The Best of Andy Rooney

The headline in my newspaper said, "Ford Posts 6th Quarter of Profit In a Row." I don't know what a "6th quarter" is but it must mean Ford is doing well, so I was glad. The automobile industry in this country seems to be getting back on its feet. In my driving lifetime -- between age 18 and the present -- I've owned a Hupmobile, a Durant, three Chryslers, two Packards, three Fords, six Jeeps, a Lexus, a Saab, a BMW and countless other cars that I can't name because I don't remember.

In the spring, I plan to buy a new car, but right now, for the first time in my adult life, I don't own a car. I liked all the cars I did own and don't know why Durant went out of business. I loved our Packards. I always wanted to own a Pierce Arrow and a Duesenberg but never did. My Uncle Bill owned a Reo, which I liked. I don't know what happened to the Reo. It was a good car. The Ford is an everyday car and I must have driven my three Fords several hundred thousand miles.

The trip from Albany to the Lake George was 75 miles, and over the years I've driven that hundreds of times. I think I've driven about 75,000 miles, if I made the trip 1,000 times.

We've done a good job making cars in the United States. They may be our best product. The British, the Germans and the Japanese have made good cars, too. China makes and sells the most cars now. I read where they sold over 13 million cars in China last year.

I've driven about 15 different car makes in the past 50 years and I don't recall a dud in the lot, including a Hup my parents had. (Everyone called a Hupmobile a "Hup.")

I've been trying to remember the names of cars that have come and gone. Besides the Hupmobile, there was Packard, Pierce Arrow, Reo, Star, Oldsmobile, Plymouth, Pontiac, Studebaker, Saturn, Hudson, Nash and Essex. The last Plymouth was made in 2001. I don't know why they stop making different models of cars. I suppose it's because people stop buying them but I don't know why that happens, either.

I can't believe how reliable our cars are. A car is a very complicated piece of machinery, and in all the years I've driven different cars I only had one that really broke down. I'm not counting a flat tire as a breakdown.

A number of years ago, I sold the Ford station wagon I drove for eight years, and tears came to my eyes as I watched it disappear down the road driven by its new owner. I hope he's being as good to it as it was to me because I'm sure it's still going.

I had one car that I was very attached to. In the Army, I was a correspondent for the Army newspaper, The Stars and Stripes, and I often drove from Paris to Frankfurt, Germany, about 300 miles. My Jeep was small but fast. The paper had offices in both cities, and you know how that is. If I was in one, I had to go to the other. I had been assigned the Jeep for my own use. I kept it for almost two years, so I knew it well.

Cars haven't changed that much. They may look better now and have more bells and whistles but they drive the same. My Jeep had four gears and then an arrangement whereby you could put all four gears in a lower range to double the power. The Jeep was maybe the best vehicle of WWII. I remember tearing up when I had to give up mine, but I was coming home from the Army so it wasn't too tough to take. I always wished I could have brought it with me, though.

I'd probably still have it sitting in my garage now.

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