I’m a Model 44, a product of German engineering. Not a made much of it then, of course, with the War and all, but has proven to be one of the best ever. Parts still staying me in good stead. I have that heavy body that isn’t great on gas mileage but sure feels safe. Trucks avoid me.
I am coming up on over 648,000 miles. I know people don’t believe it but it’s true. That’s only an average of under 9,000 miles per year which isn’t a lot by today’s standards but I can tell you I’m starting to feel it. Of course it hasn’t been even. The first few years I barely logged 1,000 but as things grew and got further apart, I had to go farther and farther. That added the miles and lately the more I have to go, the less time I have to get there and the insurance companies are starting to not cover parts of the wear and tear. I get overheated more often and sometimes I backfire.
They’ve had to start rebuilding me, of course, but they decided there was still enough life left in me that it was worth it or at least created profit for someone . Both my left and right ball joints are new and next month I’m having both tie rods on the front replaced too.
I had a wreck when I was only at 105,120 miles and my front grill was smashed in. It affected my light sockets so they put new lenses in. They’re due for replacement pretty soon.
I am proud they modeled three new versions on me, the 1971 Roadster, the 1976 Coupe, and the 1981 Speedster. They are all in different garages now, but the woman who bought the Roadster still drives by every two years. Some guy bought the Speedster and really drives hard but the Coupe is housed down the street from me. I honk when I go by.
I had another wreck before these models came out that was very severe. An Edsel was off track and left another car wrecked before crashing into me and dragging me several miles through ditches, over mountains, and across rivers. I am glad it’s no longer in operation. But it changed some of the newer models’ features and operations.
They’ve been switching out entertainment. I started out with a nice sensible radio; worked fine. Nice music to listen to as I went down the road. Then something called a tape deck, tangles of strips everywhere. Stupid. Then a compact disc player, just a junior phonograph record if you ask me. Now they want me to call people, play music, give directions, and send messages. But that’s not all.
They’ve removed my lovely stick shift and clutch. Used to be I got touched. Now barely a tap. Replaced even the floor shift with buttons. Don’t trust it. Now I don’t even know where my keys are. And my tail lights aren’t enough anymore. They put in a privacy invasive camera. The relationship, the sense of connection, is all but severed.
It’s harder for me to keep up with the speed limits like I used to. I have to go in for rewiring my spark plugs more often and oil drips – don’t even talk about the gaskets. Scotch tape would work better. I’ve gone through tires, whitewall, radial, all weather. Seat covers – I prefer leather. Why is everything grey now? It’s depressing. My original paint is dull and of course the dents have to be smoothed out but I am thinking about just leaving some of them now because I keep getting them. Of course I could get the scratches covered with stripes. I go off the road more at night. Steering bearings worn. Doesn’t really seem worth it.
At one point I really wanted street effect lights though.
I think I’ll pass on anymore repairs. Don’t like being rebuilt piece by piece. There’s an end to every road I guess. I got the word that they’re going to send a tow truck soon, take me to a storage lot, maybe recycle me. Something about depreciation and law of diminishing returns, upkeep too much. Still not much I haven’t seen, been down some beautiful roads along with the bumpy ones.
I’ll miss the new little ones coming along. They sure are spiffy. I heard they’re thinking of wings on their roofs. Not the same view though.
I’ll leave you with my favorite song from my early years, “Happy Trails to You”.