Sunday, April 1, 2012

A tale of three Subarus...

I was driving to work this week and I heard a story on Triple J about Car Week. They were asking listeners to call in and talk about the cars that they've owned. I am not really a 'Call in' kind of gal, so I thought I'd tell you instead. LUCKY YOU.
I didn't get my license until I was 19. My sister was in a fairly major car accident when she was 16, and my mother didn't want me to ever drive. Slightly impractical, so they paid for 10 driving lessons for me and I failed my Learners license twice and my Provisional license three times. But we got there in the end.
When I moved out of home, I moved into Mr S' home. And he had a car. I didn't have a job so I couldn't really buy my own car anyway. We had his car, Petunia Pulsar (his name, not mine) for a couple of years and then we both had jobs, so we bought Roxy.
Roxy. Imaginatively named.
Roxy was a 1996 Subaru Impreza LX. They no longer make LX's, as these were the only model of Imprezas that were not AWD. Roxy was lovely and I quite miss her. Apart from her non-AWDness. She served us well, moving to Tasmania with us, until we fell in love with Sparky and she was traded in.
In our time together I wedged Roxy against the mailbox and required Mr S to walk 3km home from work in 40 degree heat because I couldn't move her (oops), used to drive very fast down the dirt driveway of our farm and get air going over a cattle grid (great fun) and bring her to a sideways sliding halt in front of our farmhouse (can't believe I never hit the fence).
We traded her in for $2000 less than we paid for her, 4 years and 100,000km later. Turns out the car yard thought she was AWD and didn't care to check. We told them as we picked up the keys for Sparky. They remarked that her paint job needed a lot of fixing as there were many chips in it and yada yada yada...
Thank you!
I later heard that Roxy's new owners had her stolen and burnt out... hopefully that wasn't true and she's roaming the countryside looking for her next adventure.

Sparky was a 2000 Subaru Impreza RX with a sports exhaust and low profile tyres. A completely impractical car for mild mannered Mr S and I, but it felt naughty when we drove it. Sparky was named so because he was an excitable puppy dog who wanted to RUN FAST. ALL THE TIME. A drive with Sparky went a bit like this...
'Comeoncomeoncomeon Amy, let's just go a bit faaaaster. Comeoncomeoncomeon!'
'Sparky, the speed limit is 110 here.'
'Look at the speedo comeoncomeoncomeon.'
'Shit. I'm doing 120.'
'How fun is it comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon throw the balllllll.'
And so on and so forth.
We were suckered in by the company that we purchased Sparky from to only service him there as to maintain our three year warranty. Over the course of three years we spent a disgusting amount of money on services the clutch died. No worries, it's covered by warranty. No. After an onslaught of nasty phone calls and back and forthing they 'fixed' it. Except they didn't. $2000 later the thrill of Sparky had gone for us and we wanted to sell him before he was unsellable. We sold him privately for a lot less than he was worth but it meant that we could buy Handsome James outright and pay for an eye operation for Mr S without needing a loan.

Handsome James and Sparky sitting together on the street.
Handsome James
Handsome James is a 1996 Subaru Outback Limited Edition. He is a stately English gentleman, kind of like your dotty old uncle who's aristocratic, but when you look closely his cravat has soup stains on it. He has faux walnut panelling accents inside and very comfortable seats. He is by far the most smooth ride of all of our cars and no one can challenge him on boot space.
He is a gentle kind soul who greets us like this:
'Good morning Amy, Andrew. Where are we off to today? Hobart? Stunning. Sit tight, let's go.'
Handsome James is not afraid of dirt roads, and as he is an automatic he loves city driving. He is an older gent, but serves us very well and our new mechanic looks after him.
Handsome James doing the hard yards.
He might have a fancy name but he loves to work.

The day we picked up the keys to our house this happened in Hobart.
We had whiplash and a broken bumper bar for moving day.
HJ has only been in our bad books once. When we purchased him we knew that his head gasket had not been replaced. It's a known issue in Outbacks that most go around 120,000km and it can cost a bomb. We bought him at 190,000km and it hadn't been done.
Fast forward almost a year later and he was unwell... we took him to our mechanic who informed us that not only had his head gasket gone, so had his radiator. And it would cost $4K to fix. Gulp. We thought long and hard about it, but realised that he is a good car, and $4K is cheaper than a new car...but James, I confess, I said several dirty words about you that week.
Handsome James had a mention in our wedding itinerary as the vehicle of choice for the groomsmen. Not everyone was aware of his magic qualities as we had a few phone calls 'about that bloke James... who is he?'
We intend to keep Handsome James until he rusts out. Outbacks of his vintage are workhorses and if you love them right (and replace the parts) they'll go forever. 
I love Handsome James and he loves me... despite that time I accidentally scraped him against the garage wall...

What was your first car? Did it have a name?


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