The Touroflovemobile

a.k.a. my car, a.k.a. a major reason I haven’t left yet. It really does need a cool name, though. It’s a Crown Victoria, so the ideal name would have something about Vic, and of course Love. But the name can’t be “The Love Vic” because that’s just stupid. It also seems like some kind of pun about “vehicle” could be done, but I’m drawing a blank. Any suggestions?

Anyway, here he is:

Vicmobile of Love?

1987 Ford Crown Victoria. The last year of this body style (and my personal favorite body style for this model ever). Some call them “grandpa cars,” some call them “boats”, and a friend once aptly called it “a couch with a V8.” Well, let me tell you something about grandpas: they know what’s up. I got this one from a grandpa — the original owner — with only 114K miles. (On the car, not the grandpa. He had much more.) He kept it garaged, gave it regular maintenance, and pretty much just drove it to the grocery store, so it’s in great shape.

“If it’s in great shape, what’s the holdup?” asks a nearby attractive girl. Well, attractive girl, my answer is “Where did you come from? May I date you?”

“No,” she replies. “I’m here as a narrative device.”

“Oh. I’ll answer your question then.”

My car, awesome as it is, has a few quirks which need to be unquirked. Also, in accordance with my Master Vehicular Plan, there are a few enhancements which need to be… er, enhanced.

What a huge engine bay! Parked in front, 2nd battery (of 3) charging.

Quirks to be Unquirked

  • Top on the list: the A/C doesn’t work. No way am I driving through Arizona in August with no A/C. The car is in the shop as we speak. Yes, I know we’re not actually speaking.
  • The cruise control is non-operational. It’s a broken cable. Sadly, shops are unable to procure this cable anymore. Looks like a trip to a junkyard is in order. Sadly, it looks like it is in order after my first Leaf.
  • That’s it! Thank you, previous-owner-grandpa, for keeping this car in such great shape.

Three quarters view, a.k.a. $0.75 view.

Enhancements According to the Master Vehicular Plan

    Car = cool.
    Car + computer = DRIVING EXCITEMENT.
    But seriously, why? Hmmm… I feel a sublist coming on!

    • The current sound system is a Clarion ARX-7170 system with a 12-disc changer in the trunk, and a 9-band programmable EQ/DSP under the front seat. But man, 12 CDs is totally not enough selection for a nationwide road trip. How about… 90GB of mp3’s? Yeah, that’s more like it.
    • What if I get lost? What if I miss a turn but don’t know it until I’ve driven half an hour in the wrong direction? (This has happened to me before, in Iowa.) How about… GPS navigation? Yeah!
    • How can I quickly and conveniently access the internet on the road? How about… a wireless a/b/g card with external antenna? Allowing you to access the internet from the touchscreen in your dash? In turn allowing you to access the weather, cheapest nearby gas stations, and check your IMAP email? Friggin’ sweet.

    Those are the main reasons for a carputer. Of course there are many more; for example, 1) it’s cool, 2) it’s awesome, and 3) it’s friggin’ sweet.

  • A component sound system.
    With a carputer, it doesn’t make much sense to use a head unit, particularly when you’re putting the touchscreen where the head unit goes. So, I figured I’d get an amp to take the signal from the carputer and drive the speakers. But I wasn’t going to buy any old crappy amp, and then I realized I couldn’t run a nice amp into the stock 1987 speakers. Sigh.

My old Crown Vic (yeah, that's me in high school)

Current dequirking progress: 15%. Probably jump up to 50% tomorrow when the shop calls and says “Hello? Is this Zach Brandon?” and then I say “Yes, that’s me” because it’s not worth it to correct him, and then he says “We have fixed your air conditioning for only $10!” and I say “Awesome!” And that will be that. Cruise cable has to wait.

Current carputer progress: 90%. Parts acquired. Computer assembled and tested on my dining room table. Power run from battery to under the seat. Head unit removed, climate controls relocated, screen mostly mounted. Left to do: install the computer itself. Wire everything together. Enjoy.

Current stereo system progress: 40%. Parts ordered. So far, other than the wires, only the amp has come in. And what a great amp it is.

“I want to know more about the awesome carputer and stereo stuff!” says the attractive girl. “I want to see pictures!”

“I could say the same about you,” I reply, winking.

Oh yeah, narrative device, right. I have deliberately not given many details about these things because they are awesome and deserve their own post.

NEXT POST: Carputer install, Part I.

For now, give me suggestions on the nickname of my car.