Monday, May 28, 2007

conspicously and unashamedly contributing to global warming

I love cars. Specifically, I love my cars.

I sometimes wonder: what do they 'say' about me? Cars should say something about their owners. (Which is why I so detest Civics. Sorry, DCists.)

Allow me to introduce them. Family.
  • "Petunia," 1978 Volkswagen Microbus (Westfalia).

She was my first car; I bought her when I was fifteen. Rather, my dad bought her, and I paid her off. I barely remember the hows or whys of being seduced by aircooled Volkswagens. Some boys fall in love with Mustangs, others Camaros. Maybe pickups or shag-carpeted conversion vans (those boys grow up to be perverts.)

Nonetheless, I bought her in Brookings, Oregon. I fell in love the instant I saw her. She sat on that hilltop dealer's lot and just called to me. "Juuuuustin. Jussssstin. Come, look. See me. I am everything. I have a sink. A refrigerator in which to store illicitly obtained beer. A stove, even. BEDS, Justin, I have beds. You can go camping and have friends with you and have the coolest goddamned car on the planet. You will never be at a stoplight and be embarassed to see another car just like me (unless you are in Arcata.) I possess the throaty put-put-put that only an aircooled engine can produce, and I'm not a Corvaire. I am neither a hippy van nor something your parents would ever drive. Come, Justin." I will never, ever, never ever ever get rid of this car. I may even be buried in her. (I plan next to restore a VW Karmann Ghia. Convertible, of course.)

Currently, she is in the last, very last bit of a 6-year restoration struggle. Nearly finished, now. I can't wait to come back to the States and drive, just drive. Nothing compares to driving an old VW. Fahrvergnugen, indeed.

  • "Don Vito," 1990 Chevy Suburban V2500.

Four years ago, I was itching for a Suburban. Just itching. I didn't want a SoccerMom truck, though. Mine had to have rough edges. I spent months and months looking, mostly online. One day: serendipity. On Ebay, of all places. He was only a three-hours drive away, so I could see him up-close and personal before I committed. I did, and I did. Don Vito is a redneck truck, surely. Lifted, slightly. Giant-assed chrome brush guard. Big A/T tires. NINE, countem NINE miles to the gallon. Before I left (and its worse now, or so I've read,) it cost over $100 to fill him. Oh, but he has power. And a style all his own. I can put my daughter in the back seat, the dogs behind her, me and a passenger up front, bikes up top, and we all have room. It just goes and goes and goes. It will effortlessly move both my household goods and tow a VW Bus (Petunia) from Texas to Georgia to Virginia to Maryland. (I recall moving a friend of S's entire apartment in one trip.) Sadly, Don doesn't like serpentine belts. But he does like to throw them when I'm on a long road trip. Like any child, though, I suffer his temper knowing that really, he's a good kid. A very good kid.
  • "As-yet-unnamed," 1985 Mercedes 300SD.

A recent purchase. Gift, really... but I've pumped enough money into it, it might as well be considered a purchase. I bought this car because its just cool. And different, surely. Who drives an old Mercedes? Old people, and me. (I can't wait to get a bike rack on it.) My impetus was this: S's mom (bless her) was going to get rid of it, donate it to someone for the write-off. (Digression: Persians drive Mercedes. A lot. Go to Lima in NW on a Persian night, and count the MBs. You'll quickly run short of fingers and toes.) It hadn't moved in over a year, and it was a constant source of mechanical and electrical headaches even before that. (Perfect interior, though.) But I fell in love with it and just insisted that I could make it work. And it does! At 34 mpg, no less! (Which dovetailed nicely with my 1 1/2 hr commute. Driving Don Vito was killing me on gas.) This car just cruises. In style. Again.

I'd add to my stable (I want an old Land Rover, natch) but I don't have the room. Hell, I don't have the room for the three I own now: the VW is in a shop (rewiring the loom), the Suburban is parked on base, and the Benz is being cared for by a friend.

What do they say about me? I know what I think they say, but I've never asked someone else. Hmm. And your car? Does it have personality?


VaryingDegreesOfConArtistry said...

My car does NOT have a personality. Well, maybe that's not true. It likes to have the last laugh. It breaks down ALL the time. 2002 Ford Explorer. I bought it for several reasons; but one being, well, I'm only 4'11".. So, umm, yeah, a big suv makes me feel cool. My previous car was a 94 Explorer. And my first car ever, I purchased a 1989 Oldsmobile Calais, cranberry red, with peeling clearcoat. How I commuted to and from Boston daily without it exploding is still a mystery to me.

Gloria said...

Oh man, I have always loved VW Vans, think it has something to do with Scooby Do!

~Justin said...

Gloria! Bah!

That van in Scooby Doo was most certainly not a VW! It was instead the same sort of waterbed-equipped Econoline that ill-behaved men with a penchant for driving past the high schools drive.

Voy! Slander!


simply scott said...

I met a guy tonight who just bought a barely running '71 bug.

the bee in dc said...

86' oldsmobile cutlass supreme in all white, named The S.S. Gephetto The Ghetto Cruiser of Death.

it only had AM/FM and the ceiling drooped so we nailgunned it back up.

it was a beast. and i am tiny.
kind of the opposite of a clown car, i guess (tiny girl, big car).

my dad called me up at college one day and said "i hope you gave gephetto your goodbyes last time you were home, we donated it to purple heart today"

i miss that car. :(