13 April 2008

Vroom Vroom Vroom

by Chris

Ah my first car, a 1989 Nissan Pulsar. I bought it brand new from a dealership at the Army base in Furth, Germany (then still West Germany) and drove it all over Europe hampered only by the amount of time off I had, the money I had for gas and the Iron Curtain. I blew out its tinny little speakers playing cassette tapes of all the embarrassingly horrible bands of the day and took the t-tops off any chance I had, even in winter. I loved that car.

When I left Germany to go back stateside, I had the car shipped from the port of Bremerhaven to Newark. I promptly picked it up and stopped making car payments (didn't bother to insure or register it either). For 13 glorious months I beat the system and logged oodles of miles criss-crossing Long Island. I even drove my free car to Florida twice including when Kelly & I moved to there. It was a great time, until we woke up after our first night to find the car had been repossessed now that I was back on the radar with a new apartment. To make it up to my distraught girlfriend, we took the bus to the animal shelter and got a kitten. We named him, The RepoMan...I miss Repo too, but thats a different blog post.

The same time I was tooling around Europe in my Pulsar, Kelly was barreling around Long Island in her 1981 Datsun 210. This picture isn't Kelly's actual car, but it might as well be...Kelly rolled her Datsun over making a turn on Hempstead Turnpike.

Luckily for all of us, Daredevil Stunt Driver Kelly made it through unharmed and her parents let her use their safe, slow, economical 1984-ish Dodge Omni....which she promptly totaled.

In her defense, it wasn't her fault, she was rear-ended. (and once again luckily uninjured)

Next up for Crash Haltigan was her 1982 Buick Regal. The car she had when I met her. It had a huge back seat...
Anyway it was a nice car...until it was completely demolished in yet another no-fault accident where Kelly was rear ended on Merrick Rd. Luckily once again, Kelly was unharmed.

Goodbye Buick Regal, say hello to the Datsun and the Omni in the ever growing junkyard of Kelly's cars.

After they swept what remained of Kelly's Regal into a small box, Kelly got yet another Buick Regal from a friend of a family friend. Fortunately this Regal's tenure was unmarked by traffic incidents and was to be sold before we moved to Florida. That is until we found out, at the time of inspection, that it was horribly unsafe, in fact the body of the car wasn't even attached to the chassis due to rust corrosion.

After the Repo incident, Kelly and I needed some wheels. I said I would go finance a new car.

When we stopped laughing, we went to the Honda dealership so Kelly could get us a car.

Kelly's first new car was, much to her father's chagrin, a Japanese car... a 1992 Honda Civic.

The Honda was everything you want when you buy a Honda. Dependable, trustworthy and it held its value. We drove that thing all over Creation.

After a year of bumming rides with friends, having my girlfriend drop me off at work, and saving money... I was finally able to get a car too.

$300 will get you a beautiful 1971 Ford Maverick with bald tires, questionable brakes and an original stereo! ( I dont actually have a picture of that hunk of junk but I found this one online..although mine was white)

The Maverick was great. It had an inline-6 engine and lots of get up and go...the problem was stopping. One time while coming up to a traffic light in the rain, I did my customary pumping of the brakes while praying, but instead of stopping, I was sent into an uncontrolled spin in the middle of 3 lanes of traffic. I ended up in the middle lane still, but sitting at the light backwards in between two cars. This story is true.

The Maverick didn't last long, in fact I don't even remember what happened to it. No matter, I had another excellent opportunity: a 1971 Volkswagen Beetle with 40 gajillion miles on it and no floor boards in the front passenger area!

(this is not my bug, mine was white but was in WAY worse shape)By this time, my new business had just started and we finally had a nice steady income. So I did what any 25 yr old who is flush with money would do. I bought a new 1996 Mustang!

Ahh the 8 cylinder, 5-speed, black toboggan. How I loved to race you around the streets of Clearwater & Tampa, weaving in and out of traffic like a complete asshole. What fun it was to paralyze my passengers in fear while demonstrating my prowess behind the wheel.

(Once again the picture above is not my mustang. Mine was way beefier)

Alas, it was a short relationship. After 18 months, 4 major traffic citations, the subsequent insurance cost explosion and a weekend stint at traffic school, I traded my mustang in for something more sensible.

A 1998 Ford Explorer, which although I have pictures of, they are old fashioned printed pictures not new fangled digital ones. The one below is close enough.

Perfect timing for the Explorer, we had just bought our new house. It was a great truck, comfortable and powerful. We were like real people, we had a house and an SUV.

Shortly after I got my 4th car, and 2nd new one in 5 years, we decided Kelly should have something new too. After much deliberation and one impressive test drive, Kelly got a new 1999 Volkswagen Jetta. Typical of Kelly it was a smart buy. A very dependable, economical car with lost of bells and whistles. I talked her into upgrading to the 6 cylinder engine and she loved it.

Next up for me was a 2001 Jeep Wrangler seen below after one of our many trips to Withlacoochie State Forest. The Jeep is quite possibly the best automobile ever invented. Not the fastest, but who needs fast when you are that freakin' cool ? The weather in Tampa is perfect for a jeep and we rode around with the top down for weeks and weeks on end in the winter. We only put the top up to protect us from rain, long drives and mud. Wooohooo Jeep !

By 2005 I had completely erased any bad memories of owning a sports car, and traded my Jeep in for the sexy beast that was my 2005 Nissan 350Z... good God that car was awesome. Bose sound system, power, speed, incredibly tight steering. It was short lived fantasy though, the speeding tickets piled up and the demands of lacrosse season slapped me in the face with reality again. It was fun, but I needed a truck.

Sensing that I was going to buy yet another car, Kelly stepped in still full of grief and despair over the loss of my jeep. We fixed that by getting Kelly the most kick ass Jeep ever!

A 2006 Jeep Rubicon. You could drive this thing up a tree if you wanted to. Once again we were complete. Me, Kelly & a Jeep.

Finally after 15 years, I picked a good sensible vehicle. A 6 cylinder Toyota 4Runner. Good for long trips and hauling lots of stuff, yet still cool with a kick ass sound system. We've taken it on many long trips including our going away tour of the Eastern Seaboard.

The 4Runner is still in NY , as we have used it on all of our trips back stateside over the last year. After my next trip in May, I'll sell it and for the first time in 20 years, I won't own a vehicle. Weird.

Currently, Kelly and I use the followinhg transportation. as you can see I'm still driving.

Although here in Ireland they drive on the wrong side of the road, and the steering wheel is on the right...


Anonymous said...

That was a sweet little drive down memory lane. I forgot about your little Nissan...

Welcome to my world of no car and more shoes.

I think I am going to get a permit in NYC and get driving lessons in the midwest this summer! Seems like a safer place to practice than NYC.


Anonymous said...

Note to Chris, I ended up with the Buick Regal with no chassis. I broke down on the Meadowbrook parkway with it (twice) one time accepting a ride from a complete strange man (idiot!) who dropped me off at Kevin's (Roach) deli. Then Mike stepped in and wouldn't allow me to drive that unsage heap anymore and gave me his car, (ford thunderbird) what a gentleman.

Colleen (I guess I will never remeber my password)