My New Old Car


Springboro's Guy Pasvogel, published author, shares his thoughts

SPRINGBORO, OH -- Isn’t it amazing how we treat our cars, be it new or old, like they are our “babies?” Let’s face it, in many ways they are surprisingly similar.

We feed them (Gas), bathe them (car wash) and take them to the pediatrician when sick (car mechanic). We name them, shelter them (garage) and dress them up (bumper stickers, floor mats, hot wheels, wax job, decals, personalized license plates and trinkets hanging from our rear view mirror). Luckily, we do not have to change car diapers daily, just change the oil and filter, transmission fluid, radiator flush and air filter periodically.

I am happy to announce that I have a new “baby” parked in my garage! No labor pains in delivery, no baby showers, no hospital bills and no nine months waiting in anticipation for the big moment. It happened suddenly and here is how it transpired…

One day last September, as I was driving down Columbus Avenue in Lebanon, my attention was distracted by a baby blue Mercury Grand Marquis parked at the Chevy dealership. The car looked very much out of place amongst all the SUV’s and trucks for sale.

All the other cars and trucks on the lot were either white, black, silver, or red. This baby blue Merc was screaming at me to at least take a look, even though I was not in the market to trade my 2018 Chevy Cruze.

Or, so I thought… 

Does he or doesn't he?

I stopped for a quick look just to fact find and satisfy my curiosity. The Mercury Grand Marquis was a 2010 model with 75,000 miles and looked like it had been well kept by his previous owner. The sticker price was $11,500.

My Chevy Cruze had served me well over the last four years. I bought it when it was one year old and had 7,500 miles on it. I really liked that car and even gave it a name, Scooter. My wife, however, never liked Scooter for many reasons. The biggest one was she could not understand why a car named Cruze did not have cruise control.

Scooter and I were ready to leave the lot when the salesman came out to set the bait. He thought he had a live one and came to see whatwould reel me in.

The first price of $11,500 was quickly lowered to $9,500, as he said they were just ready to lower the price. As he was selling me on the virtues of the Merc (Florida car, garaged, only 75,000 miles driven), I could sense him drooling over my 2018 Cruze that would be an easy sell on his lot. He could also sense my increased interest. 

Time for a test drive.

He let me drive it home to show my wife. She really liked the improved visibility, comfortable leather seats, more pick up and of course, the cruise control. I loved the V-8 engine, quiet drive (like a limo) and of course, the baby blue color. After getting the thumbs up from my wife, I headed back to the dealership for some serious haggling. 

The salesman had given me a $9,000 trade value for Scooter which seemed fair. However, we were still about $1500 apart, money that I would have had to fork over to drive away with the baby blue Merc.

I brought up a few issues with the car. First was the front cover of the cup holder that had broken off (the broken part was in the glove compartment). Then there was a leather tear on the driver’s seat side.

The salesman assured me that they could order a new cover for the cup holder and repair the tear on the seat. Still no bite on my part. There was still the $1500 difference. 

As I was ready to walk (Scooter was cheering me on in the lot, “please don’t trade me”), the salesman stopped me and went to his manager for some more ammo to close the sale.

Ten minutes later, he came back with paperwork drawn up less the $1500. He offered an even trade, their car for my car, no money exchanged. As they said in the Godfather movie, they gave me an offer I couldn’t refuse. Off I drove with my shiny Mercury Grand Marquis!

I have to admit that in the next few weeks a little buyer’s remorse set in as I passed the Chevy lot daily. I saw a forlorn and lonely Scooter sitting there waiting patiently for a new owner that would take as good care as I had given him the last four years.

Then, two weeks later, there was no Scooter. He obviously had been sold to a new owner. I wish both the car and driver well.

Now, for the new car name. 

There was a rap music singer in the 90’s named Marky Mark. I detest rap music, but I settled in on the new name Marky Merc. Marky Merc had found a new home in my garage. I gave him new Michelin tires, a shiny wax job and a personalized front license plate (Merc Guy). Now, he looked like I had just bought it off the assembly line. Happy car… happy owner.

Seven months have passed since I bought Marky Merc. My baby blue baby has been a great ride. They stopped making the Mercury Grand Marquis in 2011, sad to say. I am driving what some people would describe as an “old man’s car,” but at 75 years old, I qualify.

In the last few months, three separate older gentlemen have approached me at the gas station and admired my purchase. One even offered to buy my car. Not a chance. 

The comments? “Great ride, drives like a limo and they don’t make them like they used to.”

One last thought… the biggest advantage to having Marky Merc is when I come out from Dorothy Lane Market after grocery shopping. I do not have to hunt for my car amongst all the black, white, silver and red SUV’s and trucks to find my ride. That baby blue Merc is an easy find, and I like that.

Much the same way as that day last September when a baby blue Mercury Grand Marquis stood out from the sea of design mediocrity at that Chevy Lot in Lebanon. I did not have to find it. It found me.

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