By on November 20, 2015

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With the holidays upon us, it seems fitting to share this cornucopia … from minivan hell.

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On the surface, this 2003 Windstar appeared relatively sharp in comparison to the 30 other examples present.

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Then you open the door, and the debris of someone’s life comes spilling out.

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But who piloted this transporter? To the untrained eye, one would spot the primordial film, and develop an unsub similar to the one who drove the disgusting Sedona featured previously. Upon further inspection of the contents however, it appears that this example hasn’t descended quite to the level of C.H.U.D. I can’t be too tough on the protag though, as there are some parallels between this thing and the current state of my own personal vehicle. I draw the line at clutter in the driver’s footwell and schmutz on the door handles though. What?! I’ve just been really busy lately!

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Amidst the chaotic rubble of a hectic lifestyle, there are library books, and items of at least some value left behind. Several clues suggested that a teacher operated this hauler. It was also marked as an impound and offered up this bit of evidence.

redacted

I suppose teachers are only human.

Rebecca was drowning.

“Hello, Mr. Barker? This is Miss Benson,” Rebecca said over the corded line.

“Yes, I’m Billy’s art teacher,” she continued somewhat nervously. “Well, we had a bit of an incident involving your son here today.” Rebecca could already sense that the man on the other end was taking a defensive stance, but she pressed on. “It seems that Billy held a girl down at recess and then threatened, and I’m quoting here, he was going to ‘ … fart in her mouth so she could taste his feces.'”

There was muted laughter on the other end of the line, then the father responded: “That ain’t my kid. Billy would never do that. He don’t even know what ‘feces’ is.”

Rebecca let out a despondent breath. She was totally unsurprised by this parental reaction. In fact, it was more the norm, rather than the exception when dealing with the cadre of little hellraisers that subverted the rest of her art class.

The classroom resembled the 38th floor of Nakatomi Plaza after a firefight. The keyboard and mouse of a PC hung off a desk by their wires and blue craft paper littered the desks and floor. She surveyed the works on the papers, mostly unintelligible scribbles, and half-hearted efforts. One desk had a serene picture of Cinderella’s castle with a happy family standing in the foreground. The corner was labled “Naomi.”  Rebecca smiled for a brief moment, then she cleaned up the wreckage. She had to be headstrong — and keep the farts out of Naomi’s mouth.

Miss Benson dodged the last departing school bus on her way to the trusty Ford. Her gait was impeded not by the heavy tote of blue paper, but by an extraneous 100 pounds of body weight. She rolled the door open and tossed the tote in the back seat. She let out an exhausted breath, remembering the recall on the seat. It had been off-limits to passengers for nearly a year now. “Some day” she would get around to taking the van in. However, it seemed to be just fine in its new role as cargo shelving.

She waddled around to the front door, and pulled herself up into the seat. As she waited for her own children to slowly appear, Rebecca cleared some trash aside, and tried to give “Nickel and Dimed” another go. By the time she heard Anthony and Sabrina slide the door open, she was put off yet again by the author’s pompous attitude and flawed concept. Furthermore, it offered little insight into how it pertained to her own place in class. She let the book tumble over her shoulder, where little Anthony agitated it into place in the foundation layer of items.

“Mom, can we hook the Xbox to the screen in here?” the boy asked. Rebecca didn’t even bother to put any thought into the suggestion, answering, “No. It won’t work.” The man-child she was dating was probably back home from work by now, and the gaming machine was, no doubt, in use anyway. Rebecca squinted into the impossibly small, worthless, convex child mirror to ensure little Sabrina was secure in her booster seat. Then she pulled the shifter into gear.

The Windstar rode the waves on Route 53’s truck-worn pavement like a laden garbage scow. Rebecca collected her 17 year old from the side of the high school as requested, who quickly hopped into the front passenger seat. Cynthia kept the door open interval to a minimum out of embarrassment. Drake was quickly silenced on the radio, and the girl plugged her phone into the tape adapter.

Tell me what you see
Is it money or it’s me?
I smoke twenty, smell the weed
I got hunnies in my V
They like, Monty, can you be my baby daddy, I’m like yeah

That last line held a special connotation for Rebecca. She actually had a “baby daddy,”  a real worthless one, too. She wondered if he was even still alive, and turned the volume back down just enough to subdue the faint creaking sound coming from the back.

That’s when she noticed Anthony jumping around in the middle row, “making it rain” with the blue craft paper. “Anthony! Get back in your seatbelt! And clean that mess up!” The little boy obliged, replying, “It fell over, Mommy.”

Next on the order of things was finding something to eat for dinner. Rebecca had been starving for approximately 13 minutes. There was no time for a healthy choice.

“I’m gonna get sandwiches from Fat Ricky’s,” she declared. The name “Fat Ricky’s” was ever so slightly off-putting to an overweight person in much the same way as it was for a crack addict to visit the “crack dealer.”

“What about pizza?” Cynthia asked. Rebecca knew that a deep-dish pie would really hit the spot, but there was no waiting an hour for such bliss. Although, they did have regular crust to-go.

