The picture just doesn't do it justice. O.K. so maybe the shape doesn't evoke thoughts of Le Mans or the ability to drive to the top of the Rocky Mountains like most of todays drivers really need to have, but who wants that? I own a 1993 grey Dodge Spirit and no, I'm not ashamed.
This was originally my grandparents car (go figure), who, after 22,000 miles, decided it was time to get a new vehicle. I was the lucky recipient and flew across the country to pick up my new car. Now as you can imagine, being a 24 (at the time) year old ski/ bike fanatic with a "don't have the time to get a real job attitude", this was not my idea of the perfect car. This was actually the last car I wanted.
My first thought was to sell it and buy something cool, or at least what I thought was cool. My problem was I knew I would never get enough money from the sale of the dodge to find anything close to as reliable.
So after getting it a tune up and making all sure all the mice who were living in it had left (the car sat for a while) I turned it on and drove across the country.
The first thing I noticed, No Power. You will not win any drag races with this little 4 banger. If you go from a car with a fair amount of oomph directly to this it may be a bit scary at first. Step on the gas and it takes a bit longer than most cars to get going, you get used to that though.
Once moving its great very predictable and, believe it or not, if you plan out the hills correctly you can get her to Zoom up no problem. The Brakes are a little scary at first also, its a bit squirrely if you need to stop in a hurry. Handling.... BLAND. UNDERSTEEER is the word of the day when driving spiritedly!!
So, you must wonder why the heck do I love this car so much??? I drove this gandma car straight for three days, the seats weren't very good, and there is no "seek" button on my stereo (what a weird thing to leave out). she just ran, and didn't stick out. the door lock is exactly where I want to put my arm so I have to always adjust, it looks as though the plastic on the interior will fall off any second.
So Why? This car has remained exactly the same for 30,000 miles now. I've driven it everywhere, done many long journeys, camped in the middle of nowhere, driven roads that only trucks should go on. Commuted up and down a canyon road that kills many cars. NEVER, NEVER has it let me down, ever. I was just out of town for about 6 weeks. It sat in my driveway in the hot sun and started the first try. You can recline the front seat so you can sort of sleep if you really need to. You can drive over the speed limit without anyone noticing (well most of the time at least, take that comment at face value!) With the soft suspension it rally's on dirt roads, much more comfortable on the washboard than most trucks. The best thing (for me at least) is that it is amazing in the snow. The lack of initial power keeps it going until it gets high-sided. I used to own a Subaru and this thing comes damn close even though it is only front drive. Oh yeah, the trunk is large and the back seat is super comfy.
I've been driving around in a lot of nice new cars lately and I was a little apprehensive about getting back in the Spirit, but thats just snobbish. It was great to go cruising around, no need to worry about it anywhere. My car rules.