Ex-Lion Tamer

For several years my wife and I have shared a single car.

Unfortunately, a recent job change has increased the time of her commute, leaving me stranded on the outskirts of San Francisco most weeknights.

I’ve been thinking it might be nice to have independent transportation.

But what?

Motorcycle? Scooter? Mod? Rocker?

After some consideration and consultation, I decided I was a Mod, not a rocker. (Also, in case you were wondering, a reluctant Vampire, not a Zombie.)

But scooters turned out to be kind of expensive, plus I’d have to get a permit and pass a test.

Most recently, I saw this ad for a car:

Veggie Mercedes Vegetable oil converted 1977 240D . (bernal heights)

I have put 80k on vegetable oil with this vehicle. It has been reliable and inexpensive to repair. I have put in a windshield, transmission, muffler, hood release cable,motor mounts, CV boot, door lock knob, seats and many other parts. Has a Plantdrive conversion which I did myself as I’m an installer. I converted the glow plugs to manual 10 second system. Original system was 30 second. Runs synthetic oil in the engine & transmission. I’ve taken it from Seattle to San Diego & it never left me anywhere except the transmission did fail in San Francisco where I live. New transmission shifts smoothly. I will sell with or with out the vegoil system (about 500 dollars more)which is single tank & will supply 15-30 gallons a week of veg oil indefinitely. Radio is a loaner and not for sale. We found a wagon after looking for years. Keeping our other 240 which got totaled. We can not afford insurance on three vehicles.

About the same price as a scooter and I wouldn’t need a new license, plus I could drive it in the rain.

I’d seen it around the neighborhood, and it is a really nice looking tank of a car. I was also just a bit taken with the idea of being able to run it on used kitchen oil.

So I called the guy and arranged for a test drive.

I sort of thought it was someone up the street from us, but when he mentioned his address, another house immediately came to mind.

It’s a house I’ve seen and wondered about. There were always big 5 Gallon Cooking oil containers stacked up in the entryway and the whole house smelled like Chinese food. Our dog certainly liked the smell of it every time we walked by. I guess I always thought maybe there was some sort of illicit catering operation going on, that they would use that much cooking oil.

So I met the guy at his house, as I suspected it was the one with the drums of cooking oil, and took the car for a drive.

I was a nice looking tank of a car, but the whole interior felt like it was coated with a dirty film. As if it was a Wisconsin Supper Club, serving a fish fry every Friday for the last 50 years.

Having worked in exactly that Supper Club, one summer in my Twenties, I just couldn’t hang with having my car and myself permanently reeking of used cooking oil.

I guess biodiesel isn’t for me.

Maybe a Scooter isn’t such a bad idea, after all. Monty would look really smart in a little dog size helmet and goggles.