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RIP, Illinois “THE 1729” / Indiana “53T3364” / Illinios “5416870” / Illinois “D830176” / California “5TVJ323” / New York “EJM6485”

After fourteen years, my car has finally given up the ghost:

Last view of THE 1729 [1]

I know it’s an inanimate object, but I still feel sad. 14 years is a long time. It was my first car, and hugely important to me both economically and emotionally (my parents bought it for me as a gift when I was 24 — thank you, mom and dad!). It enabled me to live independently when I was roaming the Midwest, first working at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, then later in Indiana starting Cyclic Software with Jim Blandy. When I lived for a year in China, Jim leased it and took excellent care of it (even saving all the service receipts; years later I inundated an extended-warranty insurance company’s fax machine with all our receipts, until the guy on the other end literally called back laughing and begging me to please stop, saying that he gave up and that the insurance company would pay for the new repairs). It was with me for nine years in Chicago, handling the winters just fine. In its last three years it drove across the country a few times, and for a brief period was my only home (that’s a long story; I won’t go into it here, but suffice it to say that a car like that you don’t junk lightly [2]).

The above photograph is the last one I took of it, at the auto repair shop in Maspeth, Queens. They’ll tow it to its final resting place. But my favorite photograph of it is actually from a trip I wasn’t on. Micah and Stew took it up to Vermont last winter, and in this shot (of Stew pouring salt with help from Iggy) you can see it in its natural habitat:

THE 1729 in its natural habitat [3]

May it rust in peace.