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Cars I Have Owned

28 March, 2009

Today I got into a long conversation with my best friend about cars.  What cars we had and, especially, what memories go with them.  As I enumerated my vehicles, I realized, damn, I’ve had a shitload of cars.  Here they are (in order):

  1. 1967 Volkswagen Beetle.  This little silver car was in pretty good shape when it became the family’s ‘kid car.’  By the time we were done, it had no running boards and the hood bore the imprint of the back end of a Ford Galaxy (drum brakes going downhill and a wet road are a bad combination).  We also rebuilt the engine once after throwing a rod.
  2. 1970/71/73 Volkswagen Microbus Transporter (alias:  the Brick).  This was my first car that was mine.  I bought it by selling my comic book collection.  I became almost instantly popular (at least if people wanted to go somewhere as a large group).  I dragged my born again girlfriend and all her born again friends to a Petra concert.  I took eight other people to a Bob Dylan/Grateful Dead concert at RFK stadium in Washington, D.C.  (when we got to the parking lot, the attendant guided us away from the regular traffic flow over to an area where there were nothing by VW Microbuses).  I got pulled over in Massachusetts (while heading for college interviews) as, I suppose, a suspicious character:  the vehicle, plus I had a ponytail, tie-dye shirt, smoking a pipe, and was listening to Bob Dylan at high volume.  They searched the car and found a mouse nest (with babies) but nothing illegal.  I traded it in because I was headed for college in New Hampshire and I wanted actual heat.
  3. 1982 Nissan Sentra coupe.  It got good fuel mileage and rattled at any speed over 50.  The first car I ever got lucky in (with future (((Wife)))).
  4. 1984 Subaru Station Wagon.  The first car (((Wife))) and I had as a couple (though, at the time, she was (((Fiance)))).  Five speed manual.  Actual air conditioning.  Power windows.  It was like driving a luxury car.  We took it to Canada (Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island) for our honeymoon.
  5. 1986 Subaru Station Wagon.  When I volunteered for the Army (after spending some time selling cars), (((Wife))) and I decided that she needed a newer car (especially as she would be joining me with (((Son))) out in Monterey after I completed Basic) and, loving Subarus, we got one in the newer style.  We drove that car living in Rhode Island, Maryland, West Virginia, and finally, Pennsylvania.
  6. 1989 Toyota Corolla sedan.  I always swore I would never own a car with an automatic.  This car had one and I decided I liked it (easier on my (courtesy of the Army) bad knee).  The problem was, as (((Son))) got bigger, the car got smaller.
  7. 1990 Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan.  Damn.  Talk about luxury — leather seats, cruise control, alloy wheels, a built in stereo-cassette player.  The problem was, we racked up lots of miles quickly and, facing massive repair bills for the air-suspension in the back, we decided to trade it in.
  8. 1988 Honda Civic hatchback as a commuter car.  Gold.  We called it the nugget.  Or the booger.
  9. 1993 Mitsubishi (name not remembered) mini-minivan/wagon.  Good car for a couple with young kids, but, again, the repairs for suspension parts was way too expensive.
  10. Our first (and only) new car:  1996 Ford Taurus.  We took that car to the Black Hills on our very real away from relatives vacation.  We had it for 150,000 miles and were still on the original brakes and exhaust.
  11. 1998 Ford Taurus.  My wife’s car for her cleaning business.  It was too small, so she traded it in on a
  12. 1998 Ford Windstar.  We took that one to Yellowstone.  We got caught in a hail storm in North Dakota and our insurance company replaced the roof.  When it got hit by a drunk driver going the wrong direction on a one-way street, we replaced it with a
  13. 2000 Ford Windstar.  This one had all the toys — power seats, windows, mirrors, everything.  It was fantastic and we drove it for many years.  We took it to the Great Smoky Mountains and Yellowstone (including a drive from West Yellowstone to  Jackson Hole in a snowstorm (in mid-June)).
  14. 1999 Mitsubishi Galant sedan.  This has been my commuter car for 5 1/2 years.  (((Wife))) calls it the Pigmobile.  To find it in a parking lot, just shout, “Sooooo-ey!”  I’ll admit it smells like old pipe smoke.  And old cigar smoke.  And I don’t empty the trash can (passenger side wheel well) too often.
  15. 2004 Ford Freestar minivan.  When the 2000 got hit, we traded it in on a new used minivan.  Low miles, low price, CD-player. 

