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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Return of the Falcon

After over three decades, I can pick out a tow truck passing or stopping in front of my shop with unerring accuracy. When I looked up, having heard the distinct sound, the tow truck indeed passed by, only I cursed openly, knowing he was turning around. The reason being, an unfortunately familiar 1965 Ford Falcon junker from past blog posts, followed the tow truck like a big guppy, with hook in its mouth. The tow truck driver pulled up in front and the Falcon owner hopped down, hurrying over to me.

“Bernie… hi…” the man begins, breathlessly, bending over at the waist as if he ran over to my shop behind the tow truck. “My…my car won’t go into gear.”

Thank you, Lord, I pray silently. I don’t fix transmissions.

“I guess your transmission has finally given up the ghost,” I inform him. “Secondly, it’s always a good idea to call first before you head over attached to a tow truck. I don’t rebuild transmissions, so I’ll get you the number and name of a place that does.”

“Oh no…” he exclaims in agony. “What could have caused that?”

“It’s forty-two years old. You’ve been dripping huge quantities of transmission oil all over the East Bay for the last three years I know of. Every time I’ve checked the car, it’s been down at least two quarts of transmission oil,” I list off all the items as if he hasn’t heard them from me the last dozen times I’ve told him he needed to fix the transmission.

“What’ll I do?”

“Fix the transmission, or junk the car,” I reply, having been over this ground so many times, it feels like home.

“I…I can’t junk it…” he gasps in surprise I would even mention such a thing.

“I’ll get you the number. In fact, I’ll call over there and see if he can take you right now,” I volunteer, hoping against hope.

I call, and my regular referral shop doesn’t do any in the Falcon age category, but he gives me a number for one that does. The guy at the other shop says send him over. I fill out the address and phone number, give it to the tow truck driver, and wish my Falcon customer good luck.

“I’ll call if I have any trouble,” the Falcon owner tells me. “How much do they charge?”

“I have no idea; but according to my other transmission guy, the place you’re taking it to is the only one in the area doing ones in your car’s age range. If you have any trouble with the transmission, call the guy you’re taking it to, because I can’t help you with the transmission part.”

“I just don’t know what I’m going to do,” Mr. Falcon sighs, trudging toward the tow truck passenger side.

I told Mr. Falcon what to do the first time I saw him years ago, when the Falcon needed an engine, but he didn’t listen. I will repeat what I told him, so maybe someone reading this will use it to their advantage. Never fix fifty dollar junkers, needing thousands of dollars in repairs. A fifty dollar junker is a four wheel succubus. It will not stop draining you until you’re a dried up husk.


raine said...

Oh my goodness, I remember the Ford Falcon! I think my dad had one, & I remember the lines & everything!
It must have a real sentimental value for him.
Good of you to try to help, Bernard.

Tempest Knight said...

Some people don't pay attention to their mechanics. Then again, people don't listen to their docs either. Go figure... We treat our cars like we treat our bodies.

Leigh Russell said...

Just had my car serviced for the winter... long overdue. But then I rarely go to the doctor either... they both still get me around but I guess you could say they've both seen better days!

BernardL said...

You're probably right about the sentimental attachment, Raine. My advice to people who own vehicles in the Falcon's condition (baaaaaaad) inside and out, and have a sentimental attachment, is keep the steering wheel, junk the rest. :)

Yep, same concept, TK, either one will eventually leave you stranded without care. The good part with a car is we can send it on to the Happy Hunting Ground. :)

Welcome, Leigh. My work car is a 1964 Buick, and I never go to the doctor; and oh boy, have we both seen better days. :)

Leigh Russell said...

Thank you for visiting my blog and for your kind comments. Visit again soon.

BernardL said...

No problem, Leigh. I love writer success stories, and it appears you've made a real breakthrough.