Call me Oldie.
Rusted and beaten, hard-boiled but soft under the hood. An '89 Oldsmobile—full of dirt, grit, and not much else. My paint job’s got more holes in it than an amnesiac’s alibi.
He keeps me tucked away in some out-of-sight garage while his new prize—a Chevy that still stinks of the assembly line—glistens in the driveway like she owns the place. I'm washed up. Broken. Just one more casualty of that cruel mistress, Time.
That's what he thinks, at least.
In my day, I could turn a stoplight green with one blink of a headlight. I could hustle a quarter from a stingy tollbooth. I was good. But ol’ Oldie, well, he ain’t nothing now. Just a hunk of steel one sputter away from the local junkyard.
Hmph. What’s this? Sunlight floods the joint. I can’t remember the last time I saw him, but here he is. He looks older—though who am I to talk? The years ain’t exactly done me well, either. He climbs in, turns the key. I feel that old warmth of his khakis on my upholstery. I had forgotten. Well, off we go: no doubt one last joyride, a final lap for the old man and his busted wheels. If he wants to squeeze this old boat for one last drop of nostalgia, I’ll let him have it. It was good while it lasted, anyway.
SeCar Auto Wash. Hm. Seems too clean a place for a dirty car like me.
Must be some kind of sting, I think, as I feel my fuel gauge fall like a wino’s hopes at last call. I'm being sold off—cleaned up before they peddle me to some poor chump who couldn’t tell an odometer from a hood ornament. I'm through. Sayonara.
Who’s this guy? Hm. A technician. His coveralls are as clean as his hands are calloused. That smile—it stirs something in me. Something deep. It’s all I can do to stop my engine from purring.
"What will it be?" he asks my owner. I feel my brakes tighten in anticipation.
"Let's go with the bumper-to-bumper. This one's still got a whole lot of life to live."
Mr. Smiley pulls out a sponge as silky as the mane of a '65 Mustang. I succumb to its soapy embrace, but there’s no time for romance. The kinetic swirl of a buffer soon follows, then the soft purr of a vacuum, the jacuzzi kiss of shampoo. That filth that sat on my hood like an albatross for so long—it falls away so easily now, like meat off the bone.
Well, I’ll be a Stingray’s tailpipe. Look at me now! The glow of my paint could light up a prison hole. We pull out of the lot and turn onto the street. Ah, here she is, that old stoplight. Her red light claps shut, and the green eye invites me through with a wink.
With his foot on the pedal, he asks for gas. I give it to him.
That's right, Oldie, you dog. You still got it.
The ASE-certified technicians at The Car Shop of Richmond refer to themselves as "the car guys," modestly masking the fact they tune up racecars in their spare time. In addition to servicing high-performance vehicles, the crew repairs electrical and mechanical components, and soups up the aesthetics of 44 makes from the globe's four corners and three slimming pin tucks. Out of respect for their work and those who fund it, they make sure to keep their unassuming brick-and-cinderblock garage tidy and WiFi enabled. Pickup and dropoff services represent another nicety, as does the option of a complimentary online profile that aggregates your car's service history, manufacturer recalls, and maintenance reminders.
Readers of Richmond magazine have voted Car Pool Car Wash the Best Car Washing/Detailing business in the city multiple times over the last decade. Stepping into one of its facilities, it’s easy to see why. In addition to making autos look and feel like royalty, Car Pool Car Wash also cultivates a stress-free environment with sleek waiting rooms that resemble modern hotel lobbies and emit free WiFi. After grabbing a complimentary cup of coffee and receding into plush leather chairs, visitors are served a visual feast that may include floor-to-ceiling windows or a stone fireplace. Rocking chairs outside of the car wash enable car owners to wait under the open sky while flipping through a book or magazine.
Locally owned and operated since 1977, the automotive salon company has focused on advanced car-cleaning methods while expanding its outreach to include six full-service wash facilities, two exterior-only wash facilities, and a full-service detail shop. Many of the car wash's specialty packages cater to specific vehicle needs such as comprehensive interior cleaning or professional exterior waxing, services that enlist products from Simoniz and Rain-X to safeguard paint jobs.
Car Pool Car Wash strengthens its bond with repeat customers through its frequency rewards program, which makes participants eligible for future discounts after they sign up online or in person. The shop also carries Duck Bucks gift cards that allow recipients to prepay for regular car washes. In their efforts to foster a tightly knit community, the owners of Car Pool Car Wash regularly support local charities and organizations in their initiatives.
Seredni Tire & Auto Center began as a small, family-owned business in 1981 and it's remained true to those roots ever since. Despite expanding to three full-service repair shops staffed with ASE-certified mechanics, a separate member of the Seredni family continues to own and operate each location. The teams can find and install the perfect tires for anything from a coupe to a commercial truck, pulling from a library-worthy selection of brand-name tires that includes sets by Bridgestone, Michelin, Goodyear, and more. Additionally, the technicians can keep automobiles running in peak condition by performing basic tuneups as well as full-service repairs, such as oil changes, computerized engine analyses, and transmission maintenance.