Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Car meme...

Sunday morning. Head a little fuzzy from last night's excellent Rogue Old Crustacean Barleywine. What to blog about? What to blog about? Oh, goody! A meme!

1) Cars I wish I'd never gotten rid of.

This one's tough, because I've owned a lot of vehicles over the years. There was the 327-powered Chevy Monza, which was totally impractical as a day-to-day driver but too much fun to leave parked. There was a Guards Red '85 Porsche 924S, which was probably my favorite ride other than my current Z3. The one I really regret selling is purely for financial reasons. In 1987 or so, I briefly owned a 1970 Pontiac GTO. It was a tired ex-drag racer, with its fenderwells cut out and a wheezy Pontiac 350 toiling in the engine bay where the big motor used to live, but it was all intact except for some minor dents. Heck, the power windows still worked. I wish I'd put all the money I wasted on the three or four subsequent cars into restoring that one, and cashed out at the peak of the muscle car bubble in the early '90s.

2) Cars I wish I'd never owned.

When the transmission finally gave up the ghost on the 924S, I was forced to buy an Emergency Car. You know, the cheapest thing with wheels that would hold me over, getting me to and from work and the grocery store until a large bonus check showed up three months down the road. I spent those three months sentenced to a 198... 2? '83? (I'm blocking out the awful memory) Dodge Aries. This car, from the dark ages of automotive performance, was saddled with all the modern safety and emissions requirements, and didn't have a microchip to its name, so all the EPA-mandated engine shenanigans had to be controlled with vacuum lines. Miles and miles and miles of dried out, cracked, leaking vacuum lines, designed to leave you stranded at the most inopportune times and places. At least it was slow and ugly and handled like crap. When I got my check, I bought an '86 Fiero 2M6 SE (a story in itself) and gave the Dodge to a friend who needed a car for free, as a gift. We're no longer speaking to each other.


Big Brother said...

I'll match your "bad car" story and raise.

When I was 18, I had the misfortune to own and drive possibly the most misbegotten product of the American auto industry ever devised, the AMC Pacer.

The design was bad enough new, but mine had seen 10 hard years before it was given to me as a graduation gift, and it was more rust than car by that point.

I drove it while I worked to make enough money to replace it with something, anything, else.

The worst thing about it is I made the mistake of picking up a date in the car one time. Up to then, things had been going well, until she saw the car. Not one of my best moments.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

That early of an Aries would have had the horrible 2.6 Mitsubishi four in it too.

Gah. Not even a decent motor... I know I say all the time those cars have potential but that there's the bottom of the underside of the sludge in the lowest barrel.

T.Stahl said...

Well, I still own both the cars I ever bought, so I can't answer either of the questions.

Ulises from CA said...

I wish I hadn't gotten rid of:

1. 1977 Plymouth Arrow. First car. Not enough parts left in 1991 to fix the engine. Sigh.

2. 1991 Plymouth Acclaim. Bullet proof.

3. 1989 Chrysler New Yorker Landau. Everything but the headlight flippers worked. Arctic A/C. Creampuff ride. Room for 6 in comefort. you could put 4 bodies in the trunk. What's not to like?

Your Dodge was a nightmare, as I can imagine. Too bad. Those vacuum lines were the bane of the K-cars. My Mother's '88 Plymouth Reliant is still going. It has TBI, the 2.5L I-4 from Chrysler, & a 3 speed auto. No vacuum problems. Except for replacing the head gasket a few times ( design flaw ), it's been pretty bullet-proof.

Oh, yes. Mom drives at 2 speeds: stop and Warp!

I'm surprised the car has lasted this long.

Csherm said...

I'll add to your good car story, sorta... I'd admit under threat of torture that in high school back in the early 80's I owned a Mustang II. Oh Well. After that a 79 Fiat X-1/9. Was a fun car but not all that reliable; it had a habit of vapor locking in hot wx, but it drove like a go-kart.

I later developed a jeep thing and now own a Wrangler as a daily driver and a 1950 Willys M38 and '53 CJ3B as toys. They are lotsa fun and wrenching on 'em is a good way to relieve stress.

Never drove a 924, but on the fun/wild side, I also have a weakness for German cars-- A couple of yrs ago I managed to buy a really pristine 1980 Porsche 911SC, which is more fun than ought to be allowed... hard to beat the wail of that air-cooled flat-six out behind ya. Just thinkin' about it I think I need a smoke now...

B&N said...


Watch it there with the Mitsu 2.6 comments.

That was what powered (if you can call that power) my beloved '84 Montero that I learned to drive in. I beat the hell out of that thing, and the engine never gave me any real problems, other than its customary head gasket at 100K. Started every day for 14 years before the KM145 5-speed finally spit its synchros and at least two bearings.

Gah. Still wish I had that thing for some things, 'specially with the recent weather round these parts. I couldn't get it stuck in anything, and I was never worried about the paint. I'm afraid to drive my new car in this weather, for fear of the idjits out on the road.

Anonymous said...

I would find it hard to believe the AMC Pacer was even worse than the AMC Gremlin. I had one of those miserable pieces of sh*t for all of 8 months in the Philippines. IIRC, I paid $100 for it, so I couldn't complain too much. :) I paid a friend of mine $5 to dispose of it when I had problems while PCS'ing out of there. I think he later said paying him $100 would've been fairer, but I know it was running on at least 4 cylinders when I dropped it off at his place! It's been over 16 years, I guess I could write him a check.

Anonymous said...

What was wrong with the V-8 Monza? As long as the car was in decent shape and the engine was somewhat mild in tune it should have been fine.

Tam said...

Nothing was wrong with the V-8 Monza, it was just impractical as a daily driver.

(Stripped interior w/roll bar, 5-point harnesses, fire extinguisher, 327 V-8 with 400 RWHP and skinny little 14-inch 70-series street radials. You get the picture.)

Dr. StrangeGun said...

Ulises from CA:

Next time you fix your mother's 2.5 Liter, cut a little round from I believe a .030 shim stock, cut a hole in the new head gasket and put the shim in next to the water jacket on the top left of #1, AKA where you see the cylinder seal squeeze out on all the blown gaskets.

You could also delete about 1/8 turn from the torque procedure for the bolt in that corner.

Either of those will virtually guarantee you won't blow that gasket again.

Steve Skubinna said...

I still regret giving up my '64 Sunbeam Alpine back in 1979 when I went into the Navy. I also regret having forgotten about the CS grenade I left in the trunk. Hope it didn't cause the new owner any undue surprises.


Tennessee Budd said...

I'm sticking with my '72 Cheyenne. I don't want a microchip near it unless I'm in it.