Thoughts of a High Octane Past…September 25, 2009
Growing up in the burbs of Detroit, cars are in my blood. Living in NYC is almost like living on another planet at times since I don’t drive everywhere, even after almost 5 years here. I was walking home from the train today and saw a couple women talking and one was complaining about her car. Saying how it sucks and she wants a better car and she hoped it would just die. This ricocheted around in my head for a little bit as most things do and I got to thinking… she may hate her car, but at some point in it’s life, someone loved it immensely. When you think about it, every car was loved at some point, even if it’s current owner doesn’t. Look up at that rusting heap at the top of this post.
There was some point in it’s being that one person, if not more, had one of the happiest moments in their life the moment they knew it was theirs. It may not have been when it was bought brand new off the lot, but at some point. As we all know and have seen through the magic of the internet and reality tv, you can get a brand new car and hate it. I recall being forced to watch that My Super Amazing Awesome Better Than Yours Super Duper Sweet 16 show where a girl got two sweet ass cars for her birthday… her 16th birthday, and she hated them both. Thing is, it was like a BMW and a Lamborghini if I recall. The reason she was pissed was because neither of them were a convertible. Spoiled brat I say.
It takes me back to every time I got a new car, and I’ve had more than a few. My first car was a 1986 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham. It essentially looked like this one except it was a gold/bronze/tan color and didn’t have sweet wheels. I loved this car the day I got it and drove it all over the place until it died a few months later.
When I was 17, I bought a run down piece of shit 1984 Chevrolet Cavalier 4 door from my friend Mark for $150. Again, looked like that one except it was blue. The front passenger door didn’t open, it made this god awful screeching sound when you turned left which was no easy feat to accomplish as the power steering wouldn’t kick in until you were about 1/4 way through the turn, the windows didn’t roll down in the back… and I loved that car. I had jokingly pimped it out by gluing blue tassles around the headliner and putting one of those crown air fresheners in the back and self tinted the rear window… complete with air bubbles.
Next up when I turned 18 I came into some cash and wanted to get the biggest land boat I could get my hands on, and I got a 1988 Chevy Suburban, much like that one up there but it was blue and didn’t have the running boards. That thing had absolutely no options, pure work horse truck with vinyl bench seats, vinyl on the floors and the ceiling. As you can probably guess… I loved that thing. I pimped it out with a loud as hell stereo.
After awhile of driving around the Suburban, I got tired of it. It was pretty much a work truck, nothing comfy about it. So I put that up for sale and using what money I had left, I bought a 1986 Cadillac Fleetword Brougham D’elegance. Now THIS was a land boat. 18″ longer than the suburban, and every option you could think of. It had some issues at first but I still loved that thing. I didn’t love it for long because it was stolen from my driveway one night at about 1:30am. I woke up to headlights in my driveway and heard a car pull away and honk the horn. My mom woke me up at 6:30 asking where my car was. She originally thought I had gone out and wanted to confirm this I guess. They did eventually find it about 8 months later for sale on a lot in Detroit with about 50 other stolen cars.
With the insurance money from the Cadillac and trading in my Suburban, I bought a 1991 Pontiac Firebird. Guess if I loved it or not? It was actually grey and that thing was awesome. That car was attempted to be stolen on my birthday while I was visiting my GF at school. Thankfully I had a kill switch installed that saved it. Bastards still stole the stereo and fucked up the T Tops though.
After surviving an extremely rough Michigan winter in the Firebird I was tired of getting towed out of ditches and off of snow drifts. So then I got a 1988 Oldsmobile Toronado Trofeo that looked exactly like that pic, same color and everything. This is one of my fav cars I ever owned. I originally started looking for a Toronado because I just liked the look of them. Then I found a Trofeo which was the sport/luxury model and man, I fell in love. The freaking dashboard had a touch screen computer in it! It controlled everything, stereo, heat, A/C, with the debug codes I could adjust engine performance and the greeting message. It was pretty awesome. Oddly enough, everything that went wrong with this car was mechanical and not electronic.
After the Trofeo, I wanted something reliable… yeah, I found this 1991 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible and that was that. Mine was black with maroon interior though. Again, loved this car. It was a bitch to find a pic of this as I found out when I owned the car, only 1300 were ever made. This made it a pain to find any kind of aftermarket stereo stuff for it because of the supposed rush job that was done to design the car, a lot of stuff wasn’t anywhere near standard and no one had any specs for outfitting one. I was told on more than one occasion that it was a custom job that started out as a hard top. I actually wrote in to Oldsmobile to inquire about it which is how I found out about the limited production run of them. As this car started to fall apart my Grandmother on my dad’s side passed away and left me some money… yeah I’m gonna get a new car!
I gave the convertible to my mom as payment for the repairs she helped me with on it (thanks mom!) and bought a 1995 Chevrolet Monte Carlo LS just like that one there. Again… loved this car. It was a trooper for a good while but then started to have all sorts of problems. Had this weird issue where it would overheat out of nowhere. Kept taking it in, could never figure it out. Then one day finally it all came to light. After driving long enough when the engine was warm a mechanic noticed that the radiator hose would clamp itself shut when you stepped on the gas. Something was causing this suction and it would just collapse the hose. Around this time I was making decent money, getting ready to graduate from college, and I wanted a new car. Then I started seeing these ads on tv…
So I gots me a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse GTS. I LOVED this fucking car. Just like that one there except it didn’t have that lame ass Gears of War sticker on the hood. This was my first car with a manual transmission and I drove that thing like I stole it. Everyday was Fast and Furious with this car. I did all kinds of little tweaks to this. Put in a cold air intake, speed chip, few other things. I changed the lighting in the gauge cluster from amber to blue. I ended up selling it to my friend George when I moved to NYC. I miss this car like no one could ever believe. I would love to buy one again in the future simply because it was so fun to drive.
Now… I ride the subway everyday. I get the ever so random chances to drive when someone needs to rent a moving van but that’s about it. It’s probably the main reason I look forward to visiting back home for the holidays… because I get to drive. My last trip home for my sister’s wedding in May I put almost 600 miles on my mom’s car. So thanks for coming down memory lane with me… drive it like you stole it!