Home » After Years Of Torment, The $1 Oldsmobile From Hell Is Mercifully Helping Me Move Out Of Michigan. But I’m Skeptical

After Years Of Torment, The $1 Oldsmobile From Hell Is Mercifully Helping Me Move Out Of Michigan. But I’m Skeptical

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It’s back. The $1 Oldsmobile from hell — the machine that I paid a single Washington for, and then soon thereafter paid for again with many, many hours of misery — has risen from the underworld to live in a new hell: Michigan’s winter. And though the car’s presence usually elicits nightmares and long therapy sessions, this time the car’s return into my life has been pleasant — as if the Twin-Cam-powered GM N-body is finally apologizing for the damage it has done to my psyche. It is a final farewell and a helping hand from an incredibly unlikely source, and part of me is a bit leery. Can I trust this thing for the next month, or will it return to its dastardly ways?

I’m in a bit of a weird spot, because I’m in the process of moving to LA, but I’m not planning to bring any winter beaters, because why would I? So I’m selling the cars I’d normally drive in salt, meaning I…no longer have a car to drive while I pack my belongings in my Troy, Michigan abode. It’s not an optimal setup, and — after shedding a tear even thinking about driving my Jeep J10 in brine-covered I-75 — a thought entered my head: What about the $1 Olds?

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“No, not the Olds,” was my first thought.

“But you just need it for a month while you pack!” the red, blivet-wielding groundhog on my left shoulder nagged. “Plus, that Twin-Cam is a solid motor! Much smoother than the legendary Quad 4 on which it’s based!”

Red rodent did have a point.

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“Dave, the thing has tried to kill your landlord. You remember when the brake lines blew out! Then there was the time the transmission line failed!” the toga-wearing kangaroo on my right shoulder quipped.

Hmm.

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“That’s not all,” the marsupial told me. “The coolant port on the engine leaked antifreeze all over your driveway, and replacing the bad gasket was a pain in the ass!”

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Gosh, that really was a pain. I had to take the intake off, unbolt part of the power steering pump; did I have to disconnect the serpentine belt? I can’t remember. I do remember that it was a rough j—”Not to mention!” the angelic ‘roo said, somehow butting into me writing this article, cutting off a thought I had well after this dialogue, “The last time you drove the thing, the rear control arm literally rotted off and snapped! David, this car is done!”

That was pretty rough, I will admit.

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“But you replaced the control arm. And you replaced the brake line. And you replaced the transmission cooler! It’s all fixed” Mr. groundhog told me between munches on my ABS harness.

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Damn. I was in a tough spot, here. I do need something to drive around, but that Olds has really been a bit of an asshole these past few years. Can a car change? Did the many months of solitary confinement, there on my neighbor’s lawn, undriven, shake some morals into that front-drive family sedan? Had it found car-jesus in its lonesomeness?

I walked over to my neighbor’s front yard to find out. I have a soft, squishy heart, and I like to see the best in things, even if they’ve hurt me before. I wanted to at least give the Olds a chance. So I hooked up some charging cables to the battery, and waited for the thing to charge.

After 12 hours, there was nothing. So I put my charger into repair mode, then tried again — finally, the Twin-Cam fired up, and idled smoothly.

But the lovely motor has never really been the issue, it’s been everything else around it. I dared to place the shifter into drive, then I pointed the Oldsmobile down a nearby street, and gave the rightmost pedal some pressure. The car accelerated nicely, and upon reaching a turn and spinning that big ring in front of my chest, I noted tight handling. The brakes, though displaying an ABS warning due to me not bleeding that ABS block, did a good job, too.

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“Damn. This thing is actually… not horrible?” was my first thought as I reminisced upon my rear control arm replacement, followed closely by me abandoning the vehicle in my neighbor’s front yard. I hadn’t really tested the car that much; I’d just gotten the suspension back together, then ditched it. But, after a few minutes behind the wheel of the $1 Oldsmobile, and a few peeks underneath and some hammering to make sure all the suspension bits seem strong, I’m convinced the thing is fixed! Cured of its terrorizing ailments!

