Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I am not really a 'car guy' but I have been driving since 1973 and it occured to me that the automobiles that I have driven certainly reflect certain stages of my life.

THE 70s
My first vehicles were primarily used for getting me and a date or several friends (sometimes both) to and from Parties before, during or after High School Classes.
I started with a 1961 International that I dubbed the 'HUTTERITE VAGON',

The '66 Falcon 'SCHMALCON'
(3 on the tree.can't find 'em grind 'em),
Off to College in the '67 Bel Air known as The 'BOAT'
(replete with hanging lifejackets that I wore at the Beer Bashes),
The '69 'KING KONG' Kingswood
(memories of many sleepovers in the back and the sound of unconscious friends rolling around after Toga Parties)
The '69 Impala, 'VLAD THE IMPALER'
(0 to 60 in 3 par secs!)

THE 80s
Mom's Plush Toy was soo comfy that I rarely let her borrow it, the 'MONTY' Carlo
(ironically had the same name as my favorite bar)
The 'K-5IVE' Blazer
(Moonlight cruises with the back off, my summer lovin' had me a blast buying gas every day mobile)
(got married and more practical, my first front wheel drive)
The '84 Ford 'TORE ASS'
(Slammed it into ubiquity with the automobilius genericus of the 80s)
(the proverbial 2nd car for draggin' kids around)

THE 90s
The 'LANCELOT LINK*' Lincoln Continental
(The Pride mobile for Mr. Commercial Real Estate to impress clients while dressed in his *monkey suit)
The 'VETTE' as in Chevette not Corvette
(Post Divorce humble pie mobile..from $60,000 to ZERO in one car!
The perfect antidote for the pridemobile during my Anno Horribulus)

(A practical car for a Happy Newlywed and the favorite target for neighbourhood 14 year old little bastard thieves who wrote obscene things on the trunk and conducted weekly inspections)
The Sensational 7 seater Cara'VAN'!
With the arrival of RIDZ we can all go to Grandma's House in one trip.

I have no idea what my vehicular future holds for me but I have such mixed emotions when I review the list:
Fun trips to California,
Bad trips to the Hospital,
Repairs, repairs, and more repairs
Make out sessions,
Rushing to school or work,
Cold starts on freezing Winter mornings,
Driving around with the Air Conditioning on full to cool off in the Summer,
Transporting a huge wet tired filthy Jack from a BIG WALK at a distant Park
Picking up or dropping off relatives and friends at the Airport,

and of course driving kids to
Sleepovers, Birthday Parties, Soccer, Baseball, Karate, Dance, Gymnastics, Kick Boxing, Singing Lessons, Skating, to the Lake...

If YOU had to choose a favorite vehicle would it be from a carefree bygone era, a luxurious status symbol, or simply the most reliable?


  1. A Volvo P1800 from the 60s.

    You know the white one driven by Simon Templar in 'The Saint'? Only make mine red.

    And NOT the wagon!

    Didn't you ever have a car you called a 'beater'?

  2. Ooops. Cut myself off when my virus scan started.

    Didn't mean to put 'beater' and the P1800 in the same box as the P1800 is a beauty.

    Yes, I'll go to bed now and shut up.

  3. mj,
    Beater City! I paid $100 for my International, $325 for the Bel Air,and a whopping $500 for the Kingswood...of course it was the 70s and it seemed like a lot of money to a student..you could buy a lot of recreational mood UN-inhibitors with that kind of money!
    Go to bed.

  4. And I'm up again!

  5. Laura Elizabeth8:22 a.m.

    I had a shit-vette too! My very first car. White, diesel, piece 'o shit but it got me to where ever I needed to be. I think I paid $900 for it.

    I want a Mustang - late 60's model - red convertible.

  6. mj,
    If only I had a Dime for every time that I said that....

  7. I would actually trade my BMW for the Pinto I had back in High School. The doors were "tied" shut with rope, because they wouldn't stay shut on their own. We had to go in and out of the windows.

    I loved that piece of shit. I even chose to drive that rather than the 1976 Firebird that my brother gave me at the time. I'd load it with friends and we'd terrorize the town.

