Pal Jeffro just blogged on the auto industry a bit and prompted me to begin what should be a long and excruciating process to buy a new car. Well, new for me. I think I’m done buying “new” new. First though, let’s stroll down the memory lane of my personal car history.
It was a dark and stormy night… no, wait, that’s how my first novel will begin. Sometime in the summer of 1975, my mom passed down one sweet ride in this 1968 Plymouth Belvedere Convertible. It was a hunter green with the exception of the left front fender which was white. That summer I installed a Jensen AM/FM 8-track player with 4 speakers. Yeah, it was as cool as you’re imagining right now. That fall, while parked at Wakefield High School, Tommy Perry*, a bully Senior slashed 2 tires and the convertible roof. I was so bummed until I discovered the beauty of insurance. A couple weeks later, I had a brand new rag-top… sweet! One still fond memory of that time was driving with my high-school sweetheart up the coast on the North shore near Gloucester. I had repaired the roof with some duct tape, but wind and rain had their way and it began to leak on us. We didn’t care. Unfortunately, the old Belvedere succumbed to a failed transmission and off to the junkyard it went. Yeah, bad move, Mom. Someone probably still has that beauty today.
Ah, maybe the first is always the best, but in any event, here’s the um, rest…
- 1968 Chevy Impala – It was red and boring.
- 1970 Ford Mustang – Commuted to Boston in this 427 “Cleveland” engine equipped speedster. That is, until the water pump fell forward, pushing the fan into the radiator, pushing tiny fragments of the radiator all over my windshield and Route 93 North.
- into the radiator and
- 1974 Mazda RX3 – Drove it once, then let my brother use it… Once.
- 1974 VW Rabbit – Worst piece of crap I’ve ever owned or driven.
- 1986 Subaru GL (236K) – My first new car. About 20 minutes into my ownership, I attempted a demonstration of the rear wiper blade which proceeded to fall off and scrape the paint… That sucked.
- 1996 Volvo 850 Turbo LE (202K) – Purchased in 1999 with 42K on it. If she plays her cards right, Megan may be driving it soon.
- 2006… I love the Infinity FX35. In black, it looks like the freakin’ awesome Batmobile from “Batman Begins,” but with gas heading nowhere but North, I’m leaning toward a vintage 2004 Acura TL.
* I got even with Mr. Perry a few months later in a school floor hockey game when I slammed him through the gymnasium doors, through the hallway and into some lockers. He didn’t get up for a while. It was very Terry O’Rielly. I still can’t believe I got a major penalty for that one…
Oh, I love those Acura TL’s, too. That may very well be my next car as well!
This reminds me of the last Sunday in October when I was coming back from Boston after catching Bruce’s Devils & Dust show. One of the rare times I wasn’t driving so I was checking out all the various types of vehicles passing by and the people in them. One car in particular caught my attention on the Mass pike- a white or cr?me color 850 Volvo with father and son in the front, daughter in the back. It was a warm sunny day and both the Dad and the young girl had their windows all the way down. Father’s arm was resting out the window, his blue windbreaker catching the wind. The son, animated in his gestures, had his father’s attention. But it was the daughter that held my attention. She sat up close to the door, face in the wind and turned towards the sun, with her eyes closed, absorbing what were probably the last rays of the season. She looked to be somewhere else. She made me think about the innocence of youth and just how vulnerable they really are.