Ode To Spot

It saddens me deeply to report the passing of SPOT, a 1986 yellow Mercury Grand Marquis. SPOT was a great car with a decade long legacy of towing racing dinghies around the United States, logging over 20,000 miles towing Albacores, 505s, and a 17 foot motorboat to regattas in Canada, Florida, and all points in between. SPOT was the centrepiece and automotive
component of TEAM SPOT - the intergalactic dingy racing enterprise. I acquired SPOT with only 50,000 miles on him - all driven by a little old lady. Unfortunately the little old lady was my grandmother who always described herself as "...penny pinching, terrible tempered, and eccentric." My grandmother knew SPOT's intrinsic value as a battering ram on wheels,
and trained him well.

Vanity was not in SPOT's vocabulary. He was always running into something - signs, brick walls, lesser cars, and parking lot attendants, and had the battle scars to show it. SPOT loved to carry boats on his roof. He didn't need no stinkin' roof racks either - just set a 505 on the roof upright on its dolly - wheels removed - and tie it down. No padding required. Spot even had eye bolts drilled into his side at all four corners for easy tie down.

SPOT had a voracious appetite for fuel, oil, & coolant. On a recent trip to Florida with 3 505s, SPOT averaged around 8-9 mpg, and required 5 quarts of oil. On another trip with only two boats, SPOT vomited from over exertion - and sprayed the trailer with oil, and left a fog for several miles.

SPOT's vent window was broken on the passenger side after a motor boating trip when my bonehead brother backed the trailer down the ramp and inadvertently locked the door with the engine running with a rising tide. We dicked around with the door lock for over two hours while the tide rose, only to bash the vent window in when the rising water reached the tailpipe. I found that the duct tape would degrade in the sun and needed to be renewed at about the same interval as the engine oil...

SPOT loved the snow - once he was driving around in a parking lot after a snow storm and drove right through a 4 foot snow bank at around 30 mph. He tried it another time except the snow bank was about half the height and was solid ice. Spot was completely airborne for an instant, landing with a loud bang. Stuff from the back seat ended up on the front seat floor. The impact bent SPOT in the shape of a giant banana, but SPOT still ran fine, although the fan scraped its cowling after this event making a loud clicking sound when shifted into reverse. A headlight fell out - I covered it in bathtub caulk and shoved it into place - it worked fine...

SPOT's trunk was enormous. He had a huge appetite for junk, empty beer bottles, tools, boat parts, and rubbish of almost every description. I cleaned him out several times - every time I found more stuff! Once I found a compass. Another time I found a life jacket. I still do not know where these came from.

SPOT spent his last days in front of my house awaiting his final trip to the glue factory - in this case the Fairfax Country Fire and Rescue Training Academy - to be expended to train rescue professionals how to operate the jaws of life and or put out car fires. He was leaking every fluid - a police officer even gave him a ticket for sitting the same place
for too long! SPOT had begun to show his years - like an ageing house pet, no longer able to clean it's matted, urine soaked hair, blindly scratching its way to the door to chase sticks as he had done as a puppy. SPOT threw a fit when I brought his replacement, a full sized conversion van, home for the first time, and demonstrated his displeasure with a spontaneous flat tire. I put on his spare. On the morning of his last ride, SPOT started with the loud rattle of hydraulic lifters drained by three weeks of idleness aided by nearly 200,000 miles of wear. We rode to the favourite field we had played fetch in so many times - but instead of throwing a stick I pressed the .40 calibre pistol in his ear and bid him goodbye with a pull of the trigger. He never knew what hit him.

Now, what do I do with my wrecked Porsche?

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