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Tale of a weird 90's econobox and its return to life

by Nov 8

This is my 1998 Ford Escort SE wagon, one of two cars that are non-Swedish members of my fleet. My car guy friends ask me all the time why a student who works his ass of to even afford housing & college & car insurance would save a car like this, when I already work on and restore old Volvos...and this is just some rusty Escort from the 90's. Even cars like this can have sentimental value, however worthless and rusty they may be. This was the last car my beloved great-grandma Adamae bought new, in August of 1998. She drove it to 98,000 miles, took beautiful care of it, and then unfortunately drove it into a the age of 90. My Uncle Brian made her park it, and then a great-aunt of mine borrowed it, drove it for 10,000 miles within one year without a single oil change, and parked it again. It sat for many years until I finally saw it again in her garage, caked in dust and with all of its fluids dumped out in a massive, mulitcolored stain on the cement garage floor. My GG told me she loved this car, despite how commonplace and econoboxey it was. It was her last taste of freedom, as she loved driving. She was 96 when she told me this, and asked me if I would fix it for her and drive it for her. She knew I loved old cars, especially old station wagons, and she frequently asked if she could go for rides in my old Volvos. I agreed, and she passed it down to me. The poor 2.0L engine was filled with sludged oil, the cooling system drained of her coolant, and the power steering system bone dry. I changed the oil, fitted new plugs & wires, flushed the coolant & refilled, and repaired the major leak in the PSS...and slapped a new battery in, with my GG watching. I turned the key once and this 20-year-old Ford fired instantly, after years of neglect. I took my GG for a ride in her beloved little wagon, and it ran like a top. My GG now is fighting dementia, and no longer remembers my name or her car. She is 99 now, close to turning 100 later this year. Despite this, she is still healthy and even walks on her own, but it breaks my heart to see her unable to remember my name, or even my grandma's. But I promised her that I would care for her car for as long as there is gas on this Earth, and I intend on keeping that. It's no 69 Chevelle SS, it's no 72 BMW 2002, it's no 96 Supra Turbo. It's a Ford Escort wagon with 114,000 miles, rocker panel rust, a leaky transaxle pan, and worn motor mounts. But I love it because I love my GG, and this car will forever have a happy place next to my Volvo's and my Avanti. Wish this dumb student (me) luck in finishing college and working my cheeks off to afford these old machines. Someone as dumb as me has gotta do it!

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