Cars

It’s been some time since my last post and there’s a good reason. Upon writing my last story I was stricken with an idea for a post about all the cars I’ve had in my life to date, or at least write about the first several. Cars make you think of where you came from and where you hope to be going. Between all my goings-on I’ve been searching the web for pictures of the models I’ve owned but I guess I must have had some real lemons because I can’t find any photos online. Perhaps Señor Blanco can help me out?

At any rate, without pictures…

Upon hitting sixteen-ish my Dad drove this winner all the way from New Jersey to South Dade County. A 1982 Pontiac Sunbird Custom was my first vehicle. It was metallic pine green with orange and yellow pinstripes, better known as “racing stripes,” down the side. It had two doors, all steel, practically no trunk, and was full of four cylinder goodness. As horrible as you may envision, this car turned out to be fun as I could simulate the Indy 500 around tight corners and take down small trees. It was so heavy that I thought the engine would blow up upon acceleration but it never did. The aftermarket Sony sound system my Dad put in was the highlight.

Car number two was referred to in my last post, a 1973 Buick Regal. This was the first year a “Regal” was made. Mine was all black with black interior. My aunt and uncle had bought this car (I don’t recall why) from the original owners who had taken meticulous care of it. This car was a tank as well, but had a 350 cubic inch engine with a four barrel carb it could burn rubber and get up and go. The trunk was so large that it could hold about six cases of beverage and still have plenty of room for a set of Samsonite luggage with the ape. I truly miss this car and wish I had another or a car of its type, just for old time sake.

While in the Army my mother sold the Buick (I don’t recall exactly why on that one either) and when I got out I acquired a red 1985 Ford Ranger from a friend. It had the very basic and bare bones trim at the time. It came standard with the three window air conditioner, 5-speed manual transmission, an am/fm radio, and straws of hay under the bench seat. The one bonus it did have was chrome wheels and low profile tires, and I added a Pioneer sound system. It looked sporty and country all at the same time. I miss the truck because of its utility and the many happy memories making road trips including the 1992 Christmas trek from Auburn to Morris Plains, to Norfolk, before landing back in Auburn all in snow and an NC ice storm in which the timing belt busted loose and I spent a day outside of Charlotte getting repairs.

I was fortunate to have my Mom help with me with cars over the years when I was in dire straights like so many parents do. The next two were gifts from her that came at the right time. A sapphire blue 1988 Pontiac 6000 was car number four. This was another 4-cylinder but I think somewhere in the early 80’s they stopped using steel so it wasn’t so bad getting going. The car actually came from another aunt and uncle via my brother. I liked this car for a little while because of the ride, the air conditioning (when it was working), the lovely stock am/fm cassette GM stereo. However because of my experience with this one going down hill fast I’m reluctant to consider another GM product.

When the 6000 gave out, I sold it to my brother-in-law to fix up and sell. Mom provided her used 1990 Honda Accord LE. This car is one of the reasons why we own a Honda today. It was a sturdy car and if it had not been for the kids absolutely demolishing the interior as little kids do, we may still have it. The engine kept going strong but eventually the appeal gave out with the paint, upholstery, dash, vents, etc. Tracey drove this back and forth to work and to take kids to school the first couple of years here in Virginia. I sold it when replacing it with our Element.

I currently drive a 1999 blue Ford Taurus SE. The engine in this car is awesome – Ford’s 24v 6-cylinder “Vulcan” plant. The handling is great. The ride is solid. I have no complaints about this car at all except that now with 135k miles on it, its interior too is starting to fall off aesthetically. This car has been a road warrior, making many business trips across the mid-Atlantic and as far west as Columbus, Ohio. We’ve driven it to Auburn many times for football and soccer and with the right tires it never wavers through heavy rain or snow. When I trade it in for something new I will shed some tears. As a matter of fact I don’t know if I can trade it in. I love it that much.

Tracey drives a 2003 Honda Element. This is her car, a car she selected and a surprise anniversary gift the year it was new. I like it because of its utility mainly. I hate the engine and what will surprise you is that it gets lousy gas mileage. If you are looking to buy a Honda SUV you will note that none get good mileage. Our Element gets 22 on the highway at its best. But this car has been great for tailgating because you load your whole kit right in the back , find your spot, jump the curb, and off load right on the spot with ease. When purchasing, I decked it out with just about every accessory you could get and it looks sharp.

What will the next auto be for our happy family? Who knows? We do know we need bigger vehicles as the family grows. We are out-growing the Element and my car is just becoming old. So our next two autos will be a sedan to replace my Taurus and a larger SUV or mini-van type of vehicle to replace the Element. In what order the acquisitions take place is the real question.

Happy driving.

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