I got my second car (but first "real" car) last October - a 1992 Bonneville SE. I immediately fell in love with it. It was plenty fast (my previous car was a Ford Tempo
), and was comfortable
. I often drive between College Station and San Antonio (about 170 miles) to visit family and friends, and I've been to Austin and Houston a few times as well. Even the "base model" SE had very comfortable seats; I never once found my back to be hurting during a long trip. Not so with the old Tempo, nor even my brother'* Camaro that I've been driving around for the last few weeks...
Anyways, my friends all loved the car too, mostly because so many of them could fit comfortably in there at once.
As luck would have it, we (myself and four friends) were piled into the Bonneville and going out to eat on August 12. We were less than a block away from our destination, when I was at a traffic light, about to make a left turn onto an access road, and the light had just turned green. Then out of nowhere, there was an impact from behind, and pretty hard too. It sent me through the intersection (luckily there was no cross traffic, and I hadn't yet turned my wheel and been sent into the opposing cars...), the faceplate from my CD player flew off, and the glove compartment popped open, the latch having been broken. So after confirming we were all unhurt and pulling over, I got out and looked at my car...the poor thing. Basically, the trunk was very deformed, the rear was riding noticeably lower, and the right rear door would no longer open at all. Long story short, there was frame damage and (obviously) suspension damage and other such things...repairs were estimated at $6000, so obviously the insurance company considered it a total loss. I got $2500 from the other guy'* insurance company within about two weeks without too much trouble, since obviously it was his fault.
Here'* a pic of the poor Bonne after that day:
So, after that, and with some other money I had as well, I set out looking for a nicer Bonneville, an SSEi if at all possible. The only problem was....there didn't really seem to be any, and most of the ones I did
find in my price range were way too far away to be practical. I did find two in San Antonio (where I'm from) - one '93 SSEi that would have been quite nice...in fact, so nice that the owner (who is also a member here) decided not to sell it since he liked it so much! The other was a '94 SSEi that was supposedly in good condition, but had 197,500 miles on it. While I'm pretty convinced of the reliability of these engines....that just didn't sit too well with me.
So almost out of nowhere, I find a listing online (pulled from newspaper classifieds) for a 1994 SSEi for only $2000! Strangely enough, I had actually run across the same car before in a listing, but the price was $2500. As it turns out, the guy who was selling it, had already bought another car for his wife and didn't really need the SSEi anymore. So, I contact the seller and ask some questions about the car and its condition, and it sounds really great - only 112,000 miles, very few minor problems. The car was in Fort Worth though, and that'* about 180 miles from where I am right now in College Station.
I decided to drive up on Friday and take a look at the car, and it looked better than I could have even imagined. The paint/exterior was still shiny almost as if new. The car is fully loaded - HUD, sunroof, leather power seats, auto climate control, etc. And they all work great, with a few minor exceptions. Most notably, the light bulbs that illuminate the gauges will need to be replaced (shouldn't be too difficult, I imagine), and there is a vacuum hose that'* either cracked or disconnected for the air conditioning - it only blows through the defroster and bottom vents at the moment. I'd had the same problem on the '92 SE last year though, and it was nothing big either. I'll probably go ahead and replace the seat controls too, since the ones in the car are a little difficult to move (apparently the seller'* son spilled a soda right there
). I'm not entirely sure that the lumbar adjustments work for the driver'* seat, but they seem to work just fine on the passenger side. Even if the new controls don't fix that too, it'* no big deal and I can work on it at a later time.
I of course drove it around for a bit....and let'* just say, it was better than I was expecting! Acceleration was very effortless and fast, and the brakes were very very powerful too. I was basically sold on the car as soon as I pulled up and saw it, but driving it a bit just sealed the deal in my mind. So, a mechanic is looking over the car to make sure there are no major hidden problems, and pending the OK from him, I'll probably be going back up to buy it and drive it back this Tuesday!
I went ahead and left the guy a $100 deposit in anticipation of buying the car (since apparently he'd had two potential buyers back out of it, and he wanted to sell it). I can still back out of it if (God forbid) there turns out to be anything wrong with the car that can't be fixed without too much trouble. But the driving was as smooth as can be, and at this point it looks like I'm going to get a hell of a deal on this car. Not bad for being the only SSEi in Texas (that I've been able to find) in my price range and in great condition!
Oh, and probably the best part....as I was writing the check, a couple showed up and started to look at the Bonne with interest in buying it. The seller had to tell them the bad news, that I'd gotten to it first.
Apparently they'd come down from Oklahoma City, but that'* actually probably closer to Fort Worth than College Station is.... :P
In any case, this post wouldn't be complete without a pic of the car:
Thanks for reading, if you've gotten this far... I suppose I just wanted to brag about my hopefully soon-to-be SSEi