Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Thoughts on my very first car....

     They say that you never forget your first, and if they are referring to cars, I suspect that they are right.  My first car was a 1972 pale blue Chevy Vega and I reminisce about her in this blog...

     I think it was mid-1984 when I bought her.  I was enrolled at CCFL (we all called it Syphilis in a hipstery ironic way back then (I so apologize if I started that trend), but it made no sense after they changed the name to FLCC) and working full
A close facsimile of my first car
time at a local pizza place (Shout out to Morey's in Cdga).  I'd love to say that I scrimped and saved for her and picked out the exact model that I wanted amongst a selection of others, but truth be told, I was tired of walking or trying to catch the short-lived Cdga Trolley to school, and I had $400 in my hot little hands and the father of the pizza shop's owner was selling her, so she quickly became mine.  Back then a lot of my decisions were based on the ease of availability as it is with most young men, I only became more discerning later on, but regardless, I was suddenly a car owner. 

     She was pale blue, the kind of blue you can only get when some other blue has seen a decade or more in the sun.  She had a wagon body, an automatic transmission, just 2 doors, bucket seats and a sexy roof rack on top.  The radio inside had two choices, AM or FM.  She had a 4 cylinder aluminum block engine that was prone to overheat and leak, and sure enough mine just
A Vega still on the assembly line
loved to suck oil and blow pretty clouds of blue and white smoke as the engine got hot and expanded. She had been named MotorTrend's car of the year in 1971, but all her faults were revealed by the year that I purchased her.   I lived around the corner from my job at the time, and I really only needed her to get to college and then to work  and she did that, but just barely.  Most mornings as I climbed the hill to the back parking lot of the college I could not see behind me due to the cloud I was leaving and when I went to work, I'd coast down the hill by the police station at the top of West Avenue as to avoid the potential ticket.  I could coast almost all the way, but I'd have to goose the accekerator just a little to get into the parking lot, and sometimes I got the cutest little smoke rings coming out of the tailpipe as I did that.  I doubt any driver behind me was as smitten as I was with them, but that's because they didn't own her.

     The roof rack teased me every time I got into that car as I envisioned strapping some suitcases or camping gear onto it and heading off to the wild blue yonder, but that's kind of a pipe dream when
They couldn't keep up with the early demand
your car can only drive a mile or 2 before becoming a hazard to others.  It was probably for the best anyway, since my full time work and college schedule and newly found girlfriend left little time or money for such trips.  My "best" schedule had me going to school MWF 8-11 and then working those days 11-7, and then school TTH 8:30-4:30 and working 4:30 to midnight.  I'd fill in with a shift on the weekend occasionally but I was whipped by the end of the week.   Those were the poorest years of my life as well and I lived in a room at my sister Hummingbird's house and subsisted almost entirely on pot pies (4 for $1 back then).  I still like them today, but I no longer have to eat them every day either.  They were, for me, like Ramen or Mac and Cheese are for college kids now.  I did get to use the roof rack one year when my girlfriend and I got our first Christmas
Tree, and I'll never forget sliding backwards down a steep hill on my bald tires, evergreen strapped on top, heading straight towards an approaching snow plow.  I had to ditch it to the side of the road to stop the slide, but was able, with assistance,  to get out of the snow bank.  That was probably the day that  I started seeing her many faults (the car's not the girlfriend's), as she had endangered me and my girlfriend and I was becoming attached to one of us....

     A brief 6 months later, after putting some money aside and qualifying for a small car loan (I was making a manager's salary by then), I bought my second car, an economical, safer, Toyota Tercel hatchback that had a  standard transmission.  I'm pretty sure I paid around 
$3,000 for her.  I sold the Vega to some twins that worked for me, you see they were young and prone to making bad decisions based on proximity too, but it was only a $200 lesson for them, so they still got a deal.  They worked on the car and converted it to a standard transmission and they kept it for a few years.  I missed her some, but with the ability to go a little further with my girlfriend (Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge) she was quickly forgotten.  They say that you'll never forget your first, and I don't think I have.  That's the end of my story, I'd love to hear yours.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

My first car was a 1972 on also. But it was a nova! 1972 must have been a good year for cars...lol...

Ava Harness said...

This is the most inspiring story I've read from a car owner. I suddenly remember my first car. It was the coolest for me that time, and how I wished it never broke down in the middle of nowhere which led me to give it up and sell it. Anyway, how's your second car now? I hope it's still in good shape. → Ava Harness @ EliteToyota.com

Jae Gunderson said...

In my opinion, having our first car was one of those memories that we wanted to relive over and over again; all the good and bad times we had in that car, it's precious. We learned a lot from it. Sad to know that it didn't go as far as you wanted it to, but I think it's the best option you had at that time. It's always better to have a car that makes our life a little bit more convenient than stick to a car that only ends up in towing centers or at a mechanic's shop.

Jae Gunderson @ AustinEagleTransmission.com

Michaele Drakes said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story, Bill. I remember driving my first car like it was just yesterday. It was a 2004 Isuzu Adventure, and it was my little green beast, hehe! Sadly, there came a time where I had to sell it because of maintenance issues. I will never forget the road trips I had with it. Take care of your new car now, and good day! :)

Michaele Drakes @ Payless Car