Saturday, September 23, 2006


Although I'm not a car buff by any means, I do like cars. Julie's post made me think back and I started reminiscing about my old cars today, sigh.
My first car was a gold 85 Mazda GLC. It was great. It took a while to find it. Determined to have a manual transmission car, I searched a while, as everyone wanted to sell this girl an automatic. I found this picture on the internet. Yes, my car looked like this one (although a bit dirtier.)

That little car got me everywhere I needed to go. I think back on it and ooh, I had fantabulacious mileage with that car!! I could get to Orlando and back on less than 1/2 a tank. That was 300 miles!! and my tank was a standard 13/14 gallon tank! I figured it once and highway I'd get about 45-50MPG. Try getting that today! In town, driving to school and work, I'd get about 33MPG. Of course, we all have car stories and this one was no exception.

Funny story #1: Leaving school with 2 of my friends, we heard a loud bang and I could feel the car react. I pulled to the side of the highway, and looky there! My back tire blew out. We were standing on the side of I95, all of us 16, in our school uniform, looking at my flat tire and thinking, " what?" So, of course, the next logical step is to change the tire, something I had never done. I figured, how hard can it be? I popped the trunk and got out the jack-we couldn't figure for the life of us how to use it (it was a weird twirly jack instead of one that you can pump!) As we stood there, the three of us trying to figure out this contraption, a minivan pulls up and stops behind us. This man with his family in tow stopped and changed my tire for me. Whoever he is, wherever he may be, I am still thankful!!

Funny story #2: My friend M. and I drove up to Orlando to visit my sis. Then, with sis in tow, we headed to St. Augustine for the day. Driving west back to Orlando, I noticed the lights were dim. I justified it, figuring that driving into the sun, the lights would appear to be more dim (sun being brighter and all...). We slept over and the next morning, the car wouldn't start. Nothing. Dead. We got a jump from someone, and headed back south to West Palm, about a 150 mile drive. As we drove, the AC started getting weaker. I turned it off. Then the radio started fading. I turned that off (keep in mind these were the days before everyone had a cell phone!) I knew something was wrong but youth and optimism kept me going. Somehow, we made it back to my house, pulling into the driveway with whatever bits of power that poor car had left! I tried to turn it back on. Nothing. Dead. My dad charged the battery overnight. The next day, it died again. It turns out the alternator had gone bad, but still that little car got me home!!

I kept that car for 4 years. When I graduated high school, I travelled back to Europe for the summer and fell in love with the Golf GTI. I decided it would be my next car, whenever that would be. After two years of college, which I did locally, I was ready to go away to university and my little car had over 100k miles. My mom wanted me to get a newer car--she felt it would be safer for me. So, I started scanning the papers and all for my GTI. My mom couldn't understand my obsession, and I did look at other cars, but none would do. Everyone tried to convince me to get a different car, but I wanted my GTI. Eventually, I found an 88 GTI 16v. It looked like this, only with tinted windows.

I loved that car. And of course, it being college, I have some good stories with it, which I won't get into on this post, but I still miss that car. It handled so well and also got decent gas mileage. Not as good as the Mazda, mind you, but it averaged 31 MPG. In fact, it seems to me that most cars I've had since then have not been quite the same. Now, after over 15yrs of driving, I have my first automatic transmission. I doesn't seem right, somehow.


C said...

I had a flat once but my dad came all the way to where ever I was and changed it for me.

Mcat said...

WOW! I don't even remember ANY of that car trouble!! I remember walking around St. Augustine and eating the best pizza that I have ever put in my mouth! And your sis and her boyfriend. And I think that I had bought some Swedish Fish at a candy store and felt badly because I had to borrow money from you to get them...tee hee!! Great memories!! Thanks!

C. said...

C, that was sweet of your dad! We were stuck on the side of the road on I95 with no phone!!

mcat...isn't it funny...I was hazy as to whether the boyfriend was there or not!

Matt said...

In high school, I drove one of those big wood-panelled station wagons, kind of beat up but with one overwhelmingly redeeming factor: an eight-cylinder engine.

From a dead stop, you could floor the accelerator and it would pause for about a second... before the front end lifted like a speedboat taking off and gravel was everywhere and all of the sudden you were flying down the road blowing the doors off the cool kids' cars.

