Brandon complains that my family was under the mistaken impression that our car was a hunk of junk that probably would have just fallen apart or spontaneously died of its own accord had we not crashed it. So for the record, let it be known that our little red Toyota Celica's only problems were as follows:
1. The front left fender was all smashed up, and the turn signal was broken, so Brandon had to stick his hand out the window to signal a left turn. It always made me a little nervous, since he was sticking his hand out into the oncoming traffic. Also, a couple drivers took the opportunity to slap him a high five!
2. A few months after having been fixed, the engine fan broke again. So we just left it broken and had the heater running full blast all the time (including when we drove across New Mexico and Arizona in late August ...)
3. There was an oil leak that would have cost more to fix than the car was worth. Now, our landlady in Massachussetts told us it's actually illegal to drive a car that has both an oil leak and an overheating problem because, as her husband found out through experience, it can lead to the engine catching fire. So we used to joke about how the engine was about to burst into flame--and wouldn't it be funny if we had just been joking about the engine catching on fire, and then it actually did? Ho ho ho hilarious!
The oil leak was probably also responsible for the destruction of the alternator, which may, in turn, have have been related to the death of the battery.
But aside from those things, the car was in perfectly good shape, reliable, with a long life ahead of it. Oh, and the radio antenna was broken, too. And there was a broken off piece of a key stuck in the passenger side door's keyhole. And the trunk couldn't be unlocked with a key, it had to be popped from the front of the car. And the windshield wiper fluid didn't squirt. But that's it. Otherwise, the car was virtually in mint condition.