Cash For Clunkers...And Memories

Monday, August 24, 2009

Can you imagine what it must be like to be an old gas guzzling vehicle right now? The Cash for Clunkers program has instigated genocide of the vehicular nature like nothing we have seen since Eddie Griffin got behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Yesterday I literally saw a rusty 1991 Jeep Cherokee wearing a Groucho Marx-type oversized glasses-nose-eyebrow disguise trying to blend into the background, like he was some sort of 2006 Honda Civic or something. Poser.

The purpose of this post is not to debate the merits of Cash for Clunkers (remember: politics-free zone, please) but to give us an opportunity to reminisce about the Clunkers we have all loved or hated over the years. Most of us are passionate about our cars. We name them. We talk to them. We bond with them. We decorate them. We claim them as dependents on our tax returns. And then inevitable day comes and we have to either sell them or kill them, like CBS had to do with Dan Rather.

So today I’m going to share with you the memories of the clunkers that have come and gone throughout my life. I’m sure most of you have some fond memories of certain cars in your past as well, so please post a comment to share the joy with the rest of us. Here are my stories:

1982 Toyota Celica Supra
Year Adopted: 1991
Nickname: The Thunderbolt
My first car. I inherited her as a 16-year-old and I will love The Thunderbolt for the rest of my life. Though it was 10+ years old, the ‘Bolt was in good condition and lightning fast. It had a fifth gear that we called “The Police Gear” that could be used to outrun the fuzz like dropping the Millennium Falcon into hyperspace. Two passengers could squeeze uncomfortably into the back seat and I used to drive three of my high school basketball teammates to our games. We would crank L.L. Cool J’s “Mama Said Knock You Out” and look as intimidating as four tall, skinny, white, tattoo-less Mormon Priests could as we rolled to our basketball games.

The ‘Bolt gave me freedom. Freedom to go places. Freedom to hang out at my friends’ houses. Freedom to just drive aimlessly while listening to Depeche Mode as I sorted out the drama and angst of youth. I love The Thunderbolt. May she rest in peace.

1994 Jeep Wrangler
Year Adopted: 1996
Nickname: The Chick Magnet
My brother is fourteen months younger than I am and we shared The Thunderbolt in high school. As soon as I left for Ricks College my folks sold the ‘Bolt and bought a new, beautiful black Jeep Wrangler. Naturally I was livid at the injustice as I trudged to my classes on foot at Ricks while imagining my little bro picking up chicks in his new Wrangler. But when I returned home from my mission my little bro was still preaching in Bolivia, so I had the Wrangler all to myself for a year.

My favorite memory in the Wrangler happened two weeks after returning home from my mission. It was a warm summer day and the top and doors were off the Jeep. I was drinking a milkshake and listening to Smashing Pumpkins as the wind rushed through my hair. In a sudden moment of clarity I said to myself, “Dude! I’m HOME from my MISSION!” I left the post-missionary nerd mode behind as I cruised down 35th South, oogling at all of the girls who were no longer off limits. But no matter how fondly I remember my year with the Wrangler, I always felt like her heart belonged to my little brother, almost like I was dating a girl he had previously dumped or something.

1991 Geo Prism
Year Adopted: 1997
Nickname: None
The NMW and I were married in 1997 and she brought the Prism into our marriage. I also wanted seven pigs, three sheep and twelve head of cattle as part of the marriage arrangement, but my in-laws weren’t cool with that. I never really bonded with the Prism, but the NMW and I bonded with each other as we drove it repeatedly from Provo to her home in Winslow, AZ. We drove the Prism for the first two years of our marriage – car payment free - until the transmission seized on I-15 just past point of the mountain. I only have vague memories of the Prism, like Cheech and Chong probably remember the eighties.