    Someone eventually stole it and blew it up. Literally.

    I think that it may have been my mother.

  8. i used to own a old battered Lotus Elan Looked Cooool!I now own a Skoda!Such Is Life...........

  9. I'm happy now as I don't have to use a choke to start the car.

    I'm Mr Reliability.

  10. I think my bicycle is the best. I stopped driving after I was almost killed in October 2005. My car was a write-of but I escaped virtually unhurt. Looking at the state of the car, I should have died..

    But I think I have 9 lives..:D

  11. laura e,
    It is truly a right of passage to own a beater, much like killing your first Lion for a Masai Warrior or losing your cherry at the Dude Ranch for young Texans.

    hey tony,
    I must confess that I couldn't pick either of those models out of a Police Lineup...but I knew in an instant what I would have nicknamed my Skoda!

    Who did you have to choke to give you the keys?

    Really i didn't know that!
    btw that means you only have 8 lives left.

  12. Subarooo :) for me
    Ferrari F50 for hubby...only a ! million dollar car!!!

    We willbe buying a Mazda CX9 for the whole family. We are soo impressed with our little Mazda 2.


    Dad had an old Fleetwood Caddy when I was a teenager..talk about feeling like you are at sea in one of these!!!

  13. I've just spent 70K on a 510hp Dodge Viper Coupe. Can't really afford it but what the heck you only live once x

  14. Honda... yep yep yep. My first Honda was LaTonda, a little black '83 Civic. She died in a run-in with a light pole when my (s)son veered to miss the kid on a tricycle crossing six lanes of traffic against the light. Then we got Rhonda... a blue '87 Honda... We drove her to death. Next cam Goldie Honda, a gold '91 Accord and I traded her in for Wanda the Honda, a white '97 Civic... She is a good girl so far...

  15. The 82 Mazda 626: a beautiful shade of baby poo green, with iron oxide highlights. Better known as bubba, my first car, many memories, such as causing traffic chaos in the burnley tunnel when it died between two lanes and had to get towed out for all of melbourne to see... Not to mention some f my earliest ahem "Adventures" as ayoung man....

  16. This is my kind of post! Thanks, HE. I like cars -- primarily from the '60s and '70s -- unlike every single male in my life! (I know -- very weird.) Really enjoyed your selection, but you certainly had some crap ones along with the gems, didn't you?

    The car I learned to drive on and still have fond memories of(especially loading rocks in the front to keep it stable in the high winds along BC's famously dangerous Sea-to-Sky Highway, where I lived) was a 1966 Corvair. Lovely red she was. Must be the origin of my passion for the colour. I also loved my husband's family's puke green 1969 Pontiac Strato Chief, which I often got to drive -- and then take home -- when my then-boyfriend was Under The Influence. I remember stories of his mother getting up in the morning and saying, "Greg?! Where's the car?"

    But top of my list is my own first car, so basic that it sold to the original owner for a mere $2000 brand new. It was a 1977 yellow Honda Civic. It didn't even have a radio and was a retro 4-speed. How I loved that car.

    After three Honda Civics, now I drive a workhorse that can accommodate 4' x 5' paintings, large dogs, and lanky teenage boys: a 1992 Ford Explorer. Her name is Ruby and I do love her, even though I hate her fuel consumption/output. Fortunately she's mostly driven locally.

  17. Oh -- and my dream car? A Mercedes Benz sedan from the '60s or early '70s -- preferably turquoise with the matching hubcaps. They also made wagons, and that would be awesome, too. (See? I've thought about this long and hard. Not surprisingly I got my license when I was 16 years and about 10 minutes old.)

  18. wow what a range of beautiful cars, old n new!

    HE u have driven alot...compared to u, Im just a novice with cars. I have only owned one car so far and it's a brandnew (back in 2003)Toyota sedan. Metallic Silver ofcourse. And it's 4yrs old now and still going good.

    But I want a flashier one now. Something like a Lamborghini?? So I can start those Making-out sessions u mentioned LOL! And hey na I aint even a teenager!