Looking back at the cars I’ve had over the years, all I can say is, “Damn, I drive dull cars!”  No sports cars.  No convertibles.  Lots of minivans (even my first car (the microbus) was basically a minivan).

So what cars have you driven?  You can list below in the comments or just post it on you blog (purely optional, of course).

(I just took “Ford” out of the tagline because I have been bombarded by almost 100 spams based on that word.)

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18 comments

  1. I’m only just old enough to get my learner’s permit, but I HAVE driven an old manual ute before (family used to own a farm, so my brother and I were allowed to drive around as long as it was on our property).
    My dad had a lot of cars though. Every now and then when we’re out and about he’ll point to a car and say “I had one of those!”. He’s had some interesting ones. I think one of his first cars had three wheels.


  2. My first car was a 1971 baby blue ford maverick. It was so rusted you could see the road through the hole in the floor in the back seat. Then I had a 1991 Nissan Sentra. It got totaled. Then I got a 1992 Geo Prizm. It got totaled. I had a 1991 Dodge Dakota. I think that was my most favorite car ever. The husband and I traded that in for a 1999 Dodge Ram. It got totaled. Then we got a 2001 Mazda tribute. The engine on that had to be replaced while it was still under warranty, so we traded it in on a 2002 dodge ram. When I was diagnosed with the RA it was hard for me to climb into the truck, even with side steps so we traded it in on a 2007 Jeep Commander, that is my husbands car. When I met my husband he had a 1989 pontiac grand am, we traded that in for a 1996 ford taurus. We had the taurus for a long time and traded it in for a 2003 Saturn Ion. I had a lot of problems with the Ion so I traded it in for a 2005 Mazda 3, that is what I drive now.


  3. Being a naturalized citizen, I’ve always felt I should buy American. That hasn’t always happened…

    1. 1977 Toyota Corolla, mustard yellow, manual shift. My parents bought it new at Southwest Toyota in Houston, and I sort of used it more and more until it became mine a couple of years into college. I took my driver’s test in that car. Learned never to let the oil go completely dry so that my then fiance and I had to buy:

    2. 1984 Dodge Colt manual shift hatchback. Blue. I hate blue. The salesman didn’t even look at me once and only spoke to my fiance, which royally pissed me off, until he checked our credit and found that I was the one who qualified. Then he didn’t look at my fiance. Drove that one into the ground and into a Saturn dealership just as it died.

    3. 2001 Saturn SL1, manual shift, dark grey. My only brand new car. I LOVED that car to death. I could do anything and go anywhere in any sort of weather with that car, including towing a trailer with all my belongings from CA to IN (The car rode on a trailer on the way back). I once drove it down a road that closed due to ice and snow while I was driving down it, and met a snowplow coming the other way that was stuck and being towed out by another snow plow. The snow plow drivers just stared as I bounced past at 2 mph. It was eventually just costing too much to fix. I always swore I’d always have a manual shift, but after over 200,000 miles, I got:

    2001 Ford Taurus wagon, automatic, gold. I started dating my current husband and we had 3 kids. Also, my mother has one (in burgundy), and I liked hers. I’M TURNING INTO MY MOTHER! Except I got the souped up engine. My car has POWER.

    Next car I want: 2006 Subaru Baja, manual shift. Probably won’t happen in this economy.


