Monday, April 13, 2009

Fingernail Friendly!

Look, it's a really long story, and you're not even going to believe major portions of it, but here goes...

Awhile back I had been hearing about how great a deal you could get on a car, since the Big Three were in the throws of bankruptcy, so I did one of those 'find this car' types of Internet engine searches. Specifically, I was seeking an Atomic Orange Corvette Convertible. One hitch - I want a manual transmission. After quite a bit of searching, I did find one - less than 50 miles from my house. Skeptical, I sent an email asking if the car existed. They claimed to have it, but also had 'no haggle pricing'. I don't care for that set-up, but instead use their price to go someplace else and shoot for less than their price so I can feel like I've received a 'deal'. Whatever.


Saturday, Al suggests going to this car dealership so we can look at the Vette and he can check out some trucks. He needs a new car desperately. Sad to say, his last Chevy Silverado only lasted ten years, and not because of neglect. He took very good care of it and it has over 200K miles on it, but a rear quarter panel is starting to rust and funny clicking noises are now the norm from the dashboard.

Fine. I agree to go, especially due to the huge outlet mall next to the car place and down the street from the Jelly Belly Factory. At least a bag of belly flops will make the trip worth my while.

Al looks at every truck carefully outside with the salesman while I whimper inside due to lake winds. At the end a a few hours, I ask if he is going to test drive anything. Yes, he says. The Vette.

What? I thought I was here for moral support in the purchase of a pickup.

The Vette is lolling like a house cat in a corner of the tiled showroom, it's bright orange exterior nicely complemented by the "Cashmere" tan upholstery. The doors are so easy to open - a little button - none of the manicure-wrecking chrome torture devices found on my '68. Once in, the car is rather spartan, but far beyond my vintage (read: pre-Nader) experience.

Since it's freezing out, and hearing the interior cabin noise with the top up would be a good opportunity, we ask that the roof be raised. This suddenly entails four clueless sales people looking for the automatic top button. They aren't really listening to us experts regarding the fact this one doesn't come with that feature. Soon all are milling around, looking under seats and behind the steering column; one has the manual in hand (need I note that was the woman?) I lean over to Al and state: I can't wait until we have to bring it back here for service...

Finally, a button is located to pop the top up. Again, this is so much better than carving my hands raw as I do presently on old metal levers teeming with lockjaw. The only real objection I had to the whole car is it seemed difficult to get the top secured down on the front windshield. There was a handle, but it was unwieldy, and I'd really like to see an electric model in motion for comparison.

Al went first, said he heard some wind noise and felt the wind pushing against the car. I have no idea, as on my test drive I was too busy hitting 75 on the expressway while trying to figure out if I was still in third gear. The gears are incredibly tight and I seemed to hang too much on the clutch in first - something a little practice would take care of, but upsetting when you aren't feeling smooth. Overall, very comfortable. I could see long trips in this car.

Trunk space? Non-existent. Golf clubs? Try a putter and one sleeve of golf balls. Shopping? Four shoes. One dress. Nothing bulky from the Megalomart, like cases of soda or laundry baskets.

Bottom Line: a good deal. Original MSRP: $57,500 No Haggle Price because we can't get rid of an '08 and it's well into '09: $44,815. Hmmmm.

Al is like ready to buy the car. Starts talking details with Mr. Salesman. Whoa. Excuse me? Aren't you the one telling me your tech job may evaporate any second now? What happened to the truck? I think that wind noise you heard were actually the Sirens...

As my artist friend observed, it was like a Freaky Friday scenario: there was someone losing all perspective in a new car showroom and it wasn't me! It was him! Yes, that's right, I was the lone voice of reason standing next to a sports car. Spooky.

Did I mention the polished aluminum wheels?

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