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Mazda 944 - Dear Hanzy

John R. Killion
Nov 23, 2010
Illustrator: Tris Mast

Mein Hanzy:
Early last week I happily rolled my old and dependable 944 from her winter birth into the first encouraging rays of a tentative New England spring. It had been many months since sunshine lapped at her paint, and now squatting in my driveway I could see her blinking in the sunlight like a hungry and matted bear emerging from a long winter's hibernation. Careful observation revealed a front tire not quite up to snuff, and I felt that the diligent application of a few pounds of additional air pressure would answer the situation well. I immediately fired her up and took a short drive to my local and reputedly inexpensive repair center. Upon my appearance, the wrenching-class cognoscenti immediately espied my straits and instructed me to pull my car into bay number one, where my slightest whim would ostensibly be attended to, immediately, of course. But before I could conjure any explanation for my visit, and clarify that all I actually needed was a couple of pounds of air carefully applied to my left front tire, they had clamped my car onto the lift and in a moment both myself and my car were hydraulically whisked into the stratosphere of expert automotive repair. There were wrenches and mechanical implements of all manner and description employed to the underside of my car, generating a great and immense din that swallowed all my feeble protestations regarding this unprovoked assault on my otherwise intact 944. When they were done with their clanking business, a fellow with the name of "Sid" embroidered on his shirt announced that my Mazda would now handle every bit as well as a Porsche.

Epcp_1012_02_o+dear_hanzy+mechanic Photo 2/4   |   Mazda 944 - Dear Hanzy

This I fully believed; and after paying $189 and getting a quick squirt from the air pump, I resolved to escort my Mazda 944 to her favorite playground, where she can kick-up her heels and feel like a teenager again. I dipped into the first turn with a measure of restraint, which in hindsight was a very providential thing to do, for instead of being met with the most benign of handling I was immediately astounded by an enormity of understeer, not unlike that of a wheelbarrow attempting to negotiate a muddy tract. I went way wide at the mushy apex, of course, and knew that something was seriously wrong with my settings. I went back to my expert and he said, "You got this here Finotony Rod, and frankly, I don't like the looks of it. Appears outsourced." So I immediately authorized him to replace it, and instructed him to waste not a moment in the accomplishment of this deed yet keep it tightly under budget... even though I had no idea of what a Finotony Rod could be about.

Epcp_1012_04_o+dear_hanzy+wrench Photo 3/4   |   Mazda 944 - Dear Hanzy

At the appointed day and hour I retrieved my car and immediately applied her to the task at hand, tossing her into a long sweeper and hoping that Sid got it close to right. But of course she tripped over herself and stumbled into the turn like a tipsy reveler, knocking over anything in her reach and pretending it didn't happen, so that I found myself once again in the need of an expert in automotive mechanics, and once again the pronouncement was dire: "Yes, clearly it is a transeptular disagreement between the axles," he brightly declared. "I've seen it before, but not typically in a Mazda. Perhaps it is a recent permutation?" he opined, hoping that someone would be jotting down his vital emanations. But alas I did not have a pencil and his genius will remain unrecorded for posterity, because I proceeded to reach for the torque wrench and swung it around to the side of his head with sufficient force to guarantee that any future pronouncements he would convey would be delivered from either his eternal bliss or woe, but decidedly not from this world. I'm not entirely sure, but I think I may have muttered "Die Tyrant Die" as the torque wrench rendered its final measurement, a surprisingly poetic expression of mind over complex gray matter, torqued, as it were, to spec.

Epcp_1012_03_o+dear_hanzy+car Photo 4/4   |   Mazda 944 - Dear Hanzy

So now I'm on the run in my Porsche/Mazda 944 Wheelbarrow, the transeptular disagreement becoming more argumentative and spiteful with each mile. My final criminal act of the day was to snatch a roadmap to Canada, and I figure that if I avoid all the mountains I could sail into Toronto a free and happy man. I understand there is a favorable exchange rate.

By John R. Killion
13 Articles

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