Let me introduce myself; my name is Betty and I’m a Buick Roadmaster. Perhaps you are asking yourself about a talking car. Since you hopefully met my garage mate, Buck, this time last year, you will remember that cars do talk – anything mechanical will talk. But first, a little bit about me.
I was purchased over the summer by Jack and his lovely wife Diane. When I was new, I was purchased by a thirty-five year old Roman Catholic priest. He had purchased a Toyota Camry but the sound and smoothness of its four-cylinder engine strongly reminded him of
his father’s Ford Jubilee tractor, a machine he had spent many hours on as a youngster. Fr. Donovan was a good man, but he was certainly picky about his cars. He truly tried to like that Camry, but as he told the salesman at the Buick dealer, one can add all the valves and camshafts you want, but nothing makes such effortless, abundant, and immediate torque as does a push-rod V8. Fr. Donovan confessed to the salesman that everyone has their various vices and body-on-frame cars were his. That’s how he came into my life.
Fr. Donovan treated me well and really hated to sell me; he did so only as he was getting promoted to the Vatican. He called it his Central Office job. Fr. was uncertain about how easy I would be to sell, but Jack came along rather quickly. It seems Jack has developed quite the Buick fetish after having Buck for nearly two years.
As I relay this experience, I am sitting in the garage two hours after our arrival back home from Diane’s big family Christmas get-together in St. Louis. Jack wanted to take me instead of Buck as he said I am the ultimate version of the last of the real B-bodies produced by GM and wanted to show me off to the family. Jack says I have the heart of a Corvette, the ride of a Cadillac, and the panache only found in a Buick. I like that as so many cars nowadays look at me and call me a whale.
That’s okay. Yes, I do weigh 4,200 pounds, but the lightest new Honda Odyssey weighs 4,400 pounds. I’m just big-boned; that Honda is as porky as the swine house at the fair. Besides, I don’t blow through transmissions like they are fuel filters.
Sorry, I digress. Some things do tend to hurt a my feelings and talking about a girl’s weight is always a losing proposition.
Jack and Diane had their family Christmas party at the house of one of Diane’s uncles. The trip on the interstate was nice except Jack incessantly played a CD of a Western theme song written by an Italian composer and played by a British orchestra using instruments created in Hawaii; Diane was ready to toss the CD out the window. A few minutes before we arrived, Jack stated he had a really strong urge and needed to stop. Diane, thinking he had to use the restroom, was miffed when Jack walked back out of the convenience store with a six-pack, saying he might need a little Christmas cheer before the evening was over.
When we arrived a few minutes later, Jack proudly parked me in the driveway, next to the sidewalk leading to the front door and in front of the garage. Despite everyone else parking curbside, Jack stated a car like me needed to be seen by everyone there as I was a living legend. I like hearing that. Jack said that his two Buick B-bodies made him one of the most fortunate guys around. I like listening to what Jack has to say – he’s a really smart guy.
Jack was certainly right about everyone seeing me. The men at the gathering all came out to take a good, hard look at me. They admired my full-figure, my cavernous trunk, and my 5.7 liter, 350 cid, 260 horsepower LT1 V8. All agreed the demise of the Roadmaster at the end of 1996 was truly a sad day in world history. Several of the men made snide remarks about the Roadmaster line, as well as my Cadillac and Chevrolet cousins, being axed to make extra production capacity for pickups and SUV’s. One tall gentleman even opined how GM was a great car company but had been fatally lured by the easy profits that could be found from pickup sales at the time. Somebody else said they had a friend who had gone to work in the GM pickup division in the mid-90′s and had told him GM was making $15,000 profit per Suburban, but nothing like that on the B-bodies; everyone agreed that would be a mighty temptation for any company. All thought GM abandoning a market that Ford easily assumed with the Panther was downright sinful. I agree.
After discussion about me died down, the tall-tales started to fly. One man said he had owned a rare factory authorized ’76 Chrysler Cordoba with a 426 cid hemi V8; someone else claimed to have briefly owned a very limited edition ’75 Ford Thunderbird. It made me think of Fr. Donovan once saying the first liar never stands a chance.
The party broke rather abruptly. A grandmother came out to inform everyone that the kids had been playing in the backyard and found the adjacent railroad tracks too big of a temptation; they had started out making faces at the passing trains but someone had upped the ante. She said all those kids were now mooning the passing trains and the fathers were needed. Isn’t the moon in the sky? This makes no sense to me.
Not too long after, Jack came out and got a bottle from my trunk.
His being there prompted a cousin to come out. His cousin Bobby started fussing about his sister’s husband and what a trouble maker he is. It seems one day Bobby was taking a break at work. A co-worker was on the internet and found some car themed website called Streetside Classic – or something of that nature – and found an article with all these derelict cars and a brief story of each. Bobby said he was shocked to see the pictures were of HIS cars. Looking at the by-line revealed it was written by his brother-in-law, whom he had deemed to be a worthless scoundrel. Bobby was infuriated with Jack telling him he had nothing to fuss about.
During both of these conversations, people felt the urge to lean against me. That is rude. And why are men over 40 so flatulent?
Thankfully the family gathering didn’t last much longer.
On the way back Diane drove. She is so much easier on my throttle than Jack but she is certainly more fond of slamming on my brakes. As we were percolating along around 65 mph, with my engine turning over less than 1,500 rpm, they each started to tell various stories of the night’s events.
Buck is right; people do talk about the weirdest things when inside of cars. It seems one of the cousins has a very high dollar camera but hates taking pictures. Instead of taking pictures, he dumps the camera with others and asks them to take pictures to “capture the essence of the event.” Jack said when it was dumped with him, the cousin’s seventy-eight year old mother was sitting there. As the cousin walked away, said cousin’s mother said “he’s such a dumb-ass; here, Jack, take a picture of this!” Jack was shocked that as the woman said that, she pulled her pants down, exposing her hip and and half her buttocks. Diane nearly drove me off the road from laughing when Jack said he took three pictures in case the cousin missed anything.
Jack and Diane laughed more from joking about how normal is a relative term; I’m not sure I know what they mean.
Well, my new owners are vastly different than was Fr. Donovan. However, they are taking terrific care of me and they certainly act respectful toward me. What more could I ask for?