It’s here to finally serve me faithfully for the first time since Thanksgiving of 2017.  I believe in it. I think it can get me to the grocery store and back over the next month; I believe it can haul all the trash I need to take to the dump; I believe it can get me to the post office; I believe it can shuttle me to the local junkyards without copying the habits of those doomed mechanical inmates.

Please, Oldsmobile. Redeem yourself.

You have one month.

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Boxing Pistons
Boxing Pistons
1 year ago

You should have just let that sleeping dog lie, David. Something will go wrong, and you will be kicking yourself as you cannot truly abandon anything. The Follow-up article will read something like this: “I am supposed to be on my way to LA right now, but am stuck replacing (insert rusted-out part name here) on the Olds from Hell”. Commenters will respond with sympathy and/or words of intervention, and the world makes another turn in Autopia.

Dennis Frederickson
Dennis Frederickson
1 year ago

Beyond therapy.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
1 year ago

Time to trade up for a big Brougham Olds when you leave the rusty place. Ninety-Eight time. Awww yes.

Dr Buford
Dr Buford
1 year ago

Fool me once, shame on you.
Fool me twice, shame on me.
Fool me thrice, DT’s got a new car!

This is absolutely perfect. Bonus points if you make it to LA towing something.

Godspeed you crazy bastard!

Dr B

Phil Layshio
Phil Layshio
1 year ago

I mean, cars don’t get BETTER from sitting unused…

Ed-in-TolEDo
Ed-in-TolEDo
1 year ago
Reply to  Phil Layshio

Sometimes they do! I had an ’89 Eagle Premier LX that decided it didn’t want to shift into over-drive anymore so I parked it and forgot about it for the better part of a year (who wants to drive a car that won’t go over 38 without redlining it?). Anyway, my daily driver needed repairs that would take several days for the local garage to complete, and they were booked two weeks in advance. What to do? Park the daily driver, and get up early to drive the PLX at 38 mph to work for the next three weeks – or so I thought. The PLX fired right up and shifted perfectly for the next several years as my daily driver. So yeah, sometimes they do get better by sitting unused (but those are the exceptions).

Matt Galbraith
Matt Galbraith
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed-in-TolEDo

Cars can heal.

Parsko
Parsko
1 year ago

JINX

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
1 year ago

I’m sure it will be fine ….

*GULP*

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
1 year ago

Whose car is this now?
You know if it breaks this time you’re stuck in Michigan until you fix it right?

Andrew Baglio
Andrew Baglio
1 year ago

“I sold the $1 Oldsmobile but the radiator exploded while the nice lady was driving home and now I have 18 hours to replace the head gasket before I hit the road for LA – Part 1”

Dave Horchak
Dave Horchak
1 year ago

Hey here is an idea borrow Mercedess school bus or better her and the bus. Load all your stuff in it with all your tools and parts easily available. Require her to attend an LA meeting and drive the bus with one car behind it on a dolly the least reliable. Drive the 2nd most reliable car towing the 2nd most unreliable. Have that recently married couple who you are joining on their honeymoon, please no stories or pictures, drive the most reliable. That is 4 cars if you need a 5th have the married couple tow one too.
Then post your itinerary and provide tracking detaiks so many autopians can follow, meet, and repair. It isnt rocket science.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
1 year ago

Blivet? Presumably you’re using the definition meaning the impossible trident optical illusion which makes plenty of sense in the context of the red groundhog appearing at your left (i.e., sinister) shoulder à la the archetypical red devil with a trident? Hadn’t known that word until I looked it up & saw a variety of definitions for it. Yeah, always nice to learn something new.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
1 year ago

What’s the old saying? You want a lot for a dollar.

Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
1 year ago

Are you gonna be getting your deposit back?

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
1 year ago

I’m pretty sure it’s in better condition than a certain Postal (of FC) Jeep I can recall. You’ll be just fine.

Dave Horchak
Dave Horchak
1 year ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

Didnt he sell that?