1997 Kia Sephia
Year Adopted: 1999
Nickname: Satan
The Kia is important in my auto history because it was the first car I ever purchased and was responsible for paying off. The NMW and I were recently married and still living the student life, so the $110/month payment seemed like a billion dollars at the time. The Kia was cheap and under warranty so we bought it. The bad omens started almost immediately as our mailbox was inundated with recall notices for issues with the brakes, windshield wipers, CV boots, and the need to exercise demonic spirits that possessed the transmission. We drove the Kia for six years while living in constant fear that it would one day spontaneously burst into a ball of flames and kill us all. I never liked or trusted that car, and it hated me too.

1985 Ford Escort
Nickname: The Poop-Scort
Year Adopted: 1999
Back when we were partying like it was 1999 – because it was 1999 – the NMW and I only had the Kia to get to important places in Provo/Orem like school, work, church, Movies 8 and the Nickelcade. The opportunity of buying a co-worker’s old but running Ford Escort for $1,000 cash was impossible to refuse, like trying to bypass an $.89 chicken burrito at Taco Bell. The Escort was old but had fewer than 100,000 miles with a nice interior. While the battery mysteriously died more frequently than Itchy and/or Scratchy, the ‘Scort got me around town for four solid years.

My favorite ‘Scort memory happened while I was interning in Las Vegas during summer break of my MBA classes in 2002. I was trying desperately to impress the General Manager of our business unit so I could get a job after graduating. My chance to shine happened one day when the GM had to take an emergency flight and asked if I could take him to the airport – in my car. At this point the driver’s side door no longer opened and the A/C was broken, which is a only a minor inconvenience in Las Vegas in July when the temperature reaches 184 degrees on a cool day. As the GM followed me to my car I opened the passenger door, slid my 6’6” body across the gear shift, rolled down the windows, and pretended that nothing was out of the ordinary as we roasted all the way to the airport. In an unrelated story, I was not hired to work for that business unit after I graduated. The ‘Scort was a great investment and it pained me to see her go to that giant scrap heap in the sky.

2002 Honda Accord
Nickname: Sally
Year Adopted: 2004
Yes, I drive a car named Sally. The kids named her after the Porsche in Cars because they are both silver. The NMW and I met Sally back when she was the display vehicle with a ridiculously low price to attract customers who could then be baited-and-switched to a fancier model. You see, Sally has no power windows, no power doors, no alarm, and an engine consisting of a hamster jogging rather lazily in a crank wheel. The salesman was shocked – shocked! – that somebody was actually cheap enough (we prefer frugal, practical, and/or provident living-ish) to buy the base model. But Sally was affordable and easier to pay off than a Bolivian prison guard. Five years and 125,000 miles later, Sally just keeps chugging along problem-free, never breaking down. I hope I’m still driving Sally five years from now.

So those are the stories of my clunkers. I'd like to hear yours, so please post away. While getting some cash for these four-wheeled important parts of our lives would probably be nice, I'm happy just holding on to the memories for now.

Like NMH? Grahamtastic Stickers makes it possible.

34 comments

Had an '82 celica from '94 to '96 that I loved except for the fact it got the shakes any time I went over 50 mph. Sadly she passed away after I rear-ended an unsuspecting van on a rain-slicked State Street at the bottom of the hill between provo-orem. My fast cars mentality died with her.

I also had a Kia, '95 Sephia, from '96 to '02 that decided to become a clunker promptly after turning 60,000 miles. Also totaled that one. Another rear-ender. I was NOT sad when it died.

My most beloved was a '93 accord lx, owned by me from '01 to '07. She had just hit 200k worry free miles when she was unceremoniously stolen and stripped.

Now I ride my bike. Can't get over losing the accord.

11:43 PM
bwebster said...

Just for the record, I have never, ever named my cars. That said, my first car ever was a...

-- 1963 T-Bird. I needed a car for my senior year of high school; my dad matched me dollar-for-dollar, and we bought this for $500 in the summer of 1970. Had all-white interior and air-conditioning; my dad liked it so much that he kept it largely for himself (I used it on the occasional date) and instead I drove the...

