We called our 1968 Plymouth Valiant 100 “Slithis” after a cheesy horror movie about snakes. I’m not sure why, in retrospect; most likely because it was a green. It wasn’t that metallic gold green popular in the early 1970s, sometimes called “baby shit green” (parents will understand). Just eight years after production, Slithis’ verdant topcoat was starting to lose its lustre. It had 98,000 miles on the odometer and we paid $50 for it — a genuine “$50 special.” Today, something comparable would have twice as many miles, cost 10 to 20 times as many dollars, and likely be in far better shape. In 1976, a typical car was used up at 100,000 miles — or only mostly used up in this case. My now ex-wife Batya and I were starting our life together, soon to be joined by our first child, Sarah, who rode home in Slithis from the hospital after her birth, protected by what was then the latest in child safety technology: the General Motors Infant Love Seat. Bat made me stop at least a couple of times on the way home to make sure Sarah was breathing. New parents, go figure. The Valiant was as “base” a car as one could get. I called it a small print car. Back then, the daily newspaper (rem...