My poor old '94 Buick Park Avenue, which served me faithfully as it served my father before me, finally gave up and refused roll one more mile. Even then, the engine ran very well (the 3.8 liter V6 appears to be functionally immortal) but the transmission failed and left me stranded. This, combined with mysteriously non-working windshield wipers, was enough to make me park it. Seriously, people, you don't think about windshield wipers much until they refuse to budge no matter what you do--and then you realize that you're stranded every time it rains. I replaced motors, transmissions, fuses, linkages, nothing worked. I suspect there's a fusible link or something buried somewhere out of sight, but I don't know.
In any case, at that point, I had myself a '94 Buick with some rust and some peeling paint. The odometer showed 242,178 miles, and there was very obvious evidence that the car had been rear-ended pretty badly. The windshield wipers didn't work, and every gear except Park functioned as Neutral. There was also a pretty nifty clanking noise from a two-piece heat shield under the body whenever the engine idled. It was time to let it go, but I couldn't in good conscience try to sell it as a driver. I parked it in front of the house more to keep it out of the way of the driveway than for any other reason and contemplated giving it to the local towing/junkyard guys for $50. The engine, wheels, etc. were worth hundreds, but only to someone willing to store the picked-over carcass of a once-proud Buick somewhere on the property. I considered the back yard (Look, kids! New play set!) but I decided we've lowered property values around her enough . . . for now.
Luckily enough, about the time I decided it was time to go hunt up the title and call Wiseman's Towing to take her off my hands, some kid showed up on the front porch. He's got a '94 BPA of his own, and he thought he could use some body parts and maybe the engine. We assumed the traditional Redneck Bargaining Stance (Feet about shoulder width apart, hands thrust into hip pockets to show peaceful intentions but reserving the right to draw a weapon if appropriate, staring at the same spot on the porch floor) and settled on $150. I think $200 was available if I'd been willing to play a game or two, but frankly I wasn't. I just wanted the thing to be in someone else's driveway.
Poor kid showed up with a winch and a flatbed to pick up the Buick today; the wind chill was hovering right at zero, but we got it done. If you've seen or heard any of the following, you might be a redneck:
- "I can hook the winch cable to the back edge of the hood, right? I don't need a hood and there's no ____ing way I'm crawling underneath."
- "Hey, you need the air dam? I'm pretty sure you just crushed it."
- "I've never heard a winch make that noise before."
- "Probably should have put air in that tire before we tried to winch it up. Lemme grab the compressor!"
- "Hey, if y'all know anybody wants a Camaro project, you give 'em my number. It's pretty good except the weak-sister V6 and the busted cat and the deer damage."
I am now in the market for something with four doors. A station wagon would be cool, a Subaru Outback or Forester would be ideal, but probably too expensive. I'd like to pay cash for something cheap. Suggestions welcome. The dealer one town over has . . . brace yourself . . . you ready?
A 1994 Buick Park Avenue. Arctic White, yet, or whatever Buick called that color. I was afraid to look for the red interior, but the wheels and the trim level were the same. Were I to purchase it, I think I'd have to name it "Snowball II."