Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Rest in peace, Rock Machine!

The following is a post by Mr. Collin Gallant, who has yet to unravel the riddle of how to become a member of this blog and post on his own, most likely because he can't figure out how to plug his typewriter into the telephone and transmit data to the "head office" that only exists in his mind. BEGIN!

First of all, the nickname stems from the fact that my sister purchased the 1996 Geo Metro for straight cash. Not even a radio was included for the bare bones $10,841 sticker price, but she bought it, drove it, and by all accounts, had a swell time using it for A-to-B transportation. So I christened it “the Rock Machine” as a sort of ironic note considering its distinct lack of awesomeness.

It did, however, have a sort of utilitarian perfection. It hummed along with a 1L, three-cylinder motor, manual transmission, armstrong steering, an intriguingly small turn radius and easy parkability. While cleaning it out so the Kidney Foundation could drag it away, I found a gas receipt for $19.10 that included a full tank of gas and a $6 “protection wash.” Two 13-inch winter tires cost a total of $83.70, installed and balanced at the Camrose Crappy Tire. It was cheap—capital cheap—and I drove it all over Wild Rose Country, to Vancouver, back from Seattle and Lord knows how many times up and down the No. 2 highway from Calgary to Edmonton. The Geo was, to say the least, a departure in my automotive experience.

I had owned 1969 Chevy full-sized sedans on two separate occasions. They didn’t have shoulder belts or kilometres marked on the speedometer. Get this: 17 miles per gallon (the Geo got 65). They did have shiny “Great One” grills, originally designed by John Delorean for the pivotal Pontiac GTO. This chrome bowtie fronted a snarling 327 cid small-block engine that sounded like the world was coming to an end when I stomped the gas to drain its 20-gallon gas tank. My mom made leopard-skin seat covers, and I painted one with bright yellow paint that was usually reserved for putting lines down in parking lots. Its 235 stock horsepower sat in an engine compartment that you could climb into. It’s passenger cabin sounded like a cathedral when the ionosphere bounced AM radio signals just right.

I had a red 1964 Ford half-ton that had a non-working speedometer, no seatbelts to speak of, a gas tank that was literally inside the cab behind the seat and a hard metal dash. It brimmed with torque, had a three-on-the-tree shift, posi-trac and
headers. I bought it in Biggar, Sask. one summer when I was nuts with pipeline money. How I got the Geo was a different story; I traded my sister for it.

At the time I had a 1994 Chevy Lumina, and my sister was headed for Houston (America’s most polluted city) to finish off her doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas. The Chev had air conditioning and it wasn’t until long after that I made the connection to the theory of the Selfish Gene. Essentially, the theory states, that altruism is the product of a subconscious effort to ensure the genetic fitness of your female relatives. The Coles notes version is: change “perpetuation of the species” to “perpetuation of you” or at least people who share the most-similar genetic information. While it could be used as a biological explanation of racism, it also explained why I spent ten minutes trying to convince my sister that she should take the better snowbrush to Texas. She pointed out that this was ridiculous. She’s a doctor, remember, and quite a catch, all told.

So, I got the snowbrush, and the Geo and, actually, about five years of solid, if inelegant transportation right up until a man in a polar bear costume distracted me on Macleod Trail in Calgary in Friday stop-and-go traffic. I ran into the back of a Mazda while slamming on the brakes. The 30 km/h impact was enough to negate the blue book value, so I said my goodbyes to the Rock Machine.

She was pock-marked from a hail-producing tornado that sprinted past the Gas City earlier this summer. The windshield was cracked from where my elbow smashed her, and her air bags drooped sadly, no longer full of the flaming poison gas that exploded towards my face on that fateful September afternoon. After years of silence I had installed a cheapo slide-in stereo. It, along with a dome light that remained unfixable, were hauled off in exchange for a tax receipt.


Blogger Superdude said...

Yes. The joys of a vehicle. Each one has a taleto tell, and a life of its own. They all have dreams, hopes, and steadily declining resale values.
I do find it sad that a collision with a Mazda, made by the company who invented structural tin-foil, managed to total your little Rock Machine. I remember it well from the early days of the Gauntlet, when mem were men, and we were boys, touching any boobs that passed our way. Uh... is this where we're supposed to write our posts?

9:11 AM

Blogger Dave said...

Ah, a moment of silence for The Rock Machine, which took us on several excellent fishing excursions, and hauled my ass out to the airport on more than one occasion. It also seemed to be Collin's unofficial extra storage closet, which meant no backseat passengers but extra traction in the winter.
I remember fondly the day in the Can-tire parking lot when I figured out the reason the after-market Stereo -- which had been merely a radio for a year -- kept spitting out CDs. Seems you have to remove the two little screws the manufacturer puts in that prevents a disc being loaded. Oops. Only then it truly become a "Rock" machine. And sometimes a Classic Rock Machine, Blues Machine, Country Machine or Hip Hop Machine.
Really, the Geo was like a juke-box crossed with a closet on wheels. One that could fly through space and time.
Collin, I hope you at least kept the Flux Capacitor as a remnant of our adventures...

11:11 AM


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