Three garages, three weeks and and a bank manager's heart attack later Zak is back! I can't say I'm thrilled with the dealer he ended up being repaired at. For that sort of cost I don't expect to have him returned with a totally empty fuel tank and not even a cursory rinse to the bodywork. Fairplay though they are the only garage in this stupid one horse county who actually had the equipment to solve the mystery that was a very dead Zak.
I guess I should have been thrilled by a car that goes and doesn't stop just because he feels like it. Somehow though, after four years of this quirky, crazy car being part of the family, taking us all the fun places while lying compulsively, hiccuping to tease us and lighting up like Blackpool illuminations for no good reason, it sort of didn't feel like him.
I mean Zak was always considerate about where and when he broke down. Several times actually outside a repair shop and once outside a house with a children's party going on which the kids got invited to while the tow truck came. Other times he might have stopped a few times but he started up again and got us home. He never broke down on the way to anything important or when we were on vacation.
Driving back with not a single warning light shining happily at me from the dash only to fade the moment a mechanic takes a look felt somehow wrong. The absolutely smooth ride was peculiar and then there was the moment when we all realised that the faulty stereo with the insane random volume generator and track selector was playing at a constant -and in the right order and God help us it felt disappointing 'cos not knowing what it was going to do next was always kinda fun.. Stood to reason really - the stereo was never really faulty - we now know the main computer unit has been faulty and worsening for three years.
Weirdly then, having perfect Zak (OK so his exhaust will need replacing fairly soon but almost perfect) felt a bit like saying goodbye to fun Zak forever....(it felt a little like getting a soulless Sam.)
until we discovered ....the a/c now works!!! Hells Yeah!! It has never worked. A/C in Zak always translated to wind down a window. Summer hols start today and even if I can't get time off work, we are gonna go have fun in Zak and we're gonna be cool.
Oh and prior warning to every mechanic who has glanced sideways and given me the crazy woman driver stare over the last 3 years, when I have described one of Zak's odd moments and they've found nothing wrong. I AM coming for you. My car may not be crazy any more but I'm still mad....