Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Delta

Early spring always makes me think about the first car I ever bought, a nineteen eighty-six Oldsmobile Delta 88...slightly used. It was the spring of my senior year in high school and it was time to buy a car.

Drawing/Tracing By Mike Posted by Hello

I do not remember how I found this car it was probably through an advertisement placed in the local paper but I remember going with my Mom and Dad to go take it for a test drive. My Dad drove, actually he drove the hell out of it, testing the brakes, acceleration, turn radius and a bunch of other things utilizing a series of questionably legal maneuvers on a local side street.

I purchased the car with one thousand dollars of my own hard earned money, at that point the most money I had ever spent in my entire life. I did not have to be told what a big investment a car was, because my wallet already understood.

My Delta 88 was an awesome car, it could hold six people comfortably and legally. It was white and a little rusty in a few places but I qucikly learned the joys of bondo and spray paint and on special occasions I would dress it up nicely...until the next time that it rained and the rust would bleed through again. The interior of this car was like heaven on four wheels. In the late eighties if there was nothing else American auto workers could do, they could build an insanely comfortably luxury car. When you sat down in the Delta you would sink about an inch into royal blue crushed velvet upholstery. The dashboard went on forever a pure unbroken field of blue that I would faithfully Armor-All every chance that I got.

This car had a 3.8 liter Chevy V6 with the shift on the column and the thinnest steering wheel known to man. The steering wheel was made out of blue plastic, with no insulation, no cushioning of any kind just a metal band running through the center that would heat up to blast furnace temperatures during the summer and leave welts on my hand whenever I tried to drive it after parking it in the sun.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

I used to leave a towel in my car so that I could leave it on the steering wheel so that I could drive without burning my hands. This car had some idiosyncrasies, what used car doesn't? Sure the engine was a beast, fast and powerful but the speedometer only went up to 85mph, so driving on the highway was a bit of a gamble.

My Delta also came with a strange odor, which was not exactly disgusting...just constantly present. It didn't matter how long you remained in the car the odor never seemed to fade, it was always in your nostrils, and your nose never seemed to get used to it. Fortunately my Mother helped me finally exorcise those aroma demons.

Because my Delta was once a top of the line luxury car it had a lot of features that served to entice new buyers and only served to irratate me. For example in 1986 Oldsmobile felt that it would be a good idea to create a voice warning system and incorporate it into my car. When there is a problem in most cars a light will activate on the instrument cluster and occasionally a beep might activate as well. This is not the case in my car. In my Delta if the engine coolant dropped below a certain level a disembodied and totally unexpected female voice would warn me that the coolant levels in my car are "dangerously low."

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

This can be a bit alarming not only for the driver of the vehicle, who had no clue that his car came with this feature, and any passengers who might be traveling with him. In addition to robot voices, my car had power everything. Locks, windows, steering, brakes, horn, mudflaps the works! Unfortunately my power windows were a bit dicey, they would always go down, it was somewhat questionable if they would ever go up again. But my airconditioner worked great, the only problem was that once you turned it on the fan would keep running and drain the battery, so I used to have to crawl underneath the car and disconnect the fan manually.

The most annoying characteristic about my Delta, at least for passengers, was the lock on the passenger side door was practically dead. In order to enter the car from the passenger side I would have to enter before you and from the drivers seat click the locks up and down up and down as fast as possible until the passenger door unlocked. Then the passenger would be able to board the vehicle. The problem with this procedure is that it is totally unreliable, you have to jockey the locks as fast as possible and then stop when the door unlocks but not accidentally lock the door again. Its a bit like Russian roulette.

Drawing By Mike Posted by Hello

The other problem with this plan is that the vast majority of passengers will try to open a car door the moment they hear the locks cycle. Thus they constantly prevent the door from unlocking. While most of my passengers didn't mind this process in the summer the vast majority of them would complain when February rolled around.

There it is, in a nut shell that is what my first car was like. Sure it had its problems, and the car that I currently drive is vastly superior; but on certain days I would give anything to have that car back. It was fun to drive and I can say with total honesty that it never once let me down.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can safely say I do not in any way miss that car, it wasted space at the end of our driveway...and it holds nothing to my firts car...the Taurus...

3:20 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Next entry: The Cougar


(I can't wait for that one)

3:19 AM  
Blogger carrie said...

89' subaru gl... a piece of pocket sized beauty.

10:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home