  4. My first car was a 1951 Ford Club Coupe. Got it at age 15 and ‘heavily modified’ it.

    Did a lot of drag racing (sanctioned track and … otherwise). I tried overhead valve engines, but always went back to the flat head and worked it up.
    Tried the Ar-dun kit, but finally stuck with a bored and stroked flattie, valves, cam, hi compression heads, etc. Tried a three deuce set up for a while, but went with a fuel injection system. Fuel injection with a flattie! Damn! What couldn’t you couldn’t with a Jesus Christ Whitney catalogue!

    Had motorcycles along with the cars, the obligatory Harley, a Vincent, an Ariel, and something (150cc) made by Piaggio. Favorite was the Ariel, 500cc single. Still have knots on the inside of my leg where I went to kick it over when it was on the compression stroke.

    When we got married we bought a ’68 Plymout station wagon, 383 engine.

    Then we got a ’74 Chev. crew cab pickup. Eight foot bed, too. It was my wife’s favorite.

    Next was a ’87 Chev. Astro van. I would rather walk on the stumps of my freshly amputated knees than own such a vehicle again.

    Next was a ’92 Chev. S 10. We loved it!

    Currently we have a ’99 Ford Ranger, it’s fine, but getting a little long in the tooth.

    Favorite for me was the Plymouth and my old Ford.

    I recently rode in a stock, restored ’51 Ford, and I remembered pushing mine at very high speed, looked at the dash and other things. sticking out, and shuddered at what might have happened.


  5. I wrecked my first car almost immediately after getting it, a ’75 Cougar.

    I got a ’76 Camaro which I was fixing up but a friend wrecked.

    After that, and up until my senior year of college I had a ’75 Camaro. I’ve yet to drive anything since that had the balls that thing had.

    I had my parents’ old Ford LTD for a couple of years after the Camaro died (I was not going to fund a new engine, especially since in a car that old, that really meant I’d have to also get a new trans to match).

    Next was a used ’88 Prelude which was ideal for navigating Philadelphia

    Last and current vehicle is both my first new car and my first manual trans, ’03 Matrix. Sadly, it’s not red. One day I want a red car that I can put big Arrowheads on. 😉


  6. The first car I had that I thought of as “mine” was a 1973 Plymouth Scamp purchased in 1988 for $300. It had well over 100,000 miles on it at the time. Drove it for about ten years, put at least another 100,000 miles on it, and only let it go to the crusher because the body was getting so rusted out it was no longer safe to drive.

    The S.O. and I have had a wide range of vehicles over the years; the most reliable was probably our Ford Escort station wagon (think it was a ’94), the most fun to drive was an ’82 Nissan 200SX our daughter bought used in 1993 and gave to us a few years later, and the most frustrating was ’52 Chevy the S.O. had fantasies of restoring. Only new vehicle we’ve ever had was a 1987 Ford Ranger, everything else was acquired used.


  7. Beth: Thanks for stopping by. (((Wife))) and I have found ourselves doing the same thing to our kids — “Hey, we used to have one of those.” The kids are polite. They smile, nod, and let us be old people.

    Poodles: Much as I like them, I’ve never had a pickup (which would go wonderfully with my cowboy hat, of course).

    Laurie: When in Yellowstone in June, we got hit with about a six inch snow storm. When driving over the great divide (twice), we found ourselves behind a huge Dodge Ram pickup creeping along at 3 or 4 miles an hour and sliding all over the place. We were in a Ford Windstar, front-wheel drive. I finally had to pass the truck — I knew if I lost momentum, we’d get stuck. At times, going up the hills, the speedo read 60 or 70 and we were going about 15. Powersliding works (as long as it is front wheel drive).

    Sarge: I worked as mail clerk my first government job. My vehicle was a Chevy disAstro. Very torquey four-banger. Automatic tranny. Went from no power to lots of power, or no torque to lots of torque, quickly. Rear wheel drive. I hated it, too.

    Philly: The NPS now uses white with a green stripe. And the arrowhead should be brown. I’ve decided my next commuter car (and a Matrix is one I’m looking at) will have a manual. I miss the illusion of control.


