Big day yesterday. In my quest to leave the biggest, dirtiest mark on this planet, I took stock of my life and its potential environmental impact, hoping that I was already well on my way to success.
I was not.
I drive a sports car that gets 18 or so miles to the gallon, depending on the weight of my lead foot. I love the car, but it was time to take a deep breath and realize a couple of things. One, this project would not succeed if I continued to drive the way I was: no more driving only when I absolutely needed to, no more planning out the shortest routes. Two, it does not eat enough gas; I could stomp the accelerator more, brake at the last possible moment, rev up at the stop lights, but all these measures wouldn’t be enough.
I needed another vehicle. One that drinks gas and shits out big black clouds of yummy pollutants. One that burns oil and drips fluids everywhere.
For some reason, this was difficult to find. Ebay, the local online sales paper, all came up short.
Oh, but this morning.
Whilst tooling around in my car and shifting in neutral now and then to rev up the engine and watch the fuel gauge drop, I found myself out in the countryside and passing a trailer and yard that could be featured on a 3-part episode of A&E’s Hoarders. I braked hard, tossed the car in reverse, and laid rubber. There was a car for sale out front, a beautiful Detroit dinosaur that was more rust than metal.
I know, the hippies whine and cry about SUVs and Hummer 3s, but really, those vehicles get decent mileages for their sizes. And besides, they’re too expensive for me. To get the optimum destruction, I needed to go back to the early 1970s, before that pesky gas crunch. I had set a target year of 1972, and looky here Huck: for sale by owner, a 1972 Lincoln Continental Mark IV. Fate.
An old guy came out of the trailer, along with a few dozen small dogs. The man was in his sixties or nineties, and he wore a pair of frayed overalls and rubber boots. We chatted. He was the original owner, and he was selling the car because it was too much upkeep.
This piqued my interest. Too much upkeep how?
He reluctantly told me things that made my day: It leaked oil. It got lousy gas mileage. The exhaust was bad. It would continue to run for a few minutes (minutes!) after the key was turned off. And once the engine did finally rattle and shudder to a halt, it would backfire.
I mentally rubbed my hands together and asked about the size of the engine. I nearly fainted when he told me it was a 460 V-8. And, drumroll please, it weighed about 5000 pounds, give or take. It used to be heavier, but the rust.
He wanted $200. I talked him down to $199.51.
I borrowed a truck and towed it home. And now it crouches in my driveway, marking its territory. There is a slowly widening rectangle of burned oil goodness leaching out into the environment as I sit typing this. When it backfired, the windows in my house rattled.
I am so happy right now!