It’s been a great run, but this week I decided to retire my little white putt-putt– my 1999 Suzuki Grand Vitara, lovingly known as the “Grand Viagra.”
I got the Grand Viagra in 2006, shortly after my dad died. My old car took a dump and became scrap shortly after his funeral. When my cousin’s grandma died later that year (my long-time readers — all 2 of you — will recall that 2006 was a terrible year for my family), I had to rent a car to come home for the funeral.
I bought the car from my co-worker, and it was in really great shape when I got it. But I am tough on cars, and this one is no exception. The fact that it had a manual transmission probably didn’t help matters. I can ride a clutch like nobody’s business, and I wrecked two on this car. Maybe I never learned how to drive a manual correctly– but two clutches in the span of 5 years is a lot– and a lot of money.
Still, the little Grand Viagra was a great car. I loved that it was a mini-SUV– mini enough that it could fit into tight parking spots that you would never have thought it would fit into. It transported tons of camping equipment and even my bike a few times; and I don’t know what I would have done without it when I moved last year.
But time took its toll, and earlier this year I did a bunch of major repairs that probably cost more than the car was worth. Last week, the final nail was tapped– the “Service Engine Soon” light came. on. The damage was somewhere in the $800-900 range. I decided that it was time to retire the girl.
I’ll still have the car until I find something new, so I can use it– for what it’s worth– as some sort of trade-in. So tonight after work and the gym, I will pick up the tired old girl, drop a few gallons of gas in her tank, and drive her home, where she will sit and wait for the day when I either decide to trade her in or sell her off; only being moved for street cleaning and to avoid tickets for being abandoned (they do that here in Chi-Town, you know).
In the meantime, I’m a total public transportation guy. Which is probably a good thing. I needed to start being smarter about that anyway.