06 October 2014

Struggles On The Road: My First, Second, and Third Cars...

This is the story of my first car--well, technically, my third car. My actual first car was one that I never drove and my second one nearly killed me before breaking down. I prefer not to count either of those, but I’ll include them in my story.

My parents were kind enough to buy me a cheap car before I even officially had my license. I suspect they didn’t want me borrowing their cars so they bought me something called a Chevy Citation instead. It was a car I had never heard of, and I found it odd that it was named after a traffic ticket. There was nothing nice or fancy about it, but I figured that if it ran eventually, that was good enough for me. It never did.

 Perhaps feeling guilty about the non-running car that sat in our garage while I got my license, my parents got me another beater. This time they went big and got me a Ford Pinto Squire. It was the wagon version of the Pinto and had something called “power assist,” which meant you needed the strength of four chimpanzees to steer it. I once tried timing it from 0 to 60 and gave up because of the noise it made around 50 MPH, which took about 15 seconds to get up to.

The Squire went on to develop some strange quirks, like dumping some kind of scalding hot fluid on the break pedal when I turned corners, which almost caused me to run into pesky road hazards like trees, mailboxes and road medians. Eventually, the driver side door would no longer shut. Somewhere around my third month of ownership, the head gasket blew.

By this point, I had saved up a little of my own money and had an uncle help me out so I could buy a fully operational car. I found a great Honda Accord that was affordable with low miles that I bought through an online auction. The only catch was that the car was in Arizona and I lived in Oregon so I either had to fly there and drive it back or have it delivered. I chose to have it delivered and excitedly drove it home from Portland where I picked it up.

It felt amazing to have real power steering and automatic windows. It even had a CD player in the trunk, which was a big deal in the 1990s. Unfortunately, the radiator blew the second day I had it and I started to feel like I was never going to have a working car. My uncle contacted the lot I bought it from and they agreed to fix it at no charge, but I had to ship the car back to them and have it once again delivered to Portland. I bit the bullet and paid to have it shipped again--shout out to A-1 Auto Transport for giving me what they called the "Bought A Lemon" discount - that helped a lot! 

 Two weeks later I finally had my beautiful, working Honda. For months on end I was happily the chauffeur for my friends and grocery runner for my parents. Over the next seven years, that Honda never failed me. It was the car I drove off to college in and it was the car I drove to my first real job. 

Thanx to John B for sharing his story! 

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