Over the years I have owned many automobiles. Most I bought new, but occasionally I purchased a previously owned vehicle. I was fortunate enough to get good service from almost all the cars I bought regardless of whether they were a product of American Motors, Chrysler, Ford or General Motors. My memories of World War II were very strong, and for years I avoided purchasing any vehicle made with a German or Japanese label. However, my current automobile is a Honda, and thus far it is the most trouble-free car I have ever owned.
One car, however, set the standard for poor performance.
In 1976 I bought a used Dodge Polara from someone I knew and trusted. I thought I was getting a great bargain, but it soon proved otherwise. It was a good-looking vehicle, but defects quickly became apparent. I remember the following:
- The car had external dimensions similar to those of a World War II medium tank. Navigating a parking lot was a true hazard.
- The huge hood was difficult to see over, but under the hood a small in-line engine occupied very little space. Two or three auto mechanics could work under that hood at the same time, and you might even throw in a three-piece band.
- The trunk was big enough to accommodate three or four bodies plus luggage. Perhaps car designers had the Mafia in mind.
- The car’s rear window was very small and situated in such a way to make it virtually useless. Backing up was a guessing game.
- The car’s heater was totally unreliable. There were only two settings that worked – off or 100 degrees fahrenheit. Air conditioning was not much better. Service technicians were unable to solve the problem.
- The automobile was useless in snow (no traction) and prone to skidding on wet pavement.
I really hated that automobile. When my youngest son, Eric, skidded on a wet street, smashed into a light post, and totaled that Polara, I thanked him sincerely.
It was a full week before I stopped grinning.