Often times unexpected things can make big impacts in our lives. For some, this can be a random meeting on a train, a good grade on a test, or even a random promotion. Whatever the case may be, random acts sometimes set into motion a series of events that have a lasting impact on our lives, this is exactly what happened to me the first time I stepped into my local Buick Dealership.
When I was a freshman in high school, my parents were in need of a new car for my mother. Now my mother was harder to sell cars to than my father, who was a massive car guy. 500 horsepower GTO’s type car guy. Now our search lasted an extensive amount of time. My mother had very specific options she was looking for, and at a very specific price point. Dealer after dealer, test drive after test drive, we kept coming up empty-handed. The car buying days were starting to get old, even for someone like me that loved those days the most. Finally, we found the right car online. We headed down to our local Buick dealer, and we drive away in a light pre-owned, low mileage, pristine 2004 Buick Regal GS.
Now to fully understand this story, you have to understand how my mother shops for cars. When she is looking for her next car, she doesn’t first look at horsepower, torque figures, features, or even fuel economy. She looks at a combination of every possible attribute. She needs power, she needs fuel economy, she needs a sunroof, she needs it all. The difficult part isn’t just that she needs it all, that’s easy to find. The difficult part is she needs to get the absolute best value around.
The Hunt For A Vehicle
That day we walked into the Buick dealer, my father and I were on our last leg. We loved going car shopping and test driving all the different cars, I personally love seeing the different solutions each car manufacturer comes up with for common problems, but we were getting burnt out! The Buick dealership was a refreshing change from the other dealers we had visited. Welcoming us with a friendly hand, as if bringing us into a home rather than a place of business. I still remember the far more relaxed atmosphere than anywhere else we had been. I was treated like an adult (a big thing to a 13-year-old!) and was even brought into the conversation about the cars and the options we were all looking for.
The salesman at the Buick dealership knew immediately what we’re looking for. He pulled up the Regal and we all hoped in and went for a spin. I remember leaving the lot pulling out onto the service drive thinking, “Mom can’t get a Buick. No way!” And then she hit it. The 3.8l supercharged V6 slammed my unsuspecting head back into the seat. “What the heck is this thing?” I thought.
Needless to say, my mom fell for the car and later that week we were riding around, hockey bag in the truck, Celine Dion CD in the radio, and my mom happily behind the wheel. Our great experience at the Buick dealership didn’t stop there either. We returned for all service and recommended maintenance intervals. The good people down at the dealership always took great care of us. They always had coffee on tap and the current issue of Road & Track and Motor Trend in the waiting room, so I was happy. The service manager was very good to my mother, taking the time to explain anything and everything to her in as much detail as she needed, even as I was in the back moaning “Come on, Mom, I’ll explain what he means in the car.” But he never rushed her or made her feel unwanted, something I look at now as a rarity in many people.
Ultimately, the car ended up going to my dad, after my mother got a Ford Edge. My dad loved the power and the comfort. He drove that car for many years, and after I broke down and sold my truck, I bought it from him. I got it with 133,632 miles on the clock. Not bad. I had driven other cars with more power, I had driven other cars that were more modern, but there isn’t a car out there with a driver’s seat like that Buick.
Growing up, I didn’t drive the car much. I learned to drive on my Dads Chevrolet Malibu and quickly bought a ‘95 Olds Cutlass Supreme from our family friends. After moving out and getting my own life going, I quickly got into a car that was a little out of my price range. Realizing that I needed to reallocate my funds, I decided to get something without a payment plan. Best decision of my life.
Finding Your “Walter” at a Buick Dealership
Heading back into the Buick dealer, this time with the title under my name, I had them do a quick run through and get everything running up to pristine levels again. Just to make sure. The car was a blast for me. My wife (girlfriend at the time) and I named him Walter. He’s an old WWII fighter pilot that may be old, but still has his wild side. And that couldn’t describe the car better. The car is more comfortable than anything else on long trips, but can still dust most unsuspecting cars from a stop light. Definition of a sleeper car.
Throughout the years of it being in my ownership, Walter has swapped from being my car to being my wife’s daily driver, back to mine, and maybe back and forth once or twice more. The car has been reliable and comfortable through all of it. I have never been stranded and the only major work that has needed to be done was a head gasket, which I undertook on my own this time, and the Buick dealership was of great help. They ordered parts, walked me through much of the work, and even printed off diagrams for me to follow.
Where’s “Walter” Today?
The infamous 2004 Buick Regal GS known as Walter still sits in my driveway to this day. My son loves the car and when given the choice, chooses it over any of my wife and my other vehicles. He has become as much a part of my family as anything else, and will always hold a special place in my heart, as well as the rest of my family.
I owe all of the joys that Walter has brought my family and I to my local Buick dealership. Not every car that we buy turns into a family heirloom as Walter has to mine, but the unexpected car sometimes sneaks its way into our lives and becomes something more than just a car. They become a family member. To us, Walter is more than just a 2004 Buick Regal, he is our retired WWII vet “uncle” that isn’t really a part of the family, but always shows up to every family outing with donuts. The Buick dealership that we bought him from is still around, I drive by it every so often, always making sure to see if someone else’s Walter is sitting there on the lot, just waiting to be brought home into the next unsuspecting families life.