July 19, 2018

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Opinion

Nichols back from shop, but rental was nice

Bomber fans missed our usually reliable, sophisticated, and efficient M-Series, WB Matt Nichols. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)</p>

Bomber fans missed our usually reliable, sophisticated, and efficient M-Series, WB Matt Nichols. (John Woods / Canadian Press files)

We’ve all had to take our vehicle to the shop for a major repair or service. If it’s serious, and they have to order parts or do some body work, they usually give you a loaner.

This is essentially what happened when Blue Bombers starting quarterback Matt Nichols went down and we took backup Chris Streveler for a spin; only this rental we may end up wanting to keep.

When your car — or starting quarterback — breaks down, it’s rarely at a convenient time. You’re either on your way to work or in the middle of training camp.

The first thing that crosses your mind is usually whether the repairs will be covered by the warranty. While the M-Series Nichols is not an older model, he definitely has some miles on him, and the team knew the bumper-to-bumper coverage had expired and it was going to cost them, one way or another.

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We’ve all had to take our vehicle to the shop for a major repair or service. If it’s serious, and they have to order parts or do some body work, they usually give you a loaner.

This is essentially what happened when Blue Bombers starting quarterback Matt Nichols went down and we took backup Chris Streveler for a spin; only this rental we may end up wanting to keep.

When your car — or starting quarterback — breaks down, it’s rarely at a convenient time. You’re either on your way to work or in the middle of training camp.

The first thing that crosses your mind is usually whether the repairs will be covered by the warranty. While the M-Series Nichols is not an older model, he definitely has some miles on him, and the team knew the bumper-to-bumper coverage had expired and it was going to cost them, one way or another.

As is most often the case, they had to go get a couple of estimates, nobody had the right parts in stock — yada, yada, yada — and we were told it could take up to six weeks before it was repaired.

If that wasn’t bad enough, they tossed us the keys to a loaner that we had not only never driven before, but had never even heard of. At first glance and drive, it was like most of the other rentals we’d seen at the dealership.

Nothing about it was familiar or performed like the vehicle we’d had for years. The mirrors weren’t the way we liked them, the seat had too much lumbar support, and the radio had none of our preset stations on it.

It was a completely foreign model to what we had become accustomed to with Nichols.

Like most changes in life, we weren’t happy to be trying out something different in the first place, but because the AMC Gremlin we had bought quit on us — even after the $70,000 we had spent trying to get it to work — we didn’t have much choice.

It was time to see what this new model with zero miles on it could do for us.

In the five weeks we had this loaner, it wasn’t perfect, but unfortunately, they never are.

It seemed a little boxy, it was a manual, it only ran on high-octane fuel, it had roll-down windows, and there was virtually no protective equipment in it at all.

Getting it safetied was a nightmare. No seatbelts, no automatic braking system, and not a single airbag came standard with this car. The suspension was tuned for racing — so you felt all the bumps — and the engine seemed to be most comfortable revving at or near the redline.

Yet, in spite of some of the quirks, and the few luxury appointments, it was a blast to drive, fast as hell and you had fun trying to keep this thing under control.

You could literally drive this loaner through a wall and it seemed like it would keep on running. In fact, it seems to respond best, and be best equipped, for when it went off the road and got into the rough stuff.

Like any new ride though, there was an adjustment period and we missed our usually reliable, sophisticated and efficient M-Series Nichols.

We ended up getting him back earlier than expected, he worked as well as he ever had and he operated with the kind of precision, craftsmanship and performance we had long come to associate with his model. He was capable of carrying many passengers, and just having him back in the driveway made the entire neighbourhood look and feel better.

When the offensive co-ordinator got his daily commuter back this past Saturday, you could tell he was used to all the options that it afforded him and that he had many comfort settings in it that had taken him years to program to the vehicle. That car fits him very well.

That being said, this wasn’t the type of rental that you just gave back to the shop. In fact, it looks like it’s sitting in the driveway right now being worked on and tinkered with, and when the conditions are right again, it looks like they will take it for another spin.

Doug Brown, always a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.

Twitter: @DougBrown97

Doug Brown

Doug Brown
Columnist

Doug Brown, always a hard-hitting defensive lineman and frequently a hard-hitting columnist, appears Tuesdays in the Free Press.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, July 10, 2018 at 6:23 AM CDT: Final

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