Sometimes, our motto (“Our World Discussed”) implores us to step outside the world of politics and, when we do so, it’s not long before we come upon something interesting. This is one of those times. In 1964, California rockers Jan & Dean had a number one hit with “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena,” a song about about a little old granny who drove a “brand new, shiny Red Super Stock Dodge.”
About the time that song came out, a “45 year-old” Orlando Florida woman named Rachel Veitch decided to buy a “Brand new shiny white Mercury Caliente.” She named it “Chariot” and decided she would keep this car for a long time. Forty-five years later, the now 90 year-old still drives it daily.
In fact, in 2007, she drove it, by herself, from her home in Orlando all the way to Pennsylvania for her 70th High School Class Reunion.
Knowing she was going to keep the car “a long time,” she has always looked for (and bought) replacement parts that came with a “Lifetime Warranty.” That’s included Midas Mufflers (she’s gone through seven mufflers), Sears Shocks (3 sets) and J.C. Penny Battery (she’s on her 16th free battery replacement).
I’d like to say that this is how durable American cars can be when you pamper them. But that hasn’t been the case completely. While she changes the oil every 3,000 miles, and does all scheduled maintenance on time, she’s been known to “stick her foot in it” at times. She’s had the car up to 120 mph according to her, and she got a speeding ticket 12 years ago for doing 92 mph in a 55 mph zone.
Veitch jokes that the car has been more faithful to her than her ex-husbands and that’s why it’s around and they aren’t.
She’s got a permit to carry a concealed weapon, guys, so I’d think twice before plotting to steal Chariot. And she’s “packing” at all times. No shrinking violet here…
She proudly points out that “Caliente” is Spanish for “Hot.”
When a local reporter asked if she considered trading in Chariot under President Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers” program (which would qualify her for $4,500 towards a new car because of the V-8’s paltry 15 mpg), Veitch replied: “He ain’t gonna get mine… I’ll die fighting for her.”
Yeah, this is one Caliente Granny, that’s for sure… GO GRANNY GO!
Note: You can watch an interview with Rachel here.