...and SO ashamed of myself.
Isn't she a beauty?!
This of course is my 1977 American Motors Hornet, emerging from its winter hibernation.
And beyond the obvious (she's so pretty...) I'm proud of her because she fired up first crack this afternoon. Well, I had to pump the gas pedal pretty vigorously, and she did stall once or twice before settling into her normal kitten-like purr.
But I drove it over to our neighbourhood mechanic Bill today for an oil change and general once-over, and she ran perfectly.
It has always amazed me how smoothly this car runs, especially the automatic transmission. None of the ultra-modern electronically-controlled auto-boxes I drive these days shifts any more smoothly than this Chrysler-built three-speed TorqueFlite (AMC bought lots of stuff from competitors in the company's latter years, including the complete instrument panel and steering column from General Motors).
Why am I so ashamed of myself?
Because I didn't do a thing to prepare her for winter.
No fuel stabilizer.
No removing the plugs and squirting oil into the cylinders.
No mothballs or cloves under and inside the car to keep the chewing rodents away.
No plastic drop sheet underneath to keep the moisture at bay.
I didn't even check the specific gravity of the coolant to see if it was good for the crazy-cold temperatures we had this year.
But she rewarded my neglect by performing like a champ, as always.
Regular readers will know the tale of how I got the car. I bought it - geez, thirteen years ago now, from the widow of a German tool-and-die maker - better provenance it would be hard to imagine - who actually worked at American Motors in Bramalea. The story - I'd like to think it is true - is that he went down the line with his car, making sure his colleagues made it the best Hornet ever built.
I think it is.
It had 30,000 original miles on it then; it only has 39,000 now.
It hasn't seen rain, snow or gravel roads since I bought it (the dirt you see on it now is winter dust and cat paw prints...).
It isn't a 100-point car - it simply isn't worth spending the money it would take. But it is pretty good, and it is completely original, apart from what has needed fixing (new rad core, new rear leaf springs, new fuel line, tune-up items - that's about it).
The driver's side side-view mirror doesn't adjust any more, and there's something wrong with the wiper switch - the wipers don't always self-park properly.
But since I never drive it in the rain, that's no biggie.
I once had a line on an 8-track player for it - then it would be perfect...
Some people open old barns and find Duesenbergs.
I open metaphorical old barns and find AMC Hornets.
I couldn't have more fun driving a Duesy.
And hello Mrs. Breznick, wherever you are...