Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Advice for Poor Car Enthusiasts (Happy Holidays)

Grifting is a necessity for those of us driving a POS. Whoever can still afford to cruise around town in a giant lifted show truck with the turbocharger whistling Dixie out its chromed duel exhaust is definitely not at the mercy of the real car world just yet. 

My 1991 Dodge Dynasty has a dent torn into the side that resembles a guardrail in Othello Washington, but I love her anyway. Last week the ignition began to stick, temporarily stranding me in a 711 parking lot while a bag full of freshly bought yogurt went sour. Instead of a tow truck, I called my father for a quick and free diagnosis. 

He suggested I grab a cold one at the nearest bar and come back when my luck had improved. After forking over $46.50 of my paycheck at a local mechanic for a “steering column greasing,” dad’s wisdom rang true. These are trying times for car enthusiasts; until Uncle Sam’s bailout package kicks in being frugal with our rides is more a test of survival than resourcefulness. 

Gas prices are temporarily down but after the corn-holing the oil companies gave us over the last several years filling up your gas tank could still drain a ravaged savings account so low that purchasing a relaxing beverage might seem out of the question. But wait! 

Instead of blowing your wad, now would be the time to make a sound investment. Buy a water filter, the pitcher kind you keep in the fridge. Running cheap alcohol through it several times makes the booze taste like the good stuff and after only a few bottles it pays itself off risk free. 

As situations arise that threaten to pick your pockets, you might have to stay on your toes in order to Dodge the man’s sticky fingers in order to stay irresponsibly intoxicated long enough to make car-related purchases (I do not advocate drunk driving, MAAD). 

Say you come out of snooty bar after a night of overpriced drinks, your ears abuzz with pseudo–intellectual conversation from business types trying to tell you that it’s a bad idea to top out your 1991 Dodge Dynasty after knocking over the Karaoke table on your way to puke up a pitcher of Bush Light in the bathroom. 

Noticing your coin and tolerance for judgmental advice are nearly depleted, skip across the road to a pizza joint and have a side of bread sticks sent to your home address. Chances are the late night delivery character will be lonely enough to let you hitch a ride in his pizza-mobile free of charge. Tip him and you have a friend for life, just make sure not to slip up and give him your number or offer to race him in the Dynasty. 

There are plenty of ways to cut corners as the recession trickles down to car lovers. Being ruthlessly frugal is the true system of checks and balances that keeps the whole capitalistic charade from imploding in our faces…again. 

If you think you might be too broke to afford buying spinners for a Dodge Neon or add another layer of duct tape to the borders of a plastic-wrap window, break the system down and take the power into your own greasy hands. 

Happy Holidays Everyone!


The latest news, reviews and commentary about cars, trucks, and more, automotive technology and car culture