Coolant Pixies

My car has a case of pixies. Found this out Saturday afternoon as it clicked ominously, spluttered and died on the freeway, got towed to the shop, and then closed up any and all coolant/oil leaks before the mechanic could find ’em.

D’oh! At least I didn’t melt the engine block. All’s well that ends well, minus $125 and some time spent getting all excited about nebulous diesel Volkswagen Rabbits that would one day run on french fry grease.

Two days thinking the car was ready for the junkyard made me realize a very important and basic fact: I love shitty cars. I love the feeling of continually overcoming adversity while driving, the selfish glow that comes from knowing no one else will ever understand my car’s little quirks, and the constant search for replacement parts rusting on the side of the road. I love hurling freeway invective from the underdog’s perspective and winning endless games of one-downsmanship. And of course I love not having to pay for comprehensive or collision insurance.

By all accounts an ’81 Rabbit would be a very shitty car, certainly shittier than is practical given my lack of interest in the dirty work of repairing and maintaining automobiles. But I want one! Owning one would make me hard core and awesome! Kind of like how smoking makes you cool but is also way more expensive and less fun than you realize when you start.

Update 30/4: Hmm. Got home tonight after a particularly lousy run of stop’n’go traffic, and turned off the engine only to hear a nasty hiss. Opened the hood and out came clouds of steam, emanating from a point just behind the engine block and somewhere below the plastic circle throttly-thing that blocks the view into the rest of the car. Do any of you fine readers know things about stuff?


  1. des wrote:

    My mum had two Golfs (”Rabbits”) when I was a children. One of them was an utter dog, but the other was very reliable, and this is much more in line with their reputation. But 20 years would prolly take its toll.

  2. yami wrote:

    Exactly – 20 years is 20 years. The distilled opinion of the internet on the matter seems to be that a Rabbit of a certain age is still very reliable if and only if you take good care of it which requires a certain amount of time, effort and mechanical inclination.

  3. harvestbird wrote:

    As one who ran a ‘79, chocolate brown, 1275 GT Mini from 1993 to 2000, I salute your good taste. There is no feeling like wondering if objects on the road are actually going to break through the base of the car to add a frisson to long-distance travel, except perhaps the reverberations from stones pinging micro-holes in the muffler.

  4. yami wrote:

    Oooh, Minis! Eep! Hooray! I do wish the new US ones were old and junky already so I could buy one, but they’re so deeply embedded in the trendy-car market here it’ll be a while…

  5. ester wrote:

    no BUT i did read this great article in the nytimes about how these scandinavian women designed the first car by-women-for-women. you will be excited, i’m sure, to hear that since they figured women don’t want to be bothered to / hate to open the hood, the designers moved the windshield fluid container to the side of the car and made the hood unopenable.
    three cheers for 3rd wave feminism!

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