Geezers Driving Old Buicks, and Pity Be On Grandma’s Car When She Dies…

Yum.  I’m glad I am not relegated to driving 20 year old POS cars that only geezers dared to drive when they were new. The Buick guys used to joke that the Century got its name because that was the average age of the drivers.

In all seriousness, 20 years ago, there seemed to be an unwritten rule that it was uncool for the under-sixty set to buy a new Buick.  Buicks, Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles and Lincolns were Geezer Cars.  Legend had it they came from the factory already reeking of Absorbine Jr. and denture cream, and the radios were already set to the local AM talk radio station. Even I had the good fortune way back in the day when I had to drive 20 year old POS cars to score distressed imports that were at least once moderately cool and driven by the younger set in their day.

However, teenage kids are happy to receive anything that runs and drives, even if it reeks of lackluster design, stale prune juice, and used Depends.

Just add some chrome 22″ spinners to Grandma’s old Family Truckster and all will be well!  The irony is if you could afford a $5000 set of wheels, you could have afforded a lot better car.

Tricking out a not so valuable ride sort of reminds me of when I covered the dash of my ’77 VW Rabbit with black fake fur to cover the cracks in the dash. The difference is I was only out about $5 worth of fake fur and a few tubes of hot glue, and the old Rabbit didn’t make people think I was out after curfew from the assisted living center. I was even able to give a few Detroit iron muscle car aficionados a simple physics lesson with that car.  120 horsepower isn’t much, but the 1/4 mile isn’t about horsepower as much as it is low end torque.  A nice, light car, geared low with plenty of low end torque trumps a heavy car with a whole lot of horsepower, but not a lot of torque until it gets moving a bit- at least for 1/4 mile or more.  There was a certain satisfaction in beating out the guys with old Novas and Chevelles with that old ’77 Rabbit.

I won’t say the old Rabbits were perfect.  They were notoriously weird about electrical faults.  I always kept a stash of assorted fuses and bulbs because they were constantly being blown out.  None of my old Rabbits had working A/C, though I could have (in theory) put a new condenser in the GTI and got the A/C to work in that- for a few hundred bucks.  I should never have gotten rid of the GTI, but that’s water under the bridge.   All of the Rabbits at one point or another had brake problems of one sort or another.  All of the Rabbits I had, except the ’83 GTI, had to have the idle and timing manually adjusted every time the weather changed, which here in beautiful Central Ohio is just about every day.

The Rabbit pic above is  of a ’77.  My ’77 was a two-door and was sort of dog-shit brown, but my ’79 (American built, with square headlights -and it was a four door) was that same pastel blue enamel color.  Heaven help anyone weighing more than 70# and is taller than 4’9″ who tries to get in that back seat.

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