Tim tagged me with a random facts chain meme, so in the spirit of American motor love, I'll post about some random automobiles I've known and loved.
- My high school car was a 1976 Isuzu Gemini, a Japanese 2-door coupe with a 1.3 liter engine that was essentially a clone of the Opel Kadett C. My best friend Becky loved it because the passenger door was stuck closed and she had to get in through the window Dukes of Hazard style. I loved it because when I shifted the four-speed the car was so small I'd "accidentally" brush my hand across Becky's thigh.
- My first college car was a BMW 3.0Si with a six cylinder fuel injected 2.8 liter engine. My dad bought the car in Germany and shipped it to the U.S. This wasn't actually "my" car -- my dad just let me drive it to class since I lived at home and the college campus was waaaay on the other side of town. I was driving this car home from English class when I turned the radio on and learned of the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.
- My second college car was a schoolbus-yellow nineteen-seventy-something Toyota microbus that my dad brought over from Japan. It had the Toyota 4 cylinder 1.6L 2TC engine used in the Corolla that got something like 30 mpg. The coolest feature was the steering was on the right side.
- My final college car was a tiny Subaru hatchback that was the victim of a hit-and-run collision. The rear lights were destroyed and the hatchback was secured with a bungie cord. I paid $400 for it (about $200 less than I paid for my first bike just the year before), cleaned it up a little with some Bondo and spray paint, and bolted trailer lights onto the rear bumper to make it legal. The front seats were also broken so I used metal clothes hangers to hold them in place. I put it up for sale after I completed college. A large woman came for a test drive and broke the makeshift seat retention clean off when she sat down. I thought that killed the deal, but I think she figured if she broke it she bought it, and indeed she bought it. She paid $550 for the heap. That was the best automotive investment I ever made.
- Another college car was my girlfriend (and wife to be) Sara's Plymouth Valiant. It was ancient and ugly. The headliner flapped in the wind until my brother borrowed the car and just ripped all the fabric out. Sara was delivering papers at 3 A.M. when both tie rods snapped. We abandoned the car with a friend who said he'd fix it.