When you have no money and you need a car, you get SpeakerCar.
M2 sold her last week for $350––less than the price of a new iPhone. For all the nausea and fear that she caused, her passing was an emotional event. This is an ode to SpeakerCar, the ultimate car of the scrappy startup.
SpeakerCar was a 1991 Acura Legend. Black with black leather interior, the hood was bashed in from an accident in 2002. The windows don’t roll down and the windshield is cracked. It leaks when it rains. Wadded up newspapers occuppy the joint above the driver’s seat to seal the hole.
The electrical problems started a few years ago, when M2 drove her into a lake. Yes, a lake. The entire engine compartment was submerged.
Ever since the lake incident, the power steering has been out. Parralell parking was often a two-man exercise.
The lack of power steering impacted wheel alignment, leading to excessive tire balding and frequent flats.
On a hot day, SpeakerCar was a nausea-inducing sauna. On the freeway––prone to unexpected power outages and brake lock ups––she was a deathtrap. When Tyler‘s parents saw the car during a visit on the 4th of July, his mom cried. To his parents chagrin, he had turned down job offers from GE and Lockheed-Martin to join SpeakerText, and now here he was driving around in the world’s unsafest car. As a lifelong IBMer from the bourgeois suburbs of Vermont, his mother was distraught.
Environmentalists, too, had much to say, as SpeakerCar burned oil and emitted large clouds of blue smoke at crosswalks and in parking lots. Older women crossing the street would often cough and gag as they passed through the cloud of noxious gas perpetually emitted by SpeakerCar.
But for all her electrical dysfunction and mechanical disrepair, there was something charming about SpeakerCar, something symbolic––something in her that represented us. She embodied defiance (of clean air laws, if nothing else) and relentless, insistent survival in the face of clear and unmistakeably valid excuses to give up, to throw in the towel, get a real fucking job and real fucking car.
And yes, on the 4th of July, we did get one last flat tire. As beautiful, made-up women walked by with their boyfriends, M2 and I jacked up the car and changed the flat, our hands blackened and burning from the heat. And then we got bombed. But she had taken us where we wanted to go.
She was our mascot and we drove her with pride.