Sold: 1993 F-150 $1,200
I know at an intellectual level that vehicles are just cold, lifeless machinery, but I swear my old '93 F-150 was sometimes like a child that throws a temper tantrum at inopportune moments when it feels slighted or put upon, such as the day the torque converter went south the same day as I mailed in the last payment. Still, for 13 years and 180,640 miles, I have put up with its bumper rash, dead starters, noisy fuel pumps, stuck thermostats, flat tires, and other gremlins, because the mechanical heart of the beast, the engine and drivetrain has been stout and faithful. To be fair, many of the times it did break down were in my driveway rather than on an the Beltway at rush hour or in West Baltimore at night. For the most part it gave me warnings of impending doom, and I was usually able to nurse it home. It has been a good backup vehicle for my Accord and Civic over the years, and it has been there to haul home everything from lumber to motorcycles to cow manure. It has also helped me haul away all sorts of junk, and helped me move twice. Tonight I sold it, and it is somebody else's problem child now. Somewhere a group of Guatamalans will be trying to get it to pass inspection, I guess. Hopefully the inspector will be kind and let it continue to roam the streets of Baltimore County for a while longer.
A New Flame
I probably would have held onto it for a couple more years, but a flyer posted by one of the locals here in Boring at the post office led me to a well maintained and very clean '94 F-150 4 Wheel Drive pickup, freshly inspected for only $2200. I strongly coveted the 4 wheel drive traction to get in and out of my steep snowbound lane in the winter, one thing the old pickup was lacking of. I also knew that a rusty cancer lurked in many of the recesses of the frame and major suspension parts of the old truck, and though it was not terminal yet, it was only a matter of time before something major underneath failed. The '94 looked at least 5 years newer than my '93 underneath, ran like a top and drove smoothly, despite having even more miles on the odometer than my '93. It was time to trade up.
With the shiny blue '94 4X4 in my driveway needing tags and insurance, it was time to put the For Sale sign on my old red '93 and get what I could out of it. After shining it up and parking it out by the main road for a couple of weeks, and listing it on craigslist, I found a buyer willing to pay a mutually agreed on price of $1,200, which is about what I expected to get for it. Though the truck behaved itself surprisingly well during the test drives, it had one more surprise in store for me. After signing over the title and counting out the money, the truck refused to start - or do anything else for that matter. I traced the problem to a seriously and suddenly dead battery, and to add insult to injury, the strain of the shorted battery and the jump starts necessary to get the truck running caused a leak of magic smoke from the alternator. I had no choice but to fix it or lose the sale, and on the second try, I finally got a good alternator in it by 4 this afternoon. I fixed a few other niggling problems I had ignored, and finally it drove away about 7 PM, with decorative license plates, in the middle of a 3 car convoy towards Owings Mills. I better get to the MVA first thing in the morning to turn in the old tags!!