-- 1966 Mustang (289cc V-8, black interior, green exterior, no power anything). This was my car my senior year of high school. I still think the 1964.5 - 1966 Mustangs were among the finest American cars ever built. I didn't get to take it to college; instead, my older brother took it to grad school (Cornell), where it eventually rusted out. After graduating in 1971, I didn't have a car again until I married in September 1975 and inherited a...

-- 1971 Chevy Malibu. This was my [former] wife's car. She may have had a name for it; I don't remember. It was actually a great car, but it eventually died, and my [former] wife's mom gave us a used...

-- 197x Ford Pinto station wagon. The worse car I have ever owned. The transmission gears were made of plastic, for crying out loud. Needed constant repairs, particularly after getting flooded -- as in physically submerged -- during a tropical storm in Houston (1979). It was so bad towards its end of life that I used to keep a case of motor oil in the back, because it would consume a full quart of oil driving across town. When we really needed a second car, however, my [ex]mother-in-law really came through with a....

-- 1966 Ford Mustang (289cc V-8, yellow exterior, no power anything). Sweet! Not only that, but my ex-wife let me have this car when we divorced in 1985! She kept the...

-- 1983 (or so) VW Vanagon that we had bought new to replace the finally expired Pinto. This wasn't a great car, even when new, and was prone to various mechanical failures. On the other hand, when I remarried in 1986, my new wife came with a....

-- 1982 (or so) VW diesel Vanagon. This was frankly an even worse car than the Vanagon my ex-wife kept -- it had a gutless engine that sprayed diesel fuel all over. We soon traded it in for a brand new...

-- 1987(?) Plymouth Voyager mini-van. Ran fine until we got to the 70,000-mile warranty mark, at which point it started falling apart left and right and became a real money sink. Around 1994, we gave the '66 Mustang [..sob..] to our oldest son as we kicked him out of the house, so he'd have transportation and a place to sleep. To replace it, we got from my [new] mother-in-law a used....

-- 199x Audi something-or-other. It already had well over 100,000 miles when we got it; its only redeeming virtue was that it still drove, mostly.

In 1996, as we moved from San Diego (CA) to Oakton (VA), we drove the Voyager and the Audi up to Utah, gave the Voyager to my former wife and the Audi to my wife's sister. Free at last! Free at last!

Upon arriving in Oakton, we rented a car for several months, then leased a new Ford Expedition. A bit later, we bought from our oldest daughter and her husband a little Japanese sports car (can't remember the make) that they could no longer afford. After the Expedition's 3-year lease was up, we just drove the sports car for a while; then we bought a new Ford Escape and gave the sports car to one of our sons. Just before we moved to Colorado, we traded the Escape in for a new (2004) Ford Expedition, which has been our only car for 4 1/2 years.

None of the last three Fords have been clunkers; in fact, we've had very few repair bills. Our current Expedition should be paid off by the end of this year, and I plan to keep it until it out-and-out dies.

11:44 PM
Millenial Star (Wars) said...

"Millennial Falcon"? That right there qualifies you as a Star Wars flunky and should DISqualify you from ever making any other Star Wars reference henceforth! (barring some intense rehabilitation). That gaffe just singed my eyeballs!

6:20 AM

Millenial Star (Wars) - (In my best Yoda voice) "Correct you are. Revised, the name has been."

You deservedly called me out for originally botching the name of Han Solo's space craft. I will ensure that all of my future Star Wars references are correct.

May the force be among you!

6:28 AM
Amber said...

In college I drove a 1984 Chevy Citation (ever heard of it? Probably not.) Her name was White Trash even though technically she had no paint...just primer. My intention was to paint it white but then the guy I'd hired to paint it ran off with another guys wife and never finished the job. White Trash had no radio (just a hole in the dash), no AC and couldn't go over 60. I put a bumper sticker on it that said "You have to be REALLY secure to drive a car like this!" Luckily, I lived close enough to campus that I just walked most of the time and only drove the car when I really needed groceries. Then I married I guy who owned a shiny red Corvette and we gave my car to my younger sister. I haven't missed it a day in my life since. I do miss the Corvette that we sold because we had our first baby and no back seat.

