In 2001, in my senior year of high school, my first car died. Complete engine failure, with a cracked head gasket. Since I was going away to college, I needed a car. My father was kind enough to give me his car to me as a graduation gift: a ’97 Saturn SL.
A more basic car could not be built. No power steering. No power locks or windows. Manual transmission. It once had A/C, but it was long broken. Generic Saturn red with grey fabric interior.
For the past ten years, this Saturn has been my primary mode of transportation. It has taken me everywhere. This car went with me to college. It drove me my first apartment; to my first professional job. I took it on long road trips to Ohio to see my girlfriend. It took me the ceremony where she became my wife. It has been my companion for nearly a third of my life.
When I got the car, it had not reached 80 thousand miles. As I prepare to say goodbye, the odometer sits over 245 thousand. In all those miles, the car has only left me stranded twice. The first when the eight year old battery died. The second when the 11 year old alternator did. It even manged to limit home when the serpentine belt broke. When it was new it got 45 miles to the gallon. Fourteen years later it still gets 30. It was a beast.
Nothing escapes the ravages of time forever. While it still runs, the Saturn runs rough and load. Oil and coolant need constant replacement. Long trips wear out both the car and the driver. Time has come to get something that can handle my day-to-day demands and pass this along to someone else who’s needs are less.
Replacing such a car is hard. They do not make them like they used to. I doubt I will ever drive another car for as long or as far. Life simply won’t demand that of me or my transportation these days. That said, I have found a new ride:
The “new” car is a canary yellow 2002 Sunfire (the green car behind is my wife’s Saturn). Remember above, where I stated that ’97 Saturn was my dad’s car before he gave it to me? Well, he was forced to buy a new car as a replacement. You see where I’m going with this. I replaced my Saturn with its original replacement. I can only hope it serves me as well as its predecessor did.
-That is all.