Petrol Head? Gear Head? Motor Head?

I just don’t know. I’ve never before had a love affair with a car, except maybe my Chevy Cougar back in 2001, but even then, it was just a passing infatuation.

The number of cars that passed through my life is huge and not very stellar from a Ford Pinto, to a Beetle, to a AMC Gremlin, then a Plymouth Reliant K Car, and on and on ad nauseum. Cars were transportation. Nothing more than a method for traveling from point A to point B with a minimum number of calls to my road service. I had cars that were my least favorites, like the Honda POS that I (thankfully) totaled on Interstate 64, and cars that were favorites, like the peppy little Dodge Spirit.

Right after my near death experience on I-64 in which I lost a whole cup of Starbuck’s Latte, I bought a Chevy Blazer from a friend and subsequently name it Big Blue. It was steady, faithful and reliable until it wasn’t any longer. Several times, Blue left me stranded and the repair bills piled up. Because I needed reliable transportation, I bit the bullet, resigned myself to car payment slavery and started the search.

I live in Virginia, which has glorious weather most of the time, but there is at least one major snow storm a year. After living in Florida most of my life where that sort of thing doesn’t happen, I dreaded the next weather onslaught. I wanted a 4 wheel drive car. Maybe a Jeep.

Or so I thought.

The salesman at the dealership tempted me with an uninteresting car: a 2010 Dodge Avenger.

It had a single previous owner, six years old and… wait for it… only 13,170 miles.

At first glance, I was all “Meh.” But I looked a little closer at the grill, and lights, the flared fenders over the wheels, the roundy hips in the back and my “Meh” turned into, “Maybe.’

Long story, short, I bought it, but still didn’t fall in love right away. That came later. At first the Avenger was steady, reliable transportation that would get me from point A to point B without any call to my road service.

Fast forward 8 months…

I made a road trip from Virginia to Florida, on my own. A journey of 685 miles. Somewhere on that trip, just the car and me, I fell in love. It wasn’t a head-over heels reaction. It was slow, as I got to know her. She became my close friend. We bonded in a way I had never bonded with a car before.

Then, I gave her a name: Emma Peel (Look it up if you are wondering who she is)

I made it my business to find out everything about Emma: 0-60 in 8.3 secs, 2.4 liter engine, 173 hp @ 6000 rpms, 166 torques, 4 inline cylinders, 4 speed automatic transmission, front wheel drive, double overhead cams, average 24 mpg, curb weight of 1.5 tons. That is just a bunch of numbers to me because I didn’t bother to compare it to other cars. What I do know about my new best friend is that she wants to go fast. She is eager. She is willing. She is faithful and she is loyal.

On the con-side, she wags her tail more than a happy puppy. She suffers from under steer in corners if I don’t hold tightly to the steering wheel when going around and accelerate just right (remember to brake BEFORE the turn and accelerate into the turn). She has the same turning radius as the Queen Mary. And the car is made of plastic… everything is plastic.

Maybe it’s time to dress her up a little… new seat covers and floor mats, steering wheel cover, maybe a dash kit. After all, what girl doesn’t like a bit of make up every now and then.

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