  19. LOVE the hooter, er hutter-vag

    I think my favorite was my little chevette with the busted off stick shift. I felt like a little hippie in that thing.

  20. Not really into cars -- I'm like Alicia Silverstone in the movie Clueless when it comes to things with wheels. The hubby laughs at the way my only requirements when buying a car is to find out if it has cup holders, a mirror on the passenger side and a place to hook up my ipod.

    right now, very happy with my 06 honda civic. but if i could buy any car i wanted it would be the volvo xc90.

  21. he, my first car was an austin (before austin healy). my father picked up old junks and rebuilt their engines. the austin had little hands that came out for directionals. i also had a yellow and white metropolitan, two ford falcons and one ford coment.

    since then i've had a yellow vw beetle, a mighty nissan pathfinder, and my personal favorite, a toyota rav. my partner jb recently gave up her old mercedes for a honda hybrid, which was a mistake.

    my father always called my cars "craphouse deluxe"


  22. cazzie,
    You Aussies love anything that ends in ROO!
    I love those old 'land yachts' like the one your Daddy had..it's like driving a living room on wheels.

    NFW! Wow.
    I would do that too except I don't want to change CARPE DIEM to CarPAY-MENTS PER DIEM!

    Somehow I just knew that you would have names for your cars!

    Help me Honda,
    Help Help me Honda
    (bow bow bow bow bow bow)

    Ooh that day in the Burnley Tunnel is likely one that you would just as soon forget. Hell hath no fury like a Motorist Delayed!!

    You weren't kidding..you do love cars!
    That Skid Into The Sea Highway is nothing short of terrifying
    (love the ballast in the Corvair)...I've done it a few times..a real knee knocker.

    Do Lamborghinis have reverse yet?
    I saw a guy on TV who had one and he had to have someone follow him in another car to bring his luggage because there isn't any trunk space...very practical.

    Ah the 'Vette. So small you have to stop and get out just to change your mind! Awesome Hippy Chick Car...did you have a big Peace Symbol on it?

    Cup Holder..check! Mirror..check!
    A Volvo..I know exactly what I would nickname a Vulvo with steel sides!

    Hybrids are doomed up here in the North..batteries do not prefer 50 below! OOh those old Mercedes are swanky solid things..but the parts..let's face it parts for any car are now so expensive because the Dealers make about $400 dollars on the sale...craphouse deluxe HA!

  23. My first car was a '79 AMC AMX. For the uninformed that was a Gremlin the year they changed the model. It was black with orange racing stripes, a broken sunroof (I'll get back to that), and etched roses on the windows.
    It got approximately ONE mile per gallon of gas, and when I'd drive the 45 minutes to Los Angeles I'd have to fill up each way. =P

    Ok. So the day my mother bought me the car (she was feeling guilty about something, don't remember what) it ran out of gas and I had to call a friend to bring me some in a can. It turns out the gauge was stuck on 1/4 tank.

    So I was totally excited to have gas again and drove down the block, only to have the two tires on the right side blow out and I lost control of the wheel. The car flew up and over a high curb across the street and I ended up in a field after knocking the sunroof out with my head.

    Tires replaced, gauge fixed, and sunroof permanently glued shut, I had that car (name: Beau) about six months until its untimely death at the hands of an illegal unlicensed immigrant without the ability to drive who made a wrong turn in front of me and (SMACK!) Beau was dead.

  24. shelley,
    Aaww what a sentimental journey. Poor Beau. He was so wrong for you yet you couldn't help but love him.

    I can't believe that it got the same mileage as a HUMMER!..have you ever noticed that the manufacturers don't even bother listing the mileage on Hummies..

    and it is another great argument for building a huge f*cking wall along the Mexican border...I'm calling Lou Dobbs right now!

  25. Great collection, HE!
    I will always remember my dad's Citroën 15 légère. The kind used in old French gangster films.
    At the age of 6 or 7, I stood in front of the passenger seat, with my mother holding me, my arms crossed over the dashboard. No belts required. My dad was an ambulance driver them days.
    My first car was an ex-taxi Ford Cortina in 1981...
    My present car? Lexus IS200. I love it but the next one will be the IS250 with reversing camera!!!

