Buying a convertible is a common symptom of the mid-life crisis. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe brings you a trophy-winner to go along with a trophy wife.
A big Buick proved your kryptonite yesterday, with a strong 72% of you getting a weak in the knees over Lana's Cruiser. Today, we're revisiting droptoptopia with a convertible K-car from the ram brand, that may just make you reevaluate your life plan.
Four door sedan, sport coupe, minivan, two-plus-two convertible, fauxerati; about the model Chrysler didn't offer on the K-car platform was anal probe - and that was despite how crappy many of them were.
This '85 600 is the mid-size Dodge of its time, although, while the four door possessed an extended wheelbase over its 400 progenitor, the convertible maintained the same 103 inches between the axles as the 400 for a somewhat stunted appearance.
But appearances may be deceiving, and there's no deceiving that this car is claimed to be a trophy winner. Looking at the few, grainy Craigslist shots, it's hard to tell what it is about this 600 that is particularly admirable. Perhaps it won for Best use of Faux Wire Wheel Covers or maybe it was Most Beige Interior. Another category where it could have been a contender is Most heavily oxidized engine block.
Speaking of that crusty cast iron 2.2 under the questionably aligned hood, you'll note that bolted to it isn't one of the gazillion turbos that Chrysler pooped out in the ‘80s, like so many Time Life CD collections. That means that the 3-speed slusher only has 94 bhp to sap before passing anything on to the spindly front tires.
That'll keep torque steer at bay, but also a lot of the fun. And who doesn't want fun? Fun is why you buy a convertible. It's what you realize you have been missing when you reach a certain age. Fun is what you're looking for when you dump your menopausal spouse, and take up with the daughter of your golfing buddy, whose house you're not allowed in any more. You have to sneak around, and you can't eat at any of your favorite restaurants any longer, but driving the 600 makes that not matter.
It's still fun, because you get to relive your youth in it- like making out in the back seat, even though the 600 is pretty damn narrow, and hell, you still have your Amex, so why not just go to a motel so you can watch Larry King afterwards, plus your back isn't what it used to be, and these cheesy flat seats aren't helping it any. And why is she looking for someplace to plug her cell phone - or whatever it - is into the radio so she can play you some new Emmy Em crap or whatever angry noise she listens too - she knows you've got two perfectly good Tony Bennett cassettes in the glovebox.
But then, you're driving the 600, and the top is down and she's there beside you, her long hair blowing in the wind, and caressing her sweet face. The sun is dappling through the trees above you and she's squeezing your thigh, pushing to go faster, and you're hoping she'll squeeze a little higher and are afraid to tell her that you can't go faster, that there's a shimmy above this speed that makes the whole car shake like a dog crapping a peach pit, but you can't bring yourself to explain it all to her, to end the charade in which she plays the lead role.
Her smile begins to fade, and she runs her hand through her hair, brushing it back and off of her face, and lets out a disappointed sigh. You realize that this may be the end, and decide, right then and there, with your hands griping the thin, plastic steering wheel, that you're ready for a new chapter in your life.
The Dodge was the first page of it, an expression of your youth in white metal and beige vinyl, and now she would fill the remaining pages. She, with her freckled nose and carefree disregard for who sees her underwear when she bends over, would fill the empty spot in both your heart and your bed that had once been the possession of your wife, until she kicked you out of the house and hired that bug-eyed lawyer that wanted everything but the Dodge, seemingly feeling letting you keep it was some kind of further punishment.
And so you ask her to marry you, and she says yes, that you could try that for a while, and you do bury the pedal and the shimmy gets so bad that you break a hemorrhoid, so that when the big day comes you have to kind of limp down the aisle. Nobody from her family attends, and neither do your kids, but your ex-wife's lawyer is there, punching numbers into a small calculator, and counting place settings. Two weeks later, you get a letter from him demanding expanded alimony payments for your ex, based on your demonstrated ability by having served the rack of lamb at the reception rather than the vegan casserole your new bride had wanted.
Adding insult to injury, your honeymoon has to be cut short when the 600 gives up the ghost on the freeway while heading to the airport. Your new wife calls a friend who picks her up in his BMW, leaving you to deal with the tow truck. It takes you 3 hours to get the car to a shop that is willing to even look at it, and then take a taxi home. When you get there, the apartment is dark and your wife is no where to be found.
Four hours later the BMW's headlights swing across the living room window and you wait for the sound of a car door slam. You're almost ready to bust open the front door when that sound finally comes, and your new bride comes inside smelling of cigarettes and absinthe. She says she's tired and, avoiding your eyes, heads up to bed. Your knees go weak, and you sit down hard on the stairs. Your hand falls to your side and comes up with a stack of paper- today's mail. There's another letter from the lawyer, one addressed to "Immature Asshat" in your daughter's handwriting, and the Amex bill, which feels particularly fat. You stare at it, and wonder, at what point, your life went so terribly wrong?
And you, still in your narcissistic haze, zero in on the purchase of the Dodge. That was the start of your downward spiral into a fundamental depression. And so you tear open the Amex bill, and there, at the very top, like the initial waypoint on your roadmap of failure, is the $15,000 charge for the 600. You crumple the bill in your hands, and begin to sob uncontrollably. If only you could turn back the hands of time, and had known then what you know now.
Before you slide down this slippery slope, the Dodge needs your vote. Is $15,000 a Nice Price for this trophy-winning home wrecker? Or is that price more Crack Pipe than you'd need to smoke to let this story happen to you?