Ryan’s ‘Rivera Junkie’ post had me laughing out loud and thinking seriously at the same time: Driving a totally new-to-you car, that you don’t know at all, thousands of miles back home. Sure, most of us have done it at one time or another… But your never fully at ease that first time out on the highway in a strange car, listening to each mechanical and road sound, smelling everything that lingers in the cabin as you make your way towards full throttle in high gear. Often it’s a edgy car with 6 volt negative ground and/or some sort of a non-SBC motor that the local NAPA will have absolutely nothing in stock for if it does break down. So what do you do, besides hope and pray that the mystery ride makes it home in one piece? First of all, take your time. Don’t be in a rush to get back, no matter what the schedule dictates. Old cars are more likely to fail when they are pushed too hard for too long.
Secondly, be prepared if it does break something you can easily fix. Look at the spare tire’s condition and air pressure. Make sure his buddy Jack and Lugwrench are hanging out with him, too. Don’t assume that a really nice looking car has been perfectly maintained. Check the coolant, oil, and trans level before you drive too far, and stop by a parts store for spare fluids and filters, plus some duct & electrical tape, bailing wire, carb cleaner, hand tools, etc. Charge your mobile phone, and have a flashlight and blanket (to lay on) handy.
There is something really satisfying about driving that new-to-you old car for the first time. Your thinking the whole way home about the first thing to change on the car (hubcaps?), or how good it’s gonna look lowered. Enjoy that ride and savor the excitement of it… Just get there in one piece, Ryan.