January 23, 2005

Four-Wheeled Automotive Vehicular Transport Unit

As you (may or may not) know, I currently drive a Mini-Van. A 1994 Pontiac Trans Sport SE 3800 to be specific. It's been a decent set of wheels so far, but it's begun to give me a few problems. This got me to thinking about my automotive history. It's rather checkered.

I started out with a 1970 Plymouth Satellite. Mine was green, and had a 318 cubic inch engine, and I loved it dearly. I bought it to try and keep up with my best friend at the time who had a Road Runner. As usual with first cars, I beat the piss out of that one, but that old girl took it like a trooper. After I sold the car, the new owner converted it into a dirt-track racer. It's probably been crushed by now, but it was a damn-good first car. I bought it with my own money and everything.

My next vehicle was a 1977 Ford Maverick. I have no idea where my Dad found it, but it was a true-blue "Grandmother who only drove it to Church" car. after I'd driven it for a few weeks, I noticed some shifting issues in the automatic transmission. My dad took it to his car guy, and he found that it stall had the factory plug in the transmission pan. This was 1987 or '88. It was Sky-Blue, and was the best running car I've ever owned. I flipped it off an embankment, backwards and upside-down, shearing a 6" tree in half in the process. There I was. Hanging from the seatbelt (I've always had the good habit of wearing them) watching the engine oil run out of the cracks between the hood and the fenders, and I still had to reach up and turn the ignition off to get the damn engine to stop running! I'm always on the lookout for another one.

Next, I bought a 1979 Formula Firebird from a buddy of mine. It had the sucky-est V8 ever known to man...the 301. It was rated at 135 horsepower. This is the car that earned me the scar above my right eye. I was just leaving work on a rainy afternoon. The traffic was heavy, and I'd been listening (as is/was my wont) to my radio at ear-splitting levels on the way in that morning. After I had travelled about two miles, the radio was bugging me, so I looked down find the knob to turn it down. When I looked up, all I saw were brake lights. I hit the car in front of me, which then hit the car in front of it, which then hit the car in front of it, which then hit the car in front of it. NOT a good day. Did I mention that I was on the way to my buddy's house to make the last payment on it? Thought not. Needless to say I was positively livid. I calmy unbuckled my seatbelt, grabbed the steering whell with both hands, and slammed my head into it. I still have no idea why I did that, but I guess I just had to hurt something. I replaced the front end with one from a 1974 Firebird (surprisingly interchangeable) primered it black and eventually painted fire stripes on it with Krylon spray cans in the front yard. I think I only beat one car with it when they wanted to race, and I saw sparks flying out the bottom of the opposing vehicle when that happenned. If he hadna "blowed up", he would have packed my lunch for me. God that thing was a piece of crap.

Next up, back to Chrysler. A 1966 Chrysler Newport to be exact. Once again, my "Pentastar" vehicle was grass green. This thing was truly a "Mafia Staff Car". The trunk could have hauled a dozen bodies to the local rock quarry. With bench seats front and rear, you could haul at least ten people, and none of them had to sit on another's lap. The power plant was a 383 Wedge with a Carter 650 cfm four barrel atop it. It even had power windows and a power front seat! This thing was so heavy and so powerful that I couldn't "get into" the gas from a dead stop. All I would do was msoke the rear tires, and not go anywhere. Impressive? Oh Yeah! Practical? Not hardly. It actually got pretty decent mileage when I drove it easy, but whenever I openned up the back barrels, she really drank the fuel. I once (accidentally I swear) raced a late-eaighties model IROC Z Camaro. We were at a red light, and roughly 1/4 of a mile ahead, the two lanes merged into one. When the light changed, we both wnet ahead like good drivers. At about 5 miles an hour, we both got the same idea at the same time, so we both put our "foot in the carburator" and took off. I beat him by a country mile, and let me tell you that it was sweet...very sweet.

Nest up was a 1989 Ford Taurus. I really liked this car. Power everything, nice seats, and a big 3.0 liter V6 that just hemmed down the road. Unfortunately, every six months or so, the transmission had to be rebuilt. I think it was the fourth time that it came around to having tranny-troubles when I just got pissed and went out to find something else.

What I found was a 1985 Nissan Pickup. It's not an ST and is not an extended cab, but you get the idea. I bought this truck for $1,100 dollars. It read 186,000 miles on the odometer when I purchased it. I didn't realize that the speeedometer was busted until after I'd closed the deal, and drove it off the lot. 2.4 liter "Z" motor, five-speed manual transmission. I drove this truck for something like four years. In the beginning, I was going 25 miles (one way) to work every day. Then I moved to Iowa. I made twelve trips from Knoxville, TN to Cedar Rapids, IA and back in the time I was there. Back in TN, I got another job at a place that was 35 miles away from the house. Two years there, and then I moved to Nashville. Every two weeks I was driving back and forth from there to here on the weekends. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that this little truck had in excess of 500,000 miles on it before the head gasket finally let go. I've still got it. It's sitting out at the side of the house as I type this. I've gotten about halfway through pulling the ehad off before I was distracted, but someday soon, I may put her back on the road.

When the gasket let go, I made a deal with a coworker, and bought the vehicle I'm currently driving. My cousin was looking for a vehicle for his wife to drive around, and mentiond a really good deal on a Chrysler product that he'd run across. If it's still there next weekend, I think I'll swap up.

As a rough and tumble, construction worker that I am now, I think a 2000 Dodge Durango fits me better than the soccor-Mom set. We'll see if this deal is still there when I get back next weekend, and if it is, I'll be rolling something with horns. I'm looking forward to it, and it's something that will make me feel better when I go down to Orlando in mid-February.

Here's to good luck lasting for five days.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at January 23, 2005 09:58 PM

XXXX **crossing fingers and toes**

That would be GREAT!! I really like those Durangos. My friend has one, and she refuses to trade it in.....she can't find anything she likes more!

Good Luck!

Posted by: Tammi at January 24, 2005 10:45 AM

.. hey, killer... come down tomorrow night and see the Wife's new 400HP caddy... it rocks....

Posted by: Eric at January 25, 2005 06:48 PM
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