Ever since I was a boy, I’ve always had a habit of naming things (pets mostly, as well as the first car that my family in Bandung bought years and years ago) and even giving alternative names to my friends. The more I know my friends, the more names I can bestow. It’s quite normal for me to call one person with multiple alternative names that I alone know the reason behind each name. 😀 So when I finally bought our own car, the 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser Limited – I started to think about a name that I could call “him”.
Although many people refer to their cars using a feminine pronoun, it seems wrong to consider PT Cruiser feminine. Its boxy body and its retro style suggest refined blokey-ness to me. As I bought the car with the proceed of the sale of the shares that I received while working at Adelaide Bank, I toyed with the idea of calling it with a variant of the name – again, all of the possibilities are very feminine: Delia, Della, Lady – urgh. :sick: So for the time being, I referred to my car as my “Big Fat Blue” – which is playful and descriptive, but not very imaginative.
The name “Burt” has somehow appeared and sprung to my mind – the name suggests an older era in America, and popularised by Burt Lancaster and Burt Reynolds. I did my research and found that it’s actually a shortened version of Burton, an Old English name that was popular in late 19th century and early 20th century. It means ‘fortified settlement’ and it certainly fits my boxy PT Cruiser pretty well. Haha.
So how did I find Burt?
Well, if you have been reading my blog for a while – or known me for a while – you’d have known that I have been obsessed with PT Cruiser for a while. After I bit the bullet and learned to drive last year, I started looking for a car in earnest when I finally passed the driving test. Many suggested that I should buy a Japanese car, as it would be common and economical. However, my heart was already enamoured by the retro-looking PT Cruiser. Yani was initially against the car as she didn’t appreciate the retro look too much but towards the end, she has warmed up to it. So when I found that there was a blue PT Cruiser for sale earlier last month, I kept on looking at it and checking the website. It has leather seats, leather steering wheel – it just looks reeeeal fine. The mileage is also very low compared to its age: 97,000km for a 2001 car. My pastor – who knows a lot about cars – gives me a rule of thumb that I should multiply 15,000kms for each year to see whether the car has been overused or not. So using that formula, this car is certainly a great find!
Then it happened – the seller dropped the price by $1,000. I quickly consulted Yani and then called my pastor to ask for his opinion. I sent the seller an email – apparently the car belonged to his stepmum (his dad’s wife – as he called her) and that his dad just wanted to quickly sell it. I arranged to have a look with Ps. Toming and he commented that the car was in a great condition although it had some issue with the wheel realignment. The vendor agreed and he said that because the tires needed to be changed, the wheels would be realigned when the tires were changed. All of these would be included in the sale price, plus three months’ registration – or I could have it a further $800 off if I wanted to change the tires and have the wheels realigned myself.
I went home and ummed and errred about getting the car. I liked the car already – which was dangerous, as I had to be able to assess the situation objectively. It’s a major purchase! So I sent an email making an offer of $500 less than the original price, but still with the tires changed, wheels realigned and three months’ registration. He commented that his dad would only be willing to offer a $200 discount and that there were other buyers who wanted to have a look.
I was so tempted to give him a call and just go ahead with the purchase, but my pastor told me not to. 🙂 He said that I would get the car, I just needed to be patient. In the meantime, he also did some research in the timing belt replacement as he initially thought that the timing belt would need to be replaced soon. He said that the cost involved should be considered as well.
With the weekend coming, I know that there would be more buyers who would check the car and I was getting antsy … and then I got an email from the vendor who said that he also received the same offer from a different prospective buyer and because I was the first one who made the offer, he wanted to ask me first. Of course I said YES! 😀 [which made Yani a tad upset as I didn’t consult her for this decision … hahaha!]
The vendor very kindly waited as well as I asked for more time for me to get the fund sorted, as it took three business days after I sold the shares, for the fund to be settled. Thankfully I could get a good price for the shares – phew! I initially wanted to keep the shares for the future … but I need the fund now, so I thought I could slowly rebuild my share portfolio if needed.
So, a week later with a bank cheque I went over to the vendor’s house again with my pastor and two of my friends (as I still haven’t fulfilled the ten hours of night driving, I am still legally still an L-plater and need to be accompanied by a full licence driver when I am behind the wheel). The tires had been replaced, the wheels had been realigned and he was good to go. 🙂 So, I drove him to his new home with the pastor sitting next to me to supervise my driving, while my friends took the pastor’s car.
I have since done four hours of night driving (including that trip home from the vendor’s house) – with six more to go, I would then ‘graduate’ to a Provisional Driver’s Licence and I can drive Burt on my own without having to be accompanied by a full licence driver.
I have received many comments ever since I posted Burt’s photo on my Facebook page. A lot of my friends are quite happy that I have found a car – at long last! The photo even managed to draw comments from friends who I didn’t normally hear any peep at all. 🙂 Some also said that it looked very handsome like a London cab while others said that I would look like a gangster with that kind of car. 🙂
At the moment, Burt is nicely parked in my driveway, looking very stately. After I clean up the garage, that would be his new home. 🙂