Monday, September 01, 2008

Cars I've had

I thought it would be fun to see if I could find internet pictures of all the cars my wife and I have owned during our married life.

We got married in 1976. Our first car was a 1972 (?) Volkswagon camper like this one (only ours was white). I bought it just before my senior year of college. As we drove away from the church on our wedding day, our friends threw bucket-loads of rice in it. For months we kept vacuuming rice out of it. We adored this car. I bought it because I was quite the back-to-nature closet-hippie type guy back then, and VW campers were the statement for the times. Suzy made colorful curtains for the interior. The tiny engine was in the back. There were all sorts of neat storage compartments inside the van, as well as a small refrigerator. The top popped up and there was a cot you could sleep in up there. The back seats folded out into a good-size bed. We took this car on lots of road trips and our friends thought we were really cool. We had to give it up when Suzy got pregnant with our first child Rebecca, because it got too hard for her to shift gears (it was a stick). And in its place we bought...

... a 1974 (?) Toyota C0rolla station wagon. It looked like this, only white with blue interior. Why we bought a station wagon I don't know. But it was fun to drive. Problem is, the transmission crashed after a couple years and we bought...

... a 1967 Chevrolet Biscayne! This thing was a boat. You could put 4 people in each of the two bench seats. It looked just like the Chevy Impala of the day only it was a 6-cylinder, two-door version. I remember it had no air conditioning. Suzy and I took it on several long trips, including one to Florida, and just about roasted alive. The color was an ugly sort of dull green. This was the car we brought our 2nd child David home from the hospital in, and it's the car we drove to St. Louis when we moved there for seminary. We sold it to our next-door neighbor who was also our landlord. Then we bought...

... a 1978 Plymouth Volare station wagon. By this time we'd had our 3rd child Jennifer, so we figured we needed another station wagon. It was red. It's probably the worst car ever made. It gave us nothing but problems. So we moved up in the world after I got my first job as an associate pastor and bought...


... a beige 1984 Dodge Caravan. It was like the one in the picture but didn't have the wood-grain on the side. It was the first year these cars were made I think. The neat thing about our Caravan was that it was a 5-speed stick. I've never seen one like that since. We bought it from a well-off family in our church and it had low miles. We felt we'd finally arrived, as far as cars are concerned. We had this car when our 4th child Michael was born in St. Louis. When I took a church in South Carolina, the Caravan died and we bought - you guessed it...

... another station wagon. This one was the station wagon of all station wagons: an Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. I think it was a 1987 or -88 model, and was blue with a wood-grain piece of vinyl on the sides just like the one pictured here. This was quite the luxury model of the day. It had electric windows and electric front seats. It stretched about a half-mile long and had a fold-up bench seat in the "way back," as we called it. This is probably the car our kids remember best, as it was the car we took tons of vacations in. It was indestructible. Because it could get really hot in the way back, we put a little fan back there and connected it to the cigarette lighter.

While we were in South Carolina we thought we'd try leasing a second car. So we shopped around and fell in love with a red 1994 Nissan Sentra. It became my wife's car. Sadly, not long after we got it, it was totaled in a terrible accident, thanks to a guy who drifted over into my wife's lane and rammed her head on. Praise God she was not hurt, and he came out OK too. But the car was finished. Too bad, we both loved that car!


So when the Sentra was totaled we decided to buy rather than lease, and we bought a 1995 Subaru Legacy, similar to the one in the picture (only brown). Loved this car!




In 1996 we relocated to Ocala, Florida. I sold the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser for $100 at a junk yard and bought a 1995 Nissan Quest minivan. It looked just like the one in the picture, only the hatchback door was dented in by one of our kids (I'm not naming names), who backed into a mailbox soon after getting her drivers' license! I've blogged about this car before. It was a wonderful car and took us all over the country. We had it for 10 years. We sold it not long ago to a family in our church and it had 218,000 miles on it. For the first time in our lives we bought a new car...





... a 2008 Toyota RAV4. We wanted the model with an extra third seat in the back, so when our kids come to visit we have room enough for everyone.





It's funny how cars tell a story of love, of family, and of memories that are far more precious than money can buy.

6 comments:

orangejack said...

great post! love the journey you took us on. i should do this too - it would be fun.

love the wood-panel wagon!

kristinwithani said...

Mike, I love this journey! Cars really do tell great stories. I think I have pictures of all of mine and when they turned 100K or 200K miles.

Rhoda said...

i love cars and i think that this entry is so creative and nostalgic. i remember the subaru well!

Allison said...

My parents had a Volkswagon Camper. I remember climbing up into the cot and sitting in the seats that faced backward. It was ditched when we moved to Florida related to lack of air conditioning!

Castleman Family said...

Except that you left out the untold number of cars you've bought for your children! that was great, dad!

Becky Williams said...

The oldsmobile custom cruiser reminds me of that Chevy Chase movie, 'National Lampoons Vacation'... "Hey kids, it's off to Wally World we go!!!"