Did I mention somewhere along the byway of my blog that I no longer possess a car? I do have access to my friend’s car for important errands, but generally nowadays I just stay put in my neighborhood, as I little reason to be “running around” anymore. But it was less than a year ago that I gave up my 2014 Ford Taurus SEL (one shown in the lead photo), and occasionally I find myself having pangs of longing and desire, even “lust” for that car. Oh my, how I loved it. But everything must change, so I let it go.
I must say though that it was one of the last “almost muscle” cars sold in America. It was an automatic, but had a passing gear that was marvelous for getting on freeways or passing 18-wheelers slowly coming into my lane! And, so comfortable indeed. A great car, but Ford changed, like all the American (or “world economy”) manufacturers have done. I think in China this car or a similar one is still available, which makes me ask, “What tha f^&%$!”
Over my long adult working life I have had more than my share of cars, mostly brand new, or one or two slightly used. I admit, I was a car-holic, always feeling the need to drive something I felt was commensurate with my “status” in life, as an engineer growing in his career.
Before the Taurus, actually I also owned Ford’s Focus and Fiesta models, but did not keep these but a short time before settling on the Bull. (Taurus is my zodiac, so you see how I might be attracted to it.) All of these cars were fantasic, fast, surprisingly comfy to my 6′-2″ frame.
Before I settled into Ford’s products, I had driven the wheels off a couple of models of the Saturn VUE. Remember Saturn? Most will not. Another “deep six” product of America trying to compete in the world economy.
The VUE was a really good car, and I was sorry to see it fall off car-earth. When I moved into owning a couple of the VUE’s (I loved them!), I had done so only because I had driven the best car I ever had to the point of the transmission likely needing replacing. The WONDERFUL 1996 Oldsmobile Aurora!
This car was like NCC-1701 on wheels to me. Fabulous in every way. The V-8 engine was the bad-ass thing out of Detroit at the time, so bad the engine block was used in some Indy cars! 250HP and a top speed of 135mph, and believe me it would do that. In fact the engine was governed (limited) to that, as it would do more. With this car the driver could set the cruise control on 125mph and just drive and drive and feel like you were going 65. Perfect ride. At 90 you could punch it and almost get whiplash! No joke.
All of the cars I have owned I chose to satisfy my sense of engineering design and beauty, and also for uniqueness. I liked to drive something nice that was “not your average car.” So before the Aurora I had burned miles in probably the very first Nissan Maxima sedan to hit the streets of Dallas. It was a cool car, with what then were very novel features including recorded voice warnings (“Lights are On”) and information announcements by a sweet female voice. The ONE thing that caused me grief more than once was the automatic should harness. At that time, before air bags, some manufacturers were offering a novel design where the connection point of the should harness rode a track in the top of the door frame. So the front passenger would get in, fasten the lap belt portion, and close the door, then when the ignition key was turned to ON, the should harness would move from the forward to rear driving position, firmly crossing the passenger with the shoulder harness. Now, let me tell you, that was a problem for someone not really thinking about the position of their right arm. More than once I started the engine to hear the scream and cursing of my wife who was arrested and almost strangled by the device. Of course it was all my fault guys!
When I bought the Maxima, I traded my Sterling 825. I had bought it and drove it hard around New Mexico where I was living and working, and then long commutes back to Dallas. A great car also, well engineered, but although my own car never had one problem, many did, and being manufactured in GB, it could not compete with its sister called Acura. Built on the same drive train and chassis, the Sterling quality of production just could not compete with the Japanese version. Americans literally taught the Japanese how to do quality assurance…..looks like we should have also taught our friends across the pond as well!
Before the Sterling I enjoyed the Datsun 810, both owning a two-door coupe version, then a station wagon version. Great cars both, and I burned the miles on both.
Before getting into Datsun, my pride and joy as a young Air Force officer was a car just like the one above, a 1970 Opel GT. It was like a mini-Vette, and was giving competition to the Z cars of that period. Powered by a simple in-line 4-cylinder engine (and incredibly accessible to maintain), manual shift, manual levered headlight rotation mechanism (note in the photo, the headlights are turned inward), it was sleek and fast and a road hugging little monster! I ran the wheels off it and loved every second I was behind the wheel.
My father set me up in an Opel Kadette, the actual car shown below. It was so cool, and racy, and my future bride and I had lots of fun in it!
My father seemed to know how to pick neat cars, as he bought me a very used 1958 Chevy Impala, like that pictured below. No, it wasn’t a plastic kit like in the photo! Unfortunately I blew the engine on it, and with me being in college, our family could not afford repairs so it sat at home until Dad found a buyer.
I learned to drive when I was about 9, on our ranch, on ranch roads, then progressing to driving on the highway with my mother next to me. What I learned to drive in was a jeep similar to this one. Daddy acquired it somehow, I think in a raffle where he worked, like he also acquired a motorcycle he never used. Ours was painted white, and had a cool bullet hole in the back. The stories I could tell about driving this jeep around our ranch would make most parents pucker up. Never give a 9 year old boy a jeep and let him roam free!
And so I have come to the end of my “car life” story. I enjoyed all these rides, but now enjoy walking even more. Enjoy your rides, but walk as often as you can!