Yes, she’s been a good ole girl. I found her with the help of one of my best assistants, Apollo Lewis, way back in October 2001. I wanted to buy a new car and knew exactly what I wanted. I asked Apollo to send out the following email to every Chevrolet Dealer within a 100 mile radius of my office. I asked him to address the email to the Fleet Manager of the dealerships because I’d heard back then that their main job was to keep automobiles moving through the dealership:
I am in the market for a Red, Blue or Green 2001 Tahoe with very low mileage. I am prepared to pay up to $21,000 which should include all tax, title and license plate charges. If you have one, please call me at (601) XXX-XXXX.”
Within 1-1/2 hours I got a call from a Chevy Dealer in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The gentleman on the phone said, “We have just what you are looking for at the price you are willing to pay.”
To make a long-story short, my wife and I drove down to check it out. Yes, I did take my checkbook with me. When I got there I found out they were asking $24,500 for the car but would be willing to give me a trade allowance on my 1985 Blazer of $4,500. I said, “Yea right!” I’d never told them I wanted to trade in a car and was willing to walk if they could not do better. The idea was to turn the Blazer over to my wife so she would have something to drive.
I told the salesman, “I am not trading anything in nor am I paying a penny more than $21,000 which is what I came down here prepared to pay based on your email.” Naturally, he had to go visit with the manager. After some squabbling, the manager said, “I’ll tell you what. I have an old beat up Honda Civic on the lot. If you will pay me $50 for that I will give you a trade in on that car for $2,350 meaning your net cost of the new Tahoe will be $24,050.” My response was, “What you waiting for … prepare the paperwork.”
I had read the book – Art of the Deal – back in the early 90’s that was written by President Donald Trump in the late 1980’s. In the book he said in any negotiation you have to know “when to walk away and be prepared to walk away.” I was prepared to walk away from the car and I think the manager sensed that.
I like to name my vehicles and I promised my wife I’d keep this one for at least 300,000 miles or death – whichever came first.
Even though I now have a new Silverado Pick Up truck (Mary Lou) … I still have ole Bessy. Look at the mileage I have been able to put on her …
This was as of this past Saturday. My wife and I still drive the ole girl from time to time. Every weekend we take her to the Golf Course … and my wife will use her from time to time to run to the grocery store – but she has been taken off the company books now and is “semi-retired” like her owner.
My mechanic, who also recently retired, is still amazed that we (he or I) have never touched the engine with a wrench. We’ve changed an alternator and an Air Conditioning compressor as well as having to pull the gas tank to put in a new gas pump … but we have yet to change a spark plug or work on her injectors.
She’s only had three sets of new tires (including the original tires). I did run into the back of a large 18-wheeler one day and had to replace the front left fender and grill work … but other than that she has ran all this time like a dream. To this day I can stand outside the car and turn the key and she will crank right up with no hesitation.
This hot Mississippi sun has taken a toll on her paint job and I may consider a new paint job in a couple of years. I mean after all … she is over 17 years old (in human years that’s about 68 years of age – hey that’s my wife’s age). In just 8 more years (25 human years) she will be considered an “antique” (the car not my wife) and no more silly license tax will be due each year.
What did I do to keep her running so good … not much really. I had the oil changed every 3,000 to 4,000 miles and rotated the tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (every other oil change). In addition, I’ve always put Premium Fuel in her tank. Even when the prices were approaching $4.00 per gallon … she got the best gas money could buy. In fact, I can remember times when one gas station would not have premium – I’d cuss them and go down the street until I found one that did.
People said I was crazy … but hey, I’ve saved a lot of money on not buying new cars every 2 to 3 years.
Now take a look at this pearl:
Accept for the sun-baked blemishes … she’s almost as pretty as the day I brought her home.
I think I should give thanks for Bessy this Thanksgiving – which is tomorrow – for taking such good care of me.
Have a blessed thanksgiving,