149,311 Goodbye Golden Car

We got our Saturn 10 days before September 11, 2001. Saturn was a revolutionary company at the time.

Their slogan was:

A Different Kind of Car Company. A Different Kind of Car.

And it was.

It was the no-haggle car company. You paid the same price as anybody else who purchased a Saturn. It was supposed to be the American answer to the Japanese competition. They built them differently. The plant was all new.

The doors and side-body panels were made of polymer instead of steel. This made the car lighter in weight which gave it better gas mileage. But even better was that the entire outside of the car was like one giant bumper. So your car didn’t suffer the normal dings and dents in parking lots. And rust was never an issue for the panels.

My 2002 coupe had a cool little side-door that opened backwards— a “third door,” they called it. It made life about 1000 times easier when my daughter was a baby. It was super easy to get the car seat in and out. The leather seats made it easier to clean up vomit. No need to cave and purchase a mom-car. We were even able to fit a large TV in the car one time because of the cavernous space created if both the regular car door and mini car door were opened at the same time.

We almost drove it all the way to Chicago in the days after September 11. We were supposed to fly on the 14th for my cousin’s wedding. But flights were cancelled. Rescheduled. Cancelled.  Along with all the sorrow of the disaster and the joy that I looked forward to at my cousin’s wedding, I was worried about driving my brand new car the more than 700 miles to Chicago. We scored train tickets. The car would go on to last for many many miles.

It was the most reliable car I’d owned.

But recent years were not as kind.

Perhaps because my Saturn was lower to the ground and less visible than all the SUVs around here or because so many drivers are distracted these days, other drivers kept crashing into me. Rather, into my Saturn. Stop lights. Parking lots. Somehow, drivers managed to hit me in ways and at times that I could not avoid.

Then the basic repairs started coming. Nothing that wouldn’t be expected from a car pushing 150,000 miles. But it adds up.

It was time.

Thanks for carrying our family so far!

Good bye.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. eve1ynaster
    Aug 31, 2015 @ 23:55:08

    I always wanted one of these, but it was out of my price range when I was first looking. And then they were out of business 😦


  2. alightningbug
    Sep 02, 2015 @ 08:49:57

    I’m not sure that we could really afford it either. We had the dealership remove some of the extras like the better radio and wheels. We liked the sunroof! I still love sunroofs. And it had side-curtain air bags which were new at the time. The polymer doors and side panels were awesome. I was glad to have owned my Saturn. It really was different in so many ways. And I loved the shape of the car. I would have liked to have kept it, but didn’t want to deal with repairs or county taxes or insurance on it anymore. That gets expensive.

    You can buy a used one cheap now. 🙂

    (But parts are getting harder & harder to find.)

    I wasn’t really sure we could afford a new new car this time around either, but the new model we ended up with had so many extras and the older model wasn’t that much cheaper. The new one had better safety ratings and more stringent tests. That’s a huge thing to me especially since we tend to get smaller cars.


  3. Julie
    Sep 02, 2015 @ 16:58:00

    Awwwww, I know exactly how you feel, from when I had to let my Saturn go. It really was a great car, and I miss the great gas mileage. It took me on some pretty great trips. It didn’t take long for my new car’s doors to get all banged up, between the huge SUV’s and the narrow parking spaces. But I bet you’ll have a great time tooling around in your new car.


  4. alightningbug
    Sep 04, 2015 @ 09:07:33

    By the way, we didn’t have them remove the wheels when we purchased our SC2. (Rereading what I wrote, above.) We had them swap out the premium wheels for the standard wheels. So, while we had an SC2, we kind of had them remove all the “upgrades” except for the sunroof and leather seats. Plus I think the engine was a more powerful engine. And I think the side-curtain airbags came with the SC2, but not the SC1.

    Anyway, I am having a hard time with saying goodbye to the Saturn.

    But I am still completely enjoying the new car, and it gets great gas mileage too. Plus bluetooth is pretty awesome! And stuff. Just trying to figure out if I’ll try to keep my plates or get new…


  5. Russel Ray Photos
    Sep 18, 2015 @ 21:25:47

    Oh I so totally understand those basic repairs that started adding up. My 2002 Toyota Camry finally gave up the ghost after 254,000 miles. I’m not really sure why I kept hanging on to it with all the monthly basic repairs.

    I was looking at any and all cars that got good gas mileage, defined as 30 mpg or better. I wound up with a 2015 Toyota Corolla mainly because of their Toyota Care. It’s a car care package devised and brought to market by Toyota (according to them, of course). Along with the 29/38 mileage, we get free basic maintenance–oil changes, tire rotations, checkups, towing, and roadside assistance. So after 39 years with AAA, they are getting canceled.


    • alightningbug
      Sep 26, 2015 @ 16:10:53

      Nice deal, Russel! I might have purchased a Corolla — loved the rental I drove. But I was set on something with a hatchback, so I could more easily fit cargo and large items like pinball machines if & when the need came up. So I am now driving a Honda Fit. I was tempted by SUVs and even a Kia Soul, but the gas mileage and low cost of upkeep (I hope) pushed me into a Fit. I’m having fun with it! (Might cancel my AAA too.) It’s nice to have it this weekend as I continue to help my mom move …


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: