Classic Cars   



O.J. Acorn “2” Prowls the Roadways

 Death and Rejuvenation

With the aforementioned smoky Rte 3 death of the “mighty” Mazda 323, it became a fast and furious necessity to latch onto 4 wheels and a motor to commute the daily work pilgrimage.  The funds were absconded from sources unknown, and I was off to the carmart – the ultimate Ignorant Shopper.

Turns out that as the blown-engine Mazda was getting Last Rites at a nearby gas station, there was a decent-looking SUV-type vehicle parked nearby with the requisite “4 Sale” sign perched in the windshield.  The gas station owner, a man bereft of casual intelligence but much smarter than me in the “car” category, was the truck’s owner and seller.

Ford Bronco looks something like this

“What kind of truck is that?”  I asked, positively giddy at the prospect of getting immediately re-vehicled.

“Ford Bronco.”

“What year?”


“Hmmmm.  What’s wrong with it?”

“High mileage, burns oil.”

“Burns oil!”  I pointed at the dead Mazda, “I just killed an oil-burning car!”

“No, it’s normal for an old vehicle to burn oil.  You probably need to add a quart once in a while.”

“I suppose if I had been adding oil to that,” I disdainfully indicated the Mazda, “she might still be running?”


Well, shit, the Mazda had 150K on it, it burned oil, and there she was sitting there dead as a nearby West Nile crow that had crashed out the meadows and expired.   Of course I was going to immediately consider buying another vehicle just like it. 

The Mazda, bad as her smoky humiliating end was, lasted a whopping 8 months (not too bad, having bought it for $800, my car payment was $100/month).  If I had looked under the hood even once on the Mazda, if I had maybe determined there was oil burning and the need for occasional maintenance, geez, I might’ve stretched its lifespan at least 3-6 more months or until some unfortunate intra-vehicular contact.  But looking under the hood is a messy and puzzling chore, and there are so many easier and more fun things to do in the meantime.  There is no more fun, of course, than standing next to an idle Japmobile that is smoking like some ornery Star Trek (original episodes) monster.  On a work morning to boot.

Moreover, the fun multiplies because you are standing outside the home Arena of possibly the worst basketball team (the NJ Nets) EVER.  The awful smell you sometimes encounter out there in the Jersey Meadowlands is not decaying vegetation or leaking 55-gallon drums of high-concentrate asbestos and PCBs (although these items are present).  No, it is the stench emanating from the Continental Arena.  This is proven by the simple fact that the smell only occurs when the Nets are playing therein.  Occasionally, the smell is slightly different but no less bad; sometimes the Jets or Giants are footballing in nearby Giants Stadium.  You Nets and Jets and Giants fans, you can argue all you want about which club is most responsible for the putrid stench.  Non-fans know that all three teams are fully capable of stinking to their cores at any time.

High mileage.  What’s so bad about “high mileage?”

So the prospective Ford Bronco had high mileage.  High mileage can be a fine attribute – it signifies longevity!  Reluctantly, I did a small portion of dirty work to ascertain if the truck was worth trading for cash.   I checked all the lights and buttons and looked at the oil and transmission fluid and brake fluid and listened to the engine like Toscanini absorbing Mozart. I checked (but did not amateurishly “kick”) the tires, but this was done very ignorantly, as we’ll shortly see. 

Time for the “test drive.”  I muscled the big boxy truck down Moonachie Avenue at about 70 miles an hour, sped out onto Rte 17 hitting about 80-85, slammed the breaks and did a J-turn, slammed over the divider in 4-wheel drive, giving the suspension a good going over.   Dodged out into 17 South traffic, sped up to around 100 approaching Rte 3, did another 360-dgree burnout tire doughnut turn, and finally jerked the smoking and heaving truck back to the gas station.   The truck was shivering and belching like some dame I might’ve accosted in the nearby swamps. But that Old Gray Mare of a Ford Bronco at least had some giddy-yup!  There was some heckling and haggling, some cash changed hands, and just like that, another nutcase takes to the blacktop in a deadly oversized vehicle.

What’s a Bronco 2?

My new cherished baby is not really a “Ford Bronco,” a vehicle which conjures up images of hard-chargin’ beer-guzzlin’ he-men growling through woodlands and urban blight in search of beast or broad.  No, the vehicle is a Bronco “2”, which is the prissy-powered under-engined 6-cylinder junior version of the burly flagship 8-cylinder Ford Bronco (with an implied “1”).   And not only that, on the title, the vehicle is merely regarded as a “Ford Wagon,” so after 40 years on the planet, I’m still playing with wagons.  I just keep getting maturer and maturer every year.  And as Joe Namath once proclaimed “and better looking every day,” too! 

I really did not hit 100 mph on Rte 17 during my test-drive, although I did peg the speedometer at 85 mph, which was considerably faster than the Mazda ever went.   Hot dang!, no more uppity dingbat broads in Chevy Cavaliers zooming by as I chug-a-lugged along in the baby lane.  With the “Bronk” (my incredibly original and affectionate nickname)  I can execute lunatic dartings in and out of traffic, inciting and inviting road rage and frightening witless driving dames.   Especially hair-twirling cellphone dimwits who should be pulled over for immediate roadside license revocation, if not outright imprisonment.

No real he-man dude, not even wife-butcher O.J. Simpson (who sped away from his blood-drenched crime scene in, tah-dah, a Ford Bronco), would seriously consider buying anything labeled “2.”  “Two” is clearly not “Number 1,” and what dude wants to blatantly advertise that he is not worthy of “Number 1?”  Ford also used to sell something called a “Mustang 2” and I actually know someone (who will remain nameless to protect his machismo) who drove a “Mustang 2.”  In fact, a considerable portion of one of our gang’s BEST EVER flagrant methanol-fueled road journeys was spent in the back seat of the “Mustang 2” which made the trip with real grit.   The Bronco 2 is really a sissy’s truck.  I’m just secure enough in my machismo-moto to drive the thing.  I’m thinking:  “how would it look in pink?”

