The Cars That Got Away
I know I talk about my old pickup a lot here, but yesterday as I was working on that story about teens and their apathy toward cars, I couldn’t help but think more about the prize possession of my late teens and early 20s.
The 1984 Toyota 4X4 was owned by a friend of my dad’s in Oakland. He bought it new, and sold it in 1993, because his wife let him buy a new car every 10 years. It had 60,000 miles on it when I bought it. (He replaced the Toyota with a new 1994 Ford Explorer – I’ll bet he wishes he had that to do over again!)
Since I was desperate to find a mid-’80s Toyota, he gave me a good deal on it: $4,500. I flew from Spokane, Washington, to Oakland, California, with a friend, and we drove the truck back home, where I had the windows tinted, put on new 31/10.5 tires, shiny chrome wheels, a fresh paint job, and a custom stereo system. Every spare cent I had went toward my girlfriend or my truck.
In 1999, just as my truck was about to turn to 100,000 miles, it was stolen from a Seattle park ‘n’ ride public transportation lot. I was devastated… even more so when the police found the truck and asked if I wanted to go see it. I should’ve never gone! My baby was trashed. Her wheels and tires were gone, her frame was badly bent… perhaps worst of all, though, was the insult of finding receipts from a McDonald’s three blocks from where I lived.
Needless to say, the truck was totaled for a ridiculously low figure, and I never saw it again. Losing my truck set off a series of poor vehicle choices as I searched for one I could love the same way. I went through a 1994 Mustang, a 2001 Altima, a 2000 Tundra, a 2004 Pilot, and a 2004 X-Type before giving up, settling for a small commuter car, and realizing the feeling a teen gets with his first car is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Maybe I’m crazy for having such strong memories about my first car, but I’ll bet you have some stories about a car you wish you still had!
So let’s hear ’em! What car do you wish you still had, or wish you bought when you had the chance?