Finding The Ideal Vehicle

I have had a few vehicles over the years. My first was a 1994 Mercury Grand Marquis. It was a good car, other then the transmission issues. But being my first car I was hard on it. I bought it specifically for Volunteer work, with the original intent as a highway patrol vehicle.

I knew this vehicle very well. It was easy to handle and I often put its handling to the test. Swerving at high speeds on gravel roads, and such. I even completed a few very successful J turns. Eventually however the rear suspension (mainly based on inflatable air bags) failed. It was not built for such things.

I quickly grew out of the car however, as I joined a Volunteer Team. We focused on responding to long term scenes, instead of patrolling and helping at smaller scenes. Therefore the car was not quite as well suited because it lacked capacity for gear. I was very interested in looking to purchase a used Ambulance from a dealer in Toronto for about $12,000. My feelings were that an Ambulance, while impractical for most people, would suit me well. Lots of cargo and storage room for gear, and a nice large area in the back for a 'command' type room, with radios and a computer and a nice desk. Plus ambulances have pre-installed lights, sirens and power systems which I would of had to add to any vehicle I purchased anyhow. So it saved me a lot of work.

However, with little or no credit available to me, I could not get a loan for an ambulance. My father didn't want me to purchase an ambulance either (who would blame him, why would he want a ambulance sitting in his driveway, lol). So he talked me into getting a more expensive lease, on a 1997 Chevy Venture. I was very hesitant about this, as I would of been paying more monthly for the lease, then I would of had my father co-signed on the ambulance for me. But I went along with it.

The Venture is a good van. It is fairly tough. It wasn't exactly 'me' but it served its purpose, and after all that is what a vehicle is for. It could fit about 80 36inch traffic cones in the back, as well as a full tool set, first aid kit, a few boxes of road flares, and still have room to seat 4 people. It was nice having a vehicle with some space to carry stuff.

Do I consider myself normal? no... lol I love to help out people, and I am big on safety. Thus I liked to have everything I need in case I need to protect myself and others on the roads. If I am driving along, and come across an accident, I will stop and help. I once stopped to help at a scene, on the way to a surprise birthday party for me. I would even stop to help someone, if I am on the way to a 'booty call'. The way I see it, my needs can wait. When people need help on the side of the highway, they don't always have the luxury of waiting.

Eventually I quit the Emergency Response team, when someone I didn't like took it over. I went back to just helping out on a solo basis. If I saw someone in need of help, I would stop to assist. Volunteer teams seem to have a lot of drama in them, and for someone who just likes to be helpful, I don't have time for that bullshit.

So in hindsight, I suppose it was a good idea I didn't buy an ambulance. Or was it? Well, I suppose we will never really know. Purchasing an ambulance could of changed my whole life, and whole different events could of happened. That is the funny thing about choices. Even the smallest choices have a huge effect on the path of our lives.

That being said, I would still enjoy an ambulance as a project vehicle to fix up and stock with radios and toys and gear.

Eventually I moved to the US and defaulted on my lease for the Venture. The venture was in dire need of a repair, and it wouldn't drive. I told the dealership to come get it, but they didn't want to, so it ended up being towed and that is the last I have heard about it.

For a time, when I was in Indiana, I got to use a company van for a Army Surplus store I was managing.

Meh, it was not all that great.

Anyhow, luckily nightbird, my wife, had a nice Jeep. So when I moved back to Buffalo, We had a good vehicle to rely on. The XJ was sweet. It could handle almost anything off road. I took it on many an adventure.

I liked the Jeeps ability to go anywhere, and carry a lot of gear. This suited my desire for a vehicle which could be dependable and get the job done. Sadly however the Jeep was starting to fall apart. I then looked into purchasing my dream car from when I was a kid.

Caprice Classics in the early 90's were the iconic 'Police Vehicle'. Powerful, big and bulky, these beasts were considered by many to be the best police car of all time. With a V8 5.7L engine, my 1996 Caprice Classic police edition, was a fast vehicle. I could easily smoke the tires. The raw power of this vehicle is absurd for such a bland looking vehicle. And I suppose that is what attracted me to it.

For the short time I had my Caprice, I did enjoy it. But did not have enough money to maintain such an aging vehicle and give it the TLC that it deserved. I did make sure I installed some lights on it however. It just didn't seem right having a police edition vehicle, without some lights :) They did come in handy a few times on the highway for accidents.

I got tired of regular repairs however. And with the help from my father, I was able to purchase a nice 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. I am still unsure as to what will become of the Jeep. Will I turn it into a patrol vehicle for when I start volunteering again? or will I turn it into a mean off roading rig. I figure it will be a patrol vehicle, but I am still puzzled as to where to place and mount the various pieces of equipment I would need. Keeping the Jeep as a daily driver and purchasing an ambulance would be sweet... But I don't think that is practical at the moment, especially when my wife and I are trying to save to purchase a house.

I must say I do enjoy the Jeep. While it does not have the carrying capacity of the van, it is a nice vehicle. Will it last? Most likely. it is mechanically sound, and I own it 100%. Insurance is generally cheap on it and I get decent gas mileage.

I know most people will think my vehicle choices and the reasons behind them are strange. I am not a normal person, and am not after 'speed' or 'sexy looking' cars. But this is part of who I am, a small glimpse into my world :)

I hope you enjoyed the write up. lol

- Roadwolf,