Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Requiem Eternam Ford Tracer

I sold my 1996, 1600 Ford Tracer with 300 000km on the odometer (actually the odometer stopped working at 289 321km) to a student for R3600.

I've been told that I could have sold the car for more. I don't care. I was protesting.

Protesting the fact that I had to put in a pint of oil every time I filled the tank.

Protesting the fact that I got 400km of driving on a 45 litre tank.

Protesting the fact that I spent on average R6000 a year on maintenance to just keep the car on the road. (The last quote I got to recondition the engine amounted to R12 000).

Protesting the fact that my numberplate: CFM28508 had become one of the most well known numberplates amongst law enforcement officials. I work in a student dormitory and students were forever borrowing my car for very good and undeniably important and urgent purposes. But when the speeding fines came, they had either left the institution of learning, or claimed poverty or blamed it on everybody in the car who put pressure on them to drive fast. (The last fine is lying on my desk. It was issued on 22 November 2005 at bluedowns. The prosecuting authority has now informed me that I no longer need to pay R300 for the student's offence, but only R160.00.)

The final straw was when a student called me from Worcester (120 km from my home) to let me know that the back wheel had burst. When I enquired from him why he was so far away he explained that somebody had missed the Greyhoud bus in Belville and they had to chase/follow the bus all the way to the stop in Worcester. Asked why it was necessary for him to call me he explained that he had borrowed the jack and wheel spanner to a foreign student who needed it to register an imported car in Botswana. The car had remained in Botswana with my jack.

I decided to ask the student for all the money that he had earned transporting students. My agreement with him was that he was to share it with me, but I hardly ever saw anything. He gave me R1800. At an impulse I told him that if he could give me just R1800 more, I would give him the car, with all its papers.

I got the money in a matter of hours and the car is still driving students around. It is probably still running on the same set of sparkplugs, and it often runs low on oil (as evidenced by huge black patches on the tarmac where it is parked).

And the student has probably recouped the money he invested in the car four or five times.

But as far as I am concerned the car is dead to me. I have no part in it. I do not miss it. I have not shed a single tear over the car.

Because, now I am driving a Gomoto.

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