Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Good-Bye Old Paint

The tow truck arrived this morning to take away my 1996 Saturn.

After 17 years of abuse and faithful service, this bland little piece of reliability is headed to earn money for the university radio/PBS (aka National Communist Radio when the liberal commentary gets too much for me).

Bought after a teenage child wrecked my pickup truck in Texas and given to that same kid when he graduated from college and went off to Navy flight school, the car came back after 7 years and we drove it another 5 until - well, the cost of keeping it became higher than the cost of replacing it.

190,000 miles. It survived Texas, Pensacola, Norfolk, North Carolina and my monthly commutes to DC during that final Navy Reserve tour. It taught four kids to drive a stick, change oil and tires. It's plastic side never showed dings or dents. The windows (all but the front passenger side) quit working. The a/c quit. It got a new clutch. It toted tons of stuff and really never complained much. It carried dogs and cats and moved people from dorms to apartments and houses. It was a work car and when a road became a little winding - it was fun to run through the gears and pretend it was a sports car. Oil began to appear in the coolant reservoir. It was not worth fixing. To its dying days it always got 35+ miles on the highway and close to 30 around town,

Sad to see it go? Sure - it was a loyal little beast. But the good memories will last.

There are those lines from that cowboy song, "Good-Bye Old Paint" -
Old Paint's a good pony.
He runs when he can,
Good morning young lady,
My pony won't stand.
Thanks, old friend.


  1. Hi Mark,

    I had one of those 96 models and we wore it out. My kid used in in a summer job to haul cable reels (big ones).

    As far as I know, she's still chugging along---we gave her to a family member who enjoys tinkering with cars and couldn't afford much.

    Thanks for a good post!

  2. Anonymous2:35 PM

    You do get attached.

  3. I see plenty of Saturns still on the road and empty/forlorn dealerships. I wonder where owners will get repairs and parts in a few more years?
    And I would note that it was GM's poor management decisions which took down Saturn when they HAD to downsize~