Parting ways with your first 4x4 is heavy on the soul. Truck Yeah! reader JonathonW8 recounts the heartbreak of saying goodbye to his beloved Dodge Durango.
My fellow Jalops, yesterday my day got a lot less bright. Yesterday, I was still the proud owner of my first car, today I am the saddened previous owner of said car. After much debate with my parents who were storing my car, I had to take it to the junk yard, like some piece of junk and give them the keys. Yesterday I lost a friend, a compatriot, a car that got me through many a difficulty and many a joyous occasion. Yesterday, I had to give up my Durango.
You see, my Durango had been sitting at my parent's house for about a year, waiting for me to come by and fix all the problems. And every so often I would when I had time try to fix the litany of issue the car had. Whether it be the massive rust problem, the engine miss firing or the wiring being slowly eaten by mice and all other forms of woodland animals. But every time I would fix something, something else would inevitably fall completely apart.
But today I have vowed myself to share a little of its story with you all. You gentlemen and ladies that would appreciate the work I did to try and save it and the heartbreak I have while letting it go. So here begins the story of my first car.
My parents bought it new in 2000 and I immediately loved it, I actually ran to each and every house on the block to get people to come and see it. You see it was the first brand new car to hit the neighborhood. Not even the better off on our street had a new car. And now looking back, I understand why getting a used car can be beneficial to keeping your money. But I spent probably 6 hours that first day we had it home. Now this being 2000 and me still being 13, I was still a few years off from driving it. But in my teenage mind, I had a car that was similar to the car that was on the poster on my wall, the Viper.
When I finally started learning how to drive, I had to first start off on my parents Plymouth Acclaim, but soon with our frequent trips to my grandmother's house in Indiana, I was driving the Durango. I felt like the king of the world! I had a V8 and selectable 4WD! SELECTABLE! I could go through mud, ice, snow, small children; you name it I could go through it! I didn't because it was still my parent's car, but I did do a few smoky, non posi donuts outside of my house and a few other places!
(Hell yeah one wheel burnouts are boss!)
When it was finally time for me to buy a car, there really was only one I wanted, the Durango. At this point it had about 165k miles on the odometer. And it already had begun showing it's age and abuse we gave it. The front seat was broken, rust spots were already around the normal areas, and not much had been done with it since it was first put together. To my dad's credit, who is not a car guy, he really didn't know that much about replacing key parts of the car to make sure it lasted longer, but the car was in pretty good condition. I bought it from my parents for exactly a dollar seventy five. Why, because they said a dollar wasn't enough so I countered hard! When the keys and the title were firmly in my grasp I spent all of my high school graduation money, all $800 dollars, IM RICH, on fixing it's problems and performing some much needed maintenance on it. This started off with replacing the front seat which had a cracked mounting, thereby making it a rocking chair. I pulled that one out, in addition to the rear wiper assembly, the front control arm that my brother bent, and a few other things and went to the junkyard to find some parts. On the way I stopped at the local auto parts store, picked up some oil, coolant, shocks, ball joints, air filter, brake discs and pads. I then spent the next two weekends wrenching to my heart's content and managed to have a pretty great truck when I was finished! I was super proud!
Two great moments that happened after this, the first and less great was getting trapped at a Comic Book Convention inside a car park. My friends and I had parked inside this car park across from the convention center in Rosemont, we went in and didn't think twice of it until we realized after we got back to the car, and none of us had any money left. What we did have was swords, a couple comic books and a bunch of Star Wars figures, yeah I know big nerds! We then spent the next half hour trying to figure out how we could open the gate without having the cops come and get us. When that didn't work, I saw an opportunity to try out the off-roading capabilities of the Durango! You see there was a hill that led to a back alley that led to the street on the side of the parking garage. The hill however was about a 50degree angle with trees staggered along it making it potentially possible for a car to fit through, we hoped. When I proclaimed what we were about to do, I met with some resistance, and even some threats of violence with our newly bought swords. This did not sway me and I went for it. I crawled up to the curb, hopped over it, all while the tree branches were scraping the roof of my car, and proceeded in low gear to go slowly down the hill. A minute later we were down and I was a hero! Ok, so I was a criminal…allegedly. But we made it down and I had new found confidence in my lovely truck.
The second and most important and slightly NSFW story was meeting my wife. You see we were in class together and would spend a few hours after work talking which led to making out, which led other places, but all those were done either by my car, or on top of my car or in my car. When I gave it away yesterday, it still had the dents in the hood we made together. It got me to and from her parents' house a lot, almost every day. She loved that car just as much as I did, which made me love her more.
You see this car and I are inextricably linked. I will always be sad that I didn't have the funds to give it a new life, to really give it a second change to truly be awesome. I would have love turning it into a Baja truck, or some type of racing vehicle, but the cards were just not on the table. I have one small consolation prize though. When I first replaced the front seat, I took the old one, fixed the broken part of it, and made a base with wheels for it. Now it is my office chair at home. Me and that truck, went through 4 years of high school, all of college, through puddles and snow, it had friends and loved ones in it, it went on road trips galore, I had fishing equipment and fish in it, muddy boots, muddy jeans, French fries and burgers, it went down and up hills, through pit darkness, and through massive rain storms in Florida. It was a friend, a confidant, a way to be free. It helped me become a gear head; it let me explore the inner workings of an engine. What it was was the most brilliant truck on the face of the earth, and now I'm sad again. When thinking about how I wanted to write and end this article I was still in the truck taking it to the junk yard and a song came on the radio that pretty much sums up how I felt. I will leave it with you here.
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Photo credit to me, song credit to Passenger