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06/09/2004 Entry: "New Vehicles"

Lot's of vehicle news going on in the Batty household. First, for the amazing... It's about 4 in the afternoon yesterday, and a bunch of us from the office are hanging around the coffee pot. Paddy says "Did you see that antique fire truck over in Warren?" ( Warren is 15 miles away, maybe.) "It was some '50s open cab thing with a gum drop light. JP chimes in "Yeah, I saw that." Immediately, visions of sugar plums start dancing in my head. Open cab pumpers are IT! And here in Maine, where things get cold, open cab fire trucks are few and far between. Then one of them said "I think the sign said $2500." I was ready to leave early to go check it out!

It was a 1954/55 Ford Big Job. It wasn't open cab. (Thank God!) They wanted $4500, not $2500. Three sections of hard suction hose, and a length of 3" pre-connect were all that were included. No extinguishers, no axes, no pike, no ladders. The mechanical siren was there, and as Julia will attest, it worked. And it did have that big globe light. But at $4500, I wasn't tempted. Still, thanks to all the guys keeping their eyes open for me.

Vehicle story #2. With twins on the way, I knew my pick-up "White Lightnin'" wasn't long for the fold. There's just no way it could ever carry five passengers. So I'd been looking for a station wagon. I really wanted to find one with the fold-down jump-seat in the back. So I had been looking at Volvo wagons (I like their box lines and safety ratings) and Buick Roadmasters. I don't know where I first thought of a Ford Taurus wagon, but they seemed to fit the bill too.

The problem is, with the advent of minivans, nobody buys wagons anymore. As such, there aren't any good used wagons available. My folks have already given us one minvan. I didn't want to be a two minivan family. But wagon luck was running low. Someone in town here had a '89 Buick Century wagon. I called, and the guy said he was selling it for his grandmother. He didn't have any info: no milage, no engine size, no nothing. He said he'd call me back. He didn't.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was driving Julia to school when I found a '95 Taurus. Right quick, I stopped in. It's got 83k miles. It's got every option except the global positioning map package. Leather. Power seats. Air. Tilt, cruise, moonroof, yadda. And, it's got the jump-seat. Auto tranny. (Strange thing--I've been driving a standard so long, I still sometimes go for the clutch. And I sometimes forget to put in in reverse when I want to back up.) Asking price is a shade under $3000. I've given almost seven days of test driving. The first weekend I had it, there was a problem with the brakes. After the guy fixed those, he let me try 'er again. There's now something wrong with the speedo cable and the cruise, but he's going to fix those too. I'm buying it today.

Now in 1996, they changed the body style. Mine's the last year of the old body. I kinda like the look of the new body better. But I hadn't been able to find one, so it seemed moot. Until last night on the way to look at the fire truck. I passed a blue '96 Taurus wagon. After looking at the truck, I went back and looked at the other wagon. I do like the styling better. But, it's less roomy. The car is more narrow, and seems shorter too. There's less room in the rear seat, and the cargo area seems smaller too. I need more room, not less. In the one I'm buying, I can put Big Pink in the back, and still have seating for five. Nice. And the other Taurus I looked at? 160K miles, and a little more expensive. No sunroof, no remote trunk latch, no leather--just not as nice. I'll take the slightly older model with fewer miles, more options, and cheaper price. Thanks.

Replies: 1 person has rocked the mic!


Posted by Paddy @ 06/10/2004 09:04 AM EST

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