(photo courtesy of themustangnews.com)
"Fifty years from now, when you're looking back at your life,
don't you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?"
- Sam Witwicky, Transformers
Sadly in my case, the answer was mostly "no". I was inspired to write the tale of my first car after reading a great post by Pete at Father Knows Little. His tale reminded me of my first car, and don't we all have a first car story? I remember as a freshman and sophomore seeing the older kids getting their first rides. Most were humble beginnings, with the occasional shiny and new. You were jealous at the time, but later knew those were the spoiled kids who never learned a lesson in their lives. Yes, as my 7 and 3 year olds begin asking if they can drive across the parking lot again (my father's trick handed down to another generation), I look to a day when I set them up with their first transportation statement. Let me tell you about mine.
Due to California cutbacks in 1992 or so, driver's ed was removed from school the year I was to take it. So my single mother paid for driving school out of her own pocket (it was reinstated the year after,....thanks CA). So I got my license the week before school started back up, dashing my dreams of a summer full of dating. With my older brother off to college, I was set to inherit his blue 1980's Mustang. I rode in it for a year as a freshman, not thinking of it as ever being mine. I had dreams of a Camaro, a jeep or truck, etc. Hell, anything but that blue POS. That also was not meant to be.
I learned how to drive a stick on that thing. My father would point out the gears grinding, the invisible people I'd just hit, and other confidence building techniques. It was a hunk 'o junk in the classic sense of the term. I tried to wax and buff, but the oxidation just made the blue paint ruin my fathers buffer pads. I tried putting in some bigger speakers along the back dash, but the sun baked durafoam it was made of gave way on the first bump and both speakers broke through and fell into my trunk. The wheels were so dirty that when my mother detailed it while I was gone for a week, she discovered white walls and was super proud to show me when I got home. The engine stalled at EVERY stop, so I had to tickle the gas peddle at every stop sign and red light. My friends called it Gonzo, and The Blue Jock Strap.
On the plus side, the seat belts worked and the e-brake made sliding in the rain a fun pastime. There were few dates in that thing, fewer rides home given, and we finally unloaded it to the next kid in need of embarrassment.
Yes, those were good times. It's been fun sputtering down memory lane. I'll try not to stall out.
(edit: I found a pic of Gonzo)