Red Devil. Purchased June 2012. Died August 2012, aged 12.
Oh, Red Devil! How excited we were when first found you. You were the only reasonably priced car in Houston, you weren’t an SUV and you were cheap. It was love at first sight. At first, we didn’t suspect you of being a Red Devil. Our first encounter with your wicked ways was in South Carolina, when we were happily driving at 100km an hour…up until we lost all function and had to glide to the side of the road. Oh, how we loved the conversations with the AAA, trying desperately to convince them that according to their own website they would honour our AA card from New Zealand. Oh, how we enjoyed sitting in the sun for three hours on the side of the freeway, too afraid to pee in the bushes in case we got bitten by snakes. We so loved staying the night in Walterboro, and the highlights there – Walmart, Goodwill, the one coffee shop in town and the lady we met who went swimming with snakes (but not alligators, because that would be scary).
After a new timing belt had been installed, we set off with hope. However, from the time we left your engine was shaking and then the engine light of doom went on. We were most disappointed in the quality of work done in Walterboro!
After jolting us to the Wild Goose festival, we crossed our fingers and hoped to make it to Charlotte, where a nice man helped us fix a vacuum leak. Sadly this did not cure the shaking. We tried a new engine clamp but this didn’t fix the problem either. We took you to the mechanic, who found that the first mechanics had damaged our spark plugs. After we got new spark plugs, we were ready to go. Our faith in you was diminishing, and it was here that the Red Devil became your official name.
Your next devilish move was to put on the light of doom again halfway to the Smoky mountains.…so off to the mechanics you went again in Nashville where they changed your accelerator controller. This meant we had the fun of exploring Nashville on foot on an extremely hot day. Thank you for that Red Devil.
Your finest hour came next – you made it all the way to Vancouver! We did hear a suspicious noise coming from the back but ignored it for awhile. Just as we were telling a friend how wonderful you were, the light of doom came on. Your timing was impeccable. You then turned off your light – thank you for that Red Devil. We felt very happy!
In Shelton, Washington our friend Dave spent lots of time with you and changed your wheel bearings – he made the bad noise go away and saved us from the sound and a possible further breakdown. He found that both the back tires needed replacing, so $150 later in Portland we had new tires.
After Portland, we had a lovely last night with you at Crater Lake. The next day, disaster struck! We were in heavy traffic and came across a car that had stalled. When we tried to stop, your brakes locked up, and the next minute you had crashed into a car…which crashed into another car…which crashed into another car. Your airbags worked, which was great. Their fluid burned us, which wasn’t so awesome. You went away on a towtruck, and we limped away to a motel. You left Reuben with a burned hand and Karen with a sore ankle and back. The next day we sold you to the scrap heap and hired our new car, The Angel of Light.
Farewell, Red Devil. You gave us 9,900 miles of driving (why couldn’t it have been 10,000?). At times we were not nice to you and said bad things, but we still loved you and you gave us much joy. Thank you for the days when you didn’t suck. We appreciate them. Rest well in the scrap heap.