Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lazarus the Lumina

Posting has been a little light lately because, like hundreds of Minnesotans, I've been fighting ugly, soul-deadening commutes the past few days. I've also been having car trouble during this most recent spate of global warming. The picture I've posted here is of a 1997 Chevy Lumina. It is pretty close to the spitting image of the car that I use for commuting from my home in the northern suburbs to far Burnsville each day. On Monday, my car froze in the parking lot at work. I had to finagle with Mrs. D to get back home and have been borrowing her car the last few days, while we tried to figure out the logistics of getting a dead car home.

Today, with the sun shining and the temperature back up to a balmy 4 or 5 degrees Fahrenheit, I went out to my forlorn, snow-bedecked ride, just to see if I needed to get the thing towed away. I put the key in the ignition and, like Lazarus, the Lumina started. This evening we went back down to Burnsville to get it and bring it back home. Sorry that you lost out on the business, Burnsville Towing. But not too sorry.

I've had this hoopty for 10 years now. It has about 150,000 miles on it. It has made umpteen trips throughout the metro and many sojourns to Wisconsin, Illinois and other places I tend to frequent. It has been a remarkably reliable vehicle over the years -- I haven't had to put that much money into it aside from routine maintenance. It's about ready to go away now, but it's answered the bell just about every day for well over a decade.

GM and the rest of the Big 3 are in trouble now. There are myriad reasons why this is the case, most of which are only tangentially related to the production of automobiles. You hear a lot of people who tell you that Detroit metal is no good. While one person's experience is not a statistically useful sample, it's worth noting -- my Lumina has done everything I have asked it to do for many years. And no matter what car I get next, it almost certainly won't be as good or reliable a car as this wizened old ride.

Since no one else seems to be saying it, I will. Thank you, GM. Please know that you have at least one satisfied customer.


kingdavid said...

I'll second that. We went from a Ford Tempo, which wasn't a bad car mechanically, although some things on the body were out of whack, like the trunk not being aligned properly, and the fact that I couldn't wear a hat because my head touched the roof; to a forest green Lumina.

I loved the extra space of the Lumina, and it was a good, dependable car for a lot of years. It took us to Texas and back a few times. That's when the kids were a lot smaller, so the back seat was ample for all their stuff.

I was born in Hamtramck MI, a suburb of Detroit, and nearly all my relatives worked at one of the auto makers. Even so, I'm not exactly on the side of this bailout.

Night Writer said...

We've got a '93 Mercury Gran Marquis that we bought used with 63,000 miles on it. The Reverend Mother drove it four days a week from South St. Paul to Fridley and we made numerous trips to Missouri and once a grand tour of the West in it. The Mall Diva drives it now and it has well over 200,000 miles on it. It's rusty but the interior is still in great shape and it runs very well. It could use a ring job, but that costs more than the bluebook on the car, so she adds a quart of oil every other fill-up or so. She won't be the last user, either - another driver (not in the family, yet) is waiting in the wings!

Leo Pusateri said...

I'll third that.

I had a 1996 Lumina, and not only is it more reliable than a Timex, it got 30-35 mpg in the summer, to boot. I took it on numerous trips to Chicago, St. Louis, whatever.

I don't have it anymore, but it's still in the family-- I gave it to one of my kids.

225,000 miles and it's still ticking.

Gino said...

the last domestic car i owned was a 1978 chevy something or another.

worst car ever.

and i have not, will not, ever again, own another GM car.

i'm the type that only gets screwed by the same rapist once.

Dan Thome said...

Your Lumina reminds me of the Beloit Buccaneer basketball team. They get to their games--although style is somewhat intermittent.