Phyrkrakr
Phyrkrakr
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

Yeah, I think he’s down to the J-10, the Mustang, the Golden Eagle, and one of the Grand Cherokees. He’s also storing a plain Cherokee in Michigan.

Pretty sure the Tracker, the extra Cherokee and the “nice” Grand Cherokee were already sold, and I know the Forward Control is gone. Frankly, I’d forgotten about the Alero. Whatever happened to that old Kia, is it gone too? And I thought there might’ve been another Wagoneer floating around, but it wasn’t on the “My cars are keeping me from moving” list.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
1 year ago

Wait, why wasn’t it included in your list of vehicles if the landlord hadn’t retained ownership?

Did you just tell him not to drive it, dump it in his yard and never think of it again?

Landlord, seeing David fire up yard art car he had to tolerate for months without driving: *visible confusion*

sentinelTk
sentinelTk
1 year ago

So this is like obituaries for famous people at big newspapers (google it kids), right? You already have the follow-up article written with a headline like, “The $1 Olds failed me, and I Have Only Myself to Blame.” Just fill in the blanks in the shell article and done!

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
1 year ago

Dude, this is how GMs work. Once you get these annoying things done, it just keeps running.
If you drive this to LA, you at least know that every podunk town with a dealership row has a GM dealer who can fix this car in 5 minutes.

Mr.Asa
Mr.Asa
1 year ago

Oh David… you poor fool.
If it had been driven after the last repairs, maybe. But it hasn’t, so you get to find the next issue.

Sidenote: “blivet” do you mean the Escher-esque tripod, or a slag hammer, or a rock hammer, or something else entirely?

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
1 year ago
Reply to  Mr.Asa

To me a blivet is 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag.

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
1 year ago

Why does this remind me of Lucy, Charlie Brown and a football…?

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago

How many more problems can it REALLY have after all that wrenching? Is it even the same car anymore? No, it’s the Olds of Traceus.

Dave Horchak
Dave Horchak
1 year ago

The problem is DT never actually fixes a problem. He just does a jury rig good for now and is flummoxed when it stops working later in life.

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

Yep, it’s like he craves failures.

“The brakes, though displaying an ABS warning due to me not bleeding that ABS block, did a good job, too.”

Malfunctioning ABS does not equal good brakes David.

ADDvanced
ADDvanced
1 year ago
Reply to  Dsa Lkjh

ABS is overrated. Love it when it kicks on unexpectedly mid-turn, giving you understeer. So safe.

Matt Galbraith
Matt Galbraith
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

David is just like the rest of us. Most of us just hide our unfinished work better.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
1 year ago

Speaking of chimeric creatures, your username makes you a fictional character.

Brian Kipper
Brian Kipper
1 year ago

Can you trust it? No. Absolutely not. Can you work together to achieve a mutually desired goal? Yes. You want to get out of MI and get it out of your life. It obviously wants nothing to do with you either. Therefore, you can come to an uneasy truce for the next month. If it gets you around to do everything you need to do in order to get out of there, then you will never darken it’s parking spot again. It’s a win-win and if you just explain it to the cart, I’m sure it will agree. That is assuming that it hasn’t already figured things out on it’s own

A. Barth
A. Barth
1 year ago

“It’s here to finally serve me faithfully for the first time since Thanksgiving of 2017.”

Holy cow, has it been that long??

I’m picturing the Olds doing everything you ask it to do, going above and beyond, and then – when its work is done – collapsing like the Bluesmobile after the boys reached Chicago.

IanGTCS
IanGTCS
1 year ago

How long until the article “I’m stranded at the grocery store. Again” comes up?

Donald Petersen
Donald Petersen
1 year ago
Reply to  IanGTCS

I give it hours. He’d be typing it now if he weren’t underneath it by the side of the road.

Gary Moller
Gary Moller
1 year ago

It will be fine, David. Just don’t drive any further than you can walk back. HEHEHE!

Todd Beauchamp
Todd Beauchamp
1 year ago

This will not end well

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
1 year ago

I figured your trip to Australia would have taught you not to trust kangaroos. Even those cape-wearing super-kangaroos.

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