  26. creme de la creme,
    Ooh lala reversing camera!!!
    I remember leaning on the front dash as well...
    hard to believe...
    but back in those days unless you were falling down blind drunk everybody just poured themselves behind the wheel and took off down the road!

    Nowadays(on weekend nights)statistically speaking of course, every 13th driver is impaired
    ...when I was a kid in the 60s it was probably 1 in 13 was sober!

  27. already owned them:
    1. 1967 grand prix, luxury edition, retrofitted with the linear taillights, catalina front clip with hidden headlights, black leather interior. made me want to park in front of the Flamingo Hotel and drink martinis with the valet! with the amped up trany+engine package that made grown men drool and beg.
    2. 1964? ford ranchero, suede black, black leather interior, dechromed, with a 424. scary fast and hard to keep the rear wheels on the pavement!
    3. 1984 Harley Davidson Dynaglide. besides the utter perfection of the motorcycle travel experience, had the ability to carry two fat bastards at a steady 112 mph all day long. sooooWEEET.
    need to own:
    -Late model Ducati MonsterDark
    -First model year V-rod
    -2-door boattail Riviera with hidden headlights, leather interior

    hey, you wanted an answer.

  28. ...ooo. best car ever?
    in terms of reliability, a toyota corolla fx. no shit. we bought it used, rolled over the mileage(!!!!!), sold it two years after that, and the thing is STILL running around the county! never let us down, always started right up, front wheel drive took us across the ice and through the floods.

    sexy as a shitty brick.

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. first nations,
    Ooh I can envision the 67 Grand Prix..sexy beast.
    El Ranchero Deluxo the 'brunch' of cars..it's not a truck it's not a car..its a caruck!
    Those darn TOYs ruined the American Automobile Industry with Quality..that's just plain sneaky.
    I remember the first time that I laid eyes on a Datsun 500 during the Oil Embargo..I laughed out loud as I melted the tires on my Chevy at a stop sign with my 396/4 barrel dee-troit demon roaring under my hood...
    those Japanese cars will never make it over here!!

  31. Anonymous5:43 p.m.

    A humble 2cv would be my choice!


  32. Favourite vehicle? Would HAVE to be my blue 3 wheeler bike as a kid.Loved that thing! It had a red(faux)light on the front, streamers coming out the handle bars, yellow seat and yellow tray on the back -perfect for carrying the farm animal set around. Either that or Dad's old dark green Holden Kingswood in the 70's(it's true).

  33. What can I say here as a car illiterate ? A car has to ride, a handy trunk so you can transport a lot is a plus, it does not need huge shock bars at the front as if you need to be able to stop a rhino or a buffalo since we don't have those animals here although many Belgians seem to think so, a car may not have a will of his own and decide to quit when the lights just turn green, and all surplus luxury (smooth driving, four doors, comfortable seats, airco, GPS, ...) is welcome.
    P.S. Clever remark about the black and white animals :-)

  34. My father measures his life in cars. "Dad, what year did we go to [insert destination here] for a holiday?"

    The answer: "Well, we were driving the [insert car name here] so it must have been [insert year here]"

    As for me, I've never owned a car. I measure my life in forms of public transport: I took the 57 tram to get somewhere, so it was in 2001. I was at a particular train station, so it was in 2002 or 2004. And so forth!

  35. Vlad the what you were impaling?

    1. 68 Chevy Impala. Big, reliable, inherited from my dad
    2. 80 Chevy Monza manual. Bought it used as an ugly yellow, repainted it a cool deep red. Loved it. Gave it away.
    3, 4. 87, 93 Chrysler mini vans. The kids had come along.
    5. 96 Ford Contour. Just about dead, but it does the job.

    To me, cars are utilitarian things that I need to work well and to look only reasonably good.

    A wish list vehicle would be something like a Toyota Land Rover or Forerunner, I think it's called.