“If I’m gonna not eat healthy, I’m gonna go all out,” she thought to herself. She stopped herself from saying that aloud. She knew the sack of gourmet sandwiches she was about to purchase was hardly the sort of thing she could find in the health-food book somewhere on the floor. Even Anthony would chuckle at that kind of sense.

She placed the family’s order at the speaker, and realized that she wasn’t going to make it all the way back to Bolingbrook without ripping into a hoagie. “Mommy. I can’t find my Barbie,” said Sabrina. “QUIET!” Rebecca roared, adding “… and I’ll take two large fries please.”

The van climbed back up Route 53. The occupants distributed the greasy fries, along with the ketchup packets necessary. The Bensons then committed to family ritual, slashing the sauce packets with their teeth, and squirt/sucking the contents directly into their mouths before each bite. Rebecca carelessly tossed the spent wrappers to the floor. There they were juxtaposed with “The Firm” DVD, turning the Windstar into a rolling shadowbox, perfectly displaying an American tragedy.

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The Bensons worked their way through the droves coming out of Ikea and pulled into the driveway of the raised ranch home.

The kids bolted out with the food like greyhounds, leaving Rebecca to lug in their backpacks. She did this courtesy so as to make the “Do your homework!” nagging, destined to come later in the evening, go more smoothly.

Rebecca lost her footing on some dirty clothes spilling out of the laundry room, where her boyfriend Dave greeted her arrival.

“You all didn’t get me any damn fries?” he mumbled with a mouthful of food. The Bensons quietly chomped, while “Call Of Duty” menu music repeated in the background. “You got some mail.” Dave told Rebecca.

She sounded an over-exerted grunt as she raised herself from the table. Waiting on the counter was another red notice from Illinois Secretary Of State regarding some legal matters pertaining to her vehicle. She deemed it of moderate import, and sorted it atop the unopened letter from Ford for another rear axle recall.

The following morning began the same as any other.

“Anthony! Where are your pants?!” Rebecca yelled to her son. The boy leaped from the Xbox controller, wearing only white briefs. “I don’t got any clean ones,” he answered, running back to his bedroom.

Rebecca’s back was sore. She rubbed it, contemplating the effects of her obesity on her health. It was no longer something that could be ignored, especially after seeing the Bodyworlds exhibit. She eased herself into the Windstar. Realizing she was the only one inside, she depressed the besmudged center of the steering wheel for 10 full seconds. At first, the only reaction seemed to be an angry scowl on a neighbor, then the kids appeared. Anthony climbed inside, happily consuming an enormous slice of birthday cake on a dinner plate. Rebecca reached for the key, and with a twist, produced an alarming grind of gears.

“Not this again,” she lamented. Upon trying again, the engine cranked to life normally. “It’s just a thing it does, I guess,” she informed her concerned children.

The school day was again at a close. Miss Benson walked out to the minivan while conversing with Dave over how her day went.

“… and then he rubbed two fingers over the other boy’s face, and said ‘I can taste your stink.‘”

Dave laughed from the Samsung’s speaker, “Oh shit. That from the Matrix. Hahaha!”

The children funneled into the cluttered van, and they were once again, all on their way to collect Cynthia from across town. Rebecca had to circle around the school to avoid some band activity, and parked in the front. This earned her a tongue-lashing from her daughter. “I told you to stay on the siiiiide,” she whined, subconsciously feeling the gaze of a hundred of her peers upon the grey trashvan.

Rebecca pulled out onto Taylor Road and waited for the light. She eyed the apple sitting on the dash, and contemplated taking a bite. However, the wonderful plume that she saw earlier coming from Burger King’s chimney made her wistful. The light turned green, and she was charmed across lanes by the flame-broiled allure. Cynthia had the volume knob cranked to Teen Angst, so when Anthony yelled “Mommy, a fire truck!” it just barely grabbed her attention.

The minivan swerved, dumbstruck. Rebecca brought it off to the shoulder, still at a 35 mph pace. The fire engine roared past, but the police interceptor in trail went hard on the brakes in order to quickly form up on the Windstar’s tailgate. “Shit!” Rebecca squealed.

Rebecca was taken into custody over a matter of unpaid fines, and the elapsed registration that resulted. Cynthia watched the Windstar being dragged up a flatbed, while holding hands with her siblings on the roadside. The police car departed with their lawbreaking mother.

“Let’s go,” said Cynthia, leading the children to a location where Dave could pick them up. A location as far away from the high school as possible. She jammed Sabrina’s booster seat under an arm, and dragged the little ones along the busy street. “Cynthia!” someone shouted from a passing Maxima.

The tow truck passed them with the bouncing Windstar. Sabrina suddenly broke down in hysteria. “MY BARBIE!!!” Cynthia tugged her sister back to her feet. “Get up!” she screamed. “My homework’s in there,” added Anthony with an air of blasé.

“This is sooooo embarrassing.”

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133 Comments on “Last Rides Premium Selects: Winded...”


