My other sweetheart

I drove this car to the supermarket the other day and, for the umpteenth time, fell in love with it. It’s an absolutely marvelous car.

It’s driven almost exclusively by my lovely wife and then only three evenings a week to the gym. Otherwise, it just sits in its own carport, enjoying retirement.

It’s called a Chevy Pop, short for Popular. Ours is a 2000 model.

Eight months after moving below the Rio Bravo, I bought this fresh, little baby at the dealership in the state capital. It was either the Pop or a Volkswagen Bug, which were still available new in this country at that time.

The price difference was $500, so it was a no-brainer, as they say. The Pop is vastly superior to a Bug, even a new one.

I paid about $8,000 for the Pop. Something similar was sold in the United States many years ago as a Geo Metro.

The Pop uses virtually no gasoline. Since it is over 10 years old, there is no tax. We only pay a “plate fee” of $30 a year. We just buy liability insurance, and that’s $130.

This little car is agile and zippy. You can park it anywhere. The hatchback opens and the backseat folds down, and you can easily tote tons of whatever.

It’s hard to spot in the photo, but there’s a metal luggage rack on top, which I added. Anything you cannot fit into the rear goes on top. This thing has the heart of a moving van plus the head and leg room of a Peterbilt cab.

Oddly, when my child bride and I met in 2002, she also had a 2000 Chevy Pop. The only difference was that hers was silver, had a sound system and an annoying alarm that would erupt without warning.

We sold that silver and kept this blue.

In 2004, we drove the Pop all the way to Atlanta, Georgia, and back. We did it in March because it has no air-conditioning. It has no sound system either.

The Pop is still sold today. In addition to the hatchback, there is a four-door model, plus a little pickup truck, and now they come with air-conditioning.

I dearly love my Pop, which is quite a contrast to our 2009 Honda CR-V, which pisses me off every day and which I enormously regret purchasing.

We paid a whale of a lot more for the Honda than for the Pop.

Oh, the irony. And where’s the justice?

20 thoughts on “My other sweetheart”

  1. I saw, on one of our early drives through MX, a woman driving one of those at a military check stop. The car was full to the roof and beyond of Tupperware or something similar. They made her unload all of it. It was probably just her delivery wagon to her customers who weren’t drogistas.


    1. Carole: When we returned from that trip to Atlanta, we got the red light at Customs at the border. The back of the car was also jammed to the roof. The agent asked me to flip up the hatchback, which I dutifully did. He looked in, arbitrarily pointed to one box and asked what was in it. I told him it was a lamp shade. He said okay, and shut the hatchback, and off we went.


  2. Linda buys a new GM “runabout” every three years or so, going on 30 years, not one problem with any of them in that time. Oil, wipers, tires and brakes, not one engine, tranny, rear end — nothing. The current Cobalt gets 38 miles to the gallon on our country driving, it was 14 grand. I’m driving a Ford van that was given to me and it too has been a easy thing to keep up with over the last four years. It was ten years old when I got it, I have about a grand in repairs, brakes and tires and a whole bunch of oil changes invested in the van. I plan on using it this winter for my Latin drive-by. If it dies, I’ll fly home.


    1. Norm: I have never heard of a Cobalt. I Googled it for a photo. I don’t think it’s sold down here, as the Chevy Pop is not sold up there. Before I moved south of the Rio Bravo, I was a long-time Toyota guy. Loved ’em, and never had any serious problems. My whole family, actually, rode Toyotas.

      When I moved over the border 12 years back, Toyotas were unavailable for the most part. I believe there was one dealer in Mexico City, and that was about it in the whole country. Now they are as available as any other brand.

      The Pop, as mentioned, is sold as a Chevrolet. My second car down here was a Meriva, which is made in Brazil, sold as an Opel or Vauxhall in other nations. But here it’s sold as a Chevrolet. It is not sold in the United States. I absolutely loved the thing. Wish I still had it except that three cars are not an option. It had no airbags, no cruise control, which I want. I sold it and used the cash to help buy the Honda, my first-ever Honda. I will never buy a Honda again as long as I live. It’s very safe, which was why I got it and sold the Meriva, but it has so many little annoying design flaws that it keeps me in a constant emotional uproar. I loathe it.

