Sunday, November 23, 2014

So, I Bought A Car

     My '02 Hyundai Accent, The Hottest Needle Of Inquiry and third in a series of Accents, has been getting very long in the tooth.  As in "needs new CV joints," as in "poor oil mileage," "poor power steering fluid mileage" and the ever-popular leaky steel wheels.  The hood had picked up a nasty case of rust and I had to baby it up from a dead stop to about 5 mph, a range through it had little torque and tendency to hiccup.

     On the other hand, car dealerships are a wretched hive of scum and villainy and, worse yet, Indiana's blue laws and my schedule meant I had about one whole day a week when the car dealers were open and I had time for 'em.

     Saturday morning, Tam had had enough.  "What're your criteria?" she asked, and I repeated the same slightly unrealistic list I'd been searching on; she pushed me to make a few adjustments (paying a little more, mostly) and we found a couple prospects nearby.  My friend The Data Viking was visiting (we had planned to see Interstellar) and was roped into the search.  After a perfectly delightful and only a little insane set of breakfasts at Taste,[1] off we went.

     The search seemed doomed at first.  The Hyundai wing of the sprawling Butler series of dealerships had just moved to a new and distant building, leaving a subset of wrong signage pointing at their Fiat/Maserati dealership (where the salesmen do not deign to converse with hoi polloi, or me either).  We tried on the other side of Keystone, at their Toyota/used lot, and were at least pointed a half-mile down 96th street to the new Hyundai building.

     There, at last, was one of the vehicles Tam had found: a 2000 Lexus (!) RX300, a sort of slicked-up SUV for the city.  While it lacks 4WD, it does have a leather interior -- and a combination of sophisticated traction control and decent road clearance that should cope adequately with snow -- especially in the alley behind Roseholme cottage.  After a checkout, test drive, various back-and-forth between Tam, the salesman, me, The Data Viking, a sales manager, and a frank admission that my present car was not, perhaps, sparkling new, we came to a price I only loathed.  We stuck there for awhile, until it came up that I would be paying cash.  The Sales manager mentioned a number I thought was mildly stinky.  He named another number that was barely smelly at all-- and there he stuck.  It was a couple hundred more than I wanted to pay but he out-stubborned me, and I finally decided I needed a car more than I needed that $200.
Now I can see over other cars!  Umm, sorry, guy behind me.
     So I bought a Lexus.  Almost -- had to go back home for my car while they "processed paperwork," and when we returned, there was, of course, a line to get to the one (1) financial guy they had working.  Oh, and they'd broken off the already-bent radio antenna in their car wash.  (Good job, guys).  They'll be replacing that (got the IOU right here); the radio works okay without it as long as you listen to local stations.

     And so, after paperwork more like buying a house -- and remember, I paid cash, no financing -- I bought a Lexus.  Do I get to sneer at the peasants now, or does that take an even fancier marque?

     We never did get to see the movie.  Next weekend, darn it!

     By the way, despite lower clearance, a nice ride front-wheel-only drive[2] and a remarkably civilized set of amenities, this vehicles came in third in testing by Car & Driver, right behind the BMW X5 3.0i and the Acura MDX and that only over a lack of gung-ho offroading ability.

     So, there's one task off the list!
     Bonus: helping clear out The Hottest Needle Of Inquiry, DV found my iPod, which I thought I'd left in Turk Turon's rental car when we went to the Dayton Hamvention this past May.

     Oh, one other thing: after three cars named after a Kzinti spy starship, a new brand calls for a new name.  The first interstellar vessel I could think of that had a leather interior and a nicely-finished hull was a real classic and thus, I dub my new car The Skylark Of Space.  I hope E.E. "Doc" Smith wouldn't have minded.
_____________________________
1. Seriously, Roman Emperors would've killed for that food.  You could pay more but you won't eat better.  Tam has photos but she hasn't posted them yet.
 
2. No, I'm told the one in the Car & Driver test did have four-wheel drive.  Mine does not -- on the other hand, those are the costlier parts of the drivetrain.

26 comments:

Larry said...

Congrats on the new ride!

D.W. Drang said...

Tam posted that pic on Facebook and I thought she was trolling us. "No way Bobbi bought a... Well, I'll be!"

Ken said...

