2.23.2007

Great Beaters in History

This morning, during my grueling 7 minute commute, I noticed that I will, in all likelihood, cross the 158,000 mile barrier with the Montero this afternoon. I had to laugh...because never in our life have we had such a great second car. We don't quite all fit in comfortably - we've got the Suburban for that - but this thing goes anywhere and still looks great. If only I could get the CD player to barf out that disc that's stuck in there.

I got to thinking about some of the bombs I've driven over the years. After deciding to list a few, I struggled to keep it to four. It could go on and on....Here they are in descending order of quality.

82 Toyota Cressida (jet black)
This was Toyota's luxury car of the day. It was big for an import of that age, and featured a six in line engine that was a dream. I had 200,000 miles on it, a sunroof and badly cracked burgendy leather. I also had more motor than transmission, so the second time I dropped the tranny, I got rid of it.

81 Audi 5000 (submarine gray)
I remember arguing with my dad on this one, who could not conceive that the car really had a five cylindar engine. This had 225,000 miles on the odometer (but it was broken so who knows) and the what I believe to be the world's only driver-controled variable pressure fuel pump, wired to a dining room light dimmer switch in the dash, but that's a post unto itself. I sold it for $600 and the new owner was t-boned in a week and tripled his money.

70-something Datsun B210 (medium blue)
This could very well have been the ugliest car ever built, bar none. I even had the honeycomb wheels. I desparately needed another car and had only $600. My friend found this - I didn't really want it but knew that if it was in good condition I'd have to take it. It was prestine...145,00 one owner miles. It would get 35-40 mpg and was actually more fun to drive than you would expect, provided you didn't let the revs drop under 4,000. I finally hit a pothole hard with it and the doors would no longer open. I sold it for $450 minus the cost of a tank of gas (no kidding - it was quite the negotiation process).

66 MG Midget (red with a black top)
Let me be clear. This was a horrible excuse for transportation. It was so incredibly tiny. The engine was less than a liter in displacement but had TWO carburators. They were the size of walnuts and needed sewing machine tools to work on. The second happiest day in a man's life is when he buys an MG. The happiest day in his life is when he sells that MG.

In light of all that, I think you understand why I whispered a prayer of thankfulness for the 158,000 mile beauty I'm driving. It's a jewel.

9 comments:

shawn blanc said...

88 Honda Civic
My first car. $1,200 for the body and engine followed by $1,800 for the stereo. Man it sounded good.

89 Toyota Forerunner
It was the 1st generation so the top came off. I put on big tires, a winch and a grill guard. Then painted it with Rhino Liner. It was gnarly. It only got 12 mpg on the highway, and only had a 14 gallon tank. When I drove it to Colorado I had to fill up at every gas station in fear fear I wouldn't make it to the next one.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget your Red Chevrolet Citation that would start without a key. I can't remember exactly how we started I just remember not using a key...Kyra

Tracie Loux said...

Hey, John drove a red chevy citation when i met him, can you believe I still married him!
Our favorite first "married" car was a '69 Grand Torino, white with blue vinyl top and blue interior! It was a boat, but we loved it!

Randy Bohlender said...

Ky - I thought about listing the Citation, although technically it wasn't a beater. It was just a very undesirable car, albeit reliable. Burnt red, four door, black vinyl, no air. Ugh. And we could just grab the ignition and twist. It was common among that era of GM cars.

Randy Bohlender said...

Sean wrote: Then painted it with Rhino Liner.

THAT says class in a way I could not imagine....

Jillian said...

my custodial mother was working in Europe many many moons ago-one of my favourite stories was that of her driving her MG Sprite on the Autobahn-as she was coming off at a ridiculously fast speed, she passed a semi truck. the entire roof peeled back like a can opener hit it, and she said that she opened her eyes to find her hands still glued to the wheel, and driving on course, trailing the roof behind her. oi!

Cindy said...

Aarrgghh - I'd rather have a horse. We are at that awkward high school/college kid age where we have many cars, none worth anything. One kid has a truck whose driver door doesn't open.Another kid's truck has a cow catcher- we are NOT ranchers. MY luxury car is a stripped down Ford Escort with no springs. Our daughter has a 88 Chevy Caprice- two-tone blue - the boys in the 'hood liteally try to buy it from her.Pops drives a 93 Nissan with 200,000 miles that we bought for $500 last fall. Our BEST vehicle- the 2000 Dodge van - Barney-purple- died a pitiful death after we replaced the transmission. So yes. Our best cars for family driving - a 1988 Chevy and a $500 Nissan. SO sad...

shawn blanc said...

Randy, I got so many comments about that. "Did you put asphault on your truck?"

It was great. I could take it off road and not worry about scratches.

And speaking of 'class'...you spelled my name wrong.

Randy Bohlender said...

Sorry Shaun.