The cars that I have had
Ah, cars. Our first taste of freedom, our reliable transports and our most hated piles of rubbish. Like everyone else, I've had my share of cars and I felt that I should write up a small page dedicated to the various metal monsters that have been my friends and my slaves over the course of my life so far.
There isn't really much to note about the vehicles that I have used over the years, other than I've normally bought cheap cars, and that I spent four years working in pizza delivery. There's a great way to kill cars quickly!
Okay, so bring them on!
78 Toyota Corolla, coupe "The Car" (I wasn't really 'into' naming cars at this early stage, so I just referred to it as 'the car', but later on I started naming all my cars.)
Ah, my first car. I bought her from a friend of mine's dad, who had been fixing it up. It had a new coat of (house) paint, new (house) carpet throughout and had brand new(ish) light truck tyres.
I paid $400 for it, which I borrowed from my mum.
The first incident of note is that I obtained a manual drivers license and this vehicle was an automatic. So the first time I took it out for a drive, I reached the first corner and went to put it from fourth to third (which is what one does in a manual). However, seeing as this was in fact an automatic, my action served to move it from drive into reverse!
Fortunately I realized my mistake and pulled it out of reverse and back into drive before the gear engaged, though it did create a bit of stress for my friend in the passengers seat.
The second incident occurred the first time I went out on my own. When learning, I had had six lessons during the middle of the day in fine, sunny conditions. The first time that I went driving unsupervised was a fairly long trip to a dance on the far side of the city, in the dark and it was pouring with rain!
The last bit of trivia about this car is that some of you may have noticed that there is a little Koala bear toy in the middle of the front grille. That little fuzzball was ridiculed often, but I really liked having it there. Though I have no idea why, and none of my other cars have had that.
83(?) Mitsubishi Sigma SE, sedan "Ready" (pronounced 'Red Ee')
For my second car, I went out and bought a 'sporty' (don't laugh, I thought it was sporty at the time) Sigma, bright red - 'cos red onez go fasta!
For this car, I took out a loan from the bank and paid $2000 for it, if memory serves correctly. I bought it from a car yard, from a salesman who seemed to have worked hard to become the physical embodiment of a used car salesman. The clothes, the slicked back hair, the moustache - he may as well have been an actor portraying the used car salesman cliché.
For this car, I even went to the trouble of installing a stonkin' huge stereo:
Okay, it never won me any prizes, but it was loud enough to be heard outside the car and had a brand new tape deck (CD's were only just becoming popular and were way too expensive for me). Okay, I lied. I couldn't afford a new tape deck as such since I spent all my money on the speakers. But I do remember that I had to use a ten cent coin in order to change the station because the knob had been lost at some stage.
The fun story with that car was that once, a friend and I were out driving and as I went around a corner the gearshift came out! I was stuck in second gear. I pulled over and put on the hazard lights, grabbed a little itty-bitty screwdriver I happened to have in the glove box and put the gearshift lever back in. We were sitting there for about an hour or so, and it was quite a hot day.
Once I got the lever back in, the car was fine. We drove off, but went straight home to get a drink first.
81 Datsun 200B, station wagon "Old Faithful"
(Also appearing in the photo of the Sigma, above) This was my third car, the trusty 200B. It was beige, it was a station wagon, it was cheap. And I used it to deliver pizza. That poor little car was so thrashed, it ended up being sent to the wreckers after we were through with it (my mum used it after I did).
In the picture above, you can see some damage from where the young chap who lived seven houses down from me reversed into it as I was driving past. Since the car was cheap and the damage minor, I never bothered to claim on his insurance, even though I was entitled to.
The most vivid memory I have from that car happened on a day that we were running really low on supplies at the pizza store I was working at. They sent me to another store about half an hour's drive away to pick up some stuff that they had spare.
