Chasing Cars

I’d been eyeing the Fiat 500C for a while now, ever since I realized that it is a cabrio that A) I could afford and B) IT’S A CABRIO!

I’ve wanted a convertible all my life, well all my car loving life anyway. I realize it isn’t a full-on convertible, more like a convertible-lite, but it allows for way more open-air enjoyment than a moon-roof can offer.

So, while Freddy still has enough life left in him to be useful and the desire to have a newer car for my long daily commute, we decided it was time to pass Freddy on to Chris and start the process of finding me a car.  Chris’ car is a 2001 and while not driven far or that often really, it is reaching end of life and I worry about his safety. Freddy is a bit of a step up from his car, but I think he’s a tad bit nervous about driving a different car and a wee bit melancholy letting his very first car go. I get that, I get attached to my cars too and I will admit I feel a little guilty now that Freddy who has been garaged his whole life is now spending his time parked on the street in the elements. Is it silly? Sure, but I tend to anthropomorphize my cars and certain other inanimate objects.

When I started looking around, I was really leaning towards a colour called espresso, which looked nice on the website, but I’d never seen it close up. I looked online to see which local dealership had  one in that colour so I could have a look, and found one at the Maple Ridge Fiat dealership. It didn’t have a price listed so I called and got THE most patronizing salesman I’ve ever spoken to, and that is saying something. He half listened to me, kept asking me to repeat what I had JUST said while he was doing whatever he was doing to look up the car in question (I gave him the inventory number), but even worse, he kept calling me “Hun.” Listen jerk-face would you talk that way to a guy? I ain’t no Hun.

So I blew him off and decided to try another dealership, I saw that the Columbia Fiat had what I was looking for and we took a drive out that way. As I wandered the lot and saw the espresso coloured 500 (it is a nice colour) we were approached by a very nice salesman named Tim, I explained that I was looking but seriously looking and what my absolute max price was going to be, taxes in. He said he wouldn’t be able to get me in a “Lounge” version of a 500C in the range I was talking, but if I was willing to bend on colour and a few features, it was doable. He found me a cabrio and we took a spin around the block. I told him of my experience with the other salesman and he was pretty stunned.

Anyway, after that little ride I fell in love, it wasn’t an espresso car, in fact it was a white car with a red roof, one I had looked at before and it WAS on my consideration list for colours. We pulled back up in front of the dealership and he asked me if I was interested and if so they’d work with me to get me into that car for the price I was looking to pay. The best thing about that dealership is that they get the same commission for each sale so don’t try to push you into something that costs more.

One we made the deal I was handed a mallet, which he explained was to hit the big gong inside the dealership, something they do every time a sale is made. I felt a wee bit sheepish, but I gave it a good bash and yeah, it was pretty loud. The dealership burst into applause and we moved on. We went into the finance office and signed the papers and arranged for pick-up on the following Monday. I could have taken him home that night, but we had plans and didn’t want to sit there for longer waiting for insurance etc.

As we were leaving we saw the car, or what we all assumed was the car and I was going to take a picture of it. Tim offered to take a picture of Tom and I by the car, in fact encouraged us both to get IN it but we both just stood by it. This woman was hovering by the car and wouldn’t get out of the frame which we thought was weird until Tom noticed there was a purse inside the car and I noticed that the mirrors were silver, not body coloured like the car I just drove. We walked back to Tom’s car laughing our heads off while Tim who just caught on that it was in fact SOMEONE ELSE’S CAR was having a good laugh as well. It would have been hysterical if we’d tried to get into the car!

We mentioned it when we returned to pick him up on the Monday, Tim said “what are the chances that almost the exact same car was parked in the exact spot they leave the car after it’s been prepped!?” (and where I had dropped it off after the test-drive!) Once all the paper-work was done, I drove my new little baby home (in the pouring rain mind you.) It felt weird driving a different car, it is definitely more responsive in the steering than Freddy is and I feel so, I dunno “high up” in my seat. It took about a week to get used to him, but he truly feels like my little guy now. Not much of a trunk to speak of, the hood Tom calls “the flap” which resembles a larger-sized tic-tac dispenser, but he’s great on gas, quite zippy and so much fun to drive. He even makes the commutes more fun.

Meet Nate.

*edited to add: Pic of Nate pre-winter tires with his fancier shoes on

photo (2) (1)

Winterized Nate:

photo (11)

Freddy? I still love you, so much in fact I kept you in the family. Forgive me for the rain. Love, yo mamma.

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6 Responses to Chasing Cars

  1. Tom says:

    You should mention that those are his winter shoes…his summer ones are quite chic!

  2. sue says:

    OK I’m partial to Freddy since his cousin is sitting in front of my house. But I’ve got to admit that Nate is pretty cute!

    • americanuck says:

      I feel a wee bit guilty every time I drive out of the nice warm garage and see Freddy parked out on the street, especially in this cold. Have you had yours since 2004 too Sue?

  3. Sue says:

    Mine is a 2006. My dad was a Ford man and I drove nothing but Fords from my first car when I was 19. Our favorite Ford dealership (they have the BEST service) also deals in Mazdas. In 1999 I test drove a Mazda Protege and was hooked. I passed that car on to Connor in ’06 when I bought the Mazda 3. Connor still drives it, and except for a bit of rust and a stuck window, it’s still a great car. When the Protege dies, I will pass the Mazda 3 on to Connor and get something new. Considering the reliability, it will probably be another Mazda. They seem to live forever. I liked my Fords, but they seemed to go south around 50,000 miles. My rule is: if you are paying more in repairs monthly than a car payment, it’s time for a new one.

    • americanuck says:

      Yeah Mazdas are great cars! Tom and I rented one when we did our grand tour de east back in 2002. He didn’t care for it, but it was perfect for me.

      I was considering a Mazda 2 (I wanted to get back into a small car again) but the siren song of a removable top swayed me to the Fiat, It is FUN to drive!

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