We love connecting vehicle donors with the NPR stations they adore! One of the best parts of the job is hearing the stories behind the donations. Here’s one we wanted to share—the tale of Carly and Max the Nissan Maxima, and their support of WBEZ in Chicago. It all comes courtesy of Carly’s dad, Stuart, of Highland Park, Illinois.
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Mark, Deb, Twyla, Beth, Doug and Connie
Car Talk Vehicle Donation Services
Max Goes to WBEZ
About ten years ago, we bought a 1996 Nissan Maxima from a neighbor, for my daughter, Carly, who was in college at the time. “Max” the Maxima was in pretty good shape and Carly drove him all around Champaign, Illinois, which if you’ve been to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the heart of corn and soybean country, isn’t really all that big.
Carly the aspiring pediatrician and "Max" the Maxima (Family photo)
Carly’s ambition was to become a pediatrician, and with hard work she got into the University of Illinois Medical School in Chicago. Those were halcyon days for Max—he got indoor parking in a condo, and spent most days just resting. But, after two years of school, Carly and Max had to start driving Chicago’s streets and expressways to various hospitals, along with the occasional trip home to Chicago’s ‘burbs. Many a day, Max would be outside, subject to all the usual vagaries, including vagrants, territorial statements by neighborhood dogs, and deep snows. A missing antenna here, a drive-by with a concrete pillar there, the normal wear and tear… all these things took their toll.
A few years passed, and then we finally we encountered the scary Check Engine Light as Max’s odo rolled over to 100,000 miles. Carly, in the meantime, had progressed through medical school, graduated and started a residency program. Max, however appeared to have contracted a bad case of congestive emissions failure.
Last year, the State of Illinois required Max to get an emissions check up. Our local mechanic was not optimistic. We, meanwhile, were secretly hoping to eek out one more year from Max. We wanted Carly to finish her residency, start a real job and start paying back the loans which have been accumulating like empty cans of Marvel Mystery Oil in the garbage can of Click n’ Clack’s garage. We filled the gas tank with premium, exercised Max up and down the expressways and then took him for his check-up. To our amazement, he passed!
With 12 months left on our plan, however, that was Max’s last gasp. A month later, Max had inhaled his last fumes. He was dead in the garage. The ambulance was called, and he was taken to the local mechanic. Apparently his pacemaker, recently replaced, was good-- but his starter was dead. And when we opened his chest cavity it was clear some little critters were nesting and nibbling.
I did the cost-benefit analysis, and decided it was time to send Max away to the great garage in the sky. But how? We didn’t want to invest any more money in him and we didn’t want to pay for another tow, so we went to the Car Talk Vehicle Donation web site! Our mechanic was nice enough to let us leave Max at his resting spot, until the Car Talk trailer hauled him away, one week later-- but not before we removed the relatively new battery and performed a pacemaker transplant to my daughter’s new car,a 2008 Scion TC Coupe! And we all lived happily ever after!
Thanks Car Talk!!! Donating was soooo easy!!!