  8. Nan: (((Wife))) and I have only ever bought one new car. Her parents make up for it, though. They buy a new Honda CRV or Pilot about every two years. Makes up for the rest of us slackers.


  9. My husband is a pick up freak. He loves them. Actually he is just a car freak…I could drive mostly anything. He likes cars.


  10. My first ride in high school was a 1989 Chevy Astrovan. Incredibly uncool but great for hauling around my double bass.

    When I went to college I got my grandmother’s 1990 Chevy Cavalier. Lost the AC and the heater in the end but the engine lasted til 2008.

    Now I have my baby, a 2006 Honda Civic. I plan to take good care of it and drive it til it dies.


  11. Poodles: I think it odd, though, that pickup trucks now have more geegaws than a luxo-barge had twenty years ago. What ever happened to basic pickups?

    Kate: Minivans are uncool, but incredibly useful. I had some bad experiences driving a disAstro, so I don’t think I would let someone give one to me.

    Honda’s are cool cars. Fun to drive, fuel efficient and last forever.


  12. Our Astro cost us about as much as both our teenage sons, and they ain’t cheap. This broke, that broke, the head gasket blew, the front end was always going out and costing us tires besides the component. The idea was good, but the vehicle was crap.

    Fords weren’t much better. Their engines started knocking and this was passed off as “normal”. My ass.

    The van would be nice for transporting my harp, but we also are civil war reenactors so a pickup seems to fit better.

    My wife is the family driver (siezure disorder keeps me from behind the wheel) and she is a truck person.

    Years back civil air patrol could draw military tactical vehicles from guard and reserve units to support some of our activities, and it was a hoot to watch her driving a 2 1/2 or 5 tonner. The last year we could do so there were some Oshkosh 8 x 8s available and she went early to qualify with them.
    She was the only one who did, and she drove one for the activity. She is a rather short legged 5’2″ lady and it took two brawney cadets to get her into the cab, but once there she was in heaven.

    I see her sometimes, looking at our little truck and then a big rig. She’d love it, I know.

    She wanted NO part of a mustang and I never could figure out why until last year. Out truck was in the shop and they gave us a brand new Mustang to drive, and everyone we met who knew her had some comment about “Mustang Sally” or “Ride, Sally, Ride”. She asked if I hadn’t noticed the jokes when we had our last horse. Clueless guy thing, I guess.


  13. Feh. Call that a shitload? How about:

    1: 1969 Land Rover LWB Pickup
    2: 1980 Honda Civic 1300 CVCC
    3: 1976 Honda Civic
    4: 1983 Honda Civic 1500S
    5: 1980 Triumph TR-7 w/ 16V Dolomite cylinder head
    6: 1986 Hyundai Pony 1600GXL
    7: 1985 Hyundai Pony 1300 (for parts)
    8: 1965 Austin Mini built to Cooper specifications, 1275CC engine
    9: 1983 VW Rabbit GTi
    10: 1978 VW Golf GTi European gray-market import
    11: 1986 Nissan 200SX
    12: 1978 Rover 3500 SD1
    13: 1986 Mazda 626GT Turbo 5-door
    14: 1991 Pontiac Grand-Am SE H.O. Quad 4
    15: 1972 Porsche 914 1.7
    16: 1990 Honda Accord LX
    17: 1973 Porsche 911T
    18: 1975 Jaguar XJ-6L w/ Chevy 350 Smallblock
    19: 1980 Volvo 242GT
    20: 1991 Mazda MX-6 GT
    21: 1992 Mazda 323
    22: 1986 Volvo 244
    23: 1987 Hyundai Stellar 2.0
    24: 1988 Volvo 740 Turbo
    25: 1982 Datsun 280ZX Turbo
    26: 1985 Merkur XR4Ti
    27: 1984 Merkur XR4Ti
    28: 1978 Volvo 262 Bertone w/ Ford 5.0 V8
    29: 1990 Volvo 740 Turbo
    30: 1987 Honda CRX

    Now, granted, several of the cars on my list have been track-only (the Merkurs, the 280ZX, the Rabbit GTi, and the 1500 Civic) but most of them were roadworthy. Best part about the list is the average cost of my cars comes to $1381.66. Been a lot of $50 cars there. I have sold most of them, a couple were written off, and currently I have the two Volvos (one is for parts) and the CRX, which is my Solo 2 racer.

