On Friday I got my California car registration paperwork in the mail. When you drive a 33 year old car, that is always an adventure of sorts. I needed to bring my car in for some minor services, so I figured I’d just get the smog check out of the way. This time, I was excellent in most categories except the Nitrous Oxide Emissions…which need to be addressed. I left the car with the excellent folks at Culver Automotive, who always make things right, so it’s not that big a deal, but I am a bit depressed.
Driving a classic car, especially in California, is pretty much a lifestyle choice. You have to plan around it, you have certain expenses that other people don’t, and concerns that others don’t. In 2015, a bill was proposed (AB 550) that would have relaxed restrictions on classic and historical vehicles, but California legislature never heard it before leaving session. I’m imagining that this will take a bit to diagnose and repair, so in the meantime I am driving this big ol’ loaner car from the shop (which is a very kind thing that they do), a Pontiac Grand Prix.
It’s not Matt Trakker’s Bitchin’ Camaro, for sure. It gets the job done though, while my car is basically at the spa.
That’s why today’s post is up, why I drew it. All of the cars in it are from the fifties, seventies, or eighties, so they would all have a @#$% of a time passing smog her in California. The Bitchin’ Camaro represents the loaner, even though Cap is clearly stealing it, to Applejack’s concern. I was thinking of the Autobot Hound on the left of the frame (he’s an old school Jeep), and one of my father’s old car’s on the right hand side. I’m assuming that they both are janky @#$ Transformers, who seem pissed as @#$% about Cap taking the old MASK Thunderhawk until her own transportation is out of the shop.
Cap seems a bit stressed, which is on purpose. The Grand Prix is like a Mad Max car, both in appearance and drivability…it’s kind of fun, but it’s a kind of WORK. You’re always investigating sounds, tapping gauges to get an accurate read, and wondering if the power steering will be live for that turn. With all that said…it is a comfortable and reliable loaner, that has never given me any trouble.
The real stress is from the smog repairs. Culver Automotive always does a fairly priced job, but smog is expensive. I’m expecting at least to be replacing the EGR Valve (which is directly related to NO Emissions) and possibly the Oxygen Sensor. On a Mercedes, those aren’t cheap.
Again…it’s a lifestyle choice.
In reality, given the complex problems that people can have, and some of the problems in the world right now, I will take these problems as a matter of course. They are totally solvable…any car can be made to pass smog with enough tech and cash thrown into it. Other problems, sadly, are not as easy as replacing an EGR Valve.
If you are looking for a reliable, friendly, and trustworthy mechanic in Los Angeles, check out the good people at Culver Automotive, by the Helms Bakery building on Washington Boulevard.