Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt
cpratt

Carless

I'm at home this afternoon taking a nap and making French potato salad for a get-together at cousin Doug's up the street. I'm a little bit sad, though, because my 1999 Volkswagen Passat is no more: it's been traded in to the Scion dealer. The last thing I did was unscrew the Go Bears! license plate frame from the back of the car - and it's gone. I bought that car new in March 1999; then, I was working for Netscape, which had just been bought by AOL, so I did what any self respecting Silicon Valley geek type would do - I went and bought a new car with my stock option money. $24,035, if I remember correctly, and it was mine. By the end of 1999, virtually everyone at work had bought a new Passat; most of them were automatic 4-cylinder Passats with leather seating, but mine was a manual 6-cylinder with cloth seats. Ah well, whatever, it's gone now.

Highlights of the Passat:

- Driving it into the center divider of I-90 in a snowstorm last March
- Never being able to lock it lest the alarm go off for many, many months
- Draining the battery and paying $200 to the VW dealership to reset the computer so that it'd drive again
- zombietruckstop saying "nice ride!" after seeing it a week or two after I bought it at a Chinese restaurant in Los Angeles (bigredwojo, mindplay, and liquidwayno, among others, were there as well that day)
- Three days after I bought it, I was rear ended one block from the Lone Star while parking on the left hand side of the street; the crazy gentleman that hit it then jumped out of his car screaming at me because I was fucking crazy to slow down in the left hand lane. No real damage save for a small ding to the bumper that always reminded me that nothing new says that way for long
- Interestingly enough, the car never went any further north than Whistler, further east than Las Vegas, or further south than National City
- The scariest thing that happened in the car: driving south on US-101 one day, someone threw a rock off an overpass, smashing the windshield, in late 2001. Thankfully it wasn't heavy enough to cave in the window
- Total number of break-ins: zero
- The rear view mirror control was replaced twice after I broke it off by accident twice; each time, it didn't cost anything, even though it was (a) my fault and (b) out of warranty the second time
- Most annoying repair story: just before moving to Redmond, I took it in for service. When I got back on the freeway in Vacaville after stopping for gas, the plastic dingus that is attached underneath the engine fell off. Thankfully there was a dealership there that helped me jury rig it back together with cable ties and a few scres
- Best thing about the car: awesome German styling, sophisticated yet bland
- Worst thing about the car: the plastic thing that kept falling off from under the engine, AM radio that never worked, the electrics in general, the tendency of 3rd gear to hesitate while going uphill unless just out of the shop

When we get back from Newark on the 30th, we'll stop by the dealership on the way home to pick up the xB. All we'll need to do is go to usaa.com and input the VIN et voilá, it'll be insured, and it'll only cost $20 more a month than the VW did. Score!

BTW, anyone have any input on whether or not it's a good idea to spend $1,200 to buy Toyota's platinum warranty whatever? That'd cover it for the next 7 years / 100,000 miles, but I have no idea whether or not these things are worth it...
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