Reader Rides: A Lead-lined Chrysler 300, Grandma's Dodge 600 and Everything

Some days, joy comes by mail. Despite having missed the deadline for our last "reader rides" feature, a Michigan-based reader sent in an account of his many rides, all of which are awesome by degree. Without further ado, let's take a walk on the wild side with Bob, shall we?

I drive a 1970 Chrysler 300 two-door every day. Dark green faded to a greyish black by 30 years of abuse and misuse. And everyone in Pontiac seems to want it.

I'm working on fixing my 1968 Chrysler Town & Country, my first car, bought at 15. Currently rebuilding the front suspension at school. Today's excitement was removing 120 lbs of lead chunks from behind the front bumper, in a tray welded in place by the genius hillbilly previous owner, in an attempt to "lower" the front suspension. For a man who claimed to be a die-hard Moparite, it defies me how he didn't realize he could lower the car by turning a bolt in the lower control arm. Ah, the joys of torsion bars.

Wait, there are none!

Other than ride-height-on-demand. Tomorrow's excitement: calling metal scrap dealers to see who will give me the best price on lead! I need all the money I can get to fill the tank of "the tank."

I also own an '86 Dodge 600, which my grandmother made sure was saved for me. Nevermind that she stopped driving in 1996 and had been "saving it" in the street in front of her house in Hamtramck, where it had been hit by a forklift full of sausage being transported to the Kowalski warehouse down the street, the hood had been pried open by thieves looking to steal the already missing battery, a pack of rats had nested in the engine bay — and died there — and the floors and brake lines had entirely rusted away. (Oh, and the city towed it away and returned it twice.) It HAD to be saved for me. And now I'm obliged to dump hundreds of dollars into it to humor an 87 year old woman who can't walk. Oh joy. (I do love my grandmother- but it saddens me to piss away so much money, time, and effort for a rusted out K-car. If it still had floors, it'd be a different issue.)

And when my 300 is unplated and pissing off the city inspectors and my neighbors, the wagon is dangling on a lift at my school with no front suspension, and the 600 is rotting away on a side street in Hamtramck, I rock a 2001 Ford Econoline passenger van, a candy-apple-esque red and gold two-tone, now going on 140,000 miles with the ungodly-slow 4.2 V-6, which is apparently not even available on newer Econolines, for good reason. If the two-second throttle delay doesn't disturb you when pulling into traffic, the eight-second crawl from zero to 45 certainly will. To make it feel faster, I have written "Type R" and "VR-4" in the dirt on the rear doors near the E-150 badge. It all depends if I'm in a Honda or Mitsubishi mood.

And when I find the Econoline Type R far too fast for my tastes, I have bicycles. I'd point out a specific one, but there's too many. I lost count at 50. I should consider selling them. But what fun is selling things? It's far more entertaining to drown yourself and loved ones in random junk brought home from garage sales and antique stores. YAY!!! It's a damn good thing I'm broke, or I'd manage to get my ass in more trouble buying shit. Now that I've told you my life's story, you can hopefully go back and pick out what vehicles I drive for your survey. Good luck with that.

— Bob J.