buying a car sight unseen

My husband is so sure that certain auto manufacturers produce such good products that twice he has agreed to purchase vehicles without ever seeing the car.
The first time was almost a necessity. We had planned to use up my husband’s vacation time in Indiana visiting relatives and then take our sons to Urbana 93, a mega-mission conference for college students in Illinois.
After a series of break downs and repairs on our gray mini-van that had clocked nearly 200,000 miles, I wasn’t sure gray mini-van were quality products. However, we had fixed or replaced enough parts that even an unreliable gray mini-van should have been able to drive a couple thousand miles. We piled the mini-van with people, presents, portable TV/VCR and plenty of video tapes.
Less than an hour north of Little Rock, the transmission decided it needed a vacation. A towing company hauled us to the nearest town where we sat and stared at each other wondering what to do. After much consideration and prayer, my husband began calling used car dealerships looking for his favorite manufacturer’s mini-van. He found two: One red, one white. Courtesy of a few dollars and the tow truck owner, he went to Little Rock and bought one of the retired rental mini-vans. The kids and I waited for him at a motel wondering if we would finish the drive to Indiana in Christmas red or snowman white mini-van.
Some 250,000 miles later and I am sure that red mini-vans are quality products.
Recently, he did it again. After months of him looking for a second car, I noticed a small four-door, gold car with a “for sale” sign in the window. I drove past it a couple of times before I stopped and read the company logo on the trunk lid: I cannot simply look at a car 10 yards away and determine what year and make it is. Only when I’m inside can I differentiate between an expensive car and an economical one.
I reported the car’s company and model name to my husband adding, “It looks fairly new.” he shrugged, “then we probably can’t afford it.”
Just out of curiosity, I called anyway. The car was 13 years-old and in our price range. I relayed the information to my husband. He told me to check it out. I took it for a spin around the block and suggested he might want to check it out, this nice used car made by one of his favorite manufacturers. He said he trusted my judgment (and the car manufacturer).
The next morning I sent my daughter over with a check to hold the car until I could arrange our finances to finalize the deal. A coupe hours later, I slid behind the wheel, grinning from ear to ear, exulting in the thrill of having purchased this golden cal all by myself.
My husband likes the car’s color, radio, stick shift transmission and its overall appearance. The kids were impressed that we had replaced our seedy second car with a decent looking one.
We parked the gold four-door in the garage beside the red mini-van. Both work, get good gas mileage and drive us from point A to Point B and that’s all that I ask from any vehicle, especially those my husband buys without ever seeing them.

About jottingjoan

retired former newspaper writer. Many children and grandchildren. One husband.
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