Naturally as with any Used Car, there’s lots of minor things wrong with it, none of which thankfully affects the vehicle’s all-important work-transport duties.  It’s in nice shape, but the stereo isn’t so hot, the A/C isn’t so cold, and the wiper blades need replacing.  Replacing the wiper blades - which is perhaps the easiest task a do-it-yourself auto mechanic can perform on a vehicle - is just the kind of “I’ll do it later” job that I will never ever perform.  With me, either something gets done right away, or it will take until Al Gore’s next Ice Age to change the scratchy bastards.  Eventually, I will grow tired of squinting through an incompletely wiped windshield and attempt the blade switch, which will likely result in me destroying the transmission and setting myself on fire. Or worse, electrocuting myself.  These things happen and more likely to me.

Tired of Tires!?  Maybe

And yes then there are the gosh darn tires, which have apparently been in the news of late.  Not having a “Ford Bronco” or even something as elitist as Firestone tires, I was content driving my Mazda with the 13” retreads.  I consider myself as fairly abreast of current events as the next knucklehead, but completely and intentionally in the dark about anything to do with cars.   I am not a “car dude” and people shouldn’t draw inferences from this ignorance.   But some will, and that’s okay too.

By now you’ve guessed it, my Ford Bronco 2, my adorable Bronky, he’s got it bad, but not so so bad, he has a pair (2!) of Firestone ATX Radials on the rear wheels.  These are evidently the deadliest fucking tires since Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife and Queen of the Jungle Winnie Mandela was “necklacing” her black political opponents during the early ‘90’s.  Necklacing is the barbaric (but in Winnie’s case effective) practice of taking someone you really don’t like, sticking a gasoline soaked tire around the unfortunate victim’s neck, striking the match, and Whoosh! – you get the awful picture.  Winnie reveled in this sort of barbarity carried out by her personal bodyguards.   You can understand now, perhaps, why Hillary Rodham goes out of her way to kiss the African Queen’s doubtlessly odiferous foots whenever that hulking animal sets those hooves on American soil.   Hillary would just love the chance to stick gas tires around some of her “vast right-wing” enemies’ heads.  From Hillary’s and for that manner Winnie’s appearances, one would think they’ve already been necklacing victims, so from their perspective necklacing others for something as compelling as opposing politics is like tit for tat.

One imagines that it would be an especially deadly combination to be “neck laced” with a Firestone recall-designated tire.  Some people doubtless would think it appropriate to necklace Ford and Firestone executives for their finger-pointing.  I merely think it’s appropriate to necklace Ford Bronco Drivers who’ve won the Heisman Trophy with the first name “Orenthal.”

Though I have the Bad Tires, on a lark I called a Firestone dealer.  At the end of October, no questions asked, no paper required, they’re going to change out my Tires to Hell and put on some “new” Firestones!  They’ve won my brand loyalty, baby, I’m a Firestone guy for life.   But I am driving so carefully in the meantime that uppity jetting Chevy Cavalier broads in a rush-to-nowhere are once again passing me in my scaredy-tire Bronk in the baby lane.  And, since I am driving with such delicacy, I am getting city-gas-mileage on the highway.  Oh, bummer!

Our recent “energy crisis,” which has Al Gore calling for the outlawing of all fossil-fueled vehicles except his own riding lawn mower with the Howdy-Doody hood ornament, has proven a real test of fidelity towards Bronk.  Though he’s a mid-sized 6-cylinder, Bronk definitely consumes gasoline much better than “Ms.” Mazda.  Ms. Mazda did a satisfying 28 mpg in the city and over 35 on the highway, Bronky does 16 city and 20 highway.   Right there, paying the “astronomical” sum of $1.50 for a gallon of Shell Regular, I should be voting against Big Oil and pulling the lever for Al “Enviro-Twit” Gore.   (I wonder if Bronk would swerve if Al accidentally stepped in front?  There’s a ponderous question.)

The Verdict – Okay for Now (we’ll keep you posted!)

So far, “Bronk” has been treating me so good.  Time spent in the very large rear cargo compartment proves there’s PLENTY of  “leg room” back there.  And “belly room” too, because I need a lot of vertical clearance since I rock back-and-forth on my gut when I am in horizontal motion.  In fact, you could host a goddamn harem back there, no prob.   Too bad the boys no longer gather together into drunken throngs of 8-10 and pile into trucks and head for the seedier parts of town for recreational pursuits.   Bronkster would be perfect, and I mean perfect, for this duty.   I can go it alone if I must, and keep those memories alive and fresh.

O.J. Acorn – New Millenium Killer

If I was a psychopathic murderer like O.J. Simpson, murderer, I might enjoy trussing up a few victims and tossing them back of the Bronk for later disposal/arousal.  Or alternatively, if I were married, I could murder my wife and do for the Bronco 2 what O.J. did for the Bronco “1” – make the front pages, maybe even get a book deal.  If the world were truly ideal, I would be an instant well-liked spokesmodel for Ford and Firestone, who I’m sure will be sued out of business by any Al Gore Justice Department, (god-unwilling).

So if you see me delightfully steering my Big Bronko down some sunlit scape, politely tap your horn in cheery greeting… and then get the fuck out of my way before I crash into you, or engulf your precious conveyance in choking gaseous clouds of oily blue poison.

--Dick Acorn