Lemons, junkers, clunkers, jalopy, POS, call it whatever you want, but everyone has at least taken a ride in a, shall we say, less than well maintained car. But for being so terrible, drivers seem to have a certain affinity or nostalgia for their junky cars. There is a certain pride to it, a satisfaction in driving something that shouldn’t be driving, making something work that seems broken.
I remember the worst car I have had. It was a 1989 Chevy Corsica. It broke down on me more than I’d care to admit, but it was fun to drive. There’s also an underdog quality to it, like the little engine that could.
When I got somewhere I was thankful. It’s also fun to simply not care at all about the life of the car because you know it’s not going to last. The usual worry with maintenance and car care is put aside. While it is true that carefree feeling is replaced with “oh my god please let me make it home, please let me make it home, don’t stall at this red light!”, it still feels good to let go about something.
That doesn’t mean I didn’t put any effort or love into it. I tried to fix the problems. Mainly it would stall when stopped. The car had one previous owner, an elderly lady who only drove to Church and the grocery store. It had about 60,000 miles on it and was 18 years old at the time. It had manual windows and locks, a tiny radio, no airbags, a faux velvet interior and it was perfect for me. We assume it had issues because it was just never driven enough and sat, wasting away for too long a stretch of time. We thought it was the alternator, but after investigating it, that proved to not be the case.
Then one fateful trip, it stalled and wouldn’t start for hours. Once started, the RPM’s were all over the place, revving up and down and stalling when getting too low. I had to press down on the gas at red lights and stop signs to keep the engine idling and prevent stalling. The car only cost 1000, so it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to spend too much money on it. So once it died, it was dead. But it was sure fun while it lasted.