Resurrecting the Metro


I’ve been working hard to resurrect my favorite abusive parter of all time, my 1997 Geo Metro. I’m bringing it back from the brink of death to re-sell it, and doing so will be easier once its story is told, which I’ll be doing for the next few weeks here. It’s a powerful metaphor for the transformation of my life from a cubicle rat to a minimalism yurt dweller.

I originally got this car for $700 from a roommate when the clutch died. My first major act of auto repair was replacing that clutch, which requires removing the engine and the transmission! Talk about at trial by fire! It was my main vehicle starting in 2008, but the head gasket blew in 2015, and the car been sitting since.

On paper this car is amazing. It gets 38 mpg in the city and 50 mpg on the highway, seats 5 uncomfortably, carries a shitload for such tiny car, is cheap and easy to work on. It represents a cul-de-sac of automative evolution our country is only now getting back to after 20 years of trying to fill the yawning chasm of our low self-esteem by driving 12 mpg SUVs. It was my middle finger to that entire unsustainable, drill-baby-drill attitude, and I’ve driven it on the 4000+ mile journey to the West Coast twice, once without cruise control, which I later installed. The yurt I currently live in was custom designed to fit inside it.

Despite its great intentions, it’s a rare example of shitty Japanese engineering (Geo and Chevy Metros were all manufactured by Suzuki) and takes a lot of work to keep on the road. This one has nearly killed me more than once. It’s also designed for people approximately half my height, and my choice to use it for cross country adventures was once accurately described as “voluntary scoliosis.” But I still love it, and the thought of parting with it is painful.

When I got it, I swore I wouldn’t get another gas powered car until ones with fuel economy this good were mainstream. That time has finally arrived with the advent of cars like hybrids, the Smartcar, and things like the 84 mpg Elio. More to the point, I have Junior, my 2007 Dodge Sprinter that I’m converting into an Urban Stealth Camper, and my Honda PCX150, so I don’t really need another vehicle. While I’m certainly capable of repairing the head gasket, and, in fact, planned a full top rebuild of the engine *before* it blew, it’s time to let this one go.

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