Home » That Moment When An Unreliable Car Actually Works: COTD

That Moment When An Unreliable Car Actually Works: COTD

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Car enthusiasts can be a harsh bunch, especially when it comes to insulting brands they don’t like. Ford means “Fix Or Repair Daily” while Lotus is “Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious” and Honda is “Hold On, Not Done Accelerating.” While many of these are just mean and some are really messed up, like the one for Pontiac, sometimes there’s a kernel of truth. Every now and then, an automaker just lobs a steaming dump onto the public.

Mark’s Shitbox Showdown featured a 1978 Ford Fairmont. It doesn’t take much research to find out that Malaise Era cars were often piles of garbage, and Andy Individual’s surprise at a working car makes me laugh:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Seeing a Fairmont described as “Runs and drives well” sure lightened my mood. Were they even ever intended to do that?

Don’t ask Bob Mayer about that one:

Speaking of cars that work, it’s a miracle every time I start one of my modern Volkswagens and I don’t have something new that’s broken. I’m not joking, starting my car and discovering something broke is a regular thing. Today, Matt wrote about how 9 percent of Electrify America charging sessions fail. Hey, that doesn’t sound so bad, right Dogisbadob?

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9% failure rate isn’t bad by VW standards.

Today’s COTD is a short one, and we’ll conclude with a stop at Jason’s Cold Start, where he talked about cars adorned with fake wood. You couldn’t help yourself.

Andy Individual shows up again for being clever:

I think you should stick to tail lights. You have already carved out that niche. Branching off into these splinter topics just makes you come off like a pulp writer.

Canopysaurus asks the important questions:

If you put wood veneer on a BMW Clown Shoe, would you call it a Klomp or a Clog?

IRegertNothing, Esq. also got me:

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Drive your 3-row Buick Estate wagon to drop off your kid at school. Stick your head out the window and yell “I’m at the high school with a giant woody!” Your kid will roll their eyes so far back that they snap their retinas while the other parents mentally add you to the agenda for the next PTA meeting.

Finally, let’s appreciate how different the Chicago Auto Show used to be, with Michael Beranek:

Forget the wood, let’s talk about that Scirocco at the 1978 Chicago Auto Show. What a sweetheart that car was.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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JDE
JDE
10 days ago

I had a 3.5 V6 Ford Escape, 2003. I did not intend to purchase it, but My mom was trading it in and they were offering her next to nothing. I really should have looked up some of the reviews I suppose. They were not considered reliable I was told later, but hat little bastard was a billy goat in the winter, wen over 300K miles before I sold it and only had one thing happen. the Spark Plug like all FURDS of the era shot out of cylinder 4. I heli-coiled it and replaced the plugs and it was good to go.

JDE
JDE
10 days ago
Reply to  JDE

Also BMW stood for Break My Wallet back then, as well as Now I suppose.

Box Rocket
Box Rocket
10 days ago
Reply to  JDE

3.0L Escape, you mean? That’s a good engine, seen many with over 200k miles. Mazda-derived (with some additional Porsche engineering, apparently?), sold by Ford as their “Duratec” V6s. Not known for losing plugs like the “Modular” family, AFAIK. Cooling system issues at higher mileages sometimes, yeah, but that’s usually degrading hoses that were probably overdue for replacement anyway.

JDE
JDE
9 days ago
Reply to  Box Rocket

yeah, it was 3.0, that is correct. I kind of forgot there was a 3.0 back then until you reminded me. They were not known for plugs as far as I understood, but this one shot one at 200K miles, and it was a 2003, so I figured it was under the same engineering model as the ford V-8’s or that time.

John McMillin
John McMillin
11 days ago

I thought the funnier acronym for Ford was “found on road dead.”
That said, my 2017 Ford C-Max Energi has been the most reliable, trouble-free car I’ve ever owned.

Occam's Shaving Cream
Occam's Shaving Cream
11 days ago
Reply to  John McMillin

I’ve alse heard “F**kin’ Old Rebuilt Dodge” for Ford

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 days ago

Wow a twofer! Perfect for Canada Day!

*bows until head hits floor*

Jerry Thomas
Jerry Thomas
11 days ago

People On Narcotics Think It’s A Cadillac

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
11 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Thomas

Much better. I reflexively cringed when some random neurons dredged up the one I heard in the 70s. Yikes!

Josh Frantz
Josh Frantz
10 days ago
Reply to  Jerry Thomas

Well played with the radio edit

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 days ago

After that Bob Mayer video finished, another of his reviews popped up for the Tiffany Electric Car. I highly recommend watching. Mercedes, you or Jason should do a deep dive into this car.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago

Some good automotive acronyms in the comments, all right.
My favorite one, though, remains what someone said of their AMC which I recall was a moribund Eagle back when they were still fairly new, decades before they acquired Radwood coolness:
“Alas, My Car.”
Said with a dejected gesture towards it sitting forlornly and immobile at the curb as we walked by.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
12 days ago

My favorite auto brand acronym was always:

Old Ladies Driving Slowly Make Others Behind Infuriatingly Late Everyday

Then there was:

Hope You Understand, Nothing’s Drivable AND Inexpensive

and the classic:

Bought My Wife

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

Haven’t heard those before. Good stuff.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago
Reply to  TriangleRAD

Ha, good ones about the first two, hadn’t seen those before; as for the third one what I always saw were those two:
Break My Windows
Bust My Wallet

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
12 days ago

Also, FIAT means “Fix It Again, Tony”.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago
Reply to  EricTheViking

Yeah, and also “Fix It Again Tomorrow.”

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
12 days ago

My coworker called them Poormonts. The weren’t even Fair.

My dad’s was a piece of junk inside and out.

