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posted by [personal profile] dglenn at 03:00pm on 2007-04-24 under , ,

Today's pleasant surprise: the double bass fits into a 1989 Mazda 626 sedan more easily than into a 1990 Honda Accord sedan. The trunk of the 626 looks a whole lot smaller than the Accord's, so fewer guitars will probably fit there, but the opening uncovered by folding down the rear seat is wider so the bottom of the bass can go entirely into the trunk -- which means that the neck of the bass sits between the front seats as it does in a hatchback, instead of over the front passenger seat as it did in the Accord, so if I get a 626 I'll be able to carry the bass and a passenger at the same time. Maneuvering the instrument into the car is still awkward (I couldn't get it to fit in through the trunk so it still had to go in through a rear door) but marginally easier to accomplish than with the Accord.

Today's somewhat less pleasant surprise: some idiot had slashed a bunch of tires in the apartment complex where the 626's owner lives, including one of the tires on the 626, so I couldn't test drive it. But it's supposed to have a new tire on it later this afternoon, so the plan is to head back out to White Marsh then and see how the car feels, then (probably) sort out how to deal with getting it inspected. It's going to need a muffler, and probably a front turn signal lens, but the windshield is fine and I didn't notice any significant rust. I don't know whether Maryland inspections care about the hole in the trunk lid where half the 'M' in "Mazda" is broken off (a hole that's supposed to be filled by one of the mounting pins of the logo). I presume a right front turn signal lens is the kind of thing I ought to be able to find cheaply at Crazy Ray's, right? (I've never been there, just heard lots about it from various friends.)

The big questions at this point, of course, are "do I feel safe driving it?" and "how much are tho repairs needed to pass inspection going to cost?" The price is low enough to leave a little room for repairs, but not a whole lot. If a muffler isn't too expensive and there are no surprises on the inspection, this car may be it. Wish me kuck,

In the meantime, this humidity is killing me. You know how folks love to say, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity," and they're often full of crap (that is, sometimes the heat's enough, and more often it's the combination of the two)? Well today I dare say it really is the humidity, not the heat. The Meteorological Oppressiveness Factor was up into the miserable range well before the thermometer broke 80°F (the probe hanging outside my bedroom window is currently reporting 84°F -- I had a reading of over 50% relative humidity this morning when the temperature indoors and out was in the 70s (F), and at the moment the indoor numbers for the bedroom are 78°F and 44%).

Having some sort of adjustment period between the chilly weather and the muggy weather (like, perhaps, the season known in past years as "Spring") might have been nice. I'm feeling drained and wilted and a bit sticky. Bleah. (I wonder how my typo rate changes when I feel like this. I'll proofread this when it's cooler and count 'em up.)

Have I mentioned lately how much I hate car shopping?

There are 5 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] gclectic [typekey.com] at 08:20am on 2007-04-25
Yeah, I recall being pretty impressed with the 626's capabilities as a harp transport vehicle. On the other hand, my experience with a 323 from the same period was that it was an utter joy to drive, and ruinous in maintenance expenses. Admittedly this was a lower-end model, but you might want to check with Edmunds or some other reputable source about expected maintenance costs on those 626s.

(Sorry to be a downer, but $1000 a year in repairs got tiresome for me *really* fast, and I wouldn't want you to be caught by surprise.)
posted by [identity profile] anniemal.livejournal.com at 07:25am on 2007-04-28
But I drive a '91 Mazda 323, and it costs me $450 a year in upkeep. Probably because I don't drive much.
posted by [identity profile] madbodger.livejournal.com at 07:28pm on 2007-04-25
Feel safe driving it? A 626 is much safer than a Honda, dude. Of course, if you want
a cheap safe car with plenty of capacity, get a Volvo 245. The little engine doesn't
burn much fuel either, and it's as dead-simple as a fuel injection system can get
(the incoming air presses on a plate that meters the fuel into the cylinders). Not a
lot of acceleration (small engine, large mass), but gets the job done. I loved mine.

posted by [identity profile] garnet-rattler.livejournal.com at 03:12am on 2007-04-26
Maryland is Insane on any holes in the body of the vehicle. OTOH, you can get some aluminum tape cheap at a parts store, cover it over and that, apparently, counts as ok. The law seems to be intended to force you to have it ~air-tight to keep exhaust out. Check with #12 for details on inspection stuff; he also knows a place (down by his old house, but honest) that does inspections you can trust, he says.
I do not love going 100 mph. Or cornering at speed. The Good Thing about the 626 is the overhead grip. (*snort*) Much as I adore you, I don't love your driving habits.



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