7:17 AM
mama cow said...

While we didnt agree with the program I am happy to have our "clunker" finally gone and replaced by a gutless black beauty. My hubby had this 1985 mercedees longer then he has had me and frankly the old lady had to go. I was sad until we got in to drive her downtown to trade her in and smelled the wet dog smell. Oh and the gas leak and the bad tires and the sun damaged paint. So she will be crushed and I will now own all of my husbands heart! And we now have a cute fun date night car.

7:20 AM
Megan said...

It's a good thing you had an awesome home teacher and his wife and child during your tenure with Satan. I remember both of us making several drop-offs and pick-ups in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. (Of course, that was before I actually moved to the middle of nowhere...) Too bad Satan gave our car some bad ideas. Our 1987 Pontiac Bonneville became Satan's minion...

8:30 AM
Lindsey said...

You must see my sister's blog posting from back in May...good times!
Please note, this is my SISTER's posting...not a boy!
http://petonfamily.blogspot.com/2009/05/to-all-cars-ive-loved-before.html

10:43 AM
Anonymous said...

When my husband and I were dating he had a 1985 Honda Civic hatchback that he named Rhonda. I would like to emphasize the 'he named' part because I wanted nothing to do with that thing. This was back in 1996. And while he liked to say that it was his wit and charm what would make me look at him all glassy eyed while he would drive. I think it had to do more with the toxic gas that would envelope the whole contraption as he drove it. The 'car' I have to say was an attention grabber -but not in a good way- it would give off a thundering sound that resembled that of a cannon being shoot right beside you every time he would turn it off. So imagine the entrance that we had at parties! A laud clap of thunder and two figures steeping through a dense cloud of smoke! The space shuttle lift off was less conspicuous! Rhonda’s favorite pastime was riding in the back of tow trucks. I later renamed One Way Rhonda. Because she would get you only one way there and the back trip you either had to leg it, or ride back in the tow truck. Rhonda died in the parking lot of campus one happy day. And as my later to be husband stood over her corpse with a teary expression, I have to admit I also shed a tear – I had just put $10.00 worth of gas in the miserable little thing!

Ana Abruna

12:31 PM
Molly Mormon said...

My first car was a 1984 two tone Chevy S-10 Long bed. I had at least 6 minor fender-benders the first 18 months that I drove it. It was an old car when I got it and the subsequent accidents made it look especially bad. As a teenager I didn't care about things like that. I only cared that I had a car to drive. I'd put a couple dollars into the tank and drive down to the beach for the afternoon.

I still own a clunker (1994 Jeep Cherokee). That same drive to the beach now costs me 20 bucks. Ouch. Even with the cash for clunkers program I still can't afford a new car.

1:51 PM
Jon-Michael said...

Last November, I gave up the only car I ever purchased myself (before I got married 8 years ago), a 1990 Toyota Corolla. I bought it in 2000 with only 75,000 miles and everything working. It was the car I drove while I was single. I drove it on my first date with my wife, and many trips to Provo when she was going to school and I was in Denver.

It was our only car until we bought a second car shortly after we got married. It ran great until it finally gave up the ghost 9 months ago. So sad. I put over 100,000 miles on it and had 3 stereos in it (2 of which were stolen).

2:00 PM
Sandy said...

