Inside the Front Page column this month, you'll find the Say What? question to the staff is about all the cars and trucks we've owned over the years. The Say What? section of the Front Page is the spot where you can learn a little bit about the staff of Sport Truck and its offbeat sense of humor. This section is usually a quick read, and after I answered the question this month I realized there was a lot more to tell about my previous automotive possessions than the space would allow. So I'm expanding my answer here-more to defend some of my choices of transportation that on paper sound lame than to fluff up my Say What? answer. So here is a list of the 17 autos I've bought, sold, traded, crashed, cut up, and been the victim of theft with. Enjoy!
1. '73 Camaro
I spent months trying to convince my dad to let me buy my first muscle car. We looked at Novas, Trans Ams, Mustangs, and Chevelles, and he turned down all of them because they required more mechanical knowledge than either of us had at the time. He agreed to the Camaro because it was in one piece and it ran. Neither of us noticed the big oil leak though. The Camaro was a four-speed/350 car we bought with a leaking rear main seal when I was 15 for 2,500 bucks. Dad loaned me most of the money to buy the car. I'm pretty sure I still owe him that money. I couldn't afford to drive it until my junior year of high school, and I totaled it during a rainstorm just three weeks after putting a new motor in. I went head on into a brick wall and then slid sideways into a phone pole. I came out of the accident without a scratch, but the car was a foot and a half shorter and U-shaped afterwards.
2. '86 Buick Skylark
I borrowed my mom's car after wrecking my Camaro. It was lame with a V-6 and slush box, and the only way I could feel cool in it was to do great, big, smoky burnouts in my high school's parking lot. When I saved up enough cash to buy something a bit more respectable, I gave it back to her with tires shaped like stop signs. Sorry, mom.
3. '91 Honda CRX
I bought this next because it was cheap on gas and back in 1993 CRXs were still cool. It was a five-speed/four-banger car with blown-out rear shocks, but it had a CD player and a sub box under the hatch so it was all right with me. I sold it to buy the next car I fell in love with.
4. '71 Datsun 240Z
Believe it or not, this was probably the best car I ever owned, or at the very least, it was the most fun to drive. My friend Shane built this Z while we were in high school. It had a killer straight-six engine and four-speed manual trans. It was lowered, had dual carbs, a sweet paintjob, and cornered like it was on rails. Unbeknownst to me, it was also easy to break into. Some lowlife stole it in broad daylight while I was bagging groceries.
5. '94 Toyota Pickup
Ah, my first truck. This is where life really started to get interesting. My 'Yota didn't have A/C, power steering, power locks, or power windows. It was a stripper and I loved it. It did have the venerable 22RE fuel-injected four-banger and five-speed manual tranny. I owned it just long enough to shave it, paint it orange, and add the airbags. I also took a great road trip in it from California to New York with my mom when I decided to go to college. After getting nowhere in it during one of many New York snowstorms, I traded it in on my first 4x4.