After a brief visit with my doctor, Tom, the O’Reilly Auto Parts clerk, I’ve learned that living alone in a small house in Suburban Detroit with only nine cars to keep me company may not be particularly healthy. “Talking to your machines isn’t bad. It’s when they talk back that you should be worried,” he told me. Well, they’ve been talking back (especially my green XJ), so this New Year, something must change.
As I declared last month, nine cars is too many cars. So I’ve made some New Year’s “wrencholutions” to fix that. But first, this stupid wrencholutions term that I made up reminded me that I’d made a few promises before, so I dove into Jalopnik’s archives and found the 2016 article titled My New Years Wrencholutions: Sell Some Jeeps and Fix The Rest.
At the time I wrote that post, I owned five cars (which would later lead me to write this embarrassing article in which I discussed being stranded in a cold department store parking lot later that winter). Here’s what the fleet looked like three years ago, per my younger and perhaps wiser self:
As you might recall, I currently own five automobiles. I’ve got a ‘92 Jeep XJ with a blown up engine, a ‘95 rust-bucket Moab-bound XJ, a pristine ‘96 manual XJ, a 1985 Jeep J10 with a blown transmission and the most unreliable Honda in the world (a 1995 Accord).
My plan then was to ditch the Honda, the 1995 Jeep XJ (after the Moab trip), and the white ’96 XJ, using the funds from the latter sale to finance wrenching operations on my 1985 Jeep J10 and my 1992 Jeep Cherokee. “In the end, I’ll only have two cars and my biggest issue will be figuring out how to prevent myself from relapsing on Craigslist,” I wrote, keen on turning my life around.
But oh how far I’ve fallen. Since early 2016, I have picked up eight additional cars, including my brother’s 1966 Mustang, a 1979 Jeep Cherokee Golden Eagle, a 1948 Willys CJ-2A, a 1976 Jeep DJ-5D Dispatcher postal carrier, a 1991 Jeep Cherokee, a 1986 Jeep Grand Wagoneer that I sold, and—inexplicably—a $1 Oldsmobile Alero that I traded for a totaled 2003 Kia Rio.
On the plus side, I did sell that white manual XJ, as well as the piece-of-crap Accord, though I kept the ’95 XJ on as a winter beater after it kicked so much butt at Moab. I also did end up fixing my ’92 Jeep Cherokee’s blown up engine, though the Jeep J10 pickup has remained in my backyard with a broken transmission for over three years. That’s a net gain of four vehicles in the past three years.
With the new year under way, perhaps I can make some smart changes, here. The Rio’s got to go, and so does my electrical gremlin-infected 1995 Jeep Cherokee. I’m going to find grand ways to get rid of those machines, because—if we’re honest—nobody who isn’t a junkyard operator is buying those from me, so I may as well have some fun with them. That’ll bring me down to seven cars. I’ll have no choice but to keep the postal carrier as my winter car, since I don’t want to rot out the rest of my fleet. That will leave me with it, two XJs, a J10, a Cherokee Golden Eagle, and the Willys. Only six of my own cars, plus my brother’s Mustang. That seams reasonable-ish, right?
Towards the end of the year, I want to buy something different. Something with a nontraditional engine that I can tear apart—perhaps a first-generation Mazda RX-7? Who knows. I keep talking about this; maybe it’s time to just do it—if I can find one cheap enough.
But in the near term, I’m focusing on two vehicles: my postal Jeep, which needs wrenching help from the car gods themselves if it has any chance of getting 1,700 miles to Utah, and my J10, whose transmission I’m rebuilding in my kitchen right now, and which I had promised for many years that I’d fix up.
Those are the plans right now. In three years, I’ll reflect back on them; But I pray to god I haven’t gained another four cars. I must remain in the single-digits, because right now, my cars just won’t shut up.
What do you think about my plans? Let’s hear some of your New Year’s wrencholutions.