New Car – Part 3

1986

I was working at Midlantic Union Trust Bank in Wildwood. Life was good. I had resigned to the world of the rat race. Short hair, and suit and tie every day. I looked good back then, and was making my way.

That’s me at my sister, Janice’s wedding. (Sup, ladies…)

One Sunday, I was driving out somewhere in the Villas just taking a drive and listening to my cassettes in the stereo. I was traveling north and it had been raining and the road was a little wet.

From the left at an intersection a green sedan pulled out. A Cadillac traveling south that was going to fast, swerved into my lane and struck my Subaru head on. I tried to pull away to the right, to deflect the impact but she slammed right into me. She had lost control and skidded right into the oncoming lane.

It all happened so fast. But then because your mind goes into hyperdrive, everything starts to move in slow motion. I saw as the woman fell sideways down on the seat in her Caddy.

I looked over at the passenger seat beside me. The cigarette that I was smoking was sitting on the cushion. I quickly snatched it up and put it in the ashtray. (Funny what you do when you’re on auto pilot.)

The cassette in the stereo continued to play as all the lights came on and the motor quit. It was the song, Critical Mass from Aerosmith’s 1978 album, Draw the Line. (Oh, the irony)

I couldn’t get out of my door, because it was jammed shut. I unhooked the seatbelt from across my hips. I then crawled out across the seats to the passenger door which I was able to open. I got out of the car, and felt like the wind was knocked out of me from the impact. I was also in a bit of a daze. I remember spitting out blood, but that was from when my tongue had jammed into my teeth and was cut on either side.

I slowly walked around the front of the car and the entire front end was destroyed. Radiator fluid poured from the wounded vehicle. I uttered the following words:

“Damn… I only had six more payments.”

Some people ran towards me saying they had seen the whole thing and it was all the Cadillac’s fault. Of course it was. I was just cruising along in my own lane when that woman came crashing into me.

Dazed, I walked across the street. (Left the scene of the accident) I went into a gas station and used the payphone. I called my dad and told him what happened, where I was and asked that he come out and get me. I had never been in a car accident before.

I hung up and returned to the scene of the accident. By then the police were there and I told them I was the driver of the Subaru. They interviewed me and the witnesses. An ambulance arrived and took the lady in the Cadillac to the hospital.

A wrecker came and moved the cars off the road. My XT coupe sat in the parking lot of the gas station where I had placed the call to my dad.

My father arrived and was glad I was okay. He said that when I called he had been taking a nap, and stated that when told him I had been in a traffic accident he thought he was dreaming. Odd, but here he was within a half hour. I remember him saying he originally didn’t think the accident had been that bad because I looked fine. But then he walked over to my car and looked at the front of it, he was surprised I wasn’t in worse shape than I was.

Another ambulance arrived, and at the recommendation of the police and my father, I let them take me to the hospital. I remember them affixing a support frame around my head and neck and putting me on a stretcher and placing me in the ambulance.

I was securely strapped in and off we went to Burdett Tomlin Hospital in Cape May Court House. I felt okay, but was having a bit of anxiety strapped to a gurney in the back of a van looking out the back windows as the sky and treetops went by.

When we got there they checked me out. I had been wearing a t-shirt, a flannel button down and a thick black peacoat. That’s three layers of clothing. I had been hit so hard that through all of that I had the beginnings of a yellow bruise on my chest from the impact. The seatbelt that went across my lap, had cut through my jeans and I had lacerations across both of my hips. (Right through my pants!) The cuts on either side of my tongue were minor and no longer bled. They checked all my vitals, and after some chatting and joking with the nurses, I was released to the custody of my dad.

He reiterated that he didn’t think it was that bad of an accident until he saw how badly damaged the front of my car was.

“After seeing that son, I will never drive a car again without wearing a seatbelt. I know now it saved your life.”

No one wore seatbelts back in the sixties and seventies. Some cars didn’t even have them! But after that day I never saw my dad drive without wearing one. So, good things can rise from the bad events in our lives.

The only after effects from the accident were, feeling a little dazed for a couple of days after the event, and a sore neck. I did notice that for a few weeks after the accident when I did drive a car, I was a little nervous and a bit more cautious when approaching an intersection.

The insurance came through after the usual nonsense and they had deemed the car undrivable. They settled, and the car was totaled.

I went back to the dealership, and got another XT just like it. It was identical to my former fallen steed. But you know what? It was never the same. It was simply a replacement to my first love. It was as if someone I loved had passed away and I got a girl that looked just like her, but it just wasn’t her. Make sense?