  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Jeez, a necropsy can be so depressing.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      This is he!! to me. If this woman’s car was in such a state of disarray that I can’t imagine her family’s life on a daily basis. The van must be an adequate representation of it. I know my daughter thrives on order, structure, and routine. This Windstar tells a story of chaos, lawlessness, and despair.

  • avatar

    Not for nothing, but this Windstar isn’t that bad.

    Here’s a trade I took in four years ago in Hudson, FL.

    ’97 Plymouth Grand Voyager.
    -No second row bench
    -Winn-Dixie plastic bag with USED DIAPERS crammed in the jack stowage compartment
    -An opened tampon (unused)
    -An opened tampon (used)
    -Multiple condom wrappers
    -An assortment of soiled children’s toys
    -About 20 VHS tapes
    -A constant acrid ligering odor of urine, persperation, and coolant.

    These people financed an ’02 Mustang coupe for some reason. We needed proof of residency dated in their name within the past 30 days – typically a phone bill, utility bill, letter from the state. Since this is Pasco, I usually got orders of suspension for licenses, court appearance notices, third-time past-due terminations, child support letters, etc. They brought in a bright orange legal-sized paper from Pasco County – dated, with both names and the address – stating HOME IS UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION.

    I wish I would’ve kept that. Literally the WORST people and car I’ve ever dealt with.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “bright orange legal-sized paper from Pasco County – dated, with both names and the address – stating HOME IS UNFIT FOR HUMAN HABITATION.”

      That takes skill.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Ahh, Pasco. Thanks, I needed a reminder as to why I should be happy about sending my property tax check into Pinellas this week.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I worked at a GM dealer in 2000-2001, and I was the only one who cared enough about the loaner cars to clean them once in a while.

      That is until I took it upon myself to spruce up a very unhappy Corsica one day. This thing hadnt had a bath since Bob Dole was *not* known for Viagra commercials. Moby Dick was a minnow. Atlantas was above water. The Earth was still flat.

      I popped the trunk. The stench nearly knocked me on my ass. 15. Yes, ladies, gentlemen, and DeadWeight: 15 used diapers in the trunk. This b¡Г€# mustve fed the kid a steady diet of rotten bannanas and Hormel Chili with extra beans.wait. make that Great Value. She wasnt classy enough for name brands. Lol.

      I never cleaned a loaner car again.

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      What’s sad, is I’ve abandoned four potential Premium Selects because of too much insight into what actually happened. Things similar to your story, that would trip the bullshitometer of any reader too far into the red zone.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Nice work CS.

    I am suddenly reminded of my experiences in 2005/6 although it wasn’t *this* bad.

    If this is the state of things, than I weep for the future because there isn’t one.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    5’5″ 240lbs
    jiggle free buns

    l o l

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    How much do those wheels go for? I think they’ll fit my C-Max. I’d rock those instead of steelies in the winter.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    This van in its current condition needs to be burned to the ground to prevent spreading some sort of disease…. I understand it’s a minivan, and people have kids (i have 3 of those), but come on, clean up your car once in a while. Kids spreading ketchup/pasta/cake/whatever over themselves is not cute, contrary to the AFV, but in fact pretty nasty. I never understand people that do this to themselves and their cars and homes, then blame everything on the fact they have kids.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Rules and structure are good things. It also makes parenting easier.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      There is a spectrum of minivan condition, and this one falls a bit to the right of the mean in the severe direction but by no means is it “severe”. Minivans have reduced resale vs cars for the reason they are assumed to be trashed on some level but zee dealer will not tell you this or price accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Nothing should ever be this trashed.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’ve seen worse, but Flybrian takes the cake with his customers unfit for humanity.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That he does. And I’m sure there is much worse out there. Probably rolling next to me on the freeway. I tend to believe that is the current condition of most Windstars that are still on the road.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d love to see some data on minivan condition across the country.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Can it be graphically displayed like the terrorist threat level colors? I think that any domestic van that is older than 2010 is, at a minimum, threat level orange.

            “High Risk of an absolutely disgusting van”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This is exactly what I imagined.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            My grandma has an 02 Savanna Gladiator conversion, and it’s like new on the inside. She even sewed up custom seat covers, so the seats have never actually been sat on.

            It’s on green threat level!

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Savanna is not a “minivan”. The Econoline and Express/Savanna variants tended to be used commercially or in conversion vans at higher prices than most minivans. Between lower sales numbers and a different mission, I’d say their chances of ghettoization are much lower.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Bball said domestic van!

            True/false: You’re more likely to see a ghetto-tized Ford or Dodge conversion van than GM.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well your grandmother should get a threat level green sticker affixed to her van. She is the exception to the rule.

            I think all the domestic conversion vans have a story written that has a depressing ending. Maybe the GM book takes a little bit longer to get to a tale of woe, but it’ll get there. Savannas and Astros aren’t out there looking clean and cherry these days. Besides your grandmother’s.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, oh the Astro.

