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Old 12-15-2007, 09:58 PM   #1

stovt001's Avatar
Drives: 2006 Cobalt, 2004 Taurus wagon
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: California
Posts: 3,812
The Joys of owning an old car

Thinking of adding a classic muscle car to your stable? Let this story be a cautionary tale of what you're getting yourself into. Already own one? You'll know exactly what I'm talking about.

So here's the scene. At my house I had my 1970 Cutlass parked up the street, just past my driveway. My sister's Saturn was just down the street, on the other side of the driveway. Behind that is my Cobalt. Behind that is my mom's 1971 VW Bug. The plan was to move the Cobalt into the garage, move my sister's car forward to make a bigger spot, and move the Cutlass behind it where my Cobalt has been. I moved the Cobalt into the garage and my sister's car was moved forward without problem. I got in my Cutlass, turned it around and drove down the street, turned around again and drove back up until I was parallel with the Saturn. Here is where things start to go downhill.

I begin backing up and turning to parallel park behind the Saturn. I had just begun bringing the nose of the car back to the right just behind the back of the Saturn when my back tire hits the curb. OK, botched parallel parking job, but all I had to do was pull back out, and try it again, this time bringing it back in line just a little sooner. So I put it into drive, and the weirdest thing happened:

I had defeated geometry. Somehow, in defiance of God's perfect plan for the Universe, I had my car at such an angle that I was able to swing my nose behind the Saturn backing up, but pulling forward and out with the steering at the same angle my nose would smash right into the back of the Saturn. How the hell did that happen?

As I was contemplating my act of pure science fiction, my engine decided to die. Right there, everything just went all quiet. Luckily, my back tire was still braced against the curb, so I didn't roll backwards. After a few tries, I got the engine restarted, and did about a 20 point turn to clear my nose from the Saturn, I pull back out, and drive up the street to start the whole thing over from where I started. I go to turn around again, and I discovered why I couldn't turn clear of the Saturn.

Somehow, in the whole process of parallel parking, a few degrees of steering lock just vanished from my car. Suddenly, the wheels were able to turn far less than they had before. I had to do multipoint turns just to turn around on my street, even using intersections to give myself an extra few feet of clearance.

Finally I got turned around and pulled up next to the Saturn once again and, despite the lack of proper steering, pulled in the perfect parallel parking maneuver. I got out of the car, and noticed a new creaking noise in the door hinge. The gas gauge has no idea how much gas I really have, the engine still sounds half dead, and theres a bad clunking noise coming from the front left suspension.

So this is the car I was selling to have some money for the Camaro. So much for that down-payment now.

stovt001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-16-2007, 04:49 AM   #2
Drives: 1988Nissan Pulsar (meh,beater)
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Posts: 83
In the next few years I'm either going to do enough repairs/tuning to sell my current car for a "profit" to put towards my camaro, or I'm going to keep it as a project/beater and mess with it until it's finished (enough).

But I know what you're talking about :P Although I myself have never experienced a loss of turning radius that quickly.
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