Hackworth

I can’t remember every car I’ve owned.

One reason for that is I’m getting old. Another reason is I have owned a whole bunch of cars.

I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I have bounced back and forth between cars and trucks — needing trucks when I had a horse farm and later when I took horses to shows and cars when I wanted to travel cheap or liked their comfort.

About 17 years ago, my wife was complaining about a Chrysler we owned (we bought the Chrysler after I sold my horse). So I took it to a dealer (who is no longer in business, I might add) and negotiated a trade for a 2-year-old Blazer S-10 (the small variety they made back then).

I thought I made a pretty good trade since the Chrysler was about eight years old. But, on a trip to Miami, the noise in the Blazer and the lack of power proved frustrating. I decided I had not made a great deal.

A couple of weeks later, we were in South Carolina visiting family. I decided I’d had enough of the S-10 and drove by a local car dealer. This was a small-time guy with maybe 10 cars on his lot.


There were two Ford Explorers. Both had a lot of “extras.” One was a 1999 and the other, with a few more miles but a really nice stereo system, was a 1998 Limited edition. I drove both to let my wife check them out (so she couldn’t say I made the decision all alone).

I traded even — have you ever heard off trading even with a car dealer? I took the 1998 Explorer Limited off the lot as fast as I could before he changed his mind (and before he drove the noisy bucket of bolts Blazer).

To this day I still think fondly of that guy. He gave me the best deal I ever made. I think he even paid to transfer the license plate.

I am still driving that Explorer. It will hit 400,000 miles this month, Lord willing that I don’t wreck it before that occasion.

It has an oil leak that requires adding some every three weeks or so. The original paint is looking a little rough and the front seat covers are ragged. But the sound system is as good as anything you can find in a luxury car and the 5.0 engine still has plenty of power.

I’m thinking there are folks reading this column who also believe they’ve made a great car deal. Or, maybe you just like to talk about your favorite car of all time — which in my case might not be the Explorer Limited but a 1964½ Mustang with 6,000 original miles that I was so afraid to get scratched I kept it in the garage and never drove it.

How about writing me (john.hackworth@yoursun.com) and telling me your story? I bet the guys will want in on this. Keep it to 100 words or less please. And, if you don’t email, you can even call (941-206-1117) and leave the story, and name, on my voice mail. Just speak plainly. I’m getting old and hard of hearing.

John Hackworth is the commentary editor for The Daily Sun and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

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