Friday, June 08, 2007

All the cars I've loved before...

I sorely miss my nature musings. My days need to slow down and perhaps I'll find some joy this weekend. My camera has been sitting in a corner and feeling lonely lately.

Today is the hottest day of the year as the temperature reached 96 in the shade by noon! That’s why I adore air conditioning and why I’m trying to get this post done early so I can enjoy outdoors late afternoon and early evening.

We’ve been browsing new car dealerships. When we’re visiting these places, I remember all the cars I’ve loved and hated. It seems by the time the windshield wipers need replacing, we trade the car for something new. It’s ridiculous, I know. Luckily, my husband has driven a company vehicle for the past twenty years or we wouldn’t have been so quick to trade. So, I thought I’d take a spin down memory lane tonight. I’ve spent a good portion of my life behind the wheel and each car I’ve driven brings back memories of chapters in my life. Yes, I do like a great car.

(I pulled all of these photos from the internet.)


1956 Buick Roadmaster – Color: Maroon

I didn’t drive the Roadmaster, of course, but it was the first car I remember. We all called it the “Moony Bomber” since it had a habit of breaking down quite frequently. I can still see my Dad laying under that car with tools in his hands and cursing to high heaven. He taught my Mom how to drive in this car and my brother and I were usually frightened when sitting in the back seat. When she was feeling confident enough with her driving skills, she attempted to roll the window up, taking us on a zig-zag ride. There were no seat belts in that car! Eyes wide, we held on tightly.

1964 Chevy Impala – Color: White/teal top

I learned to drive on this Chevy. It was so large that I flunked my driving test twice – once in parallel parking and once in the turnabout. Hey, I’m a hell-of-a-good driver, though! My brother installed an 8-track player in it. I drove around town listening to Motown, Elton John, or Steppenwolf on high volume. During my high school years, I loved the freedom and coolness I felt in my “borrowed” car.

1973 Toyota Corolla – Color: Baby Sh - -

My Dad bought this car for me in my Senior year of high school, just before I graduated. The color surprised me but I didn’t care because it had that brand new car smell. I made the payments of $78.00 a month. Considering I made a whopping, full-time salary of $59.02/week, I felt rich. My car was much nicer looking than this picture shows, but the color...?

1975 Ford Maverick – Color: Gold

I got married in 1975. During the winter months I’d get home from work and thaw my toes in the bathtub. The car never had heat so I didn’t like it. The brakes were noisy, too. I was told by a new car salesman once that people who drive Mavericks are boring :o/ I didn’t appreciate that comment at all.

1980 Toyota Celica – Color: Chocolate Brown (mine was a cream puff compared to this one)

It had a pop-up sunroof! It was also a manual five-speed and I had to learn this new driving technique quickly. Learning from my husband was a disaster since excitable Italian men tend to yell – “YOU’RE LOSING TOO MANY RPMs!!!!”, “GIVE IT SOME GAS AND DON’T LET THAT CLUTCH POP!”, “YOU’RE GONNA STALL!” I quit that lesson and learned by myself. I drove to work two days later, after applying extra amounts of underarm deodorant/antiperspirant and did just fine, thank you. It was always jerky out of first gear – it was the car, not me. It had a cassette tape player.

1982 Pontiac Phoenix Hatchback – Color: Champagne

With Gina on the way, it was time to have four doors and some cargo space. This car was the lemon from hell. It spent a total of three weeks in the shop for dysfunctional windshield wipers. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the time the wheels locked while it was parked on my driveway and the tow truck dragged it away, burning rubber. I remember standing at the top of my driveway saying, “See ya later, piece of crap.”

1985 Honda Accord – Color: White

I quit working after Gina was born. When I returned to work we had enough money to ditch the Phoenix and bought a very reliable Honda. I still remember that the color of her booster car seat matched the upholstery. It was also a nice 5-speed with an electric sunroof!