Nicely done. Enjoy. Like the name too. I christened my new-to-me 2006 Ford 500 SEL Louella, aka The Midnight Special (darndest thing -- my Creedence CDs seem to keep finding their way into the stereo).

Brigid said...

That's a pretty car and like the truck, it's nice sitting up high where you can see traffic, isn't it. I had to break down and get a "city car" though as the truck does NOT do well threading the streets in the smaller villagers of Mordor. There have been times with cars parked on either side, I could not pass. The truck is now the official commute vehicle, otherwise parked most of the time.

NAVIGATOR said...

WHILST MEMORIES AND DREAMS OF A 1956 DODGE POWER WAGON (GREEN WITH A WHITE CAB ROOF) FILLED MY BRAIN AND REMEMBRANCES OF MY BOATSWAIN INFORMING ME THAT A SAILOR DOES NOT NEED A CAR OR A HOUSE (HAVING BEEN A DENIZEN OF APARTMENTS AND SUBWAYS)

YOUR SAGA ON FOUR WHEELS GENUINELY TOUCHED MY HEART

YOU HAVE A FEW DAYS TO ARRANGE A CEREMONY FIT FOR THIS RIGHT OF PASSAGE(PUN INTENDED) OR WILL THE DEALERSHIP DO THE HONOURS ?

I WAS THINKING ALONG THE LINES OF A CLASSICAL VIKING FAREWELL (TO THE STRAINS OF RICARD WAGNER PERHAPS ? NO WAIT THAT IS FOR BMWS

AS THIS CHARIOT IS OF ORIENTAL ORIGIN PERHAPS A SHINTO FAREWELL ALONG THE LINES OF THEIR CORPORATE COUSINS WITH WITH WINGS WERE HONOURED WITH ? BANZAI !!!!

HAPPY MOTORING WITH THE NEW BEASTIE

ORIENTAL AUTOMOTIVE BLESSINGS MAY THE EMPEROR BLESS HER AND ALL WHO SAIL IN HER !

flagunblog said...

Good choice on used, and with cash. I had a 02' Hyundai Elantra, and after 250k miles, it was time.

Ian Argent said...

I do not understand the reason dealers waste hours of both the buyer's time and their own sales staff to do the paperwork on a cash transaction.

CGHill said...

Peasants are sneered at because they engage in peasant-like behavior, not because they don't drive a Lexus (or in my case, an Infiniti).

Anonymous said...

Ian: this dealer is a "system house." In addition to a rapacious approach -- nobody walks before they talk to a manager -- they have a rigid workflow. It's remarkably efficient for them and assures nothing has been overlooked but it is a PITA for every human involved.

Robin said...

Someone once wrote a story about EE "Doc"Smith helping them buy a car.

Evidently it involved driving the car at speed with his ear pressed to the door.

I hope the Skylark gives you good service.

Ian Argent said...

The last car-buying experience I had, we had promised (on pain of forfeiting deposit) to buy a particular vehicle at an agreed-upon price, at a specified date and time. Come that time, we showed up with the ready in hand, and it STILL took 4 hours to complete a purchase for which the dealership was receiving a certified check and there were no further options, and it still took them those hours to produce a dotted line upon which to sign. Less than 10 minutes of which were taken up by them reducing the price to match their own internet-advertized price on the same vehicle (Which we had not seen prior to shopping, and which they had no reason to do other than goodwill, as thy had my John Hancock on a piece of paper agreeing to the higher price).

As we had a bored toddler with us and dinner time was fast approaching, this was not merely an exercise in tedium...

fast richard said...

Nice winter vehicle. Ground clearance is more important than 4wd, unless you are going off pavement.

I may have to dig out the Skylark books when I get home. Great name for a car.

I'm pretty sure it was Heinlein who had Doc Smith help him choose a car.

Keads said...

Congrats!

Roberta X said...

Navigator: Hey, you just hold on! My older cars were Hyundais. That's a *Korean* car. Korea was heavily and nastily occupied by Japan and the two nations are still a bit frosty and careful to one another. (For the record, Hyundai makes an excellent car these days. My three Accents were not especially well cared-for and other than a known weakness in the brakes for that model and year (you replace pads and rotors about 2X the rate of most cars), they held up astoundingly well.

Roberta X said...

The Doc Smith car-buying story: it was Heinlein he was helping, and the trick was to press your head against the body while driving down a bumpy road to listen for squeaks.

