February 25, 2007

our new baby lexus

Okay, so it's not really a Lexus, but it is nicer than we thought we'd be getting, thanks to Lydia. But I get ahead of myself...

The first Friday of this month, I was headed to work as usual up I-65. Unbeknownst to me (since I was listening to my iPod instead of the radio,) there was a truck stuck at the I-65 and I-40 interchange on the south side of town. Just after I passed under the I-440 overpass, the traffic slowed... abruptly. I stopped quickly, and had just enough time to think, "gee... I wonder if the guy behind me is going to be able to... screeeeeeech... {{THWACK}}."

Our 2000 Corolla was no match for the Lincoln Navigator. I don't really remember much more than the moment of impact, but I do remember realizing, "hey... I'm looking at the roof of the car." The hit had caused the driver's seat to abruptly recline, which is good: it absorbed the blow. Although he had tried to stop, the driver hit me hard enough (with my foot on the brake, mind you) to hit the car in front of me, which in turn hit the car in front of me. I know that he was going less than 35 miles an hour because the airbags didn't deploy.

After my first call to 911, my second call was to Lydia. I began, "I'm fine... but..." Lydia always tells me that she's worried when she gets a call between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m., because she knows that means something's not right... and she will never know how "not right" until she answers: it could mean that I've forgotten my lunch, or it could be a day like today. "I'm fine... but I've been in a wreck."

We spent a little time blocking the left lane of traffic until the TDOT trucks arrived. I had my wits about me enough to snap cell phone pictures of the cars just in case. They pulled us over to the opposite side of the road to allow traffic through. Before the police arrived, I collected information from all three of the other drivers. Luckily, all four of us had insurance, and all four of us stayed until the policeman arrived.

I debated having the car towed in, but since I was so close to LifeWay, I determined that the best move was to limp along in to the garage, just so I would know where the vehicle was. Unfortunately, the impact from the Navigator meant that the trunk wouldn't stay closed, so I flapped my way down the highway. Several well-meaning folks motioned to me, letting me know I was flapping.

When I got to LifeWay, I called the Navigator's insurance company and reported the incident. We told them we were taking the car to Beaman's body shop, and they told us we could pick up a rental car there... that they would pay for "as soon as we confirm liability." They were less than helpful at first, but understandably so, because they hadn't gotten the story from Mr. Navigator.

The next day, my back was sore, and on Sunday, my neck was sore, but thankfully by Monday, I was in pretty good shape for our Disney trip (see previous story.)

On Tuesday, as we were pulling up to the Grand Floridian in our Disney's Magical Express bus, my cell phone rang. It was Mr. Navigator's insurance adjuster calling to say that they appraised my car, and the next people we would be hearing from was the "total loss" department. Our sadness was somewhat mitigated by being in "the happiest place on earth."

When we got back to Nashville on Saturday, we put on the full court press to find a car. Mr. Navigator's insurance company actually did a pretty good job giving us almost the full "private party sale" value of our former vehicle, so we had a good base to work from. When we added this year's tax refund (let's renew the American Job Creation Act!!), we had the "what we'd like to spend on a car" figure set in our minds.

Our goal was to find a used Corolla to replace our totalled one. We weren't too picky about color or features... just something that could get me to and from work. The only problem - although it's one of the most popular cars in America, you really can't find a lot of late model used Corollas, because people keep them. We scoured the web for dealerships and individuals all over middle Tennessee, and really came up dry. Our scouring was coupled with lots of prayer, asking God to lead us to the car we needed to get.

We were very close to being out of time on our rental, and up against some additional travel that I would be doing for work, so we were almost resigned to buying a new 07 Corolla, knowing that we'd have to dip into our emergency fund. In a last ditch effort, I started looking at some individual dealer sites and found a used 2001 Corolla at Alexander Toyota in Franklin. I asked (begged really) Lydia to just drive down there and take a look at it, and if it met our needs, we'd buy it... and if not, we'd splurge on a new one.

Last Thursday morning, Lydia drove down to Franklin, but instead of turning into the Alexander Toyota used car lot, she turned into the Alexander Ford used lot. She assumed that since there are a bunch of dealers down there, they might share the same used lot, but when she started looking, she noticed that all the cars were American made and determined she was in the wrong place... but not before she spotted the white 2004 Corolla pictured above. The Alexander dealerships had had an internal auction to redistribute the used cars on their lot, and this one had been on the Ford lot for 90 days (probably because there's a Toyota dealer right across the street and no one would think to cross over to look for one!) The salesperson said they really wanted to move it... or they'd have to sell it back to the Toyota dealer.

Long story short, I took off that afternoon, and we purchased it. They gave us a deal on it that beat the edmunds.com price for the private party value, so we were thrilled to get it, and they were thrilled to get it off their hands. And, that price was within a couple hundred dollars of our "settlement+tax refund" goal. Our mechanic gave it the once-over, and recommended a new battery... but everything else is in perfect condition.

It's much more car than we would have gotten new. We're grateful that we can keep our integrity as Dave Ramsey enthusiasts by both buying used and paying cash, and thankful that God provided our new baby Lexus.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Hey I like the car!!