Now, by "some stuff" I mean the whole car full. Every available space was taken up with boxes, cans of sauce and bags of flour. It couldn't have been more than a ton or so since that was the vehicles rated capacity, but it was pretty close. The axels were fully sitting down on the rubber stops, so the ride was really, really hard on the way back. It took me the better part of two hours to get back to our store since the acceleration was virtually nil and the top speed was about 40km/h.
That was a fun day.
85 Holden Camira, station wagon "The Junk Wagon"
The '85 Camira won 'Car of the Year' from Wheels Magazine in Australia the year it came out. Nobody knows why...
This is one of the few cars that I regretted buying. It was slow, it was manky, it leaked like nobody's business and it was a Holden. I'm not really into the big Holden vs. Ford debate, but if I have to choose between a Ford or a Holden - I'll take the Ford every single time. Even if the Ford is a rusting heap.
This car was the first one that I took out on a long-distance trip on my own. I went down south with a few friends from the pizza place and we had a fairly quiet time down there. I even fitted a radio to the car especially for the occasion, since I knew it was going to be a long drive and the car had no working radio the rest of the time I had it.
Not much to mention about this car, other than I sold it to some passing Aborigines for $100 when I finally got sick of it.
83 Nissan Pulsar, hatch "Old Bluey"
This was my older brothers car, and appeared in the background of the first pic. When he went to Sydney on his mission, I inherited this car from him and drove it around for a while.
I loved this car. The seats were really comfy, the first gear slid straight in all the time, the rear seats folded down for carrying bigger loads - it was generally a good car.
This was the first car that I had to get new license plates for as the one on the back fell off at some stage and I didn't notice until (probably) several days later.
In the background, you can see my old 200B which I had given to my mum. She drove it around for quite a long time, but by this stage it was destined to go the scrap heap.
83 Suzuki Swift, three door hatch - "The Snot Machine" or "The Green Meanie"
This was the smallest car I have ever owned. I bought her from a fellow pizza delivery driver. When I got her, her engine was seized and there was more petrol in the oil sump than there was oil.
I bought her a new engine and popped in a new stero system with a 10" sub. I actually had to pull out the back seat in order to make it fit, but it was so worth it.
This was the last car that I used to deliver pizza in. This was also the car that I should have been delivering pizza in to begin with. Comparing the size, maneuverability and (most importantly) fuel consumption - the Suzuki was a winner all around.
Although she was dirt cheap to run, repairs where quite expensive. Parts were hard to get and there were very few other vehicles at the wreckers to pinch parts from.
This was another of the cars that I really loved, simply because it was fun to drive. It was a five-speed manual and she really had some get up and go with the new engine. It did have two major drawbacks - there was precious little legroom (and I'm over six feet tall) and there is a metal bar that runs across the roof that is right above the drivers' head. I hit myself on that enough times to be very cautious when driving over speed bumps.
This was also the car that I learned that you don't put leaded fuel into an unleaded car...
I'm not sure when this picture was taken. In the foreground you can see my brother's Nissan with the Suzuki behind it. In the background you can see my old 200B which my mum was driving but before it went to the wreckers.
In the middle is my dad's white van. He left it here while he went off on a trip, and it was at my place for about two weeks.
I don't know when this photo was taken because I was sure I bought the Suzuki after I had sold the Nissan, and that I hadn't sold the Nissan until after I had sold the 200B. It must have been taken just after I bought the Suzuki but before the new engine went in...
84 Ford Falcon XE, sedan "Frankenstein"
After the tiny Suzuki, I went BIG. The old Falcons are almost the largest cars you'll see on Australian roads, other than the big four wheel drives. These cars are HUGE. I could have parked the Suzuki inside the passenger cabin and not touched the door trims. This was the car that I was most comfortable in.
The reason that I dubbed this car "Frankenstein" is because I assembled it out of parts from about 14 different Falcons. There was almost none of the original car left by the time I started driving it around.
The above is a pic from when I had the main donor car (on the left) and Frankenstein at a friend's house and we were swapping the engines over.
