25th Feb 2006, 13:29
I've had the great pleasure of driving many different 2002's over the past twenty odd years, some nicer than others, all decent.
I currently have "Rusty", a '74 tii body which runs reliably. Original paint color was turkis metallic. It is now slowly, cheerfully, rusting and mostly dozing beneath fading rivera blue paint. "Rusty" is my "blizzard bomber", four studded snows, good wipers, great heater; I keep it parked out of sight until it snows here in Denver. Then I take the plates off "Timmy" (a rust-free "74 2002 body with all of "Rustys" fast tii stuff, plus 5 speed, recaros, bilsteins, etc.) and slap 'em on trusty ole you know who and truly enjoy driving both on the highway (skiing) and around town in the very worst conditions. This from a 32 year old design with well over 300,000 miles which, except for a weber carb, is basically stock and well used.
It's always ready to start and tear up the tundra in the coldest weather, even after 6 or 7 months of complete neglect. It gives 20+ mpg, and driving it is not only fun on it's own merits, but (and best of all!) makes me feel real smart too, because it's practically free!!!
I have just one set of collector plates for Timmy ($50-60.00 for 5 years) and just swap 'em when it snows. I pay $25.00/year to park it in a quiet' off-street spot with a copy of an insurance proof for a '74 2002 in the glove box, and I just laugh every time I pass some "learn to drive" type in a hideously expensive SUV, or see all the other beautiful, expensive cars slugging it out there in the mag chloride shuffle.
I try to drive Timmy only on dry roads, and even though it's not fancy, new or expensive, and some people probably think I'm a trifle eccentric to keep driving the same old car, I must say I keep doing it only because it works pretty darned well for me.
One of my friends who always has new stuff was showing me his very cool new 350 h.p. sports sedan, and in the course of the ride he repeated the phrase "life is too short not to drive cool new technology". Perhaps if my lifestyle required more driving, or status enhancement, I would agree. But for me, life is too short for big car payments, and in this country at least, both cars can easily exceed the speed limits in relative safety and comfort (if not in luxury and high style), while providing at least a modestly entertaining driving experience.