My husband brought a 1980 GMC 3/4 ton truck to our marriage. It cost him $500 and had a bulldog with red sparkly eyes for a hood ornament. We could fit 4 adults across that front seat when we were required to drive siblings to the airport, etc. It got about 16 mpg in its hayday, which lasted for like 2 years. The remaining 10 years he/we had it, it got 4-8 mpg. It was one of those vehicles that only responded to its owner (him) and always died, wouldnt' go into gear, etc. when other people (me) tried to drive it. Earlier this year, the transmission blew (literally) in a side-of-the-road fiasco that involved our dog running away and my husband and son needing to be picked up by some kindly ward members. It was not worth fixing, so it was "donated" to a junk yard in a one-sided deal I still don't completely understand (apparently junk yards won't pay cash money for sentimental value...or cool hood ornaments). Jake still mourns his loss.

4:07 PM
Toni said...

I had a 1988 Toyota Tercel that I bought in 1994(?). I paid for that baby myself. It would shake when I got up to 60 mph. My air conditioner was a big cup of ice water and the windows rolled down (manual). I passed it on to my sister when I inherited my 1990 Ford Tempo from my great-grandmother. It was white with red interior. I lost the muffler when I went on a trip to DC with friends and we had to yell at each other on the way home because it was so loud. I named the car Nelly after my great-grandma.

6:38 PM
in time out said...

hmmmmm, this is a lot to think about. WOW.

7:39 PM
JM said...

The "go cart" was my first car as a teenager. It was a 1990ish Pontiac GrandAm. I had many good memories with that car: filling it full of toilet paper to distribute across the town, getting it on two wheels while making a left turn, getting air off large speed bumps, going through three sets of tires in one year (sorry mom), and scaring the pants off anybody who thought they were brave enough to drive with me. It still had many more adventures to go when my foolish brother drove it up the canyon and shot it dead.

8:39 PM
kristib said...

Mrs. Cleaver was the first vehicle I fell in love with. She was a '78 Ford Clubwagon van. Originally she was a 12-seater, but my parents converted her into a 7-seater just a few years before they got rid of her. I drove her in high school, and, aside from the cracked vinyl seats that ripped my nylons, I loved her completely.

10:08 PM
Anonymous said...

1970 VW Beetle
Year adopted: 1986
Nickname: The Gold Bug
Not a very inspiring nickname, but it was appropriate. It was the first (and last standing) of numerous VW bugs that passed through the family over about a decade. The first car of all four children in the family as they came of driving age. The most efficient heater ever – in the summer. It also sported bonus ventilation ports in the floor that would also wash your shoes if it was wet outside. Overall pretty reliable, but when it did have nervous break downs it is small enough to push with just one person – be it to get it off the road, out of a bank of snow where it got high centered, or just to move fast enough on a flat stretch and pop the clutch if the battery/starter died.
It is the source of many, many great stories and adventures. A few choice highlights.
Once after a weekly MIA night activity brother #1 decided to defy dad’s strict orders to not give rides to other kids rides home (his claim was car insurance rates, but we believe there were other unstated motivaters to add), and decided to load some girls into the car and take them home. Somehow he ended up taking a rather circuitous route that passed in front of the Bishop’s house, where the car magically broke down. It was a rather embarrassing phone call he had to make to dad that night, and the explanations continue to have questionable gaps even to this day.
For those unfamiliar with the classic VW bug design, the battery is actually under the cushions for the back seat. As the car ages, and if one is fortunate enough to live or drive along bumpy dirt roads or over cattle guards, this will eventually result in a problem if people have to sit on the back seat. On at least three separate occasions (more events are rumored but not confirmed) an unfortunate soul was sitting in the back seat of the bug and suddenly felt a jolt and/or a burning sensation initiated by the contact between the metal seat coils and the battery leads. The driver also gets an indication of a problem as the car loses power during the shorting, which is fortunate for all vehicle passengers because it indicates that the car needs to be stopped immediately to allow the poor soul in the back to get out of the car without trampeling those in the front seat. It also is an indication to the driver to stop where there is loose dirt to throw on the smoldering seat, minimizing the wonderful odor of burnt horse hair in the car for days to come. After the very first demonstration of this unique security feature a not so foolproof measure of placing a piece of plywood over the battery terminals was devised and employed. Unfortunately, pit crews were known to occasionally overlook the correct placement of this important piece of safety equipment resulting in somebody getting burned - literally!
In hindsight perhaps the trusty bug’s nickname should have been Sparky.

