Friday, July 01, 2005

KITT - My 1997 Grand Prix Has Passed Away

Writing an obituary for the raccoon I (may or may not have) hit earlier this week wasn't too difficult since there was no emotional attachment to the critter. However, writing my goodbyes to a car I cared so much about will prove much more difficult. My car and I have been through some really rough times together over the last four years, but trust me, the good far outweighed the bad.

I bought my black 1997 Grand Prix during spring break in March of 2001 and boy did I think I was stylin' and profilin'. It had about 25k on it and was a sweet car. We traded in the family's 1988 Delta 86 and this sure was an upgrade. It had leather seats, a trip computer with MPG, miles until next fill, oil life, gas used, a heads-up-display (so the speed and even radio station appeared on the windshield), sunroof, heated driver seat, a cassette deck (must have just missed the CD rush), steering wheel cruise control and radio controls, and a few other power features. The biggest improvement between a 1986 and 1997 car was a cupholder! This was a huge leap forward in car driving technology - trust me on this one.

Thanks to its coupe design, great engine, and on-board computer of sorts, my natural nickname for the Grand Prix was KITT. If you don't know where the name KITT is from, then it seems you have lived an incredibly sheltered life (I think I'm joking). KITT stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand and is the name for the black corvette driven in "Knight Rider" by Mr. Baywatch himself, the singer (that's not a typo) that's unbelievably adored in Germany, the one and only, Mr. David Hasselhoff. The car's computer was voiced by Mr. Feeny from "Boy Meets World." Anyway, my car reminded me of KITT and it also helped that I used to love watching Knight Rider, more so to sarcastically mock.

My KITT was a good looking sporty car, with a great powertrain anchored by a V-6 engine and great handling. It was the right car for my age. Unfortunately, 6 months after getting the car, a tornado came by my apartment in college and obliterated KITT's windows and really left her with some nice bruises. Undaunted, she picked herself off the ground (bad pun) and rode really well for the next year and a half.

But alas, KITT began showing signs of age. She was now 6 or 7 years old and still ran very well. However, everything else outside of her powertrain started to go, and go quickly at that. KITT had common problems you'd expect from any car in its 6th or 7th year with a few major issues like leaking anti-freeze. Though in the last year, KITT really began falling apart.

For the last year, it had become very apparent to me (thanks to my friends and family) that I really needed to get a new car. KITT may drive well, but that's not good when the weather is either really cold or really hot and the things used to keep you comfortable haven't been available to you in over a year.

And trust me, having a car with a few physical problems didn't always make for a great impression with the ladies.

While it's poor etiquette to put someone else's problems out there, KITT and I have reached closure so I feel okay doing this. In the last week of my time with KITT, she maintained the following issues, in no particular order with bolded issues of major concern (many of which may have been delayed problems from the tornado):

-Non-working A/C, heat, and defroster fan. The air was cooled or heated as requested, but barely exited the vents.
-Depending on the weather, the sunroof would just lift, but not go back, so it wasn't usable and just returned to its starting position.
-Both power windows lowered fine, but midway up, they had to be rocked back and forth to gain momentum and complete the closing. Sometimes, I had to put my fingers on the window and help raise it the rest of the way. Also, it never really had and airtight seal once it was up.
-A hole has been forming down to the undercarriage beneath my driving foot's ankle placement.
-There are two light blue streaks on the leather driver's panel from resting my suntan-covered arm there for one 30-minute drive. They really can't be removed because they're on leather.
-One of the equalizer buttons fell off the radio.

-Two months ago, after placing the car into park, the car didn't recognize it was in that position, which means the key could not return to the "lock" position, so it was impossible to remove the key from the ignition. Therefore, I have had to put a sheet over the steering wheel everytime I parked the car so as not to let outsiders know.
-In the last week, the car started slipping between gears, especially 1st and 2nd and a blue-white smoke began exiting the muffler.
-Water that normally condenses in a drip pan and then out the car was clogged/blocked which soaked the front passenger foot area, much to everyone's lovely surprise after a long drive. It's clear the A/C was working because of this, but just lacked a working fan to blow the cooled air to the car's inside.
-Generally, the interior remained clean, but after 9 years, the interior siding and components weren't held together as tightly as they once were.

Amazingly, the computer, heads-up-display, engine, and overall ride never suffered or showed any signs of slowing down while I drove KITT. KITT will be missed for her smooth ride, great acceleration, and terrific handling. Though her extras like AC, heat, defrosting, and power windows, etc., may have left her long ago, she won't be forgotten (until I really start to drive the car I just bought).

So for the last 3 months, I had been test driving many cars and as of Wednesday night, KITT was traded in for a 2005 silver Nissan Altima 3.5 SE with the kickin' stereo package, sunroof, xenon headlights, and spoiler. It sure is new with just 7 miles to its name. While I'm still unsure that the A/C will work, I'm slowly letting myself believe it will, just don't put your feet down in the passenger seat to play it safe.

I proudly welcome myself to the 21st century...woohoo!

For the rest of my blog full of rants, raves, and attempts at humor, its current address is:

1 comment:

Skip said...

Hey my friend! I feel your pain. I have a Purple 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix (I named mine "Enterprise"). I bought it on May 10th, 1999 with 90,000 miles on it (which told me she was an exceptional car).

We've been through a lot together, and over the last 8 years, everything you've mentioned has happened to my car. I now have 276,000 miles on her (after having replaced her engine 30,000 miles ago), and her fuel pump 20,000 miles ago. I don't think I'll ever part with her, because she and I have been through so much together.

But hey, thanks for sharing your story. Here's the page I devoted to my car:

Take care! :)