Thursday, February 12, 2009

In cars

About a year ago, I believed I had bought the best car ever, my 2006 Toyota RAV-4. And you know what? I still think it is the best car ever. I love my car so much. I have rarely had such love for a car, in fact, with the exception of a 1979 Bitchin' Camaro and a very problematic and troublesome 1972 MGB. I loved that car in what can only be described as a perverse, subservient relationship, as in, Please don't ever leave me, I'll do anything you need, including putting in a new engine, having all of the electrical systems rewired, and giving you new seats and a new top and a new horn. In the end, though, it was not meant to be. I spent far, far too much money on that one-sidedlopsided relationship. (I was going to say "one-sided," but then I realized that like bad boyfriends, I did get some pleasure out of that car. Nothing quite like driving down Highway 1 to Big Sur with the top down on your MG. Or driving to work and having the muffler fall off/the car break down/the engine seize up.)

The Toyota, however, is a completely different matter. It is rock solid. Never a problem. I'm not sure I will ever be able to drive anything other than a Toyota from now on. My aunt once told me, Once you've had Toyota, you'll never go back. I was test driving a Corolla at the time, almost 20 years ago now, and I knew that someday I would have one. So yeah, I could probably be a Toyota ad. I do love my car, though.

I was thinking about this, and all the other cars I've known and sometimes loved, while esposo was playing Gary Neuman's "Cars" at the cafe this morning (why he has to play 80s music while getting ready for work, I will never know). So I made a list, starting from the beginning:
  1. 1984 Chevy Chevette, brand-new, first car, which I totaled less than 6 months after owning it. It was pretty good up to that point, though.
  2. Really old Chevy Chevette, piece of crap (it was even metallic brown!) in which the heater did not work and which you could turn on without actually putting the key in the ignition. It was fun driving around during the wintertime in Ohio. Not.
  3. 1979 Bitchin' Camaro. OMG I so, so loved this car. My Bitchin' Camaro began my love affair with muscle cars. It was sparkly blue and had a big, fat engine. I would sometimes street race other cars, and once I beat a brand new Camaro. Heh heh... That totally ruled. Sometimes the door handles would fall off. Once I ran into a small tree trying to stop on a patch of ice on the way to school. The Bitchin' Camaro was not fazed in the least.
  4. (Move to California) 1988 Chevy Spectrum. This was basically the same as the Geo Spectrum and the Hyundai Excel, as well as an Isuzu something-or-other. Hard-working little car that surprisingly lasted me a really long time. I only ended up getting rid of it because California started some tough smog standards, and my little car couldn't pass the smog check two years in a row. So it had to leave the state and begin life anew elsewhere (my Mom took it in; she has a soft spot for homeless animals and vehicles).
  5. Mazda B1800 pickup. I can't remember the year of this thing, but it was okay. Nothing special. Bought it from an ex-boyfriend and then sold it back to him when I moved to Costa Rica. He still owes me about $1500 for it, too. Hear me, Pat? I want my money! Moving on.
  6. 1972 MGB. My second "I'm-totally-and-completely-in-love-with-this-car" car. A total and complete money pit. I still loved it, though. One of the best things about it was my mechanic, Mick, a giant of an Englishman who had a shop in Salinas. He was seriously funny and tried frequently to get me to sell the car (not to him, just to sell it, to anyone, so that he didn't have to work on it). I only paid $900 for it, and then I probably put another few thousand into it fixing it up. I could have built my own car with what I put into it. Still... hands down the most fun-to-drive car I've ever been in. My Mom ended up with this one, too. Couldn't actually drive it to Ohio so I had to put it on a train and ship it there.
  7. (Moved to Costa Rica) After dealing with taxis and buses, we broke down and bought the Haunted Hyundai Elantra (1992), the best thing we could afford at the time. I am just going to say that even the MG wasn't as bad as the HH. At least the MG was fun to drive. When the muffler finally fell off the HH, I put my foot down and refused to sink any more money into fixing it. After that, my friends said they could always tell when we were coming. I guess they were psychic or something? ;-)
  8. The RAV-4. Best car so far. Fun to drive, good on gas, cute, not too big, and the best part? Never breaks down. You often see cars sitting by the side of the road here, but it's pretty rare that one of them is a Toyota. So yeah, I love my car.
I've been watching Top Gear on BBC Entertainment lately, and if you haven't seen it, well, you just must see it. Funniest, best car show in the history of car shows ever. My favorite episode so far is the one where their challenge is to test old British Leyland cars to prove that they made a good one (BL made the MG, and they even stop by Morris Garage in the episode, which is, of course, sadly closed down). I'm not sure they did prove their point, though James May's Princess fares best of the three. I don't really know what Top Gear has to do with anything I've just written, other than that it's a car show, and this post was about cars, so... ooh, is that something shiny?

P.S. Go watch that video. I promise you won't be sorry!


  1. Memory
    All alone in the moonlight
    I can smile at the old days
    I was beautiful then
    I remember the time I knew what happiness was
    Let the memory live again

    You just brought back a bunch...hehe
    OHIO? I'm a Columbus boy.

  2. *Smiles* I love Columbus! Fun city. I'm from up northeast, Warren. My Mom calls it the Armpit of America.

  3. I just found your blog, can't wait to read it... We have a Rav4, love it. Great car for Costa Rica's roads!