[V8] The end of the Black Mariah?

Roger M. Woodbury rmwoodbury at adelphia.net
Sat Jun 10 08:34:53 EDT 2006

Or maybe it's the end of the Type 44.

Not sure, but either choice is looking more and more likely.  

Those of you who have read through these long sufferings will recall that I
last posted about the sudden and accidental self destruction of the left
strut on my 200 20Valve Avant.  

Well, as it turns out, neither was the case.  The catastrophe happened
because the mechanic working in the shop used the wrong washer on the top of
the new strut when it was installed.  John called to tell me that the
problem was caused by something done in his garage by the mechanic who left
the place suffering from carpel tunnel syndrome.  (Actually, he really wants
to be a full time paramedic/fireman, so CTS was a good excuse and a way to
get retrained, but that is another story.).

So the repair, as well as the damage to the hood will be done at zero cost
to me.  Great.  But I am still without the car, because the new strut that
came in and the new shock mount was wrong.  Seems when the right part
numbers are ordered, the wrong parts always come since the 20valve is so odd
a vehicle.  And I confess that I am close to being done with this.

One of the issues is that I need to drive the car around 40 miles per day
EVERY day.  That's the minimum that I drive.  In order to take the car for
service, it goes a bit more than ten miles to the shop, and because it is a
small shop, and because this is just the beginning of the busy season, the
car sits, waiting for parts, and waiting for a slot...now it is more than
two weeks, and I am driving a truck that gets 12 miles per gallon...and it
is getting old.

So, I am thinking seriously of "rolling the fleet", and getting something
that is easily serviceable, with parts in no short supply here, in the real
world where I live, which is eastern Maine at the very bitter end of
everyone's supply line.  

For now, the 20valve is going to have a new exhaust system.  The old rear
muffler is really dead, and the middle resonator is leaking also, so it is
time to replace the system.  Unsure of what to use, as OEM is expensive and
the only alternative for the 20valve car is a Stebro, apparently, that is
almost as much.  I will make that decision over the weekend, and it will
likely be a Stebro on a cost basis alone.

Then The Black Mariah will be back and in service, but I think I will be
near the end of the experiment, and have started to look at the
alternatives, which aren't particularly pretty or exciting.

Right away, I have ruled out any of the newer Audis.  I don't care for the
look of the newer cars at all, and the cost of parts and difficulty of
servicing them and their new electronic gizzies make it pretty unfun to
think about.  Although the all road is intriguing, trick suspensions are
something to be avoided, I think.  

I will end up with something with some utility, and that will serve as a
viable vehicle for two people to travel in with some degree of comfort.  

Right now the candidate is one:  GMC Yukon Denali, IF the substitution of
electric fans and headers can get the normal mileage up into the mid teens
for my kind of driving.  On regular gasoline the gas cost per mile will be
about the same as The Black Mariah.  Not as much fun, but it will meet all
the other requirements.  Make mine a '99 with about 50,000 miles and the up
front cost will be ridiculously cheap:  nobody wants one right now, as all
SUV type vehicles are a drug on the market.  My Internet "brain trust" (yes,
there is one like this for those vehicles), has made some good suggestions
regarding fuel mileage in the big vehicles.  The cost of insuring the 99
Denali will be about the same as the '91 20Valve, and so will all the other
costs of registration.  

And there is a big GM dealer four miles from where this keyboard is.  

And all that there will be left to do, is to investigate the dealer's parts
bin for "alternative" spring/shock set ups...police pursuit packages and

Oh, I know it won't be a V8 Quattro....but then, perhaps it is time for them
to become a part of my automotive history along side the Porsche 928 and the
Triumph TR3....


More information about the V8 mailing list