Anonymous said...

I don't smoke, gamble, carouse, or drink much at all...but I do like to buy cars. The old Willie Nelson/Julio Iglesias duet always comes to mind; "all the cars I've loved before...".

When the grid didn't crash on 2K we celebrated with an RX (how appropriate for you!) just like yours, same color and all...traded a '98 Benz C230 (pre-turbo) that was solid as a rock but wouldn't get out of its own way. We nicknamed our Lexus "Jellybean" for the rounded shape that was unique at the time. Arguably the first crossover SUV, great car, trouble free, it survived my son turning 16 that year and a few road trips with him and his friends, it also did a great job climbing muddy red clay roads around our mountain cabin, hauling with aplomb the whole family and all the accoutrement at vacation time.

Its time with us was rather short due to my trading addiction and my wife's eye being caught by a lipstick red '03 A4 Quattro in late '02, itself now about 5 rides in the rearview. But with only 30K on the clock I'm sure our RX went on to serve another family well...maybe it still does. Maybe it's yours!

Now pardon me while I get a little misty..."I'm glad it came along, I dedicate this song, to all the cars I loved before..."

Tango Juliet said...

Congrats!

NAVIGATOR said...

ROBERTA !
YOU ARE RIGHT THE SONS OF THE RISING SUN DID OCCUPY THE KOREAN PENINSULAR FROM 1904-45 DURING WHICH TIME THEY CRUELLY EXPLOITED THE KOREAN PEOPLE AND COUNTRY AS A VASSAL STATE SUPPRESSING THE LOCAL CULTURE AND LANGUAGE ALSO UTILIZING INDUSTRIAL ASSETS AS PART OF THEIR CO EAST ASIAN PROSPERITY SPHERE

SUCH INDUSTRIAL INFRASTRUCTURE WAS USED AS PART OF THE JAPANESE WAR MACHINE

MITSUBISHI HEAVY INDUSTRIES AND OTHER JAPANESE SYNDICATES WERE LOCATED IN "CHOCHIN" AS KOREA WAS KNOWN NEAR SOURCES OF RAW MATERIALS AND CHEAP LABOR

HYUNDAI IF I AM NOT MISTAKEN WITH US ASSISTANCE RE UTILIZED SOME OF THE JAPANESE ASSETS JUST AS THE SOVIETS TOOK AS WAR BOOTY SALVAGEABLE STUFF NORTH OF THE 38 PARALLEL

SO KOREAN YOUR CHARIOTS MAY BE THE ANTECEDENTS MAY HAVE BEEN A ZERO

SHINTO VARIATION MAY BE ENTIRELY APPROPRIATE

IF IT MAKES YOU FEEL BETTER PUT SOME KIMCHEE OUT TOGETHER WITH THE RICE SAKE AND JOSS WHEN YOU MAKE NICE TO THE AUTOMOTIVE SPIRITS

John said...

And are the body panels made from Arenak, Dagal, or Inoson?

Clear Ether,

John in Philly

aczarnowski said...

I hope you like your new (to you) RX300 as I do my recently purchased new (to me) 4Runner. Having a vehicle you can assume will get you where you need to go when you need to go is a wonderful thing.

rickn8or said...

Congrats, Bobbi. May you two have a long and pleasant journey together.

Anonymous said...

So, what does a Hyundai Accent sound like? Is it similar to a normal Korean accent? Or is it more like the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese?

Kerry

Old NFO said...

Congrats! Now we won't be as worried about you and your odd work hours. :-)

Anonymous said...

Navigator, I don't know you, and I mean no disrespect, but might you be a LITTLE HARD OF HEARING?
That was why my uncle yelled a lot--it was the only way he could hear himself, & he thought it was normal.
--Tennessee Budd

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear it. I also recalled reading the story Heinlein told on Doc Smith about choosing a used car. I think both men would approve of yours.

Happy Thanksgiving to all those willing to accept the sentiment, and have a nice Thursday to everyone else.

Yours,

Ed

P. S. I named my white Sonoma "Mini Fridge", and my youngest calls her XLT "Gizmo", as it is packed with 'em.

NotClauswitz said...

It's nice to be able to see-over other vehicles! If the guy behind you is having problems maybe he shouldn't tail-gate.