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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Driving History 6: Transition, 2002 Nissan Maxima SE

I have been trying to avoid writing about this car. not because of the stats.  3.5L v6 generating 265hp, a 0-100kph time of 7.5sec or so.  Leather seats, heated steering wheel, 6 cd in dash stereo with sub, all tied to 4 speed auto transmission.  The car was a very enjoyable ride.  

No thats not the reason.

It was the time in my life and the events that coincided with its ownership.

We bought the car 2001, and it was one of the first Maxima SEs of that year sold in Edmonton. I remember sitting in a restaurant having dinner with Shelley, my wife and watching some people come over to the car to check it out.  I remember saying to her that it was cool to own a car like that, where people will walk out of their way to have a look, but I also remember saying that its a shallow thing, that feeling.  Yet, it did indeed feel good.

About 6 months after we bought it, Shelley, my lover for 11 years and wife for 2.5, passed away.  She died of a heart attack.  If there is anyone who doubts a life can change in a single heartbeat, I can tell you mine did.

So within these memories is a sadness I don't revisit very often- and thats why I wanted to avoid writing about it.  But its on the list, and therefore must be mentioned.

While sadness is a dominating emotion in the memories, there are some good ones as well.

My second wife- known as "the wife" (I've spoke about her before- an amazing, beautiful and strong woman) visited me in Canada from Australia for the first time when we were dating, and we took on some good road trips in it.  I remember cruising around Lake Abraham with a bit of Tim Horton's magic hanging out of my mouth (I'd show you the picture, but it was destroyed in a house fire in 2009) and her laughing in the passenger seat.  

I also remember her driving it for the first time in Canada.  We were coming back from Jasper and we stopped in Hinton for a bite to eat.  I was buggered as I was driving all day, so she said she'd take the wheel.  We pulled out of the parking lot and onto the service road.  So far so good, right?  She asks," How am I doing?"

I replied,"You're doing great, only you might want to be on the other side of the road."  It was a service road, and fortunately, there were no cars coming.

The car also holds my land speed record.  It was the summer of 2002 and I was on my way to Cadomin to hang with Q.  Traffic was very light on the Yellowhead that day, and I decided to see what 265hp felt like at speed.  After clearing the city, I nailed the accelerator.  The car obediently leapt forward,  and the needle climbed.  120, 140, 160, 180,- I took it to 195kph.  I was going fast, nearly twice as fast as the other traffic on my side of the highway.  But I still wasn't passing many cars.  As I said, that normally busy highway wasn't that day.

I backed off the hammer at 195, and let the car coast down to legal, chickening out before I got to the 200 mark.  The car handled it with a serenity that the Diplomat just didn't have, and there was still more in the engine.

I shoulda broke 200.


  1. Wow! I am impressed. That converts to 121MPH down here in the "lower 48" which is about the same as I went in my brother's `56 Jag one evening when I was 16. You probably didn't have to take a right angle turn at 60MPH at the end of the run, though.
    (finally found your blog)

  2. Welcome, Boomer. Glad you did.

    No, fortunately the highway I was on had fairly gentle bends, though at that speed, I'm not sure they were banked very well. I really enjoyed driving that car- I loved the way it looked. Its probably the only sedan I've really liked the looked of. How do you remember the jag handling?