            The Cadillac dealer as near as a year or two ago (or maybe still today) was using an Astro AWD as a customer ferry vehicle. Saw it on the highway! Black with tints, gold Camargo Cadillac pinstriping and logos!

            It was the nicest looking Astro I had ever seen.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I think your question is more regional. I don’t see many GM or Dodge vans in service in these parts and when I do they are old conversion vans. So as far are ghettosized, I would have to say GM or Ford conversion van as the commercial Econolines are being used for work.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I rarely see -any- Dodge van, really. But I do realize they bailed earlier on. Just seems like when I see a super beat up old conversion with ladder on the back and missing spare tire, tape stripes gone awry – it’s always a Ford.

            If I see a GM it’ll more likely be nicer and newer, and have ombre paints.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I only conversion Econolines I see now are offroad ready versions. I say one this week that had a lift kit, rack, and a snorkel. I was super jelly.

          • 0 avatar

            Given that Dodge hasn’t made a full-size van in almost a decade, and Ford just stopped making the Econoline, while GM is still making full size vans, I would expect Dodges to be more beat than others since they are going to be older.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            That’s true. GM still makes full size conversion vans that look like they were built in 2006. Hillary Clinton drives around Iowa in one.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            @madanthony: The Transit is as much a full-size van as the Econoline was, if you were implying differently.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I think he’s referring to the old school American vans that compare to the Savana/Express. There isn’t a half ton van of that style anymore though.

          • 0 avatar

            You guys want to see a threat level rundown for disgustingness based on auction finds, from best (relatively clean, often with books, manuals, and both sets of keys) to worst (rotting human defecation)?

            Highline Lease Returns (BMW Financaial, MBUSA, Audi/VW, Chase, GMAC, Honda/Acura, Ford Red Carpet)
            Mainline Lease Returns (Ford Mtr Credit, Chrysler Capital, Nissan Acceptance, World Omni)
            Highline/Mainline Repos
            DTAG – Dollar/Thrifty
            Avis/Budget
            Credit Union Reposessions
            Hertz Remarketing – Hertz runs cars high on mileage and hard in general
            Mainline Bank Repos (Wells Fargo, Chase, 5/3, etc)
            Santander
            Westlake Financial
            Hertz Retail Remarketing – These are trade-ins from Hertz retail locations
            Other Subprime lenders (Nicholas, NAL, UACC)
            Drivetime Reposessions
            Drivetime Remarketing – These are Drivetime trade-ins. Picture those.
            Credit Acceptance Corporation/GO Financial

            CAC is a longtime bottom barrel winner for absolutely decrepitness. You’ll see some roughed up sleds from Santander and Westlake, but NOTHING with the consistant quality of failure that comes from someone who cannot pay thier CAC loan. Auction drivers sometimes wear masks in the summer because of the stench of these cars. Once, I found a calcified chocolate bundt cake underneath the rear bench of an F-150 that was a CAC repo. I think part of the stipulations for a loan is to not bathe for two weeks prior to taking delivery.

            Go Financial is a newer deep subprime lender who will finance abject junk, but nothing with ‘structural damage,’ meaning anything cheap enough to buy way back of book will not be any good. These cars are equally disgusting.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Every Windstar should be burned, melted, and *NOT* used to make F-150 fenders. Lol. Okay, you can recycle the aluminum heads and radiator for further F-150 body production.

      I love the Aerostar, despite its faults. I rather like the Transit Connect. But the Wind/Freestar? Ford should buy them all back (to be recycled), issue a public apology, and give current owners $5k off a new Flex as an “Im sorry” discount. GM’s FWD minivans deserve nothing but the same. Garbage, every stinkin one. Chrysler’s arent much better, but at least they were innovative, and fairly cheap.

      The best thing about the Wind/Freestar was its performance in a crash, and maybe its ride quality.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        The Aerostar could be had with a manual transmission, and could tow a little. It’s a perfect idea!

        The GM ones would be much better with the 3800. At least it would have a good powertrain, then. I can’t think of much in the way of redeeming qualities for the Windstar or Freestar, though.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          My Aerostars were excellent work horses. They took abuse in stride and usually came back begging for more. Their truck roots are probably why.

          I bought an 89 ex-length for $150 with a failing transmission and 232k on it. All I had was first and third, sometimes reverse. I towed cars with it like that! I pulled an old Celica out of a hole it had been in since Regan was in office. I towed a Mercury Sable 40 miles that I had bought at an abandoned vehicle auction for $35. The Sable needed a radiator and I had nowhere to fix it except home,so hook a chain to her, put a buddy in the driver’s seat, and the old Aerostar tugged it on home. Even passed a new Tacoma on a two lane with the Sable in tow!

          When the trans lost all but first gear, I sold it. For exactly what I had paid for it. In 6 months, all I did was put fuel in it. I dont remember even checking the oil once. It was a Vulcan, Im sure it was fine lol.

    • 0 avatar
      PentastarPride

      Don’t worry, the frictional heat resulting from grinding metal-on-metal once it’s in the shredder will kill any diseases =).

