OUR TEN-YEAR ODYSSEY SEARCHING FOR A DAILY DRIVER, part 5
Since 2013, our daily driver has been a Mercury Grand Marquis. If you are
following the links, you read about our '95 Marquis and the accident. Now for
what Paul Harvey used to call "the rest of the story."
The insurance paid us $3,734 for the '95 and we could now go shopping again. I saw
our friend in church the following day and told her, "It was good that we didn't
buy your car because the one we bought was just totaled in an accident. She
surprised me by saying that her 2003 Mercury was still in the garage. She had
not sold it! I asked if she had come down on the price and she said she would
sell it for $2,750. That was a thousand less that the insurance paid us!
It was the first day of winter in 2013, shortly before Christmas, when we bought
"Silver Bird". The car had been driven only 81,000 easy miles in ten years.
Because the owner spent winters in Florida, it had seen very little snow. In the
next five years we drove it 50,000 miles without a complaint...
After 5 years, an unscheduled interruption...
At an All-Way Stop intersection, a teenage girl barreled into the intersection
without stopping. She saw our car and drove into the opposing traffic lane
trying to avoid it. She struck the end of our car's bumper driving it over a
foot and peeling the plastic skin off (no frontal impact
whatsoever!). The rest of the car was undamaged. Our airbags were not deployed and fortunately no one was injured. My wife
was driving and had nearly stopped when the car hit her or damage would have been considerably worse. After
striking our car, the other driver tried to correct her car and flipped it over on its side.
At least three police cruisers and an ambulance crew arrived on the scene and I also arrived within 15 minutes.
Since both drivers claimed to have stopped before entering the intersection, the New Jersey "No Fault" law kicked in.
That means neither driver can expect remuneration for damages unless they hire a lawyer. The other car was totaled,
but I fixed our car for less than what a lawyer would have cost!
I bought a high-mileage 2007 Grand Marquis for $1500 to serve as a donor car.
After removing the front end and selling many other parts, the car looked much different!
A friendly neighbor welded the bumper support to the frame for us.
Except for the lights and grille, the 2003 and 2007 Grand Marquis are almost identical
One week after repairs were completed, I hit a deer! Around that time, the lady who sold us "Silver
Bird" told us that she was no longer allowed to drive. Did I want the 2011 Marquis? It had only 80.000 miles on it.
2011 models were selling for top Dollars but, again, we couldn't afford to pay even her generously reduced
Besides, the Silver Bird was serving us well and after two accidents and repair jobs, I had gotten rather attached to it!
Repaired twice in a month!!! This time, I bought all new parts (headlights, turning and marker lights, grille, grille surround and bumper) at Amazon for about $500.
By July, 2019, our Silver Bird had over 160,000 miles on it and I began to keep my eyes open for another low-mileage Marquis. I found another 2003 Marquis for sale in West Chester,
just across the river. These cars in good condition are usually grabbed up by taxi owners. They don't make cars like these any more! This Grand Marquis had spent all of its life in
Las Vegas (never saw snow or salt!). The elderly lady-owner had driven it less than 70,000 miles in sixteen years! A relative in West Chester, PA inherited it, but with a Porsche,
a Mercedes and a Harley Davidson in his garage, there was no room for a Mercury! We got it for $4,000 and drove it home. According to the new car window sticker,
the car had sold new for $31,000 and is the "LS Ultimate" model. It has leather seats and 4 new Michelin tires.
We bought the car in July 2019 and parked it in the garage for 15 months. Silver Bird was still performing well
when a single father of two boys received it as a gift. His older car had broken down and he had no money for repairs.
We took the "Bluebird" out of storage in October, 2020 and it is serving us