Over the last few days, I’ve been finally taking care of some work I’ve been meaning to do on the TT. In particular, doing the front brakes and testing the car’s coolant for exhaust gases (to see if the head gasket has failed). I figured while I was doing the brakes I’d paint the calipers red to match the powder coated rear calipers that I put on a couple years ago.
It’s been a multi-day project, only because I’m lazy and did one side at a time – waiting a day for the paint to dry for each side. But while I’ve been waiting, I had the urge to go back through and try to categorize and put all of the work I’ve done over the last three years into a single database of sorts. A place for me to see the work, see the age of the work, and keep track of the cost and timing of everything.
It’s been a long road thus far, and I’ve done a lot of work. From more serious work like servicing the timing belt and replacing the soft top, to smaller things like oil changes and car washes. I dug out the spreadsheet I put together when I first bought the car, where I cross-referenced the CarFax with the actual garages that did the work, and contacted each garage in hopes they could forward me the service records they had for the car.
Some of it was boring same ole same ole: 5K scheduled maintenance. 25K scheduled maintenance. 35K scheduled maintenance. Etc. Some of it was intriguing though: Interior trim repaired after 1400 miles. Clutch/flywheel replaced after 22,000 miles. A storied past.
It got me really thinking. The car has nearly 100,000 miles on it now. That’s nearly four trips around the planet. I’m the fifth owner of this little black roadster, and I sincerely hope to be its last. It was first purchased in April of 2004, which makes it over 14 years old at this point. In April of 2004 I was just finishing up my sophomore year in high school. I wouldn’t have my driver’s license or my first car for another year and half.
It’s interesting to think about the car’s history before it came into my possession. I have no idea who the previous owners were, what they did for a living, or how old they were. Maintenance was clearly lacking from some of them. It wasn’t modified, but it was driven hard. Can’t help but think about who left the baton underneath the driver’s seat – why they had it, what they thought when they realized they left it there for me to find.
I wonder about the front-end collision the car was involved in years ago. Insurance was never involved so I have no idea where the car was worked on, or what was replaced. But the skid plate is completely gone and the battery box is broken in multiple places. In fact, a lot of trim is missing from under the hood. The covers for the battery and the power steering pump in particular. Where did they go?
It’s fun to think about where the car’s been and what it’s seen. The work that’s been done over the years, and who has had their hands on it. The conversations that’ve been had in the cabin. The abuse it’s endured, the care it’s received.
To some people a car is just a piece of property that gets us from Point A to Point B. Something remarkably uninteresting and resigned to its job as a utility and nothing more.
But to others, it’s an unfinished book. A book with pages missing from its earlier chapters, but a book that we’ve taken authorship of nonetheless. And I just hope that I can make this little TT’s future chapters as interesting as it’s past.