May 17, 2008

My Story In Vehicles

My first car was a gift from my dad. He graduated in 1966 and shortly before his 21st High School reunion (they forgot to have the 20th) he found some guy selling a 1966 Pontiac Tempest for $300. My dad bought it for one night and gave it to me, but not before rubbing off most of the hood's paint by trying to hand wax it. That car died when I accidentally crossed over a road set about 3 feet lower than the road I was on. I broke two motor mounts and bent the other two, slamming the engine into the radiator. Would cost more to fix than it was worth.
My next POS was a 1980ish Dodge Omni in less-than-heterosexual Green. It was the only car I could afford without getting my parents to co-sign on a loan. I was relatively rebelious at the time, so when they tried to ground me from it I laughed and asked how they intended to keep me from it since I was paying for all of it myself.....those were the days. This car died on the day I went to college. It ended up being the first model year they tried to put in a "computer". I was able to nurse it along with way too much money in parts until I just gave up. It rested ion the family's junkyard for a couple of years until my Grandmother sold it. She tried to give me my cut, but I literally wrote it off.
My next car was government issued since I had enlisted. A good, old fashion HMMWV with a GRC206 mounted inside.
I did buy a buddy's lowered 1974 VW Beetle. He didn't know what was wrong with it and the repairs would cost anywhere from $20 to $1500 (based on some basic troubleshooting). $700 later and I had a working bug, but the drop job was somewhat crappy so I offloaded it and moved up.
A co-worker bought two mid-80's Chevy Malibus from his future father-in-law. He kept the 350 and let me have the 305 for $800. It was a boat, but a smooth ride that would just fly if you opened up the 4 barrels. I had this car for 8 months or so until I PCSed to Germany. I took it on one sweet ride cross-country (getting paid for the travel) and sold it to my mother for $800 so she could give it to my little brother.
In Germany I had a HMMWV and a M113. I needed the track since I was now assigned to an armor unit.
I did eventually get what we affectionately called a "hooptie". Just a cheap car you could toss when done. My Audi lasted for about a year before I put her in the junkyard. When she died the car had the nasty habit of jerking hard to the right when driving below 100 KPH.
I needed a new ride and I wanted one with a little bit of style. I found myself a Mini Red Hot Special Edition. This is the first car I truely loved. Unfortunately I was an idiot and decided that after Bosnia and making SSGt I had the money for a "real car". I sold it just before I came back to the US for about $300. I actually sold it for $3000, but got totally stiffed on the deal. Since I sold it on the economy and was in the US, not much I could do...except have the idiot beat up by my comrades still in Schweinfurt.

My "real car" was a 1997 Chevy Cavalier Z24. That car was nice and fast on the autobahn. Unfortuneatly the limiting chip would cut in at 107 MPH. I had this car for several years and only lost it when I took it in for maintenance and an unscrupulous Goodyear mechanic didn't do what I paid $1K for. After a major engine tuneup I complained immediately that the engine sounded funny and before I could take it back it through a rod. They tried to tell me that the manager test-drove it 10 miles before I picked it up, but after a review of the paperwork (a month later) I noticed that they had the same inbound and outbound mileage. I totally should have taken them to court. In the end I donated the car to the friend of my neighbor who had a good engine and needed a cavalier body.

When I was stationed in Texas I fell in love with the Toyota FJ40. Problem was that they were hard to find and gawd-aweful expensive, so I set my sights on a Postal Jeep (DJ5). I bought one "clipped" DJ5 from Houston and another sight-unseen in Fort Sill, OK. A buddy helped me pick them up. Unfortunately for me they were different models (the Ft Sill one was supossed to be the same model). I dismantled what I could and had the good body stripped and the bad one tossed. Most of the assembly got done, but then I got out of the service. The jeep made the trip up with me and has been languishing in the garage ever since. Someday.....

I found an August 1966 VW Beetle for sale and picked it up for $1500. It's the first month they made the Beetle in 12V. I've worked on it some, but I don't have the time anymore, so it'll be sold soon.
I think there is some karma going on with me giving the Z24 away because I won a scooter in an Octoberfest raffle. I drove it for a year and it needs to be cleaned up and sold because fo my current ride.

My boss got a Honda Accord for a friend and ended up getting the car back, so we now have an office car which I get to drive.

1 comment:

Self-Hating Shrew said...

That limiting chip on the Cavi has saved me from some pretty outlandish speeding tickets. :)

I've only owned Cavaliers, and (unfortunately) not one was a Z24. They're still good cars, though. They'll run forever if you have an honest mechanic; the only problem is the breaks, which are too small for the size of the car and die a quick, painful death after a couple of months of city driving.

You should keep the Beetle. I've always had a fondness for 'em, and VWs are beasts. If I had the cash and mechanical inclination, I'd own one. If you do sell it - and, by the way, I think you'll regret it if you do - make sure it goes to a worthy home.