Saying Goodbye: Shadowfax

Just a few days after my dear cobalt was totaled by a tractor trailer, we had to go back down to Maryland to collect what was left inside my car.  For me it was also a time to say one last farewell.  The whole day, I kept having the Muppets song “Saying Goodbye” running through my head.  The lyrics, as with most classic Muppet songs, really are beautiful.  I know it seems to cheapen the song when it’s being related to a car, but it does still ring true where change, especially when adapting to a sudden change, does bring about a time to recall fond memories.

“Saying goodbye, why is it sad?  Makes us remember the good times we had”

Anyone who knows me knows I get attached to my cars, and I loved that little car.  Before it, I’d had a Ford Escort (nicknamed the Frodomobile for being such a trooper) for 9 years.  It was a great car as well, but I’d always wanted a sporty little car with a spoiler, be something I could mod, and to learn stick-shift.  So in 2009 when my escort was getting near 100,000 miles, we decided we’d best sell it, and I narrowed my sights to the affordably-sporty cobalt coupe.

Sorting through used cars until I’d found 2 local manuals, it came down to a 2007 yellow (which would have been named Bombadil) and a 2007 white cobalt, but it was an easy decision after seeing dog scratches all over the yellow’s interior, a burned clutch, and the smell of badly masked cigarette smoke.

My Shadowfax, at under 6k miles, was barely broken in and in brand-spanking new condition, and even came with the exterior black decal (when the dealer came back from where they were washing the car for me and asked if I wanted the decal off, I panicked and told him no way!).  I was still just starting to learn how to drive stick shift from some good friends of ours in the same month that I got the car, but didn’t feel road-ready with a new car, so my brother-in-law, Ben, kindly drove it home from the dealer for me and gave me some more tips about driving it.

Shadowfax when we first got him

In the ensuing months, I learned how to drive stick with Shadow.  My poor guy was patient as I stalled multiple times or didn’t let off the clutch fast enough.  It felt like learning how to drive all over again, and with it came an excited nervousness each time I ventured out.  I remember sometimes I’d come home from just a grocery run and find my hands shaking.  But I stuck it out and kept trying, until it started to click and come to me more naturally.

Now I can say that I don’t even have to think about what I’m doing while driving, as it’s become as much a part of driving as using the turn signal.  I had a lot of fun driving with him, and he never gave me any problems.

I also joined the My Cobalt forum and became friends with some great fellow cobalt owners these last few years.  From them I learned how to take care of my car, got inspired with mods and showed off my work on Shadow, and just killed time chatting with them about life while bored at my former cubicle job.

Just for the sake of memory lane, here’s some pix of Shadow and some of his mods (if you don’t care about project cars, skip the pix):

seat covers
painted chevy logo white, capped the holes left by the front plate (also debadged the back)
painting the dash
installed short shifter with new TWM knob and SS boot
ditched seat covers, got rubber mats
the year he got 2.5 feet of snow dumped on him, and still got me to the film set for Infinite

 “Much to say, foolish to try, it’s time for saying goodbye…”

Yes, a lot of memories, gained car knowledge, and people I’ve met through having Shadow.  I’m grateful for that period of my life that lil car gave me, and how well he stood up to the impact in the crash.

As Karl headed back to the car we’d arrived in with the last of our items, I patted Shadow on his hood and thanked him for being such a good car, and that I’d miss him.

One last pic with Shadowfax on his good side

I’m letting go little by little.  :)

It’s helps that I have some direction on what to look for with my next car now.  We did some test-driving this past Saturday of various vehicles, and I think we have a plan on what to keep an eye out for now.  Our check for my car also came this past week, so we’re all settled on that front.  More on car-hunting in another post!

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