Dear Car Talk:
My nephew lives in Spain. Last Friday night, his girlfriend went into labor, so they jumped into their 12-year-old Citroen Xsara and headed down from their remote mountaintop house toward the local hospital. They got only a couple of kilometers down the hill when little Rose couldn’t wait a moment longer, so there she was, born on the back seat of the car on some remote Spanish byway. Thankfully, they all eventually arrived in great style at the hospital, with a police escort and a celebrity welcome. My question is: Since this car is, by now, also part of the family, what should they do with it? — Quentin
It’s amazing what a central role back seats have played in the propagation of the species, isn’t it?
So, what should they do with this car? I’d say they should start with a good interior cleaning.
Longer-term, one idea is to hold on to the car until Rose is old enough to drive it herself. Wouldn’t that be a nice story? But then her parents would be punishing little Rose twice: Once by forcing her to come into the world in the back seat of a Citroen because they had to finish watching “The Real Housewives of Madrid” before heading to the hospital. And a second time by forcing her to drive what will be a 28-year-old car by the time she’s 16. A car that old will be three decades behind the times in safety features that could protect her from injury and possibly save her life.
So, rather than trying to preserve the car itself, I would suggest that the family do a good job of preserving the memory of this miraculous event. Get some great pictures of the whole family in and around the car. Document Rose with her 2002 Citroen midwife.
And then cherish the photos, tell Rose the story, and treat the car as a car. Keep the car as long as it’s useful and serves you well, and then, when that’s no longer the case: Adios!
Give my best to the family, Quentin.