    Otherwise, a mid-sized Chevy 4-door reliable car would do it for me.

  36. Vlad the what you were impaling?

    1. 68 Chevy Impala. Big, reliable, inherited from my dad
    2. 80 Chevy Monza manual. Bought it used as an ugly yellow, repainted it a cool deep red. Loved it. Gave it away.
    3, 4. 87, 93 Chrysler mini vans. The kids had come along.
    5. 96 Ford Contour. Just about dead, but it does the job.

    To me, cars are utilitarian things that I need to work well and to look only reasonably good.

    A wish list vehicle would be something like a Toyota Land Rover or Forerunner, I think it's called.

    Otherwise, a mid-sized Chevy 4-door reliable car would do it for me.

  37. laura,
    2 C V or NOT 2 C V,
    That is the question?

    I have been collecting photos of Bikes from the 6os & 70s with the banana seats and butterfly handlebars and extended forks..all part of the EASY RIDER trend...those were the coolest bikes EVER!!

    The Belgians must attach those cattle/roo/buffalo bars in the front to protect their engines from collisions with Cyclists and Tourists.
    I can't think of any creatures living in the 'Belgian Wilderness' that would buckle the front end of a car?

    Yeah my Dad did that too and we drove everywhere..to Toronto, (Disneyland) California..it was a real family adventure.
    Your 'footprint' is remarkably small compared to most of us..but we don't have a rapid transit system and Cyclists crazy enough to drive on our roads in Traffic would not be insurable by Lloyds of London...they are considered collateral damage.

    without a winnebago,
    Ah yes everybody needs an Impaler!

    A What-za!
    Vanman..I remember fixing one of them in the dead of Winter.

    Your contour is painted the most beautiful BLUE that I have ever seen on a car in my entire life.
    Is it OK if I just answer you once?

  38. Mr GrumbleWrench10:28 p.m.

    Cars definitely have a certain
    auras of their own. I got the itch
    out of my system early, and have
    gravitated toward functional (if
    not necessarily gorgeous) Beater-mobiles, warts, dents, and all. I
    get to park the beast in "compact
    only" spaces, and by the looks of
    it (a 21-yr old mini pickup), I
    could probably make a good case for a "Handicap" space. One can only imagine the unholy compact that keeps it lurching along.

  39. grumblewrench.
    They really do! I always regard those poor lads&lassies who put all of their dough into their ride as objects for my pity and not my scorn. I must admit that I am confounded by the Jay Lenos of the world who have a stable of 40+ expensive cars..I don't see any difference between hording any item (Imelda Marcos and her shoes) you can only use one at a time (two in Imelda's case) and it must be nice to have so many choices

    but is that really fulfilling a deep need or just showing off.
    If I were a Billionaire I wouldn't have a harem of vehicles...
    but that's just me.

  40. If practicality weren't an issue, then I'd prefer to forgo a car altogether and ride around on a cute little Vespa (www.vespacanada.com).

  41. anna,
    Ooh-lala..avec une petit chapeau jaune, a mini skirt and some matching go-go boots!
    How European..I love those things too but there are many Henry Hormones tooling around in giant trucks on our roads who display complete disregard for two wheelers of any kind...and then there is that whole 'Winter' thing.

  42. Yes, the go-go boots are a must!! And yeah, our Canadian winters make things a little tricky and it would be totally impractical. If I could afford it, I would have a Vespa for the non-winter months and a car for winter. Hmmm... I wonder how much those Vespas go for.

  43. :) Practical dun matter to me lol!


  44. Anonymous11:31 p.m.

    My 1st motor car was a '48 Morris Series E with ''suicide'' opening front doors and a top speed of about 45 mph. It was 22 years old when I acquired her. Later I owned a '67 Saab 96 a very different kind of car capable of about 90 mph. Now 2007 I have a 2wd Toyota pick up (2004 model) and a 1962 Austin A40 that hopefully one day I'll ship up to Miami and drive across to Vancouver ... just for fun! The above repalced a whole string of low powered Yamaha motorcycles I owned over 10 years on this tiny Caribbean island.... Nevis.


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