Sometime in a blog's life there comes a time when you wind up posting an email conversation you've had rather than cooking up new content. However given the highly emotional topic matter, I feel it warranted. Here follows an email I received from Mike the other day, and after it, my reply to that. Apols if you've already read this: you can have an early minute instead.

Also, thanks for all the moving tributes and replies I've received already regarding this: if I'd pulled my finger out and fixed my comments feature, I'd be able to include them as well. Maybe this weekend.

Finally, the photos attached are all from Mike, but I've peppered them around my part of the email, because it's my blog and I'll do what I damn well like. Email subscribers may wish to read this one on the website, because the formatting's about to get ugly…

———- Forwarded message ———-
From: Mike James
Date: Aug 27, 2006 2:52 PM
Subject: Goodbye humpy mobile

Humpy is dead, long live humpy.

Well, not humpy the actual person…….

And when I say dead, I mean still sort of going but……

Actually just forget I said anything at all.

ahem **coughs**

My recent attempts to buy a house have overshadowed a far more monumentous occasion. The yellow Celica, know as humpy, has gone well beyond economical repair. It still sort of goes, albeit fairly slowly, and it does still have all the same character and style it had from the beginning. However if any self respecting member of our fine police force was to see, hear, or smell it, Im afraid it would be straight tothe pound.

I could probably remedy most of its obvious problems, but its the less obvious ones that make it more worrying. Eg the dodgy brakes and almost non-existant clutch, plus death rattle timing chain.

Im afraid its time to go for the humpy mobile, as Im not spending the 1000 or so dollars required to make it a working machine again, and who knows long it will survive for anyway. I now have a shiny newish hatchback, and humpy awaits pickup by the wreckers.

To mark this sad occasion, i have taken a few pics of the old dear, to remind us of its glory days. You will note things like the golf club used to hold the boot up. The “Derik and Clive” and “dub side of the moon” CD's have been transferred directly to the new car, despite the fact that it only has a tape player. I have removed and consumed the emergency port. (no point wasting it)

Thank you all for the audience.

I shall leave you with your grief.

mike
—————————————

Friends, this piece of sad news arrived from former housemate Mike today. I just thought you should know.

I feel obliged to say a few words and I hope you'll indulge me in this solemn moment – that car was the first I've ever had which I didn't hate with a passion by the time it came to having to part company.

I'll never forget the day that we acquired her from the Trading Post as a rapid replacement for that accursed Laser which was unexpectedly retired after discovering that the chassis rails had both rusted right through and the car was on the verge of snapping in half at any second.

B1 and B2 were my automotive guidance on that fateful day when we collected it from the woman who was selling it because her husband had bought her a newer Celica. As I remember it, it was listed at $1500 but B2 talked her down to $1300 because we were paying cash. I was as happy as a clam, but never having driven a car with layback bucket seats I didn't realise the importance of a more reclined seating position, and by the time I got it back to Mum & Dad's I'd lost all feeling in both legs.

Upon seeing the new addition to the family, Mum's initial review was: “Sporty.”

The path wasn't always smooth for this Prince among vehicles – the weekend after buying it Marty, Spiro and I were planning to drive it to Horsham to visit Patrick, and despite Marty's insistence that the temperature gauge was far too high I replied that it always ran a little hot, but that was OK. Upon reaching Pat's parents' place Marty pointed out the trail of coolant I'd left all the way up the driveway, accompanied by a sinister gurgling sound from the radiator, and restated that this may not in fact be ideal beginnings for a 450km drive. We spent the next 2.5 hours in the driveway of the BP at Belair waiting for the RAA guy to turn up and pull the thermostat out (being a 3 minute job).

At vast expense to management I elected to have a polish & paint rejuvenation treatment done on it, and it looked quite schmick. On the night of my XXVIth birthday, following a slap up Mongolian BBQ binge with my family I volunteered to give my Grandma a lift home, and discovered that some delightful oik had smashed the passenger window in, as evidenced by the fact it was in many very small pieces sprinkled all over the seat and footwell. At this point I discovered that I had purchased one of the rare-window-shaped varieties of this model of car, and finding a replacement window was nigh on impossible. In the meantime, Dad gaffer taped some plastic over the gaping hole.

When a window was found (about $150 later), Dad fitted it for me, and in the process snapped off the passenger side wing mirror. Amazingly, a wing mirror for that particular model is even harder to find than a replacement window, and I thought I'd call it quits before something *really* expensive got broken. And, as it turned out, the gaffa tape adhesive did marvellous things to my newly restored paintwork.

Inkeeping with my general mechanical knowledge I elected to make some modifications to increase the car's coolness quotient, and replaced the standard brown plastic gearstick knob, handbrake handle & boot with a swanky yellow & chrome set. It turns out that there's a hierarchy of coolness, and you need to get tinted windows before changing gearstick knobs – after about a week the direct sunlight had blistered and flaked the gearstick knob paint and it now looked worse than it did with the brown plastic one.

Furthermore, a “sports” steering wheel was installed to replace the old cast iron and camphorwood one. It has never been clear to me what sports one can do in a car, other than racing; there's certainly no dressage option. Anyway the button in the center of the steering wheel had a random tendency to pop out at inopportune moments. This wouldn't be so bad only it meant jamming the horn on until the button was replaced into the centre of the steering wheel, and this was a habit which was particularly unwelcome in traffic.

I shall never forget the night I fitted the HUMPY-1 numberplates, as there had been terrible storms in Adelaide, and the MAHOOSIVE tree in the front yard of the Torrens Park flat I lived in had blown over and crashed the carport roof in (thus obscuring my parking spot) and touched power lines in the process. My daft quarterwit housemate at the time had seen this tree (at least 60 feet tall) fall, but hadn't bothered to call anyone about it because it wasn't her problem.

Whilst waiting for ETSA to come out and sort out the power safety issue I lay out on Blythewood Road's gentle slope and wrestled with gravity and the numberplate screws as they repeatedly rolled down the hill. The ETSA guys showed up, went inside, came out, and sat in their truck, and about 30 minutes later (I was really inept with those screws) I went and asked them what was happening – apparently when they went to advise the man next door that they were cutting the power so they could untangle the line and restore safety, he'd told them to wait until the TV program he was recording had finished. I suggested that they tell him to get stuffed, which they realised with surprise and alarm was actually the sensible option, and eventually all was repaired.

I know that's not strictly a story about the car, but it's still moderately amusing.

Anyway, farewell and fond memories to a dear friend. If I ever am in the market for another car and find myself with a 1981 Toyota Celica LT2000 fastback, I shall consider that something's gone horribly wrong with my life, but still remember the good old days.

Sileo in secui,

Jason

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