|01-10-2019, 02:41 AM||#1|
Join Date: Mar 2017
One Year Ago Today...
One year ago today, everything changed. I totaled my first car, a pristine 1994 Saturn Sl2 with 56k miles on the clock. I owned it from September 2017- January 2018. It took me wherever I wanted to go, and gave me 3k miles with zero issues.It was the best car and only car that I wanted, and still will be my favorite of any car I have ever driven or owned.
It came from a nice heated garage, stored and barely driven by the original owner. as it was a second backup. It lost the garage space to a newer car and sat for about a year, with occasional trips to town before I scooped it up.
I removed the cluster and had it repaired (paperwork verified that it was around 53k, broke a month previous to purchase, reason for sale). I detailed the engine bay and exterior, replaced the coolant sensor and sender, changed the fluids, and had my father put a thermostat in. I ran it on full synthetic and babied the car, hoping it would see at least 200k miles of service.
It did not have a spec of rust on it, the rocker panels and trailing arm mounts were immaculate. Aside from being clean it was also well optioned and my ideal ride.
It came with:
-Power door locks
-Right power mirror
-5 speed manual transmission
-4 Post spoiler
The only modifications that I did to it was adding a factory Am/Fm/ Casette radio unit with a 5 tab equalizer from a 1992 S-Series, and a new set of speakers. Everything else was bone stock the way it came from the day I owned it till the day it was ruined.
But, the story doesn't end there. The death of my 1994 Sl2 allowed me to save a 1995 Sl2 in need, one that would surely have met the crusher if I hadn't saved it. While I wish I never had to roll my 1994 to save the 1995, it happened and I had to make the best out of it.
I saw this 1995 Sl2 in the same color and similar interior to my 1994, and it was for sale with 150k on the clock, needing a fair amount of work. I went down with my brother, pgagl, to check it out, and it was rough. The interior was dirty and dusty, the steering wheel was crumbling, seats had nasty covers, there was rocker rust, and severe rust on the subframe. On the test drive something was rattling horribly, the motor mounts were all shot, and the exhaust had a major leak. Also, the auto trans did not shift properly and appeared to have an original red saturn filter on it (which I still have). The car failed safety inspection, but passed emissions with flying colors. And I do have to note that the engine felt peppy, though the trans did not seem to like all of the power coming out and decided to slip here and slam there. Aside from the mechanical and cosmetic issues, it also had some unseen and uknown issues. Only the drivers manual window would roll up, the drivers side rear seat belt was rusted solid (still don't see how) and the rear drivers window vent frame was completely rusted out. My dad thought I was nuts for wanting this, and hesitated to help me get it home.
Anyway, I got the car for a song, telling the owner my plans to fix it up. It had been his mother's who bought it new in 1995 and attended the 1999 homecoming with it. She drove it, then gave it to the owner's daughter who used it but needed something more reliable. So, after failing inspection it was listed and subsequently purchased by me and brought home. Years of use and maintenance done by shops who seemed to not care had taken it's toll, but it was all about to be reversed.
I brought it home, and made up a list for it. I replaced the LCA's, subframe, radiator, tie rod ends, speakers, rusted vent window, exhaust downpipe gasket, valve cover gasket, serpentine idler, and all motor mounts. During that process, I spent 14 hours completing the manual swap using the leftovers from my totaled and gutted 1994 Sl2, giving it the transmission that it deserved. I then worked on the little things, like the window regulators, speakers, new radio, arm rest, cruise control, fog lights, leather steering wheel, black emblems, entire front braking system, new mirror, 4 post spoiler, allow sawtooth rims (summer only, now), short throw shifter, mp2 5th gear swap, WAI, battery heat shield, and new clutch hydraulics.
All it took was time and effort (and money, but not much) to get it into shape, and to get me back into a first gen that I so desperately wanted to get back. My father told me when I went to go look at it a second time with him, that I cannot re create the 1994. Well, I know I couldn't but I wanted to get as close as possible, and I did.
Thanks for reading another overthought post of mine, but I wanted to put the story out there if anybody needs a little inspiration, or if anybody needs some motivation to not take things for granted. Life can change quickly, and you never know what is going to happen next.
My 1994 Sl2’s first day home
My 1994 Sl2’s clean interior
My 1994 Sl2’s clean engine bay
1/10/18 End of the 1994 Sl2
The 1995 Sl2’s first day home with the windows painstakingly coaxed down
The 1995 Sl2 post transformation and swap
The 1995 Sl2’s trip to Extinct Car Day (I think dummo or zeebins took this picture)
The 1995 Sl2’s unhappy auto pcm (replaced with proper manual pcm)
The 1995 Sl2’s new fog lights
The 1995 Sl2’s winter shoes
P.S. I apologize for any rambling or strange sentences. It is late at night and I should be asleep, but I wanted to put this up before I forgot about the idea.
1994 Sl2 5spd: 56,576 (Totaled 1/10/2018)
1995 Sl2 5spd Manual Swap: 150,062
1999 Sl2 4spd: 98,8xx
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