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Readers Blog: Dobie Maxwell's 'Dented Can' Diary

Hillbilly Two Tone

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Wednesday November 14th, 2012 – Kenosha, WI

   I received the phone call today telling me my new old car was ready to be picked up after about six weeks of waiting for it to be repaired. When I dropped it off, I told the mechanic there was no rush and he really took it to heart apparently. It was to the point I’d almost forgotten it was there.

   My friend Richard Caan gave me a 1993 Nissan Sentra that first belonged to his mom and then his sister. His mother bought it in 1995, and drove it mostly back and forth to work. It’s only got 107,000 miles on it, and despite needing a list of repairs I thought it was worth rolling the dice.

   Richard’s sister got into a fender bender which took out the right front headlight and dinged up the hood and right front fender. The person who hit her was insured, and she was paid off for the damages and kept driving the car. Still, it was generous of Richard to give it to me. I’m grateful.

   He knows I go through cheap cars like KISS goes through makeup, and I appreciate the chance to nurse another one back to health. He knew I’d give it a good home, and I knew his family had owned it for years and it had the potential to be driven for thousands more hopefully easy miles.

   The grand total after getting a junkyard hood and fender along with ball joints, a muffler weld, heater blower repair work, an oil change, coolant flush, new battery and wiper blades totaled out at right around $1000. I transferred the title and registered it legally and that cost another $100.

   The mechanic I took it to is located in Kenosha, WI and was recommended by my other friend Mark Gumbinger. The guy works on all of Mark’s cars, and does quality work at a fair price. He told me when I brought it in it was a solid car, and would be worth fixing if the price was right.

   The mechanic went through it with a fine tooth comb, and gave me the final total of how much it would cost to get it road ready. I told him I’d prefer to keep it under $1200 if possible, and I’m thrilled he did. If I can keep it running for a year at right around $100 a month, it’s a sweet deal.

   Of course he couldn’t find a hood and fender that matched color, but that’s ok. I am long past the point of having to impress anyone with my car. If Carmen Electra won’t date me it’s surely not going to be because my car is a hillbilly two tone. There will be other reasons besides that.

   It is a little disappointing that I’m still driving pieced together Frankenstein mobiles this late in the game, but that’s how it goes. I’d rather do that and still be able to live my dream than have an ulcer producing hellish job that comes with a shiny company car. We have to choose our battles.

   Sometimes being a comedian can be hellish, but at least there are good times to make up for it to balance it out. Every other job I’ve ever had has always been a living nightmare. I’ll trade off multicolored fenders on a 20 year old car given to me by a friend to have a chance at satisfaction.

   As far as my other pickle, that was a good car too. I put more than 50,000 miles on it and I just think it’s time to be safe and move on. I’ll hopefully be able to get $1000 for that one, and make it a wash. I’m getting an older car with far fewer miles. Is it the right choice? I’ll soon find out.

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