Oliver North

To Whom It May Concern:

Forgive the ambiguity of the salutation; I didn't know whether to address this missive to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and "Dear Car Czar" just sounded so, well, tacky.

Let's cut to the chase. I need a new car. I'm not asking for a bailout or anything like that. I just need some good advice, and I am hoping one or all of you can help. Here are the facts:

First, we only buy American cars in my family. My dad fought in World War II, and I always have been afraid he would rise up out of the grave and haunt me if I bought one of those Japanese or German machines. Perhaps you can recommend a pill or some kind of counseling for this problem.

I currently am driving an 8-year-old Oldsmobile, and the odometer is pushing a quarter-million miles. Yes, I know that makes me part of the problem. My wife and I just don't buy cars often enough because we don't buy things we can't afford. Silly, I know, but after 40 years of marriage, we're kind of stuck in our ways.

If it makes any difference, in my family we also have a Chrysler PT Cruiser and a Ford truck. They all are paid for, so I guess we don't qualify for federal help in paying them off. And that gets me back to the big question: What kind of car should I get?

During my career, I've driven jeeps, Humvees and even a few tanks. I once owned a Shelby Cobra, but we traded it in for a station wagon when we started having kids. My wife suggested that given my advanced age and the sad state of our economy, I should get a Winnebago. She says that way, if the bank foreclosed on our home, at least we would have a place to live.

I can't get a new Oldsmobile (is that an oxymoron?) because GM doesn't make them anymore. Speaker Pelosi said, "Come March 31, it is our hope that there will be a viable automotive industry in our country." "Hope"? I'm shopping in Virginia. Where is Hope?

In the past when I shopped for a new car, I asked friends about their recent purchases, read newspaper advertisements, paid attention to television or radio commercials, and picked up Car and Driver magazine. After compiling what Washingtonians call a "shortlist," I consulted Consumer Reports to determine how my choices ranked against similar autos. Then I bought what I could afford from a dealer I trusted.

Oliver North

Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.