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Auto Recall of Long-Gone Jalopies

Stocks in this article: TM GM

Ah, the memories those old cars stir. Yes, and fond memories of gasoline at less than a quarter a gallon. Joy rides, day trips, traffic jams in snowstorms and bringing the baby home from the hospital and later to the college dorm.

I got my first warning ticket while driving Mom's Pontiac Tempest (GM). That little car had an overhead cam engine and was so light that it, without notice, flew past the 65 MPH speed limit through the off ramp from the interstate near Erie, or so the trooper told me. I got the warning (rather than a ticket), as the officer had pity on a young kid driving his Mom home from a visit in Ashtabula, Ohio.

I had learned to drive on an azure aqua '64 Chevelle station wagon earlier that summer. The gas gauge never worked. We never ran out of gas, but it wasn't exactly a chick magnet either.

Chevelle, the name sounds like some kind of animal. Gazelle, Jezebel? Oh, well. We had cool brand names in those days, Comet, Javelin, Vega, Pinto, Caravan, Voyager, Ram, not like car brands these days. It seems like the auto industry hired some pharma copywriters to come up with weird car names, Sportage, Optima, Scion, Hyundai, Avalon, Prius, Fusion, Volt, Sonata? Well, I see Impala is back. You'll know we've gone truly retro when Ford revives the Edsel.

So, the way it works now is, my wife gets a new car when she's ready. I get my wife's used car. You remember those problems Toyota was having with floor mats. Well, in spite of that, I bought a Rav4. For my wife. She loves it. And if she ever gets another new car, she says she wants a VW Bug to tool around in.

I'd get the low-mileage Rav and if we had to go anywhere in the snow, that's what the AWD is for.

I sure hope they've adjusted the Bug architecture by the time I need to ride in one. I'm not as flexible as I was at 17. The new models look lower and squatter, maybe it is designed for me? But I bet $250 won't cover the monthly nut on that new puppy. It may be enough for a tank of gas by then.

-- Written by Anthony Buccino in New York.

At the time of publication, the author drives a 2002 Kia Sportage.

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