Sunday, July 29, 2012

This one’s is mine.

This is my daily driver; a 1996 totally stock Ford Ranger.  I found it on craigslist and paid $1,050 about 6 summers ago.  I think it had 120K miles on it when I bought it.  Now it has about 185K miles.  Due to the low cost, I have no car payments and I have put in about $2,000 in parts over the last 6 years.  Total cost so far is $3,050 for a simply great truck.  I drew my truck as an opportunity to share with you the deep connection I have to owning my truck.  Before I dive deep, let’s get our feet wet by saying that I am sentimental about the truck, as it has served me a kind of “right of passage”.

Initially I bought the truck as a financial solution to my previous vehicle.  At a time when I had lots of bills and just enough to pay them, I was leasing a new Honda Civic.  The Civic was fun, but it was draining my bank account monthly.  Plus I didn’t feel like the car was mine.  Leasing a car feels similar to renting a car.  I had to be careful not to scratch it and to quickly repair anything that went wrong as the dealer can charge you for the damage when you turn it in.  Even my mileage was under a watchful eye as I was limited to 12K per year.  I thought to myself…   this is no way to live; or to own a car.  I broke free by selling the car out of the lease.  I found a buyer to pay the “buy out” price and I was out!

I lived without a car for 6 months, it was bliss.  I took the bus or walked to work enjoying no car payments, no insurance payments, and no garage payments.  I saved up some money and dreamed up my next vehicle venture a little differently.  This time I would get a vehicle I could grow into.  I desired a more interactive ownership.  I anticipated that once I truly owned it, the condition of the vehicle would be my responsibility. (With in the law of course)  Armed with a long term approach, I made a list of requirements in my mind.

Straight up…   or First requirement…   it had to be a 5-speed.  It had to haul big stuff, like motorcycles and engines.  I also required descent gasoline mileage, and low purchase cost.  Voila, I give you the Ford Ranger.

The truck met those needs and evolved into a more important principle.  I could fix the truck myself.  This meant more to me than just transportation.  I felt closer to my truck every time I did a repair.  Motorcycle riders know what I am talking about.  You can become one with the bike.  Ok, I know…   some would say, “It is just an organization of metal”.  Or is it?  Take a minute to think about it.  Anyone can feel the relationship between an airplane and a bird.  Similarly, a car was assembled by people to imitate the horse; as in a “horseless carriage”.  So although the bird and the horse are interesting to some, I am stirred more by the creativity of a person that can imagine how to organized metal into a useful machine for all to enjoy.   This is an example of the human imagination constructed in metal and organized as a vehicle.  This is the connection I feel to my truck; therefore it is strengthened each time I do a repair.

So the “close” feeling is more like a window into the mind of what the engineers and designers thought up while creating this truck.  They must have thought about how it rides on the road, pushed engine innovation, and proved capability.  A person or lots of people, at the car company spent time thinking about this.  And now, by owning this truck, I have one example of a piece of their automotive art.  Sure…   my truck is not as pretty as some other trucks; I am focused more about the inner beauty.  How the pistons move, how the suspension carries the vehicle, these are all successful executions of an automotive designers mind.

To some this up.  When I do a repair on my truck, I can see the collective imagination of some talented people and this truck allows me the access to those tangible ideas.

This drawing is my nod or tribute to the journey of repairs I have experienced working on this truck.  So I will end this entrée by saying, thank you, to the automotive designers that make thier dreams real for others to enjoy.

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