So for those of you just joining this story you should probably read part 1.
To recap, Dr. Wife and I flew to Oregon to buy a 1970 Porsche 914 that turned out to be the inspiration for Stephen King’s Christine. The purchasing of said car was not unlike a Tijuana drug deal, including the part where the “merchandise” tried to kill us before we’d even left the state. At this point, we’ve lost first gear and the brakes, neither of which turned out to be strictly necessary to get us back to California, where we pick up this tragic tale.
The morning after we got the car safely to Dr. Wife’s house we walked out to assess the nightmare, which was now sporting a flat tire!
“Perfect, just perfect” I complimented the car on it’s impeccable sense of humor.
I popped the hood and found the spare tire and the jack, when I pulled the spare out beneath it were a couple well worn catalogs from places that specialized in keeping these turds on the road. “Ah ha” I thought, a hidden red flag! I fixed the tire and we drove it to a shop.
Repairing 1st gear cost around $1000, that’s half of what the car cost. We begged, borrowed, and lied to get the money, but we got the money. The car was pulling us deeper into her evil hole of evilness. I did the brakes myself, which only cost parts and a piece of my right pinky.
After 1st gear was fixed, we took the car to be registered, which in California requires a smog check. The smog check guy took one look at the engine and scoffed, “I can’t test this.”
“Why not?” I asked.
“Dual Weber Carbs…This car is supposed to be fuel injected.”
“Duel Weber Carbs, man.” My left eye started to twitch. Dr. Wife wiped a tear that was starting to form.
He looked at me with undisguised pity. “Yep, changing it back is going to be expensive too, assuming you can find the parts.” The way too honest at that moment mechanic offered helpfully, “your best bet is to check junk yards for a parts car, then buy that and keep it somewhere to pull from.” He shook his head at the car and whistled low. “You’re gonna need it.”
Apparently the crux of the problem was not that we bought a shitty car, but that we didn’t buy enough of them…or land to store them on.
We regrouped over pizza. We had friends who liked to work on cars, maybe if we could get the part, we could convince someone to fix it for beer. First, though, we needed to find a junk car to pull a set of fuel injectors and something called “the brain.” So, like a couple of automotive ghouls, we set off to find a body and claim its brains.
Our friend Jason knew a guy named “Bart,” who could help us out. Bart had four 914s. Four. That’s how big of a piece of crap these cars were. That’s also when things got interesting.
Bart was in his 50’s and lived with his mother in the “never moved out of her house” sense. I wonder if mommy knew about the woman suit he was making in the basement.
He had the cars in the back yard, because the garage was full of half-disassembled airplane. Now that is how you hoard, my friends. He was apparently quite paranoid, so Dr. Wife would have to deal with him alone after Jason made the introductions. Bart didn’t want anybody else (me) coming by to case his place and steal his junk… or find the bodies.
Dr. Wife was a smoking hot, 17-year-old rocker chick, so Bart took a creepy shine to her immediately. They made a deal for the brain and a set of Bosch fuel injectors, which he would pull off one of his dead cars. He charged her $50 cash for the brain. For the fuel injectors, she gave his invalid mother a haircut. His idea. Let that sink in for a minute because it gets weirder.
While she was pretending she knew how to cut hair, Bart casually mentioned a small caper he was planning. She’s be perfect, he said, to play the part of his girlfriend. Her bit would be easy, he assured her. All she had to do was go with him to a dinner party and then “distract” someone he knew so he could steal gold Kuggerands from the guy’s safe.
I am not making this up. A haircut and an invitation to be part of a gold heist was the price of parts at Bart’s. She politely said no thanks to the heist, and thankfully didn’t accept his offer to check out the basement renovations he’d been doing.
A shade tree mechanic got it all hooked up after a week of trial and error, and by some miracle it ran. Sort of. Not to be totally thwarted, the car uses its bad Juju to corrupt the brain so that, although the car ran, it refused to idle. You had to feather the throttle constantly and if you stalled, it would pull its favorite trick – vapor locking the starter! It especially liked to do this in traffic so you could be honked at by angry people with normal cars not crafted by Cthulhu.
The starter was diabolical; if you took it to a mechanic, when they tested it, the thing worked perfectly. But stall it on a hill or in traffic and surprise! Fortunately the car was light enough to push like a skateboard and pop start. We became obsessed with parking the car so that it was facing a downhill slope.
A month or so in someone hit the car in a parking lot and drove off. It was a fairly small ding in the back but the insurance still paid out $1500 so that was a bright point, sort of. I suspect it was a former 914 owner who kicked it.
Because the car would not idle, there was no way to get it to pass a smog test so it could not be registered. After a few months of swearing loudly at it in public, Dr. Wife had finally had enough of the car and sold it to someone for $800. The sad thing was we used terms that had been used on us; “hey, it’s a Volkswagen bus engine so it’s easy to work on!” You could see the cartoon hearts popping over the guys head. We avoided eye contact with the car the whole time. I grew a mustache just for the sale. We might have mentioned we were moving to Canada.
Nearly a year later a mechanic contacted Dr. Wife. “Someone abandoned a 1970 914 at my shop a few months ago, I don’t think he’s coming back and it’s still in your name. Do you want it back?” He asked.
The final score:
One used 1970 Porsche 914: $2000.00
Repair of 1st gear which was lost in the third day of ownership: $1000.00
New brake pads: $112.00
1 Bosch “Brain” and 4 fuel injectors: $50 and a haircut for a shut-in
+++ $1500 from insurance!
+++ $800 final sale of the car.
So for $862.00 and untold emotional costs, Dr. Wife could briefly call herself the owner of a (cursed) Porsche.
So, $800 to be able to say, “I once owned a Porchse.” But, you are also forgetting that the story and adventure it all are worth something too. I’d say you broke even on the deal. Yes? No?
Maybe if you were charging for laughs and cringes as people read this story….
Some sort of automotive mountain pepper I guess. Adventures are always best in the retelling it’s true, often a little painful when you actually in them. Thanks for reading!
Awesome ending! I was looking forward to seeing what happened with the devil car. Lol.
The 1970’s is where history stores its bad ideas.