  • avatar

    I worked for Enterprise Rent A Car out of college. We had a gray Ford Aerostar get impounded on a DUI and I had to collect it from the yard. It looked EXACTLY like this on the inside. Now I’m having flashbacks…

  • avatar
    blueflame6

    Throw out the trash, vacuum and steam clean the interior, and I bet it would actually look decent. Not great or anything, but decent and sellable.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Unfortunately this van is not an isolated case. For some reason, in this day and age, many people find this sort of filth acceptable for every day living…in both their cars and homes. It’s disgusting!
    Personally, I was taught to have pride of my car….and home. Meaning, I take care of things on a regular basis. After all…you car and home are a reflection of who you are and how you live. So with that being said…if your car is a piggy mess and your home is a piggy mess…U must be a total pig!

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I tend to spend more time making my house look nice than making my car look nice. My car, a Ford C-Max, is a depreciating asset that just needs to get me places. That being said, I wash it on a regular basis and it isn’t gross on the inside. I don’t necessarily take “pride” in it, but I want it to be cleanish. There are probably Cheerios or Goldfish crackers in it somewhere though.

      • 0 avatar
        honda_lawn_art

        You have standards, we can appreciate that. Some folks wouldn’t remove a raccoon carcass from their car and that’s why we’re worried for society.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          Agreed. I service computers, so there is a box of cables and some parts in the back of my Audi and Buick at all times. There’s a difference between having equipment or items in a car, and having this.

          I use cars as work vehicles. Cables, computer parts (And even a “spare” desktop) are one thing, but that’s not even close to having half-rotten apples, ketchup bottles, and more paper than our city recycling center has.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Thing is, if you take care of it, it won’t depreciate as much.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Well I take care of it. I wash it on a regular basis, the interior is clean, and am fastidious about my vehicle’s mechanical condition. Cleaning it doesn’t give me any pride in my vehicle. It is just a clean C-Max instead of a dirty one.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m a part-time eBayer, so my house tends to have random piles of inventory and packing material around. My cars aren’t quite as bad, but since I spend a fair amount of time on the road going to auctions and stuff, it’s not unusual to have some crumbs and food wrappers.

      I live alone, so it’s not hurting anyone. And there aren’t any stray copies of Barbara Einrenrich books under the gas pedal.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I sell computer parts online, so you know how my office is. There’s nothing wrong with that “lived in” feel to me.

        There’s a difference between “organized clutter” and this….

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Call me judgmental but when we’re hiring someone, I like to peek at their car. Some clutter is fine but stuff overflowing out of the car is a deal breaker, it says a lot about the owner. Also if it’s a $12/hr job and they have a brand new $18,000+ car I’d be very weary.

    • 0 avatar
      Toad

      How a person takes care of their car is often a very good proxy for how they manage their life. Before hiring or dating a look into a person’s car is a look into how they live. If the car is a mess it is usually safe to assume the owner is the same.

      It goes both ways; if a person has a meticulous car interior they are probably wound a little tight. Plan accordingly.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I have a Google Calendar reminder to tell me when it’s time to do my semi-annual interior/exterior detail, which takes 2-3 hours.

        Where do I rate on there?

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          How much does the car need that detail? If it was already in decent shape before the detail, I’d say that’s just fine. If the interior looks like this, then that’s another story.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            It’s more about leather treatment and door seals treatment. Also remove the mats and vacuum. Remove dust from interior and use Armor All equivalent on dash and interior trim.

            After 6 months, it doesn’t have any interior dirt that you can see, and I keep with outside washing throughout the year.

            I suspect a normal person would say “You don’t need to clean this.” for anything beyond the exterior.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I’d say that rates fine in my book!

            Some of my vehicles tend to be more “lived-in”, but a good vacuum and wipe down does a lot of good.

            Anecdote: Of course, on one of those cars, I’m claiming innocence. When I bought my LeSabre, the “dealer” showed me a history report on it. I’m the ninth owner. That’s not a promising sign. I did get a free hairbrush, a tub of unopened baby wipes under the seat, and for no charge, that pumped-in cigarette smell (Which I referred to as “Old Buick scent”).

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I found clip on sunglasses, a Ziploc bag full of pennies, and old lady perfume in my Oldsmobile Achieva. Old Oldsmobile scent and Old Buick scent are both part of the General Motors Classics fragrance collection.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            At least you got money!

            You know, I’ve heard that “Old Buick Scent” and “Old Oldsmobile Scent” are nearly identical, but I’m just not seeing it.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I wonder what Old Pontiac scent smells like. Melted plastic, fast food, and dex-cool?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            There’s a handicap window hanging for Ohio valid through 2016 in mine! Other than that, it smells like Ye Olde Leather Goods in there.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well that’s Old Cadillac smell.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Old Pontiac: Stale french fries, Aqua Net, melted crayon, spilled RC Cola.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Do you spontaneously age to 76 when you get in the Deville and then age back when you step out of it?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            All’s I know is, when I’m driving it I tend to slow down more for corners, while thinking about how coffee is too dang expensive at McDonald’s these days. I also have an urge to put a tackle box in the trunk, just in case.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Tackle box, eh?