10:13 PM
Meredith said...

I've only owned 2 cars ever. The first was a 1995 Toyota Camry that I inherited from my parents in 2005 and promptly named Moya (bonus points for getting that reference). She was an excellent car, although she was afflicted with car leprosy, only had 4 working seatbelts, the ceiling was held up with straight pins, and there was melted crayon all over the back seat. She took me across the country from Utah to DC, and my dad kept praying she would last through grad school. Nice job, Dad--she lasted, but about two weeks after I graduated, she began a series of breakdowns that finally ended with me trading her in (for pocket change, basically) three months later.

I now own a 2008 Ford Fusion (named Ned), whose only problem (knock on wood) is that I suck at parallel parking and accidentally knocked off one of his hub caps.

6:51 AM
Trent said...

Only one car I owned will ever deserve to make this list. "The Beast" as it was known was a 1978 Oldsmobile Cutlas Supreme. Adopted in 1994 when I first got my license she took me everywhere I needed to go - which was mostly to move pipe at 5:30 in the morning. White with a red interior (She looked so good that in the fall of 1995 I was offered $2000 in unmarked bills by one of the immigrant farm workers to make the Beast his own - I was all for it but my dad felt guilty and made me turn down the indecent proposal.) she went 0-60 in 12.7 despite sporting a monster 8 cylinder engine (We timed her multiple times). However, growing up in rural southeastern Idaho it didnt matter how fast your drove but how well you busted snowbanks. The Beast handled snowbanks twice her size like a 747 handles clouds, you might not be able to see anything but white for a few seconds but you know you'll break through soon enough. The only downside was the car was either to heavy or to old to stop on slick roads so the adventure always began after you busted through the snowbank. Our love affair ended abruptly one fateful morning however during the summer of 1996. As I was driving down some backroads to move so sprinkler pipe going a modest 40 mph being serenaded by Axle on cassette The Beast decided to drop from drive into reverse all by herself. My head somehow avoided the windshield and I drove her the 7 miles back to my house in reverse, where like any noble steed who injures itself - she was put to sleep.

7:51 AM

HA! I've had almost the exact same cars as you. I grew up with a Jeep cheroke, with a trundle seat in the trunk to fit all of us kids. My parents let me use the 91 geo prism for about 5 years untill I was married. Then My hubby brought to the marriage his 97 Kia sophia. We gave it to his little sister before it could die on us. And now we have a 2002 Volkswagon Jetta, which was the only car on the lot with no power windows or cruise control.

8:45 AM
Cpt Naykid said...

My first car was a 1984 Nissan Maxima station wagon. It's first nickname was "crap-mobile." Because, honestly, it just looked like crap. It was old, smelly, a bit rusty, and was definitely not a chick magnet. Although when it was new, I am sure it was very high quality. It had a sunroof, powerlocks, and the coolest amenity was "voice warning." obviously this didn't work when I got it, but we always imagined what things it could have said. Like, "roll down your window dummy," "would you close your door already," "hey, kid in the back, yes you, buckle up!"

The car had a name change after a particular evening. I was the oldest and the driver for our group of guys. We went to seminary and then band practice (yes we were band nerds, although I was on the drumline...good times). My passengers were pretty crazy mormon boys. They loved to stand up in the sun roof, take off their shirt, cover their legs with the sun visor and yell at pedestrians... "I am naked!"

Anyways, after a band competition, we were almost home (at 2 am), and one passenger asked what I'd do if he streaked. I thought he was joking and told him I would banish him to the trunk of the station wagon (a common punishment). So unexpectedly he jumped backed there and commenced streaking! Then at a stop sign (no one in sight), he opened the hatch and did a nakid chinese fire drill. When he rounded the car, I realized I could just drive off and leave him there! So I began driving off with him chasing us down the road. I was laughing so hard at leaving him a mile from home with no clothes that I couldn't physically push the gas pedal. He caught up and jumped in.

