We Sold The Silver Surfer

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Published on: 2016.11.26


The first two photos I made of our Silver Surfer
(Copyright © 2007 by Wil C. Fry.)

Today, I said my final farewell to our 2000 Mercury Sable LS, which I’ve owned longer than any other car.

On one hand, I think it’s strange to develop an emotional attachment to a piece of technology — a complex system of interlocking smaller systems that’s basically just a glorified wheeled cart. On the other hand, it’s difficult not to have such an attachment to something that’s been an integral part of our lives for so long. It’s been in our lives through most of our marriage, and through the entirety of my children’s lives.

Just one year into our marriage, my wife and I bought it on June 15, 2007, paying $5,699 at Hudiberg in Midwest City. Our salesperson was a young man named Lance, who didn’t even know the car was an LS instead of a GS (oddly, it still says “GS” on the rear nameplate, but clearly has features that are only available in LS models), didn’t know it had a six-disc CD changer hidden in the console, and tried to add to the price in exchange for our trade-in car — an offer we did not accept.

The car had 117,732 miles on the odometer, yet Lance assured us that it had only one previous owner, an old lady who drove it only to church on Sundays. Oddly, every single used car I’ve ever bought had only one previous owner, an old lady who drove it only to church on Sundays. Every single one — according to various salesmen over the years.

Despite having a “few” problems over the years, it remains the nicest car I’ve ever owned — leather interior, digital climate control, electric seat adjustment, electric windows and locks, integrated alarm, fog lights, push-button cruise control with precise speed monitoring, six-disc CD changer plus tape deck, roomy trunk, foldout cup holders in the back, separate A/C vents in the rear seat, keyless entry, and more.


The Sable sits between the Neon and Park Avenue, just after it was recovered from a theft.
(Copyright © 2010 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

Its problems, which were many rather than few, were almost always odd problems. For example, it “coughed” a lot during a rainstorm the first week I owned it. It turned out to be missing a seal between the engine and the bottom of the windshield, so water was running straight down into the engine. I was able to fix that myself. The vehicle’s on-board computer told the mechanic that it was a Cadillac. Another time, it told a different mechanic that it was a Dodge Ram pickup. This was understandably disconcerting. One of the flasher circuits went out several times over the years, but always fixed itself just as I bought a replacement flasher unit. I never actually had to replace it. It was supposed to have an 18-gallon fuel tank (and that number was actually imprinted on the tank), but it never used more than 14 gallons before running out. When we lived in Oklahoma, the front left tire always had a slow leak — even after we rotated the tires, it was always the front left one with this issue. After we moved to Texas, it switched to the right front tire always having a slow leak. The rear tires were always fine. In 2008, a softball went through the windshield. In late 2009, it was stolen — we got it back in 2010.

But these were spread out over nine years of ownership, and the car was very rarely out of commission.


My wife checks for cell phone reception in the Carlsbad Caverns parking lot, with the Silver Surfer just behind her
(Copyright © 2010 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

It was a year ago (2015.11.03) when the Silver Surfer (as my wife and I had occasionally referred to it) finally began to be more trouble than it was worth. On that day, it quit on me while I was donating at Goodwill. After having it towed to the house, we decided to let it sit or try to sell it. We changed our minds late in December and decided to get her fixed — it turned out to be a fuel pump, “sending unit”, and EGR pressure sensor, which came to about $900. The sending unit was defective, so it was replaced again for free. All seemed to be fine as 2016 began.

That lasted until Feb. 18, 2016. That was the day it sprung a radiator leak — just days after renewing the inspection and registration. We decided we’d spent too much already, and this turned out to be our final decision. For most of 2016, the Sable sat at our curb in front of our house, guarding the spot.

This car has connected several other cars we’ve owned, including the 1993 Chevy Corsica it replaced (sold in 2007), its friend and partner 1991 Buick Park Avenue (sold in 2010), the 2003 Dodge Neon SE (my wife’s commuter car), and now the 2008 Kia Sedona LX. I didn’t put a terrible lot of miles on it; today its odometer read 168,821 before I waved a final goodbye to it. But it took us a lot of places.

My children have always known it as “Daddy’s car”. Today, after the buyer left with it, my three-year-old son asked: “Daddy, where your gray car?” I told him, “I don’t have one anymore; we just sold it.” He said: “That’s SO sad.”

And I had to agree with him.

__________

Hundreds of my images include this car over the past nine years, but here are a few more that seemed relevant:


My daughter, playing with the cruise control buttons
(Copyright © 2012 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


My son, pretending to drive
(Copyright © 2014 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


At Granny Fry’s house, as four inches of snow fell in just two hours
(Copyright © 2007 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


The first snow at our new house in Killeen
(Copyright © 2011 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)


My wife and I, driving somewhere all dressed up.
(Copyright © 2007 by Wil C. Fry. Some rights reserved.)

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