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You never know when you’re gonna need a fishin hook or a lure, or a knife! I always ferget the dern thing anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Cool. I don’t fish so I can’t quite relate.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, I was doing my 76 year old self. I don’t fish currently, but I know how.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            All I know is when I’m in the Buick, I always listen to the “good time oldies” channel, drive a little under the speed limit, and slow down well before speed limit changes.

            You young whipper snappers and your Cadillacs….

            Oh, and old Pontiac smell is pretty much what this Windstar smells of, but with more plastic.

        • 0 avatar
          honda_lawn_art

          You Corey receive a “sensible” rating from the honda_lawn_art agency, our highest honor, welcome aboard.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        @Toad
        Welll.. I largely agree except to cut some slack for women because they truly are different creatures and most simply WILL exhibit nesting behavior with pillows, blankets, shopping bags… etc.

        I am a clean floors, neat shelves, level pictures kind of minimalist neat-freak and I had to learn to accept this. And since my wife both has a PhD to my MAs and out-earns me, I’m OK overlooking how much stuff I have to remove from her car before I can clean its interior.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Sometimes not though, especially in the case of women in my experience. My Mom is a prime example. She has her life reasonably together, for the most part. Pretty much any surface in her house could be used for emergency surgery – she is the definition of “nasty-neat”. Except for her cars. While you won’t find rotting food or actual rubbish, you will find dirt, and dust, and muck and generally just the filth that builds up when you just never bother to clean the inside of the car. Nor do I think she has ever run a car of hers through a car wash. I ride in her Prius-V and I want to get a tetanus shot. My favorite lady friend is very similar, lovely house, horrid car. They just don’t care, as long as it gets them where they need to go.

        Now my [email protected] kid brother – you WILL find rotting food in his truck. But his apartment is a sty too. And he totally does NOT have his life together in any way. Me, my cars are generally pristine, my house is a bit cluttered but it’s clean (because I have a cleaning lady, not because I am all that nasty-neat).

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Ah… kid brothers. I’ve actually paid for a dumpster to be dropped onto my bro’s driveway as an inducement to let me help him clean out his pack-ratted abode & garage.

          He’s not a rotting-food type, just a pack-rat. He saves *everything* no matter how useless, worthless, bulky or redundant. We couldn’t be more opposite in that.

          But when he does or buys something he totally goes quality and overkill. That I like. My pickup lives in his gargantuan shed and he actually takes decent care of it.

          I maybe need it 6 times per year and he’s still an ambitious DIY’er so it’s a great arrangement. Keeps it out of the elements, something I can’t do with 2 other vehicles and a small garage.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    As someone who periodically plays single parent Mr. Mom to our kids when my wife is out of town on business, I can understand how a normally ordered household can unravel for a single parent. Let your diligence slip for a few days and it is a real uphill struggle. If you’re a low motivation kind of person or hobbled by any kind of energy-sapping health issues or have to work a second job, oh boy.

    What I don’t understand are people without such stresses and limitations allowing their car or home to reach this level of brain-squirming disorder. Even a crappy vehicle that is kept clean inside will promote some pride of ownership and personal dignity.

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Slap a bio-hazard sticker on this thing, just in case.

    Interesting reading selection though. I’d probably grab that book of Japanese verbs for myself, and find someone else who wants a copy of “The Hobbit” or “Nickled and Dimed”.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Seeing a copy of the Hobbit going to the crusher makes me sad.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    After reading some reviews on “Nickle and Dimed”, I find it quite ironic the owner of the van was reading it. Its almost as if they wanted to read about the life they were already living. The book seems to be an escapist account for those NOT living this lifestyle.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I was forced to read some of it in school. I think it’s an interesting book, but I have some serious issues with the author herself.

      I know that it’s hard to become “Not Poor”, but how hard is it to take a Wal-Mart bag (in her case, like 30 of them), and throw the junk out. That’s free.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        The author was criticized on Amazon for calling her dermatologist to alleviate a rash while on the “being poor experiment”.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          A bit hypocritical, but I would have probably done it if I had here type of money.

          My issue is that the author shows a really strong bias. I don’t remember the quote, but she said some very disparaging comments on Jesus Christ, and the book seemed like it was leaning way to the left. If it leaned any more, it would fall over.

          • 0 avatar

            I read it years ago. I’d argue that the way she set it up (moving every month, going to places where she had no friends/family) makes it less than realistic – lots of poor people live with family members, and of course if you change jobs every month and have no history/experience you aren’t going to make much or have a chance of advancement/moving up.

            I also had a hard time feeling bad for her complaints about having to take a drug test.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            I don’t remember much of the book, but I know some of the co-workers lived together or did things like that to reduce costs. In my mind, she wasn’t doing things the way the average poor person was.

            Also, if I was in the boat of needing any job available, I wouldn’t have a problem with taking a drug test.