The best part was that the speedometer was broken and registered a speed 20 MILES slower than I was actually going. So I would routinely drive 100 down the road thinking I was going a safe 80... When I hit 120 on the highway, it was really closer to 140.

Plus, I once fit 15 people in it for a beach trip and at least one guy could ride on the roofrack, if so inclined.

My second car in high school... that same guy rode in the trunk. I told him not to smoke in there....

Laura said...

Ew...flat tires. I had one once and did the same thing, stood there wondering what the HELL I was supposed to do with that weird looking thing. Finally, I called someone who rescued me.

It pains my independent ass to ask anyone for help, but I honestly had NO idea how to change a tire and I still don't.

Julie said...

Oh, I am so glad I could send you down memory lane. :) Okay, now I have been down memory lane. Thanks to you.

My first car was a '84 Chevy Chevette. Better known around my house as, "The Vette." When I had my first flat it was almost 11 pm and I was headed home from my waitressing job which was about 15 miles from my house. I called my Dad and then I called my boyfriend (he lived closer). By the time my Dad got there my boyfriend and I almost had it changed. Dad got mad. But I think he was just upset because another male was taking care of his punkin. :) (I think that now, then I just thought he was being dumb.)

willowtree said...

Shit Claudia, you're an amazingly brave woman. To actually admit to owning those cars, wow!! (just kidding)

About the flat tyre, its not a girl thing, the first time I got one I had no clue either.

Hey Matt. I might have to start reading you blog, anyone with kind of car hijinx can't be all bad.

C. said...

Matt, that is awesome!! You make me want to own that car!

Laura, yep..know the feeling. I also still don't know how to change a tire, haven't needed to yet!

Julie, I love the fact that you called your car the "Vette! That's a funny story about your dad!

Willow...I'm either brave or incredibly stupid--probably both!!

SongBird said...

I learned to drive with a manual transmission, too. Didn't have an automatic until I was in my 30's. Amazing that we survived without cell phones!!

Julie said...

Hey! I came over here to post an answer to your question. :) And to say that I am the Queen at pointing out wildlife on the road. It makes my day everytime I see one of the beautiful creatures. Skunks on the other hand, pretty but smelly. :)

I am studying Finance (my major), and a couple of minors Economics and Accounting. Doesn't that all sound exciting. I mean like something that could put you to sleep? Heehee!

Swampwitch said...

I am always amazed at how I feel when we "get rid" of a vehicle. For some reason, I feel a bond with it, especially if it's always gotten me to where I'm going and never given me any trouble. Kind of feels like abandoning a good friend.

Pamela said...

I learned to drive on a 57 chevy.

I haven't changed a flat tire since drivers ed.... and that was about the time the wheel was invented. hee hee

Karmyn R said...

I drove the old 1970 VW Bug - what memories. There was a hole in the backseat floor - so when my friends rode, they had to make sure and put their feet off to the side. (finally, my dad fixed it with some sheet metal, so it was somewhat safe again!!!)

And - oh man, I wish they still made cars that got 45 mph (I guess they do if you can afford an electric).

edee said...

I drove a Renault Alliance then promptly totalled it 3 mos later and then got another one. Which yes I ended up totalling like a year later...didn't take much to total, maybe $700! but that tin can protected me in those accidents - not a scratch!

Doppleganger said...

My first car I loved was a piece of crap Chevy Manza (most people have never heard of this car). It was Chevy's attempt at making a car that looked like a mustang but drove like a pacer.

Why I loved it:
1. It was my first stick shift car
2. It only cost me $500, but was unabelievably reliable.
3. Unlike cars these days, I could actually fix things when they went wrong.
4. It didn't require a key to start
5. I could leave it unlocked in downtown Chicago and no one wanted to steal it
6. It had only an AM radio and no attena.

I don't know why that stuff makes me love it, but I miss it. My dad sold it when I left it behind in my senior year of college (for $300).

C. said...

Songbird...that's about right for me too!!

Swampwitch..yes, I do feel like a traitor to my past cars! cool! a 57 chevy!! they never taught me to change a flat in driver's ed!

Kamryn, they could make cars with better gas mileage. They just don't.
And a 70 VW Beetle?? AW!! I had a new Beetle for a while, but now, VW's are some of the most expensive to get fixed. Irks me to no end.

Edee...I love the old Renaults. I haven't seen one in ages! key? was it push button??? the old Fiat 500 had that!!