Dad’s LTD and the Great Blizzard of 1978

Not my dad's car, but one very much like it, photographed at a car show in the summer of 2008.

I called Dad’s ’76 LTD “The Battleship,” and that was not a term of endearment. It was the size of a capital ship, and painted an appropriate shade of gray. Put a couple of aftermarket gun turrets on the hood and a mast on the roof–there was already space enough for the helicopter landing pad on the decklid–and you’d have a fair representation of USS New Jersey as she appeared during the Vietnam war.

The Battleship had a black vinyl landau roof treatment and opera windows. Its interior was festooned with imitation wood and plastic pseudo-chrome. Its engine was an emissions-strangled V-8 mated to a three-speed slushbox, which produced a 0-60 time geologists could relate to. It had no-lateral-support bench seats, soft springs, overboosted power brakes, and steering that employed Ford’s most advanced sensory deprivation technology. The car’s overall build quality reflected the “national malaise” of the 1970s.

In other words, it was exactly the kind of car I hate.

This particular LTD was, however, a car I had to respect. The reason why is because of what that ugly, overweight, underpowered, hulking road barge did for Dad and me on one extraordinary January day 40 years ago, during the  Great Blizzard of 1978.

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Great Cars of Ireland

Originally published at Amazon’s “Car Lust” blog on March 17, 2011.  Edited and updated.

Here, for your St. Patrick’s Day viewing pleasure, is a picture of the most Irish of all possible Irish cars, a lovely green De Lorean DMC-12.

Green DMC

Pot of gold sold separately, leprechaun not included.

Ah, faith and begorrah (whatever the heck a “begorrah” is), sure as you’re born ’tis more to the story of Irish automobiles than green DeLoreans. Follow me to the end of the rainbow and we’ll take a look. (I promise to lose the phony accent.)

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They call it “scheduled maintainance” for a reason: you’re supposed to follow the schedule!


The Great Used Car Adventure of 2016, Episode 5

One of the first things I did after taking delivery of the 2009 Volkswagen CC I bought in our last episode was to make an appointment to have the 80,000 mile service done on the car.  It had just over 81,000 on it when I bought it, and I figured that, human nature being what it is, the prior owner probably didn’t bother with the expense of performing the 80,000 mile service on a car that was about to be traded in, sold, or go off lease.

About a week after that, the fun began.

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