Sunday, January 10, 2010

Fun Monday - My Very Own Carfax

Hey!  I'm hosting Fun Monday this week and this is what I want to know:

I want to know your car history.  What was your first car?  Which was your favorite car?  And what are you driving now - and why?

I was driving my current car, a Subaru Forester the other day and listening to it.  It sounded vaguely like the VW Bus I learned how to drive in, which gave me an oddly comforting feeling.  I'm not sure why that was, but it did get me thinking about cars I've had over the years.  These are cars that were MY cars, that I picked out for myself and paid for myself, with the exception of a couple, which I will also tell you about.

My first car was a Datsun 310.  This is what they were supposed to look like:

Mine didn't exactly look like that.  Mine was two-toned.  Tan on top, brown on the bottom.  And the back end didn't look exactly like the one pictured above.  I'd bought my first car from my next door neighbor who was learning how to do body work.  He'd bought this little car from a junk yard.  It's back end had been run over by a semi-truck and Mr. Mooney fixed it.  I"m not sure what kind of car's rear end wound up on my Datsun, but it didn't look anything like the one in the picture.  It was his first attempt at body work, so it wasn't perfect either.  Rather bumpy, actually.  The backside looked like it had a severe case of cellulite.  It was dubbed "Lumpy Brown Datsun".  I drove it for a couple of years, then sold it to my brother John.  I don't think he's ever forgiven me for that...

I sold Lumpy Brown Datsun to John when my first husband and I moved to Oklahoma.  We made the trip in his Plymouth Duster - a most excellent car, towing a small U-Haul trailer behind it.  Once we were there and he was getting settled in his job, I got bored.  I needed a job too - but to get a job, I needed to get there.  A trip down to Norman resulted in a lovely little 1979 Toyota Corolla.  I LOVED this car!  It was very simple and ran like a champ.  I never wanted to part with it.

My husband, however, felt like I needed something a little jazzier to drive.  He'd already splurged and bought himself a brand new Mazda 626, the first model year.  He was pretty concerned about appearances, and to have me driving around in my rather utilitarian little Toyota just wouldn't do.  He decided that I needed something with a little flash, took my precious little car to the dealership and came home with something... "better."

A Pontiac TransAm Firebird!  Spoiler!  T-tops!  Big bird on the hood!  It was pretty up-town, I'll say that for it.  It also was plagued with mechanical problems from the second day we had it.  TransAms do NOT like cold weather.  The bushings gave out on day two.  It was one thing after another with this car.  But I do have to admit that when I was driving to Sundance Airport for my flying lessons, it was lovely to cruise down the country road with the tops off and Steve Winwood on the stereo.  This was also the car that my ex thought could outrun a tornado.  He was wrong.  We were lucky...  that damned twister passed right over the hood, lifting the front end off the ground before letting go.  The front end was banged up a bit - and I can tell you that we made record time back to Oklahoma City from Eric, OK.

There did come a time when we had a parting of the ways, my ex and I.  And he decided that if he was going to be a single guy, HE should be driving the TransAm.  So we traded cars.  He took the sexy, always-needed-fixing car, and I got the fairly reliable Mazda 626.  It got me all the way back to Florida and around for a bit longer until an unfortunate trip to see my brother in Fayetteville.  On the way back, Mom and I were passing through Manor, GA when the car suddenly went dim and lost all power.  It was sunset on a Sunday, so of course, not much was open.  We coasted into a little antique store where we called my brother Jerry to come tow us home.  But the store was closing, so we had to move the car to somewhere else.  Several jumps later, we managed to get it to the 7-11, where it promptly died and wouldn't restart for anything.  Mom and I hung out in the store eating crackers and coke and playing cards while we waited.  At one point, I looked up from our game and noticed that the parking lot was full of bloody men.  Drinking beer.  I'm sure I could write one hell of a horror story from just that one sentence, but I will just say that it was hunting season and that little store was the gathering place when the guys came in with their kills.  Poor Bambi.  Didn't stand a chance.  Jerry finally showed up just as the store was closing (having driven from Tallahassee), and I was never so happy to say goodbye to a place as to Manor, Georgia that night.

Now that the Mazda had aged to the point of unreliability, it was time to get some new wheels.  My own first NEW car followed - a 1990 Ford Mustang!  I absolutely loved this car... until the electrical system began acting up.  That was finally resolved, and I drove it for a few more years before selling it to my stepson, who quickly sold it to a friend of his.  It was a fun car, but not terribly practical.

My second husband (Darling Man) and I survived on one car for quite a while, then moved to Wakulla, which necessitated having two cars.  I inherited his Toyota Camry while he drove Little Blue, a truck my dad gave to us (and coincidently drove me back to OK to get my stuff in and back years previously).  When Little Blue died, Darling Man traded in the Camry for a little Toyota truck and I (believe it or not) bought another 1990 Ford Mustang!  Then I got pregnant.  After the baby came, I realized rather quickly that a Mustang was NOT an ideal family car.  The car seat was in the back and the Mustang only had the two doors.  It wasn't long before my back was killing me from the bending and reaching and lifting involved in getting my precious boy in and out of that car.