Since then, it was always called the "Naykid Mobile" and as the driver, I was the Captain. Hence my nickname that has stuck since High School. The weird part is of our group, I was always the watered down one, the peter priesthood. And they loved calling me that in front of others, especially at church. Sheesh.

11:40 AM
Jan said...

I drove a 1980's Dodge Maxi-Van (that means EXTRA LONG) in high school, nicknamed the Red & Greyhound. The van ran fine but was HUGE and my high school assigned parking spaces. Wouldn't you know mine was PARALLEL? Hard to feel cool parallel parking your family bus while everyone else whips by you in their new Mustangs and BMWs.

We still own a clunker--1991 Toyota Camry with 170K miles. Hubs bought it before we married and it's mostly run well, until the year it didn't. It would overheat and die on me without any notice--including in carpool line at my son's school. The radio didn't work and the driver's door had to be opened from the outside. Now hubs drives it (after a few salvage yard part repairs) and I'm driving the "nice" car--which means it starts when you put in the key, the doors open from the inside and the radio works! Woo hoo for me!

4:00 PM
Lindsay said...

In high school I drove a '72 Dodge Power Wagon (honking big truck) that required me to jump up into it and use two hands to get it into 2nd gear. And it was an ugly shade of brown. Luckily, in the town where I lived the older and clunkier the truck the better.

8:55 AM
Brooklyn said...

1989 Honda Prelude, red -- cost $1000 and got pop-up headlights, a sunroof, a working CD player and a bad a/c. I LOVED this car but never named it.

1995 Toyota Tercel - got it for $650. The first time it overheated, I replaced a bad hose with a new hose which came with a sticker reading "Helen" - the Tercel became Troy. My boyfriend pronounced it dead, finally, eight months after I bought it (217,000 miles), and my roommate bought it from me for $300 and got it running again.

2005 Pontiac Vibe, orange - My current baby. Great road trip car, excellent gas mileage, and the first car I've had where I don't have to worry. I learned how to change her oil and named her Olive, after the car Richard Hammond buys - and falls in love with - on Top Gear. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pp1qeBMllfQ

11:08 AM
Summer said...

82' Toyota Minivan named Summer's Shuttle - middle seat spun in circles and back seat laid down and became a bed. LOVED this van. I think we got about 20 people in it one afternoon. Hence the name. I made whoever rode in my car to and from school pay me 5 bucks a month. I never paid for gas for that car. I actually made money. I sure was smart back in the day. I drove it for about 9 months and the clutch went out driving up the University Parkway hill coming from provo. Me and 5 of my friends had to get out and push that sucker up the rest of the hill. Ever since the 'Shuttle died I haven't named any of my cars...I guess nothing compares to my first car.

2:50 PM
Jennifer said...

In high school I drove a yellow Datsun-Nissan Sentra named, Buttercup. I loved her so much even when it was iffy if she would start when I came out of school. I would open the hood and proceed to hit the battery with a wrench if she didn't start right away. Very mechanical of me, I know.

Next was a Honda Accord I was borrowing from friends and got into and accident with. They were kind enough to allow me to purchase it from them after that for full price. Thereafter he was known as Clarence, after the cross-eyed lion because his headlights pointed in two different directions. He was super fun because his brakes would occasionally decide not to work and coming off the freeway was always a thrilling, taking your life into your own hands, type of moment.

Next a Nissan Maxima wagon named Cayenne. She was old, but had all the bells and whistles. Including faulty fuel injectors.

After that we stuck to new cars except for a brief stint with a Honda Civic which was uber reliable and which we passed on to my bro-in-law and is still running well at 22 years old.

