100,000 Memories - Larry Edsall's 2000 Nissan Frontier Turns 100,000 Miles
By: Larry Edsall Posted: 11-26-07 00:01 PT
© 2007 PickupTruck.com

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If you are of a certain age, you may remember a television commercial for the Mercury Comet. The commercial celebrated, in song and film, the compact car’s ability to cover “one-hundred thousand miles at one hundred miles an hour on the banks of the mighty Big D.” Big D was a reference to the Daytona International Speedway, where Mercury used a team of drivers to run its Comet 100,000 miles pretty much non-stop to verify the vehicle’s durability and speed.

My pickup truck has just turned its one-hundred-thousandth mile, though it’s taken nearly eight years and has been accomplished at speeds that only occasionally approached triple digits. I hope it’s a good omen that the odometer in my 2000 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab 4x4 turned… well, actually, since it’s a digital odo, it didn’t actually rotate the numbers, though the readout changed from 99,999 to 100,000 on the way to church this morning. I pray it will continue to run so well for another 100,000 miles.

The Frontier is the first pickup truck I’ve owned. Among the things I’ve learned while driving it is the fact that once you’ve had a pickup truck, you cannot imagine life without one.

We’ll come back to that thought in a minute, but as background to this (100) grand experience, I’ll mention that I learned to drive in my family’s faded-yellow, nine-passenger, manually shifted 1960 Chevrolet station wagon. I then honed my ability to power slide around country road intersections in the 1957 Ford (V8 and three on the tree) that we bought from my grandmother, a wonderful woman who was sort of a Midwestern version of the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

Living in a rural area, I started driving at age 14 and was allowed to take the car long before I had a license, provided I stayed on gravel roads. Though he got his nickname as an outstanding sandlot pitcher rather than a star stock car driver, Fireball Roberts was something of a childhood hero for me, a hero I emulated by sliding around corners, to the point that it became a habit. Thus one day, just after I had gotten my license, I was taking my grandma somewhere and, as usual, slid my way around a corner, only then remembering that grandma was in the car and might tell my parents about my aggressive style of driving. They’re response, I’m sure, would have been to take away the keys.

I needn’t have worried. Grandma simply looked over from the passenger’s seat and asked, “Can you teach me to do that?”

As I said, the Little Old Lady from Pasadena.

The first car I owned was an absolutely horrible early ‘60s Ford Fairlane that one of my father’s co-workers (though certainly no family friend) ripped me off to the tune of $800 without mentioning serious engine problems. My grandparents had switched from Fords to Ramblers and liked the local dealer, so I took out my first car loan to acquire a brand new Rambler Rebel, a car so aerodynamically inept that at around 80 mph the front end lifted off the pavement, negating whatever input you might offer the steering wheel.

My college graduation present to myself was a ’69 Ford Mustang fastback. I only can imagine what that car would be worth today.

Alas, an idiot ran a stop sign and the Mustang was mangled to the point that after returning from the body shop it crabbed cock-eyed down the road. Heartbroken, my bride and I test drove a Porsche 914 and a MGB-GT but bought an Audi 100, which ran like a snowmobile through deep Michigan snows – at least it did once you cleaned the spark plugs, which you had to do almost every cold winter morning.

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