Cars I've Owned, 1986-1996
Cars and I do get along.
- •The MavMy parents gave me their 1974 Ford Maverick when they bought a new used car. It had manual brakes and steering, a broken heater--in the winter I had to scrape ice from the windows on the INSIDE--and an abusively loud engine noise timed to every piston stroke. One day, as I was pulling into my high school's parking lot, the muffler fell off, caught on the low curb, and lifted The Mav into the air. I think I bruised my coccyx when the car hit the ground. Also, I could floor it and never hit 50.
- •The Stick ShiftI had my next car for a month, so I don't recall the make or model. The previous owner, a huge metal head, had painted an amazing rendition of Dio's "Holy Diver" across the backseat. Badass. I came home from school one day to find my dad removing it with nail polish remover. He said a cop would give me a ticket for simply having something so stupid. I never got the hang of the stick, and later I stalled out in the middle of the road after pulling out from a side street and was T boned.
- •The Chrysler CordobaMy 1979 Cordoba was 17 feet long but had only 2 doors. It was toilet bowl blue inside and out. Its V8 averaged 9 mpg. When I gunned the engine I could see the gas gauge needle move. It burned through a quart of oil every 2 weeks. It was a cranky start, but nothing that a screwdriver in the butterfly valve and a squirt of starter fluid couldn't fix. It was a behemoth and I loved it. But one winter day as I was making a K turn, the engine coughed out its transmission fluid. It never moved again.
- •The FishmobileThe Fishmobile was a blood red Dodge Diplomat. Boxy, ugly, and obviously an old-man's car, the Diplomat's only appeal was its low price. I failed to keep the Cordoba's plates and the first 3 letters of the new ones were FSH, hence the name. The Diplomat was unremarkable in every way, and I remember only 2 things about it: in the summer of 1991, REM's "Reckoning" refused to eject from the stereo, and it died when a few gearbox teeth cracked off, leaving me to lurch dangerously to the mechanic's.
- •The Honda CRXI was about to start a new job when the Diplomat died. My girlfriend's dealer-employed dad got me a deal on a 2-seater CRX. I hated it, but I was in a bind. It was too low, had rock-hard suspension and little legroom, and suffered from congenital electrical problems. Toward the end of its life it began burning copious amounts of oil. Not being inclined toward maintenance, I ignored the oil light too long one week. The engine seized while I was doing 80 on the parkway. Frightening as hell.