Goodbye And Thanks, Ario
Before you read into the title too much – “Ario” is the name given by my friends for my former beloved Toyota Corona 2000 (c. 1978). At one point in college, my friends started to call the car ‘Ario’ since they found striking similarities with the car and its owner. Someone mentioned it was the car was ‘huge but nimble’. I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions.
The Corona was bought by my Dad not long after we moved back from Sydney in 1988, when I was still in 4th grade. I gave a portion of my savings to buy it. There was a point in time when Mom picked me up after school in the car. When we moved to Bogor, the car was my Dad’s main mode of transport to the office, about 45 minutes away, until the office gave him an office car to use. When that happened, the Corona stayed home and I was in charge of warming it up every afternoon. My first taste of the wheel.
By the time I could drive, my parents let me use the car for after school activities (which was mostly cramming courses because it was the only way my parents could get me to study). Well, that and then some 🙂 I think a lot of people grew up in high school around the car – if you had a set of wheels, you were cool! But then again, my friends drove their Mercedes to school.
When I went back to Bandung for college, I didn’t bring the car along as Bandung was a very public-transport friendly place (note the term was). The car joined me eventually because I had to go back and forth between Bandung and Bogor for my research, and was a big help in all those late night dinners and midnite matinees :D. I held on to the car until graduation, when it got me to and from my first workplace in Bandung.
When I finally moved to Jakarta in 2003, I wasn’t inclined to drive a car in the traffic-ingested streets of Jakarta, and chose public transport, which led me to move out of my parent’s house in Serpong and move closer to my office in Jakarta Selatan. The car didn’t come with me and Dad didn’t have the time or energy to maintain it, so I persuaded Dad to sell the Corona and get a newer car. Dad finally sold it to an office friend and got a 2003 Kijang. I said goodbye, thinking that I would never see the car again.
Fast forward to 2006 – taking cabs everyday to and from Saskia’s house was starting to burn holes in my pocket, so I started seriously considering on buying a car. The thought was actually from a year earlier, when I was considering on getting a VW Beetle (good price, easy repair and spare parts), but I didn’t go as far as looking at cars yet. One day Dad called and saw the Corona – the previous owner put up a For Sale sign on the car! “Do you want to buy it?” Dad asked. I said “I’m interested, since it’s an old car that I actually know what the kinks are, so as long as the car has aircon, I’ll take it!” Sure enough, the previous owner installed an aircon so I borrowed some money from Dad and bought the car. In the process of bringing the car to good condition, I invested in a new aircon system, some new tires, a new battery and alternator, suspension servicing and so on. Let’s just say, if the car wasn’t so hungry for gas, I think I’d still be using it.
The recent price hike forced me and Saskia to decide to let go of the car and buy a used Avanza. We considered on lending the car to a friend instead of selling, but ultimately decided against it. Taking care of an old car like the Corona takes a certain patience and perseverence, and it would be selfish to burden that on others just because we didn’t want to sell the car. So that led to today.
We sold the car to the son of my parent’s friend, married and recently started work, strapped of cash and wanting an alternative to borrowing their parent’s car or taking their baby on the motorcycle. The price we sold the car was below market value (as it is a collector’s item), and he bought the car in installments (not cash). Saskia and I thought that these guys really need the car more than we do and we didn’t mind being paid in installments, as long as good ol’ ‘Ario’ can be of help to someone else. So we waved goodbye to ‘Ario’ this afternoon… I feel so sad, but I’m glad that the car is now in a position to help someone else, and not sit in some collector’s garage and eat dust.
So long, old buddy. Keep helping those in need, like you helped me and my family – and hope to see you again!