is now gone.
Janis Jalopy and @Harena Atria, in happier times
Janis was originally my dad's car -- he imported her from Germany after spending a year there, sometime in the early 1990s or possibly late 1980s.
I drove her for a bit, at his invitation, not long after that -- I remember how modern and nifty she seemed, climbing up the hill near the bottom end of Pinecrest Road to where he lived then.
- She had a gauge to show how fuel-efficient she was being at any given time. Accelerate and get less efficiency; coast and get maximum efficiency. (Daisy has a dashboard light to indicate maximum efficiency, but that's all... and no other car I've ever owned even had that much.)
- She had power windows controlled from a console between the two front seats, so the passenger could control all the windows as well.
- The seats were all power-adjusted. This must have been before I got Nissa (1995), because I remember that being a Fancy Thing. (Harena interjects: well & they were 3-way adjustments.. most cars just have back & forth and tilt)
- She was the first car I've ever driven where putting the front seat all the way back was too far back for my legs.
He gave her to me in 2000. Almost the first thing that happened was the transmission died, which cost $2k to fix. Even with the decent job I had at that time, it took me a couple of paychecks to pay off the mechanic. (I was still in Bad Credit Purgatory at that point, from the ~1995 bankruptcy.)
She was very smooth. One time, I drove up here from Athens and ended up arriving maybe an hour earlier than expected -- because Janis liked to go fast. You could be driving 80 and it would feel like 55 in any other car. (It's a marvel I never got pulled over.)
At some point when I was still living in Athens but after my job ended, needing the money and having Nissa
as a primary car, I agreed to rent her to some business-then-associates
-- who never paid me and then wouldn't let me have her back, claiming I owed them
money. (For the record, retaining someone's property as security against an existing debt is illegal, according to my lawyer.) I had to sue them
, after having moved to Durham, to get her (and a number of other things) back. It felt like that's when her decline really began, because that was when she first had trouble starting -- I paid a mechanic in Athens over $2k
just to get her starting with sufficient reliability that I could drive her back to Durham the next day.
That seemed to establish a pattern: she was always expensive to maintain -- and mechanics became more and more reluctant to work on her as she got older.
For maybe the last 5 years or so, she took multiple crankings to start (and sometimes it could take all day -- crank, rest, crank, rest.. recharge battery... crank, rest, crank, rest... and on some days I just couldn't get her started at all). The only mechanic who still seemed happy to see us said that there was some kind of leakage on the engine-side of the fuel line, causing the fuel to retreat back into the tank, and this was causing the issue.
Only a couple of days ago, Harena and I talked about that and she reasoned that it had to be in the manifold -- I wish we'd had that conversation a year or two ago; it might have led to a fix...
...but maybe it's just as well I don't have the temptation to put any more money into her. She always was kind of above my level, financially.
Sometime in the past few months, the battery got drained to nothing (from Janis just sitting in the driveway not being run) and lost its ability to recharge... and a replacement was $200, which I couldn't really justify... and she always really needed a hefty kick to get started; jumping her from Nissa just wasn't going to do it. (I did try, last week. She cranked, but never caught at all.)
And now she's gone, and we have a slot in our driveway where Kestracel can sit instead of being tucked up awkwardly under a tree-branch... and on Monday I'll go turn in the title and get $110.
...and then we can go to State Farm and have her taken off the insurance, and save some money there (until it's time to add Zander as a driver)... and I can get them to update my name as well.
I've gotten rid of cars before, but this is the first car of mine (i.e. that I actually owned) that I've gotten rid of (and only the second one that has left my hands, The Dodge
having been stolen and never recovered.)
I feel kinda like a bad car mommy.
She was only 37...Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose...