Since my grandfather stopped driving last year, his silver 1993 Mercury Tracer station wagon has been mine, all mine. No longer do I have to loiter at the park-and-ride, waiting for my mom to come pick me up while everyone else gets in their cars and stares as they drive by (have these people never seen someone waiting for a ride? I don't get it), nor make sure no one else needs the car before I go somewhere. I spent the better part of two hours changing the windshield wipers today, due to an infuriating design element that requires one to more or less defy the laws of physics in order to remove and replace the wipers. So the Tracer and I have filled our Quality Time quota for the week, I think. If you've never had the opportunity to ride in one of these babies, let me tell you about some of the peculiarites of mine in particular.
This is the sexiest picture I have ever seen of this car. [source]
There are automatic shoulder belts (because there are no airbags), manual window cranks (which baffle 80% of my passengers), the engine will die if you turn on the air conditioning under certain conditions, the rear windshield wiper clears an area of about four square inches, and there's no point listening to the radio (or the tape deck) when you're on the highway because the road noise drowns out everything else. The hydraulics (or whatever) on the rear hatch fail in cold weather, so I've been hit over the head by my own car more often than I'd care to admit. It's shorter and squatter than everything else on the road (except the Mini and the Smart car) and it goes from zero to sixty in about 120 seconds. But it's my car, and it's served me faithfully for almost a decade now. So it and I will just keep chugging (squeaking, rattling, and lurching) happily along.