1989 Honda Prelude – Color: Cool RED

Image has had meaning at some points in my life. This little red car was the apple of my eye. Being the Hottie that I was, the car finished the picture. Belonging in a carpool, I drove Gina and her team mates to swim practice every day for two years but soon the kids grew, as did their bags and parkas. Sadly, I found myself in a dealership to trade. The financial officer and Michael waited for me to emerge from the restroom. I cried. I just couldn’t get a grip. Little Gina visited me in the restroom and said, “Mommy, why are you crying?” I replied, “The Prelude is pretty, isn't it?” I know Michael and the financial officer exchanged glances and thought, “she’s crying over scrap metal and a bucket of nuts and bolts.”

1991 Chevy Blazer – Color: Forest Green

And this is what replaced my little red sportscar. Ho Hum. But the kids were comfortable.

1993 Honda Del Sol – Color: White

So long, Blazer! This little 5-speed was a fun ride. Top down and zipping all over the town, it was fun but severely impractical! Gina loved riding with me but I couldn’t carpool anymore and the “to and from swim practice” every day got old. Eighteen months later…

1994 Toyota Camry – Color: Black

Luxury. Real leather seats, CD player, the works. It was large enough to offer a few swimmers some comfort. Since then, leather seats have been my requirement. The white pines I parked under at work ruined the paint, so we traded it in. The windshield wipers were still OK, though.

1997 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme – Color: Burgundy

This was another piece of junk. The security system in it locked me out of my car on several occasions and the dealership just scratched their heads in wonder. This car got the boot ASAP.

1999 Mazda 626 – Color: Silver/Green

This was a great car. It took me from Maryland to Wilmington, NC many times to see Gina while she was in college and I rode in comfort. Sadly, I had a crash in it, only one minute from my house. I’ll never forget seeing my front bumper fly off the car and land 25 yards away. I was picking up the pieces of this Mazda in the middle of the road during rush hour and I know the people watching were either feeling sympathetic or laughing their asses off at me.

2002 VW Passat – Color: Silver

The Mazda had a weird thing going on (probably due to my accident). It would alarm at random times. Time to trade! This VW is a well-built and heavy car. In my 8-hour ride to visit Gina in college, I had comfort. Michael complained about the size of it because when he sat in either the driver seat or passenger seat, he felt trapped (like he was stuffed in it?). I don’t know why he insisted on trading it in because he never drove the car. I’d buy another one.

2004 GMC Envoy – White

I drive this now. Hands down, this vehicle is the sweetest of all. It offers a luxurious ride and I’ve been blessed to own it. It took Bella to Carolina Beach on a trip to see Gina. It took me from Delaware to move into our new home in NC while I was on crutches. I can’t say enough good things about this vehicle. But, I don’t need the room anymore or the gas bills. While continuing my search for something new, I will insist on luxurious comfort for my long rides north. We’ll keeping looking.

I wonder if anyone else has had a love or hate relationship with a car. Are there any stories out there?


Cathy said...

Mary! When I first scrolled through your post - I admit I thought - ick - cars - borrrring.

You are incredible. I know, I'm gushing. But, really - funny lady - you can write.

So yes - I have a story. In 1974 we bought a Datsun station wagon. We lived in Denver. My hubby's parents visited one and only one time and by gum! we were going to show them the incomparable Rockies.

Wrong! That danged car (brand-new) couldn't get over Loveland Pass. We had it in the shop 4 or 5 times. We'd head into the rare air once again - and once again: sput - sput - sputter.

After the last terrifying failure, my husband walked into the dealership where customers were milling around and threw the keys down and shouted something about their expletive-deleted car.

They picked him up by the elbows and took him out to the new car lot and said pick any car and get outta here. He did. Both.

Finally - Colorado Rocky Mountain High.

Mary said...

Cathy, I had a mental picture of him being lifted by his elbows...LOL! We have all had vehicle nightmares, for sure. I'm so glad you finally made it to Rocky Mountain High!

Susie said...

You have had lots of cars! We have too, and I'd be hard pressed to come up with a list of them. The best mileage one was a Ford Tempo diesel, we got almost 50mpg in that but it had its share of problems. Our worst was a Ford Granada that blew three transmissions in as many years!
Fun post!

