Aw yeah.

And of course, with the new vehicle came the need for a new stereo system. I *looooooooove* my music. We've had Sirius Satellite Radio for almost a year now, and it is awesome. There is nothing more calming, satisfying and motivating than loud, clear music surrounding me after a long, hard day at the grind.

It took poor Scott about five weekends to get all the components in (including the flip-face satellite radio unit so it's hidden when the car is off), and get it to sound right. But sound right it does. Oh yes, it does.

With some upgrades to the suspension, the car can handle Vasco Road at a consistent speed without any problems. I can hit the on-ramp to the 880 from Tasman at about 50mph without leaning. On dry pavement of course. I don't do that normally. I was just testing the suspension. Really.

Now of course is the dilemma: what to name my new ride ?

Well, the 2003 Cavalier is definitely a girly car. The curves and shape of the body have definite feminine characteristics. So she has to be a girl. But what to name her ? I came up with "Roo".

Roo is short for:

Ruby - she is red.
Ruidoso - the Spanish word for "Noisy". Loud horn, and heart-pounding stereo system. Perfect !

My new car's name is Roo. Please welcome her to the family. :)


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