The first family vehicle I remember was the 1950′s Dodge pickup my parents drove to Canada. It was black, faded to purple, no amenities and a six-volt charging system. An OPP officer that offered Dad some roadside assistance on one of its many breakdowns advised him to junk it instead of titling it in Canada.
It was replaced by a sky blue VW Type-3 squareback that rusted to pieces on the streets of Toronto, stranding us a hundred miles from home, forcing us to take a train back.
That was replaced by a rusty Volvo Amazon, then a rusty Ford Pinto, then a Pontiac Astra (nee Chevrolet Vega) that seemed to blow a head gasket every month, a Dodge van we could watch the road go by underneath us through the rust holes in the floor, a Chevrolet Malibu (that was actually a superb car while it lasted), a Plymouth Volare (’nuff said), a tiny VW Rabbit, a tiny VW diesel Rabbit that was so underpowered it couldn’t get out of it’s own way, two (!) Dodge Omnis, and finally a Chevrolet Caprice wagon whose chugging 305 V8 dragged us back to America.
I don’t mean to gripe. I have fond memories of all those forsaken rust buckets. I loved cars when I was growing up. I loved riding in them and spotting new ones as we drove around. I loved watching my Dad labor to keep the family bus running (I’m sure he has less warm memories of that!) and reading about them and playing driving video games and dreaming of the day when I would own one myself.
And when I did, it was even better than I dreamed. The very first thing I bought when I returned to America was a Corvette plum purple 1987 Chevrolet Z24 Cavalier hatchback that had been warmed over by a NASCAR mechanic. I paid $1000 cash for it and drove it every moment I could. It had no headliner, a crappy radio, stained carpet, smelled funny and announced its presence with an obnoxious exhaust bark an order of magnitude more significant than its performance bite, but I loved it. I still miss it.
To own a car is to reduce your personal limits and restrictions. You no longer are limited to the mere distance you can comfortably walk to seek a job or food or entertainment. A person with a car does not have to make do with what’s next door. A person with a car has hope, real hope, because as long as he has the keys and enough money in his pocket for a tank of gas, he can go anywhere else if it’s not working out here.
It is no coincidence that America is the country of the personal automobile and thus Leftists have always hated cars. They’re too wasteful, they permit too much consumption, cars allow people to escape the miserable inner-city hellholes leftists inadvertently create as they try to mold the new Soviet man.
Leftists especially despise the greatest innovation of the American domestic automobile industry, the truck based SUV (ironically a creation of the car-hating leftists, as strict CAFE standards squeezed the full-sized car based wagon onto a truck based platform). Rugged, spacious and dependable, the SUV enables big families, buying in bulk quantities, and country living, all things the leftists hate.
Which brings us to the morally reprehensible “Cash For Clunkers” program. The list of the most common cars destroyed by this operation includes the Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, Chevy Blazer and both Ford and Chevy full sized pickups. All of these cars are the kind of rugged, reliable, big family haulers that will keep running as long as the family mechanic is willing to keep throwing parts at it.
And now an eighth million of these perfectly good, affordable cars have been destroyed:
The engine oil is drained, then replaced with an abrasive, then the engine is run until it seizes into one solid lump of unusable scrap. The remaining parts of the car can be stripped, but must be sold in six months or they get shredded into slag.
That car will never take Dad to a better paying job, will never take Mom to the supermarket or collect Jr from daycare or school, will never protect a nervous teenager as he learns to drive, will never carry young lovers to the movies, will never get stuffed full of junk and driven to college, it will never get to enrich anyone’s life in any way ever again. It will now only be melted down into ingots and sold for pennies.
This is an obscene assault on the poor. Families who can only scrape together $3000 for their next kid hauler will now have a hundred and twenty five thousand fewer cars to choose from, and those cars left are now more expensive to maintain because a hundred and twenty five thousand engines have been destroyed.
And now this heinous crime is being expanded. Two billion more dollars has been earmarked to destroy a quarter million more perfectly good used cars so the rich can pay less for their new cars.
Of all the stupid things the Obama administration has done, this is the most evil and depressing. They are taxing everyone to increase the cost of transportation for the poor and subsidize new cars for the rich. And nobody seems to find anything wrong with this!
The Mrs and I primarily cart Jackson around in a 1999 Jeep Cherokee. We paid $3700 for it almost two years ago and have put over 12000 miles on it. It’s needed nothing but fluid and filter changes and has faithfully carted my family and our possessions all over the state. It is a better, safer, more reliable and more capable car than my family could have ever imagined owning when I was growing up. Yet according to car-hating government bureaucrats, my Jeep is only good for scrap and should be destroyed so I can buy a tiny, cramped, low powered algore approved shitbox that costs five times as much.
I think not! When it comes time to trade El Jeepo up, you can bet your socialist ass that not only will I not let you destroy my Jeep, I’ll sell it cheaply to someone who will actually drive it, and then I’ll buy something bigger.