            In the book, she was one of the only protagonists that I’ve read, hoping things would go miserably for.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’m not sure what those quotes are but it doesn’t surprise me.

            Here is the author:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbara_Ehrenreich

            Some tibits:

            “In an interview on C-SPAN, she characterized her parents as “strong union people” with two family rules: “never cross a picket line and never vote Republican”.[2] In a talk she gave in 1999, Ehrenreich called herself a “fourth-generation atheist”.[7]

            “As a little girl”, she told The New York Times in 1993, “I would go to school and have to decide if my parents were the evil people they were talking about, part of the Red Menace we read about in the Weekly Reader, just because my mother was a liberal Democrat who would always talk about racial injustice.””

            “As of 2013 Ehrenreich is an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America. She also serves on the NORML Board of Directors”

            “After completing her doctorate, Ehrenreich did not pursue a career in science. Instead, she worked first as an analyst with the Bureau of the Budget in New York City and with the Health Policy Advisory Center, and later as an assistant professor at the State University of New York at Old Westbury. In 1972, Ehrenreich began co-teaching a course on women and health with feminist journalist and academic Deirdre English. Through the rest of the seventies, Ehrenreich worked mostly in health-related research, advocacy and activism, including co-writing, with English, several feminist books and pamphlets on the history and politics of women’s health. During this period she began speaking frequently at conferences staged by women’s health centers and women’s groups, by universities, and by the United States government. She also spoke regularly about socialist feminism and about feminism in general.”

            So another brain damaged leftist of course has to criticize everybody else. But let’s look at some Amazon feedback from the book Nickle and Dimed:

            “For starters, Ms. Ehrenreich doesn’t give up her health insurance or car during this entire experiment. In fact, at one job she develops an itchy rash and instead of doing what the working poor who have no health insurance would do – go the the nearest drug store and buy something OTC and hope for the best – she calls her personal out-of-state dermatologist for a prescription so she is itch-free in a matter of days. Barb, honey, that’s not how it works for people without health insurance! They work sick, uncomfortable, injured and even itchy. Really.

            She also had the advantage of a car, which she used to drive to multiple employers during the first few days of a new job hunt, filling out applications, having interviews and hunting for an apartment. A car is a luxury many working poor don’t have, so they are not able to visit 10 or more potential employers on a single day to put in applications and have interviews like she did. The real working poor use public transportation, bicycles or shoe leather. If the job location or housing is more than a mile from a public transportation route, it’s off the radar for many people.”

            “When writing about her time as a maid, she complained about those who paid for maids as if they were selfish people for paying someone else to clean their house. She also seemed to judge them for owning nice things, which is totally uncalled for. It’s really none of her business how these people spend their money.

            Furthermore, she was condescending toward those she worked with. Near the conclusion of the book she stated: “even my low-income little educated coworkers would understand…””

            You know I don’t like this woman but what I like even less is a hypocrite. Either do the I’m poor experiment correctly or don’t do it at all.

            “Her choice to go to a dry cleaners was far removed from the choices most underprivileged people would make. Most would hide a stain or purchase a few new outfits from a thrift store rather than blow money on dry cleaners – I cannot name a single truly poor person that I have known in my life that would even know what a dry cleaners is like and what it costs. When you struggle, you don’t have room in your budget for such expenses. Barbara could only make room because she never felt real struggle.”

            Even had time and money for dry cleaners?

            “I think that the major fault I find with this book is Ms. Ehrenreich’s attitude. She seems condescending towards her fellow employees and resentful towards her employers. And at all times, it’s obvious that she can’t understand what it really feels like to have to live on what she’s making. She knew she would never have to. Her attitude towards her co-workers is perhaps understandable. What seems most inconsistent to me is her opinion towards ALL of her bosses.”

            This is my favorite because it addresses the woman’s lousy attitude during the “experiment”.

            Hows the old saying go? If you run into an ass hole in the morning, you ran into an ass hole. If you run into ass holes all day, you’re the ass hole.

            http://www.amazon.com/Nickel-Dimed-Not-Getting-America/dp/0312626681/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Ehrenreich sounds pretty cool. I’ll have to see what Kindle has of hers.

          • 0 avatar
            matador

            @28-Cars-Later

            That pretty accurately sums what I remember, except I remember something about her math on income being way off. I’ll have to look into that one.

            ————-

            Poor is a state of mind. Years ago, when I was in High School, I owned two pairs of pants (Second-hand), and worked repairing computers in the living room until 1AM to help out with my Grandfather’s medical bills (Sadly, he passed a few months later). I ended up with two things- sleep in class, and a 1995 LeSabre.

            This was about the time we read part of the book. It was plainly obvious to see how the author was demeaning the “poor”- of which I would have been one of.

            I wouldn’t have traded those moments for anything in the world. That was the best time of my life. There was a third thing I received during those times- I learned who I really am.

            To be reading a book that feels like a character insult is pretty maddening.

            What an idiot.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I can smell the exhaust leak from here.

