Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Car for this Loon

I met the owner of the local Ford dealership at Lions Club. I had purchased a few small items from his parts department; and I had been "accosted" on the lot by one of his salesmen. In early 1965, I was driving a 1962 Dodge Lancer which now had 93,000 miles on it, and while it still looked quite spiffy, I was beginning to think new car. Who am I kidding? Most 30 year olds of the guy persuasion are always thinking new car. A shiny new 1965 Mustang (remember the Mustang had been introduced only a very few months earlier) was resting proudly inside the showroom; and I entered the store.

Mr. Ford himself (is that a name for a Ford dealer or what?) rose from the desk in his cubicle and sauntered over to me as I walked round and round the vehicle. I was not drooling on the floor, but I might as well have been to the practiced eye of the fellow who had "put" hundreds of people into vehicles that they did not arrive in. Gorgeous metallic green body, Ivy Green; and when Ford lifted the hood, what should appear to my wondering eye but a "289." Cutting this short for conservation of space, I took delivery on the vehicle the following day.

I had planned to depart for Portland, Oregon on June 16 as I was going to study graduate level mathematics at Reed College during the summer session. Friend Warren was going to go along, and we calculated that with perhaps one overnight stop in Wyoming, we should otherwise be able to drive straight through. Warren had an older brother who lived in Portland, and they had not seen each other in over five years.

On June 13 as I was driving home from work, a horrendous squalling signalled that I had big trouble. I managed to get the car into the dealership, the mechanic did not take long to ascertain that the transmission was shot. No, literally. A thrust washer had been omitted in the assembly and a shaft had eaten through a casing. How long for repairs? It will take at least three weeks to get a new tranny from the factory, and it will require that. I went up front to talk to the owner. I explained that we were planning to leave for Oregon in two days, and I didn't have any slack in my scheduled itinerary. Oh, I was told, I think I can solve your problem. He picked up his interoffice phone and called the service man. "Bring in that red Mustang that just came in on the truck today, pull the transmission and put it in Mr. Lacy's car."

And it was that simple. And we made the appointments scheduled in the Pacific Northwest.

Believe me, these are the kind of loons I appreciate knowing and dealing with. Good people are wherever you find them, may their tribe increase.

© 2010 David W. Lacy

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