The Red Frog

252,900 miles

July 20, 1998 The Frog has risen from his coma! Those near the sunny slopes of Wellman, IA undoubtedly witnessed Frog racing over hill and dale. He now enjoys new ownership under a man who will undoubtedly treat Frog with utmost care.

Christmas, 1997 Frog is currently on sabatical on a farm near Wellman, IA. The last engine ignition took place at Christmas, 1997 when the Mighty Frog lit it up on the third turn of the key. This after just sitting there for more a year. What a machine!

It has transpired!

On Easter weekend, 1996, the Red Frog surpassed the 250,000 mile mark!

Here are some pics (250k worth).

Read the remarks of Frog fans on reaching 250k.

Check out what parts have been replaced over the years.

Frog's gas milage history graph.

Picture of the Red Frog

What is The Red Frog?

The Red Frog is a vintage 1979 Dodge Aspen, manufactured in March, 1979. It was purchased by my dad in 1981 (when I was 11) at a state of Iowa DOT auction. At the time it only had 60,000 miles. Since my dad is a mechanic the car has stayed in fairly good shape over the years. However, the car has never needed major repairs. It still runs on the original transmission, engine and chassis (what's left) as it had when it left the assembly line. The engine has never been overhauled but somehow continues to run, despite running on used oil from other cars. In fact, when I drove the car to work every day it never failed to start on a max of two tries, even in -25 °F weather.

Under the hood it has a 225 in^2 Slant 6. It uses about a quart of oil for every 250 miles and gets about 18-20 mpg. The amazing thing about this car is that it runs at all. Dad gave it to me in 1991 (at just over 200,000 miles) thinking it would be a good car to get around with in college for the summer. Well, it lasted through the summer, then through the winter, then next summer, next winter etc. The car just wouldn't die. Aside from minor problems such as rust holes in the gas tank, alternator, starter, brake hose, muffler, belts etc. I have not sunk more than $30 into the Frog at any one time. There have never been any major breakdowns. It just runs.

Ever since it broke 200,000 miles we've been shooting for the 250,000 mile mark. Not many cars make it to a quarter million. Perhaps the 300,000 mile mark is not far off (Cat diesel power, anyone?)

Although not active, Frog is not dead. He still runs but he is just enjoying retirement in a friendly grove. He has already outlived his successor, Blue. Blue was never as reliable as Frog and chose to leave the world at a ripe age of 116,000 miles.

Picture of the Red Frog

Two friends and I basking in the majesty that is only Frog.

Highlights of Frog's life

During the year that my brother had the car (1993-1994) he always drove it to work at the Duane Arnold Energy Center in Palo, IA (Iowa's only nuke plant). I reminded him that you can't fill up the gas tank past half full. The reason being that the top of the gas tank had many rust holes in it. Well, he forgot this little tidbit and drove the car to work on a full tank of gas. That day, the Environmental Response Team of the Duane Arnold Energy Center was called out to the parking lot. The resulting gas spill was determined to be a hazardous environmental incident.

Frog has had several Bondo jobs done on the floorboards. Each floorboard for the front seats was rusted through at one point or another. The front floorboards were repaired with a gallon of Bondo for each side and a bunch of window screen. The Bondo jobs were done with a lot of help from a certain Dr. L. Scott Chumbley of Iowa State University.

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