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I cannot help but wonder what society gained by de-horsing the owner of this car? Baruth did an excellent piece on the intrinsic needs involved in having a car and this epitomizes the arbitrary hammer. Got to keep the rabble down. We have devolved into a predatory society that has each level eating the young of those below.

  • avatar
    runs_on_h8raide

    Brilliant piece by the author!!!! Nailed it beautifully. This is the prototypical 9th grade English teacher in America. My God, I’m having flashbacks…that fat b!tch.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “that fat b!tch”

      You may be a baruth.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      I taught 9th-12th grad English for a year. I had 3 rides that year. First an immaculate 91 Caprice. But the commute was 40 miles and Katrina caused gas to skyrocket. Enter my EX250 ninja. Alas my mother was very worried and sold me her Saturn SW1 with 250k miles which I put an engine in over Christmas break and lasted several years beyond the teaching gig. All of the vehicles were always clean however.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Great story. But surely the gendarmes wouldn’t strand underage offspring on the side of the road when a parent is apprehended? Especially when there’s no readily identifiable alternate parental unit available?

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I was wondering the same thing; the cops would have waited, or put them all into CPS, since they were all under 17.

      Unfortunately, you’ve still got to have insurance; that’s why insurance is so high for the rest of us!

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    I know I’m going to hell, but stories about poor people give me wood. They also give me motivation.

    I read “Nickle and Dimed” every time I want to feel superior…not to the working poor that the book is ostensibly about, but the crazy left-wing twit that wrote it. I can respect anyone that actually holds a real job.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Do *you* have a bioscience PhD?

      I mean, *I* certainly wouldn’t have squandered it as she did but I don’t want to help poor people, just to keep them far, far away. However a woman having achieved such a credential back in the Father Knows Best ’60’s certainly indicates considerable intelligence.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        !

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        And in the America of the here and now, many within our society are just one pay check away from total ruin.

        I read the story. I wasn’t going to comment until I read SaulTigh’s comment and your reply.

        My fear has always been that I could end up the way my mom and dad started as immigrants in America way back when – without a pot to **** in.

        Maybe that’s why I worked myself into a heart attack – fear of poverty.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          Well, you gotta die of something. And if we were rich we’d be all into booze, drugs, perverted sex or *cringe* politics.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            You’re right, but I want to die later rather than sooner.

            I’m a long way from done, although at the moment I’m kinda lost. We were supposed to fly to Germany for the Holidays this past Wednesday, but the events in Paris have forced us to change our plans.

            Kinda sucks. Did not make alternate plans, IOW, no plan B.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Lol, having fancy degrees didnt stop you libs from critisizing George W. Bush. Why is this different? OH, because she’s 2.8 inches away from Castro liberal, so now its not okay to question her because she is SO smart and her education proves it. Double standard, much?

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Personally this car reeks of gov’t tow truck/impound yard personnel having dumped out those boxes/bin to try and see if they can find anything of value. The reality is if they are gov’t employees there is little worry about getting fired for looting the cars and they probably look at the paper work and figure that a given car has near zero chance of being redeemed. Of course it could also be the wrecking yard employees or the first person to get to it in the yard that ransacked it.

  • avatar
    Mattias

    Thank God I never subjected my Kids to such an awful ride… Looked at an off lease Windstar in 03, However eventually bought an off lease, well equipped (NAV, Cd-changer, leather EX model) 01 Odyssey. (which blew 3 transmissions but lasted 250000 miles before a cylinder head busted). I own a Fusion now but i understand why the big three went bankrupt because of cars like these

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    I got a kick out of the phrase ‘trusty Ford’. The only thing you could trust a Windstar to do was to blow its tranny on a regular basis. These heaps of dung gave minivans a bad name. Bought new only by those who didn’t know anything about cars; BHPH fodder inside 48 months.

    Fine work again, Crabby.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Well done Crab ! .

    This heap and the story remind me of why I life the Country and hope to never again live there .

    Too many filthy poor folks , filthy by choice .

    GAH .

    I remember ’56 Oldsmobiles and Buicks like this , you could smell them pulling into the Shop or gas station……

    Most of the poor folks who drove Chevies , Fords and Plymouths kept them basically clean .

    For several years i had this little old lady who drove her green 1960 Chrysler Station Wagon and almost always remained in it as I replaced whatever was broken this time ~ a BIG seven passenger station wagon with greasy trash from the rolled up rear window all the way to the front seat ~ barely enough space for her to fit in it .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    mikey

    Great read, as always , Crab ..

    I’m just a little OCD , when it comes to neat, orderly , clean . My vehicles , my house, my workplace, has to be neat clean and orderly. Maybe I’m nuts ? However I always get top dollar for my trade ins. The last house I sold, was on the market for less than 24 hours , and I got the full asking price. So I guess it does pay off ?

    I’m too old to change now.

  • avatar
    kmoney

    With the copy of “Nickle and Dimed“ on the floor — oh the irony.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    Perhaps you could have also entitled this “Wind..Scarred!”

    Yeesh!


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