Susan Gets Native said...

Damn, girl! You:
1. Have great ideas for posts,
2. Have owned a heck of a lot of cars!

If I can find any photos of my past cars, I will have to do this. I have some very interesting stories about what happened IN the cars....
: )

RuthieJ said...

What a great post, Mary. I agree with everyone--you should write a book. Your ability to find humor in awful/embarassing situations just amazes me.
I loved the descriptions of your vehicles. When I started going out with Rick, he had this most awesome Chevy Monte Carlo, with a jacked-up rear end and huge back tires with chrome wheels (remember this was the late 70's). We'd cruise around on Saturday nights listening to Alice Cooper and the Bay City Rollers on the 8-track player. It had a 350 engine. That car could move! And it parked good too ;-)

Mary said...

Hey Susan and Ruthie! Let's hear the dirt.

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Alyssa said...

Mary, What a really funny and cool post. Steve and I read it together and laughed and laughed. He loved it and could totally identify with what you had bought and the progressions you took. We are both extremely impressed at you humorous writing and your love of cars. And you did have lots of them! The fact you remembered every one is amazing!! I have no funny car stories, but I do drive a raspberry colored 1995 blazer -- but I try real hard not to be boring. Thanks for the fun we had to night. Alyssa and Steve

Anonymous said...

Nice funny post... It seems that many types of was driven by your hands... It was quite funny how you change your cars every now and then... Anyway, loved the especially about the 1982 Pontiac Phoenix Hatchback wiper problem... I'm kinda relate on your story about it because, I had also brought my Mazda to my dealer and took almost three weeks just to fix the Mazda windshield wiper and had the same problem 2 weeks after it was returned... By the way, you are a really great funny writer... Hope to read your books just in case you become one...

Anonymous said...

I hope you were able to get out to enjoy the nice outdoors (probably cooler in the evening than during the day). Wow, loved seeing what all these older cars looked like!

Mary C said...

Hi Mary - I remember my dad having a 1962 Chevy Impala and teaching me how to drive with that car. I dealt with the "same" Italian excitement (my dad's) as you did with your husband. Well, I would imagine we both can laugh about it now, but then it wasn't so funny. If memory serves me correctly I also failed the first driving test because I couldn't parallel park that big tank. Of course, those were the good ol' days when the cars were 8 cyl and the price of gas was less than .50/gal! :) And the first car I bought was a 1966 Ford Falcon - remember those? It was a 4-door (for a single girl?) I guess I wanted to be practical. :)

LostRoses said...

Mary, you are so funny to post this, who would have thought of this topic? I'm also amazed that you can remember all those cars! In the past 20 years I've owned two cars which I'm almost ashamed to admit - and they were both white! I can just picture you whizzing around town in that sporty little Honda, but I do like your current choice!

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Unknown said...

hi mary. i just blog hopped to yours and i was amazed of how many car youve had. i saw your 1994 camry, i own that one too, only that i own the camry hybrid. haha. my dad brought it for me because i wouldnt stop bugging him about it. now, i still drive it and add some mods like addtl toyota camry accessories and toyota camry parts

possumlady said...

Wow, what cool older cars! I even like the baby sh** color! I would call it "spicy brown mustard" ;-)

My thing is that I name all my cars:

1979 -- "Nicole" Nova SS
1982 -- "Ozzie" Dodge Omni
1986 -- "Howie" Honda CRX
1997 -- "Smilla" Saturn
2003 -- "Bulldog" Honda Element

Jayne said...