I drove that XT for many years after that, but eventually traded it in for  a’94 green emerald pearl, Toyota Camry. I was married and it was nice to have a big spacious car with air conditioning.

I’ve owned several cars after that, but I’ll never forget my first New Car.

The days when I was the one with the coolest car in town.

On a final note…

Here’s a shot of the last great car I owned and loved. A Mazda Millenia!

Check out those vanity plates!

I had a girlfriend named Kate that I was in love with at the time. She was my first muse and inspiration for Angel with a Broken Wing.

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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New Car – Part 1

When I got back from California in 1984 the VW minibus was on it’s last legs. (Or wheels!) After 14 years of loyal service to my family it was put out to pasture. It had been with us since 1970 when my sister Gabrielle was born. We went everywhere in the van, and it passed from my dad, to Janice and then me.  We had a lot of great memories in the van, but it’s time was done.

1969 Volkswagen Minibus – 1969 to 1984 – Part 1

1969 Volkswagen Minibus – 1969 to 1984 – Part 2

My dad hooked me up with a vehicle to get around in now that I was back in New Jersey.  It was a German built Ford called the Fiesta, that was built to compete with the popular VW Rabbit at the time.

It was a weird green color with a brown interior.

I liked that little car. The Fiesta got great gas mileage and served its purpose to get me back and forth to my job at Home Video Centers in Northfield, New Jersey. (Even though it looked like a granny smith apple.)

I drove that car for a couple of years, until it too began to fail. I wanted to pick out my own car and make the payments. I had saved a little money for a down payment on a car, and wanted something cool. I talked to my dad about it, and having a job but no credit, he agreed to co-sign on the loan for me.

After some thought, I decided on this.

The Suburu XT Coupe.

The Subaru XT was a 2-door coupé that was produced from 1985 to 1991. The XT was sold as the Alcyone in Japan, the Vortex in Australia and New Zealand, and the XT (with the EA-82 four-cylinder engine) or XT6 (with the ER-27 six-cylinder engine) in North America and Europe. All were available in front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, depending on the year.

The Subaru XT was launched in February 1985 in the American market, followed by a June debut in Japan. The Alcyone name comes from the brightest star in the Pleiades star cluster, on which the Subaru logo is based. The XT range was replaced by the Subaru SVX in 1992.

XT series 

By the time the XT was launched, Subaru had already produced vehicles with very different styling compared to other vehicles of the time period. The XT, first introduced in February 1985 in the United States (June 1985 in Japan), was a wedged-shaped departure from the 1970s-influenced curves of the previous models, aimed directly at the styles emerging in the 1980s. The XT Turbo 4WD made its European debut at the March 1985 Geneva Motor Show. When introduced, the New York Times called it “the ultimate in jazzy design”, in contrast to Subaru’s older “cheap and ugly” offerings. The XT was the first Subaru to stray from earlier models that offered a practical application, in that the XT wasn’t designed to carry loads or for commercial uses. The 2.7-litre flat-six sold in Japan was the first Subaru to exceed government engine displacement regulations due to the engine being over 2000 cc, and as such was regarded as a luxury vehicle. It also obligated an elevated annual road tax due to the engine’s size.

Aerodynamics

The extreme wedge body shape was possible due to the engine’s flat horizontally opposed cylinder layout shared by all Subarus. Extensive wind tunnel testing was used to lower wind resistance and even “aircraft type” door handles were used that were totally flush with the outside of the door. To open the door, it was required to push a hinged panel out of the release mechanism’s opening. There is one 22 inch windshield wiper, when not in use tucks under the hood, and rubber spoilers before each wheel well opening doubled as “mud guards” but really acted to direct airflow smoothly past the tires and wheels. The result was one of the most aerodynamic production cars of its time with a coefficient of drag or Cd. of 0.29, improved fuel economy, and a quieter ride due to reduced amounts of wind noise.

Aircraft-inspired cockpit

The inside of the car had many aircraft-like features such as pod mounted lighting, climate control and wiper controls. The standard tilting-telescoping steering moved the instrument panel to keep it lined up with the steering column when tilting. The shifter was joystick-shaped and had a thumb trigger interlock and “on-demand” four-wheel drive button. The approach to steering wheel adjustment was also seen in the Isuzu Piazza and the Ford Probe introduced earlier in the 1980s. Turbo models featured a sort of artificial horizon orange backlit liquid crystal instrument display with the tachometer, boost indicator, temperature and fuel gauges seen as three-dimensional graphs tilting back out to the horizon. The aircraft cockpit approach reflected influences from Subaru’s parent company Fuji Heavy Industries, which also manufactured aircraft, such as the Fuji FA200 Aero Subaru.

