The Nova got traded in for a 1994 Mazda 626 LX6 A which despite its Japanese heritage was made in Flat Rock Michigan.( Don't ask me what 626 LX6A stands for, maybe that it had a V6 engine). It was in Elaine's name but she didn't drive a lot after we moved to the River House and I began driving it more and the Caprice less. When it came time to trade it in for the Buick (see below) it went to Joe instead (thanks to Grandma Stock). Joe rear-ended somebody and pretty much totaled it so that is the end of the Mazda story.
Our next-to-last family car was the 1999 Buick Century Custom Sedan, color Bordeaux Red Pearl, puchased from a nice lady salesperson at Glenn Buege Buick on south Pennsylvania Avenue..When you transition from a hot V6 Mazda to a Buick Century you are pretty much admitting that you have joined the Senior parade. It's story is the scariest of all. Elaine and I were heading east on Saginaw Avenue which is one way and five lanes wide and if you drive at a constant 40-45 miles per hour you can make all the green lights all the way across town The traffic flows on that street like a river of cars. This particular day we were just crossing Cedar Street (one way southbound) and approaching Larch Street (one way northbound) with a green light in our favor when immediately to my left front I see a guy running across traffic, just missing the car in the lane to my left. I remember instantaneously thinking a lot faster than I can say it "I hope I don't hit that guy!" then BANG he bounces off my right front fender and I can see him in my rear view mirror flying in an arc and landing in the street in the right hand lane. As quickly as I could I pulled off Saginaw into the parking lot of a Quality Dairy and the lady who was to my left that missed him pulled in right beside me. I got out prepared to go back and see the victim but police and an ambulance were already there and a policeman was approaching us. The lady immediately told the policeman and a police lady who had joined us about the guy running across the street and her close miss. Meanwhile they are scraping the guy off the pavement and into the ambulance but it did not leave right away (we were only a few blocks from Sparrow Hospital). They took our statement and told us to go on our way and report to our insurance company. Shaken, Elaine and I returned home and called Norma, our long-time insurance person. She told us to talk to no one except the AutoOwners adjuster and that she would get the police report as soon as available. We did as we were told and never even tried to find out whether the guy was hurt or alive or dead. Months later our concerns were relieved when we received a copy of the police report that said the guy was fleeing from the Sunoco Station on the corner where he had committed "retail fraud", whatever that is, so it turned out we had done a good thing when we stopped a fleeing perpetrator by bouncing him off our Buick. The insurance damage assessor estimated the damage to our car to be in the amount of $1,076 and we received a check made out to us and Glenn Buege Buick. I thought that amount was outrageous for repairing what was really a minor dent in the right front fender so I never got it fixed. When we bought our 2004 Malibu Maxx we sold the Buick to Granddaughter Jonna for the offered trade-in price. She is still driving it and the "perp dent" is still there. When I informed Norma that we had sold the car but had never used the check she told me to send it to her. It wasn't long before we got a new check just made out to us. Her explaination was that our trade-in price was probably reduced that much because of the dent. I didn't argue. So it turns out that you can make a profit out of hitting a guy in the middle of the street at 40 mph. We declared a "family dividend" and shared the windfall..
Our present and probably our last family car is a 2004 Chevrolet LS Malibu Maxx. In the last 4 years we have only put on 20,000 miles. It is a slick car. Four doors and a hatchback. It has every gadget imaginable. The rear seats tilt, flop and slide and the passenger seat flops down. The driver's seat and steering wheel will do everything but blow your nose. It has a fancy sound system with CD player that never gets used because I think it could be an unsafe distraction for an 86 year old driver.. There are a lot of little controls and buttons that I never touch and a built in computer that will tell me a bunch of stuff I don't really care about knowing..I never touch a light control because everything is automatic and I avoid driving at night. Its color is Silver Green Metallic. It is still a virgin. Not a nick ar scratch.