    I need help.


  14. Rallymodeller: Does the term obsessive/compulsive mean anything? Someday I want a high-performance car. The only really high-performance car I have driven (other than an ’87 Porsche, an ’81 280Z and an ’89 Impulse Turbo driven while I sold cars) was a 1961 Tipo 61 Maserati which belonged to the father of a friend. That damn thing scared me, and I never got it out of second gear (and was already doing 60 on a back road).


  15. I’m too cheap to buy too many cars, but here goes.

    1) 1966 Mercury Montclair. Bought it off a friend’s dad for $100. I could make it backfire on demand. Very fast for a big car and sucked the gas something fierce. Went to the crusher.
    2)1973 Ford Torino. $600. Sold it for $300 to buy:
    3)1976 Chevy Monte Carlo. Cool car to have. Loooong hood. Power sunroof. About 15 mpg. Gave it to my step brother.
    4)1991 Toyota Pickup. First new car. Put 285k on it. Ran like a champ. Gave it to my ex in the divorce.
    5) 2001 Chevy Suburban. Still have it. Kept it in the divorce. Great vacation car. Seats 8 comfortably.
    6) 2003 VW Beetle. Diesel motor. 48mpg and that’s no bs. I’m 6’5″ and weigh 300 pounds and fit in this car better than any car I’ve had. Great car for two people. 185k on the clock and only one worn battery. Great car. I expect to drive it 500k miles.


  16. I’ve also owned motorcycles.

    1)1973 Kawasaki KZ 400. My first bike, bought for me by my parents from my brother for HS graduation. Put about 10k on the clock and sold it to buy:
    2) 1979 Honda CX 500. I put almost 80k on my first new bike. $98.26 a month for 18 months. Very reliable and a good buy. Gave it to my brother.
    3) 1985 Honda Sabre. The fastest bike I’ve ever ridden. A dream come true. Rode it almost 40k. Step bro hit a deer and I sold it to buy a Cadillac.
    4) 1969 Honda 90. We had one as a kid and I had a hankering for one. Kept it for a year or two and sold it to a friend of mine.
    5)1988 Honda Gold Wing. Bought it when I was dating my second wife. We did the touring thing for a number of years. Very happy with it. Stopped riding it when my wife lost interest and we weren’t happy. Sold it to a friend at work who fixed it up and rides it currently.
    6) 1991 Kawasaki KLR 650. My step bro and I bought matching ones. Rode it off road a bit in Nevada. Great bike to ride solo. 50mpg. Stolen out of my garage.
    7) 2003 Honda Relfex. A 250cc scooter. Got me back into riding. Loaned it to my dad and got him back into riding. Now, my new wife rides it and enjoys it. About 12k on the clock.
    8)2006 Yamaha Majesty. A 400cc scooter. My wife wanted me to have a bigger newer scooter when she took my Relfex from me. 55-60mpg. Goes 95mph. Lots of room under the seat. Very comfortable to ride.


  17. Joe: Thanks for stopping by. A friend of mine bought a motorcycle from a friend and the two of us spent about a year fixing it up. All we knew was that it was Italian. Once we had it running, we both rode it once. Then we sold it because that damn little Ducati 500 was terrifying. He sold it for about 20 times what he paid. And we survived.


  18. When I started riding ‘bikes’ as a teenager my parents were in High Dudgeon. They had apparently taken “The Wild One” to heart and KNEW what was going to happen to me: the things I’d get up to, the people I’d be running with.

    These wonderful, exciting things never DID happen to me.

    And when I’d go to the drags…



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