David's Greatest Hit: The 1992 Mercury Marquis
John Donne said, "Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
Do not ask for whom the car horn honks; it honks for thee.
I hope that my alteration of the quote isn't taken as a lack of respect. It is my first reaction to try to lighten serious moods, to make it easier to carry the burden.
At times, as I've participated in various online communities, I've wondered what would happen if I died. How would anyone know? How would I be remembered? Would I be missed? Would my absence even be noticed?
David, you are remembered. You are missed. This man, whom I have never met...his friendship, the bond created through a common love, touched me in ways I never realized until he was gone.
How can I honor him? How can I commemorate him?
I miss him. I am certainly diminished.
David, godspeed and great gas mileage. We will keep the faith here, we will keep loving cars that don't deserve it, until one day, one by one, we join you.
One of David's favorite cars was the 1992 Mercury Marquis. Here are his words:
This post was originally published by David Drucker on Aug. 12, 2008:...Here are some of the things I love about my Grand Marquis.
The ride is very quiet and, thanks in part to the rear air suspension, pillow soft. On long trips, after a dinner break at 500 miles I'm perfectly happy to get back on the road for another few hours. Both front seats adjust all over the place, and have adjustable lumbar supports that, amazingly enough, are in just the right position for my long-suffering lower vertebrae.
On those long trips, the Grand Marquis delivers a surprisingly good 25 miles per gallon, despite not having had anything like a tune-up in more than 50,000 miles. Around town that figure drops to 21 miles per gallon, which isn't wonderful, but isn't so low that it would make economic sense to replace the car with something more frugal....
David posted a follow-up on January 13, 2009:
...All was well until a month or so ago, when I dropped the GM off at the shop for an oil change and tire rotation. About an hour later, I got a call from the service manager. They would, he reported, be unable to change the oil because the oil pan was so badly rusted that attempting to unscrew the drain plug would lead to a full-on disaster. In fact, oil was beginning to seep through the metal. Then he gave me the bad news: the oil pan was spanned by an immovable chassis crossmember and various other components. Replacing the pan would require them to lift the engine high enough to allow it to be slipped past the offending hardware. The cost, including parts, labor, and tax would be in the $700 range. Then, just by way of truly testing my resolve, he added that the car needed a water pump and serpentine belt.
The cost of these repairs approached the market value of the car, which meant that I had to do some serious thinking. The obvious alternatives were to a) dump a grand into the Grand Marquis, or 2) cut my losses and walk away from it. But there turned out to be a third, less obvious option, and to see how I arrived at it you'll need a bit more background. You see, a couple of years ago I noticed that the Check Engine light would come on for a brief period soon after I hit the gas hard, say to pass someone quickly on a two-lane. My local shop ran a scan, and found "two fuel lean codes, one EGR code, and a pass. system code." (Uh-oh!) They estimated that the needed repairs would run somewhere in the $4-600, depending on what was found when various components were examined more closely. The estimate also included the news that "none of the codes at this time will make the vehicle unsafe to drive." (Aah!) Thus reassured, I declined the repairs and opted instead to place a square of electrical tape over the offending light....What I needed, clearly, was a solution that 1) resulted in a tangible, obvious improvement over the present situation, and b) cost less than buying a new(er) car. That solution was found in the two words I uttered to the service manager: "fix everything." To clarify, I told him to not only go ahead with the oil pan, etc., but to address the various issues that were triggering the Check Engine light. And, just to make sure the overall results would be noticeable, I added a full tune-up – remember, it hadn't had one in more than four years – to the roster.
Four days later I sashayed down to the shop, where the Grand Marquis sat, freshly washed and sparkling, under the awning. Then I opened the door to toss my hat on the seat, and was greeted by the distinctive aroma of an interior that had just been shampooed. A quick look, and sure enough, the seats, door panels, and dashboard gleamed. Even the carpet was clean. On one level, I was pleased; on another, though, I was well aware that the shop was attempting to soften what was about to be a serious blow. That blow turned out to be just south of $2400, or roughly twice what the car was, and is, worth.
...Within a couple of miles, $2400 worth of pain had receded, having been replaced by the joy of driving what truly felt like a car transformed....biting the bullet and ponying up for all the repairs yielded a car that feels much improved. Had I just done the minimum needed to keep the old beast alive, I would have resented the expense and, no doubt, the car itself. Car Lust is, sometimes, a peculiar affliction, but it can also be very rewarding.
--Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame