After telling the government "no" on recalls, Chrysler tried to get in front of the issue by announcing its own recall of 630,000 Jeep models.
I can understand why the folks at Jeep originally balked at recalling some 2.7 million vehicles. According to NHTSA, 1993-2004 Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Liberty vehicles have gas tanks that, if rear ended in a collision, may leak and catch on fire.
I don't want to see anyone die in a vehicle fire, but you have to wonder about recalling a vehicle that's 20 years old. The Blue Book value of a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee in pristine condition is about $1,900. The fix would cost about a third of what the vehicle is worth.
It got me to wondering: Is there a "Statute of Limitations" on car recalls? In 1972, NHTSA ordered a recall of VW Beetles for windshield wiper problems -- the models included VW made between 1949 and 1969!
Think of it. In 1972, they ordered recalls on vehicles made 4 years after the end of World War II. Maybe Volkswagen could claim the Marshall Plan didn't fund design funding for windshield wipers.
What's next? A recall on '65 Valiants?
And the Comet, the Falcon, and the ... Pacer -- not the first, but one of the legendary Un-Smart Cars.
Why not the Corvair?
Somebody call Ralph Nader.
Chrysler could run a trade-in program: Turn in your 20 year old Jeep and get $1,900 in credit on a new 2014 Valiant.
They brought back the Dart. Bring back the Valiant! WITH the push buttons.
And the Barracuda -- the Joe Cool variation on the Valiant.
Actually, the government would never recall the '65 Valiant because it was the perfect car.
It wasn't flashy, but it got you where you needed to go. The Valiant got great gas mileage, had plenty of room, and was nearly indestructible.
Growing up, we had several Valiants--including one with a push-button transmission (with blue racing stripes, no less).
Valiants were from a time when a car was more than just a car, it was a member of the family.
We had one robin's-egg blue Valiant that my mother affectionately called "Blue Bird," When the car was totaled in an accident, she refused to part with the car, so we had it rebuilt.
The frame was bent, so it seemed like only three wheels were ever touching the pavement at the same time -- like the wobbly table you get stuck with at a restaurant. The dashboard had an unmistakable upward slope from the slightly misshapen steering wheel to the glove compartment.
Years later, "Blue Bird" could go no more. It was a somber day in the Walters' household when we said our good-byes. To this day, I still miss that car.
As you would expect, we replaced "Blue Bird" with another Valiant.
My mother has a similar relationship with a '63 Ford Falcon convertible. And my dad had yellow '68 T-Bird we called "The Canary."
THE LAST WORD:
The Telegraph reports Germany will bid alveterzane to the longest word in their dictionary:
Rumor has it they're demolishing the word and using the space to develop condos.
I used it just the other day to describe a guy who took my parking place at the ball park.
I employ the Southern Ohio, phonetic pronunciation.