Meet Chelsea

As I left pulled away from Judy Jettason, my heart sank. I kept looking back and ultimately, I felt very sad. She was my first love ever. I felt a cheating fool – I was abandoning her for someone hotter, faster and younger.

I told myself that I tried my hardest. That I gave her my best shot.

New serpentine belt, new ECU, new thermostat, new thermostat housing, new heater hoses, new starter, dozens of cleared codes and gallons of 50/50 coolant-water mixture later … I just couldn’t hold out any longer. I gave up on her. I gave up on us.

While collecting all my belongings, all the receipts from Pep Boys and Volkswagen service from inside Judy and throwing them into two trash bags, I talked to her. I said, “I’m sorry, Judy,” “They’ll find you a good home,” and “I tried my best, I really did.”

As I walked away, worried, I told her, “You’ll be okay.” It was more for myself than for her because admittedly, she is a hunk of metal. However, she’s a hunk of metal – I swear – with a soul.

And so, I loaded the trash bags inside Chelsea’s hatch. Then, I just looked at Judy while standing next to her, remembering the past 7 1/2 years of L.A. traffic-dodging bliss.

The first day we met, I had adopted her from a gentleman who also loved her and had her for about a year. He lived near on Venice Beach with his backporch overlooking sand, concrete bike path and walkway – but was in the process of leaving the country with his cornsilk blonde, Austrian girlfriend and full-time, Austrian career.

I could tell he had babied Judy. Since I had called him a mere half-hour after he posted his Recycler.com ad at 10:30 PM to subsequently follow up with a visit at sunrise … I was surprised to find her pristine on the inside and out. After a test-ride (I would learn to drive stick on her), I said yes, yes, yes!!

The young, good-looking guy was sad to see her go. He said, “I didn’t expect to sell her so soon.” I replied that I never expected to find a match so perfect – not even 18,000 miles, the exact colors I wanted on the inside and out, a manual transmission and well … I had originally wanted a turbo but convinced myself that there was no replacement for displacement. She had torque to match her horses and that would be enough.

The good thing about being a girl into cars is that no one can give you flack for crying over giving up your first car. No other car of mine will again match the sentimental value I place on Judy. Although she had long lost her novelty on passersby as new features and a body style emerged, she could still hold her own in traffic and she was truly loved – often greeted by name, by me, before we took to the road together.

What she held in sentiments, I tried to replace with flash, compactness, fuel efficiency and equal go. Meet Chelsea:

Chelsea

She’s my convertible Mini Cooper S. As they say, she was pre-loved; I thought it ironic that I found her on a Volkswagen lot. Like Judy, she was low-mileage and a steal. It was explained to me that she’s been on the lot over 30 days, which means that consequently the dealer must now pay a floor tax for not unloading her within that time period. Many had come by to test her out but as reflected in the sub-prime crisis of recent times, no one had the credit to take her home. My guy said, “Times are weird now; only 3 months ago I could’ve gotten rid of her in 2 days.” I got her for a grand under wholesale.

I thought it almost insulting – the little chump change they gave me to trade in Judy – because she was worth so much more than that. But two (financing rate, price) out of three ain’t bad. Throw into that that Chelsea has a premium audio system, chrome finishing, 17 inch OEM rims (usually 16s), seat heaters, leather upholstery, parking sensors (beep beep), and Xenon headlights … all for 2/3rds of the original retail price, I could not not take her. Plus, now I have my forced induction.

Oh right, so why name her Chelsea? This past weekend with the Clintons making a stink about MSNBC’s David Schuster saying they are sort of “pimping Chelsea out,” I couldn’t help but see a parallel. Because I have no problems pimping Chelsea Pimpton Cooper out. In fact, to do so I will undoubtedly take her top down. 😉 Well, truth be told I will leave her completely to her own devices with the OEM upgrades – because there are plenty. But it sounded good at the time. Lastly, Chelsea is an English name and so I think that befits the Cooper brand (okay, I know they are really BMW!).

I miss Judy, but am very much looking forward to creating memories with Chelsea for a very long time. 🙂