Our current cars are 9 years old and it kills me to hear the oil change guy refer to them as old or high mileage. I love them dearly and pray that they last us until we win the lottery.

10:02 PM
Krista said...

Datsun B-210. Honeycomb grate on the front. Mom hot-glued a stereo cassette player in the space between the two front seats, which was stolen after I left for college because little sister didn't lock the doors. "The Bee". Royal blue. I am such a girl I don't know the year, but my dad bought it for $400.00 from a neighbor in 1987 and told us, "Whoever gets their license first gets driver's privileges." All we had was a boat of a station wagon, so I high-tailed it down to the DMV before my sis turned 16 and finally got my license.Thanks for the memories!
BTW, my brother-in-law, Doug Jensen, served his mission in Antafagasta in 90-92. Know him?

11:48 AM
Krista said...

Wrong dates. He served in 92-94.

11:57 AM
jendoop said...

I don't know how anyone can claim a clunker unless there is duct tape involved. Honestly people, what happened to 'use it up, wear it out or make do' (or however that goes)?

We have a 2000 van that has plenty o' duct tape (to keep the plastic paneling on or it wedges the door permanently stuck), no A/C, an unnaturally high idle speed which even the dealership can't figure out, a round shatter mark in the paint where it was hit with a semi-frozen egg one fine Autumn day, and mold growing in the carpet. (The mold happened because we live in the NE where it is humid and we leave the windows down, remember no A/C, and the carpet was rained on and will never dry.) Yet for some strange reason this priceless piece o' junk is not considered a clunker- what is this world coming to?!

I won't ramble about our 85' Escort or 95' Neon that spontaneously combusted. Because all I care about right now is a new van!

2:37 PM
Zachary said...

My very first clunker was a 70s something Oldsmobile we called the Amos-moblie because my grandpa gave it to us and his name was Amos. I drove that for my first year of driving until my brother and I complained enough and my dad bought us a '94 Nissan Sentra. Her name was Kimmy, because the license place had the letters KMY (original, I know.) But we loved Kimmy. Speed, sleek, U sticker already in the back window... My brother inherited her while I was on my mission and has her to this day and though the license plate has changed, the name lives on.
After I got back from my mission, I got an '89 Nissan Sentra in memorium of Kimmy... but never named it. It was just "The Sentra." It was more of a rebound car from my relationship with Kimmy and I sold her for less than she was worth (which didn't matter since she was paid off).
I sold The Sentra because I bought Ben. Ben was a 2002 Nissan Frontier. I loved that Truck. Ben and I were best friends! We would do everything together... move neighbors stuff, go to drive ins with dates, you know... manly stuff. Sadly, as usually happens when you get married, my wife made me get rid of old friends, including Ben. I was VERY picky about who I sold him to. Then a recently returned missionary inquired and it just felt right. I hope they're having just as much fun together as Ben and I did. Now we have "The Explorer" (my wife's '99 Ford Explorer) and "The Lumina" (my dad's old '95 Chevy Lumina)... They'll do for now.

7:35 AM
Jane said...

Amazing cars! Thanks for sharing your photos. They're indeed part of every memory in ourlives. By the way, these best gifts that you could give your better-half might interest you too. Thanks and have a nice and fulfilling day.

11:41 PM
Matt said...

Great post. I did a similar post but only for one car. My 1984 Pontiac Fiero. Good Times.

9:50 PM
Chernobyl said...

Husband & I purchased our '98 Civic brand spankin' new the year after we got married. I had never had a NEW car before - my parents didn't roll like that. So it was like a luxury vehicle to me. My fav. memory of "Bessie" was the time when we moved and I had to drive the 26' UHAUL truck - standard transmission and 20 yrs old of course - well I sat down in that little civic after that hour drive from you-know-where, and I am not kidding, it felt like I was driving a Maserati. We are still driving that sweet little Honda and I still love her - even though she moo's now because of the cv boot.

8:21 PM