Pearls of wisdom for a gray-haired mother

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I realize you two aren't Dear Abby and Ann Landers, but there may be some similarities in your jobs. What I would like are some pearls of great wisdom on the following: A 16-year-old boy works long and hard, saves his money, and buys for 2,700 dollars a '67 red Mustang convertible in what appears to be good condition, with a rebuilt 289 engine and a rebuilt transmission. The odometer reads 18,000. I say this is probably 218,000, he says it's 118,000. This boy then announces that he wants to drive his car next summer halfway across the country to see a friend. From the standpoint of your expertise on cars, can you tell him what to expect; how many suitcases full of money would it be prudent to pack, et cetera.
A gray-haired mother (Marian)

TOM: Dear Gray-Haired Mom: We know that it's a mother's instinct to try to protect her children from any pain or suffering (other than what she chooses to inflict herself). But you must realize that, at some point, a mother has to let go. A young man must seek adventure.

RAY: It may make you feel better to know that Mrs. Columbus, Mrs. Polo, Mrs. Lewis, and Mrs. Clark all had the same concerns you have.

TOM: So whether it's this summer or next summer, you probably should let this boy cross the country. But don't send him with any suitcases full of money. If he's like me, he'll probably spend most of it on girls, and then just squander the rest.

RAY: What you should do is make sure he has the car thoroughly checked out before he leaves, preferably by a mechanic familiar with old heaps like his. Some mechanical failures are actually predictable, and a good inspection will catch most of those. Those that aren't caught will simply contribute to the adventure and the spontaneity of the trip.

TOM: Once he has the mechanical OK, kiss him goodbye, tell him to be careful, give him your telephone credit card (so he'll keep in touch with you), and try not to worry.

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