The Puppy Dog

 The engine transplant on the Paseo is coming along nicely, the Probe is well on the way to recovery, and the Corolla SR5 should be ready for the road in a month. That leaves my daily driver, a '94 Ford Escort LX coupe. Once the Paseo is complete my roommate is buying the Escort, and I'm going to miss that car.

 It's far from being a driver's car, but it's an honest vehicle, reliable and always ready for a drive. She reminds me of a puppy, not always the most sure-footed thing, but always enthused for taking a little trip. She's the second Forzda I've owned, the chassis based on the Mazda 323, with Ford's 1.9L engine as the heart. The longest trip I've taken went from Nashville to Lexington, KY to pick up the Paseo, and she handled it superbly.

 She's been a great companion, and has performed well beyond my humble expectations for an Escort.

Probing Questions

 August 2003 was the month my '92 Ford Probe decided to have a break-down. I waqs taking a co-worker home, having just finished third shift at Waffle House. The route I was travelling took me up a steep hill, and that's when it happened. My car suddenly shut off. There was no warning, no sign of impending doom, the car was just dead. zthe road I was on is a four-lane affair with a center turning lane. Caught in the middle when the failure occured, I had to go down the steep hill in reverse to got to an area where I could get off the highway. I had the car towed to a local Pep Boys, where $600.00 dollars later most of the ignition system had been replaced. The only problem was now the transmission did not to assist with forward motion. Pep Boys claimed it was nothing they had done, although I find it suspicious that the ignition system and the transmission would have concurrent failures.

 That was almost two years ago, and the Probe has been sitting in the aprtment complex all that time, immobile. That is, until today. She has been towed to a repair shop, and tranny surgey is being performed as we speak. Total bill is in the neighborhood of $1,300, plus the vehicle needs the CV joints replaced and new suspension bits on all four corners. The car Blue Books at $925, so why in the world would I spend all this money? Good question.

 The answer comes from history, and philosophy on car ownership. The logical thin to have done would have been to sell the Probe, and that's what many people would have done, but that car and I have some history. I purchased her from a co-worker in September of '02, a dark time in my automotive history. My roommate at that time as looking for a new car, and he was offered the Probe for $600. When he declined I purchased her instead. She wasn't perfect by any measure, but I finally felt almost complete again.

 Previously I was driving a '95 Toyota Tacoma until she was repossed, at which time I was forced to acquire a '92 Ford Tempo. I called her the PC(politically correct)mobile, a boring design with boring grey paint. I was so wanting her to be my '85 Toyota Supra, and the poor thing could never hope to live up to the expectations set by that fine vehicle. I never appreciated her until I sold her, but fortunately she belongs to my current roomie so I get to enjoy her company often.

 Besides the lack of a manual tranny, the Probe felt like the Supra. Swift and sure-footed, driving was once again a pleasure. In fact, the Probe was why I started RIDE, the passion of performance driving me to share my thoughts with the world. I hadn't felt that since December of 1995, and it's now an integral part of my soul.

 The Probe is more than just a car, she is the spark that rekindled the flames of automotive passion in my heart. I refuse to abandon her. It's taken almost two years for me to get into the financial position that will allow me to pay back my Probe for everything she has done for me. My baby deserves it.

No Longer Alone

 Ford has recently made some news by refusing to sell Crown Vics to police departments that have sued over alleged safety defects. While i won't begrudge a company for not selling a product to someone who has brought legal action against the product, I do find it interesting that a police department would want a vehicle they have deemed unsafe. It's probably a mute point now, since Dodge has brought out this...

 While a Crown Vic is somewhat menacing in police livery, this thing just blows it out of the water. Brings new meaning to "Does that thing have a Hemi?".

Hope Springs Eternal

 What you see here is Isuzu's new i-series truck, a clone of the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon. It's disappointing that there's not a more marked difference in style from the Chevy and GMC models, and it's clearly a stop-gap measure to give Isuzu dealers something to sell besides the lonely Ascender.

 If Isuzu really wants these new trucks to be successful, they will need to make them standouts. We know Isuzu has the stylists to make them something unique, just look at the Axiom and Vehi-cross. Me-too design is not going to save the brand, it needs an identity, something that would make you choose it, not just happen upon it because the Isuzu dealer was next to the Chevy Dealer and you got a better price on it.
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