My Dream Truck? Or My Ridiculous Dream?
My husband Mike’s Ford Explorer is on its last legs and we need to consider what vehicle we’re going to purchase to replace it. Mike has gotten to pick the majority of vehicles we’ve purchased over the years we’ve been married: Honda Civic, long-bed Chevy panel van, Honda Accord, two Ford Explorers, and Honda Pilot. I’ve chosen a couple: my silver Chevy Corvette and my pearly Lincoln Town Car.
Can you see a slight difference in our taste in vehicles?
I’ve successfully argued that it’s my turn to pick a vehicle and I will generously give Mike my Honda Pilot, a reliable workhorse of an SUV. Mike gave me a long, measuring look when I first said it was my turn. Well, actually, since I’ve been talking about this for a few years now, he’s given me several long measuring looks. He tells me he doesn’t care what he drives. “Transportation is transportation.” I think he has a gene missing or something. What guy doesn’t like cars? Cars?!
I get real pleasure out of looking at the different vehicles on the road and talking about them, although I’m not an expert by any means. I’ve decided that I want a convertible before they put me in the ground. But I also need a vehicle that has enough room to stash the spoils of my shopping and junk day searches as well as all those softball weekends. It also has to be beefy enough that I’m not going to feel intimidated driving it on the parkways and turnpikes in the tri-state area. You know, the NY-NJ-PA corridor that’s filled to the brim with traffic, traffic jams, aggressive drivers, and drivers, legal and illegal, who just don’t drive well? No little sports car for me. And did I mention that I want to drive a hot car?
So with this informal checklist in mind, a few years ago I began to research to find a vehicle. Funny thing. I found it almost immediately. What do you think of it? Unfortunately, it was discontinued after the 2006 model year. Have you seen one on the road near you? I have, and I swoon every time.
I got to drive one over the 4th of July weekend. We were coming home from a softball tournament when our son Max called to tell us that the old Ford Explorer had yet-another flat tire (a nail this time). Mike, after a few moments of silence, asked if I wanted to stop at a car dealership on Route 22 to see an SSR they had for sale. My eyes bugged as I vigorously rattled my head “yes.”
We pulled into the dealership and saw it sitting there in all its blue iridescent glory. We popped the hood and found out that the last two production years Chevy put a Corvette engine under the hood; previously, it was a truck engine. This is not an “all show, no go” vehicle, people. Not only does this truck look good, it can haul ass down the highways and byways of the Garden State. (Are you thinking that I’m entering my second teenage-hood right about now?)
Let me see if I can re-create for you what I hear when an SSR starts up: Close your eyes. Think of being at the Jersey Shore. Listen. A big fishing boat is approaching the dock you’re standing on. The twin Mercury outboard engines are pulling the boat closer and closer to you. Those engines have a particular sound. THAT’S WHAT THE SSR ENGINE SOUNDS LIKE! It’s a burble y, rumble y, vroom y sound that melts my heart. Every time.
I drove the SSR out of the car dealership and onto Route 22 with the roof down. I drove that truck with the roof up. I drove it with Tory in the passenger seat! I drove it with Mike in the passenger seat! And it was wonderful! Mostly. But it has a shimmy at 35 mph. And the AC doesn’t seem to work properly. And I fret about buying a gas guzzler, okay a completely frivolous purchase.
Then I think about my previous vehicles. I think about my first car, before I got married. My ’67 Chevy. After my (now ex-but still friend) brother-in-law put a new engine in it, the car lasted what felt like forever (but I think it was like 8 years I drove it).
Until I bought my silver t-top Corvette; in the ‘vette I roared down the Parkway and through the streets of northern NJ with the wind in my hair. I remember how my legs sweat buckets because the heat of the engine completely engulfed the passenger compartment and no amount of AC could cool it down.
I remember my Lincoln Town car, all sleek luxury and quiet. I remember thinking that driving a Lincoln was like sitting on a sofa; I never felt a bump, and with the windows closed, the world was a polite and quiet place. It was divine!
And now? Now I get to choose what I drive next. Is an SSR “me?” My son Max doesn’t like it. My daughter Tory said it made her nervous. And Mike? He’s not saying anything except that it’s my decision. I’ll figure it out, just give me some time. . .