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Matt DeBord - The Saab Slob

by John Rabe and Matthew DeBord | Off-Ramp®

The Saab Slob? KPCC's Matt DeBord hasn't washed his car in more than a year. John Rabe

KPCC business reporter and frequent Off-Ramp guest Matt DeBord kept putting it off. He had better stuff to do than wash his car. In Los Angeles. And him a former auto industry journalist. He'd have been laughed out of the LA Auto Show, mocked at the River Rouge plant, but he has no shame. He does, however, have some damn fine cassettes.

We asked Matt how he allowed it to get to this point. Here's what he offered:

Well, it's somewhat professionally humiliating. I'm one of those people who's always telling people to get their car washed once a month, to clean the interior as often as possible. That's how you maintain value! Resale value! Plus, we live in L.A. Clean cars here are part of the culture. To look at my Pig-Pen ride, you'd think I was navigating the highways and byways on the Maine seacoast in December.

With my old Saab, I just...well, I let myself down. And then I let myself down some more. And then I just keep right on truckin' with the whole letting myself down thing. Luckily, Saabs — like Volvos and made-in-the-U.S.A pickups — look equally good dirty or clean. They also handle damage with a certain élan: My front fender has been duct-taped together since several Christmases back.

The big question for me at this point is, "Do I dare get my Saab washed?" Something catastrophic could happen. I'm sure the filth is holding some part of the machine together. I have been thinking about it, though.

Of course if I hit the car wash, my daughter, Lucia, won't have anyplace to write "Clean me!" or to draw plaintive hearts that are meant to make me love my car more than I do.

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