As promised, here is the story of my new daily driver; the car I now call Bebe which is short for Better Beater. It has replaced the ’01 SLS I was driving on a daily basis and always called my Beater.
My beloved Beater had rolled up something in excess of 70 K on the odometer and I was aware that I would be looking to replace the car in a year or so. One night in early June I was passing the time by perusing the internet looking under the heading of 2003 STS. I was hoping to find something out there with 50 K or less miles. I was secretly hoping to find one around 40 K but it was looking grim as the ads I was viewing were constantly touting the “low mileage” cars with 124 K or even more. Since I don’t consider anything over 100 K low mileage on that vintage Northstar, I was skimming over a lot of ads. Then I saw an ad claiming an ’03 STS with 22 thousand miles. At first I went right by the ad because I miss read the ad as 122 K. Then I went back and looked at the ad carefully. Initially convinced it was a misprint I studied the two dozen or so pictures included in the ad. I started to dare to think the ad just might be on the level. I emailed the owner of the car asking if the car was still available and for some additional information.
What followed was three days of long distance Q&A eventually leading to an equally long distance negotiating session and finally and agreed on selling price. Oh, did I mention that the car was located in Wilmington NC and I live in southern New Hampshire? This meant the car and I were separated by almost a thousand miles. The seller was a small used car dealer and assured me that the state of North Carolina had a temporary registration program that would allow me to legally drive the car home; all I had to do was get there.
Without going into the specifics, I am not a fan of flying so my trip was going to be somewhat of a challenge. I determined that the least costly way would be by bus. The longest bus trips I had taken in the past were generally less than one hundred miles and based on that I thought I knew what to expect. A word of advise, if anyone reading this has the opportunity to take a cross country bus trip – – DON’T.
Long story short, I survived the grueling twenty eight hour cross country excursion and arrived in Wilmington NC within ten minutes or so of the stated arrival time. I was picked up by Chuck, the seller, and after a quick stop at a branch of my bank went to see the car. It was stunning to say the least. After looking things over and some entertaining exchange of “car talk” I was the proud owner of a 2003 Cadillac STS with precisely 22,341 miles on the clock. What I consider to be the find of the year.
I spent a total of seventeen hours on the road and made it home much more relaxed and refreshed than after the bus ordeal. After careful scrutiny I have found the car needs some work to the suspension – after all, everything is thirteen years old under there. The parts have come in and I take it in for the needed repairs after the 4th of July and look forward to many years of delightful daily driving in my “new” old STS.
As an aside; this is my fourth Seville of this vintage. I’ve had, in order a ’98, an ’02, an ’01 and now this ’03. Anyone that has driven these cars in winter conditions – New Hampshire remember – can tell you that these vehicles whether by design or pure chance offer one of the most stable and confidence inspiring driving experiences on snow covered roads. I owned the ’02 when I was working and I had a forty mile commute, one way and would choose the STS to take to work in bad weather rather than my four wheel drive pick up; which was no slouch on snow covered roads but the STS was better.
Finally I would say to anyone searching for their “dream car”, be persistent, don’t get discouraged keep looking. When the time comes be prepared to take advantage of the situation and remember – don’t go by bus.