Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program Donor Profile:

Name: Peggy Johnson

Town: Wonalancet, New Hampshire

Local NPR Station: New Hampshire Public Radio

Occupation: Musician and graphic designer

Education: Rhode Island School of Design

Hobbies: Singer, church organist, community choir, musical theater director, library volunteer - and, in her free time, she's starting an artists' retreat.

Why do you listen to NPR? For the breadth of news, the special reports and music.

Favorite Shows? Diane Rehm, Prairie Home Companion, Fresh Air Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation. NHPR produces two excellent local shows, too - The Front Porch and The Exchange. Did I mention The Splendid Table, All Things Considered, Living on Earth and the BBC?

You Didn't Mention Car Talk, Peggy. Oh, sorry. And Car Talk.

Vehicle: 1996 Chevrolet Blazer (Green)


Car Talk: Tell us about the car you donated.

Peggy: It's a 1996 four-wheel drive, green Chevy Blazer - deluxe - with CD, electric leather seats, alloy rims, AC and tinted windows.

This car was part of an inheritance from my parents, and came complete with the accoutrements of the Southern gentleman and backwoodsman that my architect father was: a tarp spread in the back on which to lay grouse, turkey, fish, firewood, or other interesting things that didn't go in the seats, and a canvas backpack with the two essentials for any emergency: an entrenching tool and a container of bourbon.

Car Talk: How did you hear about the Vehicle Donation Program?

Peggy: From a notice on the local web bulletin board. It said something like, "Want to donate your old car to public radio and do some good?"

Car Talk: What prompted you to donate?

Peggy: When I heard that I could find a home for my old car and do some good at the same time, it seemed perfect. The dearly departed Blazer was doing me no good, but it was too good for me to send to the junkyard, and way too hard or expensive for me to want to fix, so it was a no-brainer.

Besides, it was nice to know that my local NPR station would be getting the proceeds.

Car Talk: From the photos, it looks like your car was buried in snow. You know, if you had waited for spring to donate it, you could have saved us a lot of shoveling?

Peggy: Maybe, but I LOVED seeing the green, green grass that was under it when it went away.

Car Talk: So, what it was really like? Was it a huge hassle, or were you shocked by the degree of masterful efficiency?

Peggy: Stunned by masterful efficiency. I did it all by email. It was a snap. I never talked to a person once - which is a big plus for me and the prospect of getting on an endless phone loop has zero allure.

The whole donation got done on my schedule. It was perfect.

Car Talk: How long did it take for them to come get your car?

Peggy: It took 3 days, according to my records!

Car Talk: How long do you think the tow truck driver been out on parole?

Peggy: Well, he didn't have a tan yet. Two weeks?

Just kidding! I liked the guy. He was very game about taking some of the pictures, and was psyched about the whole deal.

Car Talk: So... did you actually get some evidence of your donation?

Peggy: They sent me an official-looking form for my records - which I have temporarily lost. But I'll just send it in with my tax returns, and that's all there is to it.

Car Talk: Has anyone from the IRS threatened to throw you in prison yet?

Peggy: Not yet. Check with me after April 16.

Car Talk: If they do, will you call Car Talk with your one call?

Peggy: YES!

Car Talk: What advice do you have for others who are considering using the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program?

Peggy: Just do it! It was really easy. If in doubt, give them a shout.

Car Talk: Want to donate your new 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid?

Peggy: Not yet! It isn't quite completely saturated with coffee and dog hair.

My youngest daughter will be having the obligatory first accident in the not-too-distant future, so there's always a chance I suppose...

Car Talk: Are you sure you don't want to donate it? We hear through the grapevine that your local station strongly supports this move.

Peggy: Well, come to think of it, it would save the world even more fuel if I were not driving anything, and it would make things quieter for that artists' retreat I am creating. But, I think I need at least one car. Sorry.

However, there IS another car in my driveway now. A friend was driving down the road near my house when her car overheated and she had to stop. That car now occupies the same spot as my Blazer did, and has been there for quite a few weeks. If it stays any longer, I now know one way to get rid of it...

Car Talk: You can tell us truth. Do you really listen to Car Talk?

Peggy: Car Talk? Sorry, never heard of it.

Car Talk Afterword: Peggy's Blazer was auctioned in Salem, New Hampshire. After the expenses (towing, auction and banging out the dent from Tommy's joy ride), New Hampshire Public Radio received a donation for $932.75, for which they are very grateful. It would have fetched even more, but Peggy selfishly removed the bottle of bourbon first.