What had happened is that a friend who had worked at the pizza store had a car that he was about to send to the wreckers. This was a Fairmont (the luxury version of the Falcon) and I convinced him to sell it to me instead. Since it was unlicensed, the original plan was to fix it up and get it licensed again. This turned out harder than originally anticipated, so I figured that it would be easier to buy another Falcon that was in poor shape but licensed and swap all the good bits over.
So off I went and found a suitable Falcon. Now, this car was a heap, with a capital H. The interior was all ripped up because the guy had several dogs, the engine had been on fire (twice!) and half the bodywork and panels were rusting away because the guy liked to drive it on the beach.
So I dragged this poor, sad car back to my place and proceeded to rip it to bits. I pulled it back almost to the chassis, then set about replacing all the bits with the good parts from the Fairmont. And I do mean everything. The interior, the engine, the transmission, the suspension, the wheels, the lights, the seats - even some of the windows.
Not all the bits were good, so I had to go scrounging around for a lot of parts, including the dashboard, the drivers door, the center console and various other parts that came from the other eleven cars.
No, that's not a typo, since the story doesn't end there. I had the original Fairmont, stripped, the Falcon that became Frankenstein and the eleven other cars that donated parts for a total of thirteen cars. However, a few months later the gearbox died on me so I bought the fourteenth Falcon (dubbed "Browno" for it's horrible colour) and took the gearbox out of that one and fitted it to Frankenstein. (Browno had a very short stay with me, and was sold to a wrecker for almost the price I paid for it).
84 Toyota Corolla, sedan
I just realized that I don't have a photo of this car. It was basically the same make and model as the one in my mum's accident page, except that mine was dark blue.
This one was an okay "get around" car, but is only exemplified by it's blandness. It was an okay car to drive and it got me around, but it wasn't an exceptional vehicle. But it was a lot better on petrol than Frankenstein was (which was why I had to get rid of it, even though I didn't want to).
76 Toyota Celica, coupe
I didn't get around to naming this car, since I only had it for a short time. Nor do I have a photo of it, but it looked just like this one:
Okay, not "just" like it. Mine was British Racing Green and had a lot of rust and primer on it as I bought it as a half-done project car. It also came with about a ton's worth of spare parts, almost enough to build a second car with.
I really love the old Celicas. They are a great car, have lots of character and are quite zippy, seeing as they were a sports car. A basic, entry-level sports car, but a sports car nonetheless. I'd always wanted one of these babies, but it is just impossible to get parts for them. That is, unless you have the money to have them custom made, then it's not a problem.
I ended up (very) reluctantly selling it, to a chap who has (at the time I last heard) been busy doing it up properly and doing all sorts of nice things to it. He should be coming back to pick up the last of the spare parts (I gave them to him with the car) that are still here and if he does, I'll snap a few pics then.
91 Toyota Camry, sedan "Uncle Bob"
This one is my current car. The reson I called it "Uncle Bob" is because the combination of numbers and letters at the start of the license plate look like "bob", so it seemed appropriate.
This is the newest car I have ever had, and even has EFI, which is great for those cold winter mornings when my other cars all had difficulty starting.
Uncle Bob hasn't really stood out so far. It's another Toyota (I should buy shares!) and I've made a few simple improvements to it. It's the first car that I've had where I've taken the time to lay the cables for the stereo properly under the carpets, though I had been meaning to go all the way and pull the seats out to do it.
But I figured I should do it a little more sedately and not make it really flashy or anything.
One final pic to share, a group photo:
Here you can see the biggest concentration of cars that we ever had at our place. From the left: the original Farimont, my brother's Nissan, a 200B sedan I had for a short while (the green and black one in the middle), hiding at the back is Blue Eyes (my mum's 200B, same as the beige station wagon), Frankenstein and The Green Meanie.
Well, that was a fun trip down memory lane. At the moment I intend to keep Uncle Bob for a while, but I have a real hankering for another Falcon. I love those cars.
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