My first car was a 1970 Chevelle Malibu with a 350 engine and no air. It was traded (due to my lead foot said Dad) for a 1973 Mercury Montego that was...ugh... mint green. I drove that sucker all through college and then took on my dad's old company car, a 1984 Chevy Impala sedan. After I got married, it was traded for my first NEW car, a 1990 Plymouth Acclaim (a true piece of s***). I then drove husband's hand me downs when he traded up cause a car really meant nothing other than getting from point A to point B to me. I drove a Ford Taurus and a Dodge Intrepid for quite a few years, but then... Oh boy, my second brand new car in 2000 brought me to my knees. It was a 2001 Infiniti I-30 and I am so in love with this car that I think I shall truly cry when I have to get a new car. It is hands down the best car I have ever owned and it rides like a dream. It now has 113,000 miles on it and I intend to drive it until it just won't go any longer, which I figure will be at least another five years or so. They don't make the I model any longer, and I don't like the G too much so I really don't know what I'll do. Can't even contemplate it now, or I'll just get depressed. Fun post Mary!!

KGMom said...

I'm with Susan Gets Native--I think I will borrow this idea & do a similar post.
Not that we have had as MANY cars as you, mind. Sure you don't want to go into the car business?
What amuses me the most in this very funny post is the side-by-side variety of your cars. It's almost as if you are correcting the thing you didn't like in the prior car with the new car, which then has a problem and needs to be replaced, etc.
Loved this--lots of fun & laughs & memories.

Mary said...

Susie, Oh my, I remember Ford Granada - they had vinyl roofs, didn't they? They were the rage for a short while.

Alyssa, I'm glad you and Steve enjoyed this. Odd subject, I know...

Sandman - thanks for stopping by. Sorry there is only one Ford in this group. My husband has driven lots of Fords.

Mon@rch - now you must feel VERY young :o)

Mary Carlson - Yes, I remember the Ford Falcon. My friend's sister had one. Those Chevy's were beasts, weren't they? (Esp. during driving tests)

Lost Roses - I had been thinking about the cars since we went to a dealership last weekend. My husband loves to buy cars - it's a sport for him and he's very good at it. He knows just how far to push the salesman before calling the manager in for the best deal.

Caleb - thanks for visiting. That Camry was a wonderful car but I haven't sat in one for a long time.

Possumlady - so, you name your cars, huh? That's a great idea! LOL! "Howie" is perfect...

Jayne, I had a lot of fun reading your history here :o) Hey, I saw a 2006 Infiniti M35 on the used lot last week. I Loved It! I'll think of you next time I drive by.

Mary said...

KGMom - take this idea and run with it. It's an odd subject but a change of scenery. My husband loves the sport of car-buying, hence he does it often :o)

Anonymous said...

Mary, I saw the car shots on flickr, and couldn't figure how what your post could be about! A car show?? Wow, you guys have had more than twice as many cars as we have, and we have been married longer!

Great post!

dmmgmfm said...

I drive a 2004 Pontiac Bonneville for the comfortable ride and fairly luxurious interior. As much as I drive, it's also important that it be safe, which it is.

My next vehicle, however, will be a hybrid for obvious reasons. Probably a Honda or Toyota.

Hugs, Mary, great post.

NatureWoman said...

Cool post Mary! My favorite ride was my Thunderbird, it was such a sweet car. And now I love my Explorer, but alas, it's a gas hog and I'm on the lookout for something less hoggy, but something that still has the get up and go. I can't deal with cars that don't *move*!

sonia a. mascaro said...

Great post, Mary!
I had not a love story with a car! LOL! But my husband loves cars and principally olds cars. He has a love story with cars!

Q said...

Dear Mary,
How fun!
I drive very little, but when I do I want to be able to put my topdown! I drive a 1996 Sebring convertible. Bought it new and have gone all over the USA and Canada in it.
I also keep a car until it is past dead.
I know I will have to replace this car one of these days. When I do it will be a convertible.
I am one of those who has the top down, windows up and heat or air on!
Fun post!
Stay cool.

Beth said...

Good Lord in heaven - you have had a LOT of vehicles!

Amazing memory, too - how can you remember all that?

I like your goodbye to the Pontiac: "See ya later, piece of crap". I gotta use that one day

I love the bird stuff, but this was an awesome post, too!

marlborocountry said...

I still have mazda 626, but I am wondering if mazda 626 parts are still available on eBays...

Women Leather Biker jacket said...

You have had lots of cars!