The XT was loaded with features rarely found on small cars, such as a turbocharger, a computer-controlled engine and transmission, adjustable height suspension and an optional digital instrument cluster. The air suspension was inspired by various manufacturers who used Hydro-pneumatic suspension, such as Citroën, and Mercedes-Benz. The XT also had some features found on few other cars, such as an electronic in-dash trip computer, retractable flaps covering the door handles, and a single wiper blade for the entire windscreen. Pass-through folding rear seats and racing style front seats were standard equipment.

While the XT was an interesting design exercise, it did little to grow Subaru’s sales. The company has seen much more widespread success in the significantly more mainstream Legacy, Legacy Outback and Impreza WRX models introduced in recent years.

More tomorrow!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

You can check out my books here: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

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Angel with a Broken Wing is Now on Sale at AMAZON

“What if you could just run away from your present life?”

I’ve been composing my first work of fiction.

It’s a romantic thriller, that takes the reader on a cross country odyssey across America.

A young gentleman meets a nice girl, and they decide to take a journey together.  Both wanting to escape their mundane lives.

What begins as an idyllic road trip, turns into a nightmare, as they discover they’re locked in a cross country, cat and mouse game with a mysterious stranger.

It’s a real corker of a story, so hopefully you’ll want to read it!

You can get it here:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

Buy Angel With A Broken Wing, Now on sale on Amazon!

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=charles+wiedenmann&ref=nb_sb_noss

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Phicklephilly Is Now A Dot Com!

Yesterday, I decided that after much research I should upgrade my wordpress account to a premium account.

For nearly four years, I’ve been writing phicklphilly on this platform. It’s been great. I started this blog in the summer of 2016 with a single post and hoped that I could stick with it.

So many times creative people start projects and never finish them. It’s sometimes hard for the creative mind to stay focused. The ideas are good, but the difficult part is bringing the body over with the mind.

My brain wants to be a writer, but the hard part is the actual writing. I think we can all relate to that. It’s like deciding to get in shape. You may say you’re going on a diet and starting a work out regimen, but getting the body to come along with that idea can be the major challenge.

So I paid the fee with some trepidation and navigated through the process. I wanted to monetize my site because I figured after four years I should have enough monthly traffic to get approved for that.

What I quickly realized is that once you upgrade, if you want to really take advantage of all the features of a premium account, you need a domain.

WordPress offered some horrible options. phi-ckl-ephi-lly.com, phicklephillies.com, phicklephilly.me, phicklephilly.tv. Just awful.

I’m like… I’m not using any of these crappy domain names.

But then I remembered something…

Three and a half years ago, when I was six months into writing Phicklephilly, I went on GoDaddy and bought the domain, Phicklephilly.com for $60. It was mine for the next five years. It was cheap because phicklephilly is a made up word. So there was zero competition to acquire the name.

I called GoDaddy last night, and spoke with a nice young man named Casey in Iowa of all places. We chatted and I explained my dilemma. I assumed there wasn’t much threat of coronavirus in Iowa. Who has any reason to go to Iowa? But he told me they were in quarantine too. All of the restaurants and bars are closed. So he’s been refinishing his basement. He has a couple of his buddies over and they put up drywall, shoot pool, play darts and drink beer. Sounds like a fun time.

He went into his system and found my account. (I had to go dig back into emails from 2016 to find my customer number!) He sent a transfer notice over to wordpress and that was it. It was that easy. I couldn’t believe how simple it was.

I got an email from wordpress to say they were accepting the transfer of my own domain. They proceeded to charge me and $18 fee for that. (I think I have to pay that every year, but who cares? That’s cheap!) I’m so glad I thought of doing this years ago.

So, if you look in the browser you’ll notice it now says, phicklephilly.com and no longer says, phicklephilly.wordpress.com anymore. It’s so cool to have the 24/7 support of wordpress, google analytics, more memory for data, photos and videos and of course ad space. Now that I have a solid domain and a blog website I own, I can now monetize the site. No pesky pop up ads, just digital banners around the site. Top and bottom and maybe one in the sidebar.

So with the sales from my books, and hopefully some revenue generated from the blog, I could see some return on my investment from my new premium account.

You shouldn’t see any real change in phicklephilly, which for me is comforting. I’ll just keep cranking out the quality content that I hope people continue to enjoy.

Also when I publish, the posts copy to Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. So there’s an expansion in my reach.

I’m very happy about being able to take this step. It’s nice to see the site continue to grow. I suppose when the quarantine is over, I’ll order some new business cards!

Thanks to you all for your continued support of my work. It’s a delight to write phicklephilly everyday!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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