      I wish it were just a little bit worse so I could financially justify getting another car, a Chevrolet Captiva, but that ain’t gonna happen. I tend to keep cars for ages. The Meriva was an exception. And I got no job.


  3. My favorite car was my 1973 Datsun 240-Z. A very simple sports car with the lines of an XKE and the heart of a Porsche. The year I drove it in Greece, it purred at 120 MPH on the nearly-deserted expressway between Athens and Patras. And like your Pop, the hatchback allowed me to carry all of my worldly goods — something I did a year later when I drove to England, with the assistance of two ferries.

    Of course, like most car companies, Datsun tarted up the design to the point where the little 240 eventually turned into the 280 and now the $100,000 (US) GT-R. But I guess that is another tale about cultural change.

    For now, I am satisfied with the Shiftless Escape that graces my courtyard and gets me to and from my limited destinations.


  4. I have a ’93 Lincoln Towncar, best damn car I’ve ever owned, it’s a mafia machine, 4 bodies in the trunk, no problemo. It died a few months ago, blown head gasket, over 400,000 kms, never had a problem. She owes me nothing. I shall rebuild the motor. We again shall float down the hwy. Her replacement for the meantime is a Nissan Altima, sporty little beast, but doesn’t float. Also have a ’64 Cutlass convertible, bought it in ’65, it was a girl catcher. She sits in the garage, We don’t try to catch anymore. I too tend to hang onto things of the past, memories are made of this. (I miss Dean Martin.)


    1. Bob: Though I’ve never met you in person, I know that you are a piece of work. Swimming pool, Mafia machine, Harley-Davidson, etc.

      Cars are fun. For a short spell in the late 1970s, I had a 1972 Cadillac Coupe Deville. I rode in style.


      1. Ahhh, an Elvis Machine, great choice. I envision myself in a Morgan sports car one day, maybe a Triumph TR.3, I would look sporty, might even get the cap to go with it. Getting in would be no problem, getting out, another story. “A piece of work”, hummm, been called much worse, my youngest grandson is a “throwback” so my daughter says, I fear for his safety, but he will enjoy life to the fullest. One day we will meet, I shall bring you Maple Syrup and Canadian Chocolates for your wife.


  5. Toyota Highlander, for practical reasons like loading it with kids college stuff … Well, they graduated, and I don’t have to do the back and forth trips anymore, yesss.

    Anyway, really want a sporty Beamer, but every guy (the people that know about cars) seems to talk me out of it. Apparently, they don’t do well in inclement weather, and we do have that here from time to time.


    1. Andean: I had a girlfriend for a week or so in Texas in the 1990s, and she had a BMW sedan. The roof was so low, my head was against it, literally. Why do they make cars like that? Ones that only midgets can drive?


        1. Yipes, thanks for pointing that out. I should read my comments 1,000 times before posting them the way I do the posts themselves. I have fixed my error.

          Actually, I have a girlfriend now, present tense, but I am married to her, which is the best sort of girlfriend to have.


  6. Well, I guess I be a midget! (That phrase goes back to a funny story). I have driven a BMW since 1986 and cannot bring myself to drive anything else.

    Whenever I get a new one, my husband takes the hand-me-down. So, we are a two beamer family.


    1. Connie: Pretty good deal for you. You get the new one, and your poor hubby takes hand-me-downs. Interesting to know that such high-class people pass through my corner of cyberspace.


  7. Your Pop reminds me a little of the old Chevette, which I think they may have stopped making in the ’80s.

    I’m a pickup truck man for the most part. I keep an old Jeep and a motorcycle for backup.


    1. Ray: Through much of the 1980s and ’90s, I had a pickup, and I wish I had one now. Such handy vehicles. It was only after I bought the Honda that I discovered that pickups of whatever age pay far less tax down here than cars since they are considered work vehicles, and the working guy gets a break. I would also like a bike and a Jeep.


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