Taargus Taargus
Taargus Taargus
12 days ago

The Fairmont was my mom’s first car. My mother never swears. Except when reminiscing about the Ford Fairmont.

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago

and some are really messed up, like the one for Pontiac

Shut yo’ mouth! My Pontiac rides so smooth. An ‘wen you step on ‘dat muthafucka’ VROOM ‘dat shit got POWAH! Ain’t no muthafucka’ keepin’ up wit’ my ass! Sheet! An ‘dat sheet ride like a floatin’ couch. I love my Pontiac car. My sheet’s ALL DAT.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoyCa_6wZrs

In all seriousness, can’t go wrong with a supercharged 3800 swap in a Fiero. THAT is a Pontiac I’d hoon. Or a 2000s GTO.

My father used to own a ’79 Bonneville purchased for $500 in 1998. Malaise-era “luxury” at its finest. Beige with a red interior. We used to call it “the limo”. The headliner was sagging and rubber inside flaking off, there were cockroaches living in it, and the emissions-controls-choked engine struggled to get it up to speed on the highway in spite of being a gas-guzzling V8. My sister had some choice words to describe that car in the context of “the one for Pontiac” that wouldn’t be appropriate to relay here, but damn was it funny. My father totaled it while intoxicated.

Last edited 12 days ago by Toecutter
Lew Schiller
Lew Schiller
12 days ago

I had an ’80 Mercury Zephyr. Brown metallic with plaid interior. 6 automatic. It was..okay. The transmission tossed it’s front deal..twice..but it was warranty deal.

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
12 days ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

My neighbor had a Zephyr wagon, no woodgrain, brown metallic with 2 brown bench seats. It made our Pontiac 6000 (tan on tan velour) feel like a Rolls.

John Fischer
John Fischer
11 days ago
Reply to  Lew Schiller

Never mind, I assume you meant six-cylinder w/automatic, not six-speed automatic :).

Last edited 11 days ago by John Fischer
Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
12 days ago

I’m still shocked nobody has joked about the line right there in the ad!
“Getting a lot out of it by putting a lot into it”

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
12 days ago

Hey, now. My VW is somehow my most reliable car. >:(

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
12 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

I’m sorry!

PresterJohn
PresterJohn
12 days ago

Damn those Bob Mayer vids get me every time. His clinical delivery is hilarious when informing viewers about the frankly horrendous build quality of these cars. That rattle…I don’t even know how to express how bad that is.

You guys gotta find a way to interview him

Tagarito
Tagarito
12 days ago
Reply to  PresterJohn

I chuckled too loudly with “distant cousin”

Dogisbadob
Dogisbadob
12 days ago

Yay I made it 😀

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago

“Ford means “Fix Or Repair Daily””
Since “fix” and “repair” are synonyms for each other, it seems like it’d be more encompassing (& more accurate, ha) to say Ford means “Fix Or Recall Daily.”
Guess the old acronym joke came into widespread use before the term “recall” was well-established in the automotive industry and the joke just never changed with the times?
Like the way we still call road rollers “steam rollers” even though it’s been many decades since these machines were actually steam-powered.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
12 days ago

I grew up with it meaning Found On the Roadside Dead.

Last edited 12 days ago by Bob Boxbody
Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Yep, this is what I grew up with too.

EricTheViking
EricTheViking
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

That’s what was said in the 1970s and 1980s. Also, FIAT means “Fix It Again, Tony”.

TriangleRAD
TriangleRAD
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Backwards:

Driver Returns On Foot

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago

Fix Often Repair Daily

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Ha, hadn’t seen that variation before. Still, “fix” and “repair” are pretty much the same thing so I’ve been trying to make “Fix Or Recall Daily” a thing for years but to no avail, guess I just have to accept that it’s my equivalent of Gretchen as per Regina George’s admonition to “stop trying to make fetch happen.”
Years ago I knew someone who raced both Fords and Chevys as a weekend racer; he said that there was a popular joke at the track about Ford meaning “F****ed On Race Day” (he was a bit of a Puritan, hence the bleeping, ha) with “Found On Road Dead” being another popular variation. What’s funny is that he was a big Ford guy but said he’d not heard similar jokes about Chevy; he said he couldn’t argue with that as his experiences with Chevys were that they were indeed far more reliable than Fords but he just preferred the looks of the Fords (his pride and joy was a genuine ’65 Shelby Mustang sportsroof fastback in white with blue stripes.)

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago

I’ve also heard of GMC being Garage Mechanic’s Companion

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
12 days ago

Wait, what’s the one for Pontiac?

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

Putting
Our
Newest
TransAm
In
All the
Cinemas

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

That’s not the answer he was seeking, but it is technically still correct.

Dave mid-engine
Dave mid-engine
12 days ago
Reply to  Bob Boxbody

It’s on Urban Dictionary if you need to know, which you don’t really.

Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
12 days ago

I looked, and now I’m sorry I asked.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
12 days ago

I heard somewhere that at the end of every VW production line, there’s a guy who checks each car for buzzes and rattles. If it doesn’t have one, he installs one.

Mr E
Mr E
12 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

At what point on the line is the CEL installed?

Toecutter
Toecutter
12 days ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

When my father had the 2001 Audi TT, it always buzzed and rattled. The gear shifter for the 6-speed manual was the first item to start doing so.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
13 days ago

9% failure is probably aspirational for Land Rover

Albert Ferrer
Albert Ferrer
12 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

Nevermind Alfa Romeo.

Cal67
Cal67
12 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I’m pretty sure getting a 91% grade would qualify you to be a brain surgeon.

Collegiate Autodidact
Collegiate Autodidact
12 days ago
Reply to  Cal67

Old joke:
“What do you call someone who graduates in last place from med school?”
“Doctor”

Last edited 12 days ago by Collegiate Autodidact
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