So it was time again to trade up - and this time it was to a wonderful 1995 Ford Explorer.  Mine was white with tan skirt and I put a big red Welsh dragon on the back of it.  That was my baby car.  It was big and roomy and wonderful to travel in.  At least until that kid rear-ended me at 40 mph.  I was waiting to turn left and he was busy playing with his stereo while driving.  We kept that car for a couple of years longer, but the magic was gone...  And after a while, that car just seemed like too much. 

Around that time, some elderly family friends decided to move to Colorado to be closer to their children... and had their old car to sell.  They were asking $400 for it.  I went to see it and fell in love.  THIS car was ME!  It was a golden Volvo 240DL, stick shift.  It needed some work, which I got done to the tune of nearly $3000 dollars, but oh, what a car!  I felt so safe in it.  It was solid and kept my boy and me from going into a ditch on a very muddy road because it was so heavy.  I hit a deer in it once.  The deer was pissed, came back and kicked out the quarter light.  I still loved it.  But it was expensive to maintain (parts and labor were out of this world).  And it did drink gas.  To the point of not really being able to afford to drive it after a while (we lived 15 miles out of town at the time).  With a heavy heart, I decided it was time to get something a little more efficient in the gas department, and said farewell to my beautiful Volvo.

And said "hello" to this.  A 2003 Ford Focus.  It was a fairly good car, but I never loved it.  I never got a kick out of driving it.  It was strictly utilitarian from my point of view.  It did get very good gas mileage, which I suppose was the whole point, but after a while, my apathy towards the car turned into dislike.  Then a series of mechanical problems made me decide that it was time to get rid of it.  Honestly, I've never been so happy to see a car go.

And my current car is what I replaced it with...  a 2007 Subaru Forester.  I sincerely like this car.  It is comfortable, has enough room for all the stuff I occasionally need to haul around, and gets good enough gas mileage that I don't feel guilty driving it.  It's a beautiful greenish- champagne color that reflects the heat in the summer.  Last year, a woman ran a stop sign and plowed into my car.  Knocked the whole front end sideways.  But I walked away unscathed.  It took the insurance company a month and a half and nearly $8,000 to put it back together again, but I am glad to have it back.  It's not fancy.  It's not flimsy...  it's perfect for me at this time in my life.  I love this car and my dad said he could tell because I "moved in" immediately.  I'd never moved into my Focus.  But the Subaru sports my Welsh dragon decal on the back and my tag on the front.  It is MY car.  For as long as it runs.  Since my neighbor got his used 18 years ago and it's still going strong, I imagine I will own this car for quite some time.

Now go visit all the other Fun Monday participants!




The Church Lady


Jill (L'il Mouse)







Serina Hope (late addition)

Lynn (another late addition!)


Gattina said...

What a nice story all the cars sharing your life. It's funny that we have the same japonese cars but they have another name, that also counts for Subaru or Volvo. A Subaru Forester doesn't exist but the car yes, I don't remember the name it's Subaru something else.

Faye said...

This is good! My friend had a Lumpy Brown Datsun and when she retired bought a red sports car for herself and gave the Datsun to her teenage son. He complained about having to drive mom's Brown Turd while she tooled around in the red sports car.

Great topic,Sayre. It is funny but we do bond with some cars, others we just use for transportation.

Janis said...

Yep...Faye has a point...we do bond with some of our have had quite a few and it sounds like the one you have now is one of the better ones...I have often thought about getting a small SUV, its nice to sit up can see so much better. Thanks for hosting this week Sayre!

Lil Mouse said...

Yeah Subaru. My hubs already has a BUNCH of miles on his. Boy you've been through a lot with cars! Good topic!

Sandcastle Momma said...

I'd forgotten about the cars I've owned until I read this.
I also had a Mustang and sold it for the very same reason - my daughter came along and you can only put a baby in a car seat in one of those a couple of times before your back goes out. Obviously Mustangs weren't designed for Moms.
Sadly, I drive a mini van now. I swore I never would but with 3 kids it was pretty much the only we all fit in. One day I'll own an old jeep that I can run top speed through the woods in!

The Church Lady said...

My hubby and I are such a fan of Mustangs. He owned a 69 Mach I. It was the boss! But you are right, they are definitely not "family friendly" This was a fun topic Sayre! Thanks for hosting.

Serina Hope said...

I am going to play Fun Monday. I am jumping in WAY TOO late I know.

joangee said...

Loved reading your account and thanks for choosing such an interesting topic.

Lynn said...

I just joined in. I am a day late but this looked really fun.. Here is my post..

I look forward to seeing who is hosting next week and the topic.

karisma said...

Gee you have had a few cars! I did not play as technically I have never owned a car! I still don't drive!

Mariposa said...

I really enjoyed your story!I wish I have that same drive. :)

My apologies if my post is very late, had some issues with work and health and just got back to blogosphere!

Pamela said...

who is hosting on the 18th?