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.
6. '96 Nissan Hardbody 4X4
On a whim I bought this truck during a snowstorm because you really need four-wheel drive on the East Coast. I paid too much for it and got boned on my trade-in. During college, I jumped the hell out of this black beauty because I didn't know any better. Six months later, I was upside down on my loan, the truck was trashed, and I was itching to have another lowered truck, so I traded it in at my local Toyota dealer for a new Tacoma and took it in the shorts on my next truck.
7. '83 Ford F-150/250
You have to have a winter beater truck in New York when your other transportation is a body-dropped mini with low-profile tires. I bought this truck for 300 bucks from a farmer. It had fenders from two different-model trucks, rust holes everywhere, and the straight-six engine wouldn't idle. I never once lifted the hood to change the oil or fix the carburetor. I just slid it into snowbanks all winter and then gave it to a friend who left it in the woods to die a slow death when spring arrived.
8. '97 Toyota Tacoma
This truck got me into truck shows and the magazine business, and I learned a lot about fabricating at home with it. In the end, it had a turbocharged four-banger and five-speed manual trans. It was shaved, body-dropped, airbagged, and it also had a 72-color paintjob and a custom interior. After getting a ton of fix-it tickets from the same cop while commuting to work in it every day, I was forced to get rid of it. I traded it for a customized Chevy Crew Cab dualie that I thought was a bit less conspicuous.
9.'91 Chevy Crew Cab Dualie
This truck looked great, and I loved it until the airbag mounts broke off the rear axle on the freeway one night and I almost put it into a guardrail. I really didn't check the truck out before trading my Taco' for it because I got it from a friend. All I knew was that it had a big-block, airbags, and a sweet paintjob. I put a massive Street Beat sliding ragtop in the roof that was big enough for every passenger to stand straight up in the cab. It was great for cruising on summer nights. A few months after fixing the airbags, some bonehead ran a red light and plowed into it. My friends took most of the good parts off the truck before the insurance company totaled it out.
10. '01 Chevy Crew Cab Longbed 2500hd
This was a huge truck. It was lifted 9 inches, and because of its length and crappy turning radius it was a bitch to park anywhere. I traded it in on something smaller after jumping it a few times in the desert and putting a ton of miles on it.
11. '03 Toyota Tundra Access Cab
This truck was perfect. It had a supercharged 4.7L V-8 and a nice long-travel suspension that I broke a bunch of times, and it was a fun ride. Although, the rollcage and lack of a bed floor made it a bit impractical, so after strapping my toolbox to the bed cage a few times to go racing, I sold it to buy another dualie because I needed a truck I could haul stuff in.
12. '83 Suncrest Motorhome
My folks gave me this old pile to transport my junk in when I moved back to California from New York. It had a C6 trans and a 460 big-block that got about 3 miles to the gallon with a car trailer behind it. Once I got here, I had nowhere to park the thing so I moved it from one grocery store parking lot to another every night after work. Eventually I traded it for another dualie.
13. '87 Chevy Crew Cab Dualie
This dualie wasn't any nicer than my first one. It had a shoddy set of airbags, a quick primer job, and a worn-out tweed interior, and I got pulled over in it often because the 'bags would only lift it about 4 inches off the ground. On a whim at a truck run, I traded it for my next truck.
14. '69 Chevy C10 Shortbed
This truck got my C10 addiction going. It was 'bagged and body-dropped, had a cool-looking orange primer job that hid a ton of body rot, and the truck did the cabbage patch dance over every bump in the road. It also had a small-block and a Turbo 350 trans. A guy called Chappie towed it from Utah to Nevada for a truck run, and over a campfire and a few beers we both decided we needed each other's truck. So we traded, and I cut up his old C10 three times to rebuild the chassis and suspension before some unscrupulous folks decided to steal the thing from a shop it was parked at while I was on my honeymoon.
15. '71 Chevy C10 Longbed
I bought this three-on-the-tree/straight-six truck for a grand to strip for parts for my '69. Rather than part out a perfectly good driver though, I decided like an idiot to give the thing to a jackass who promised to get me a new cab and the interior parts I needed for my '69. I got a cab from the guy and am still waiting for the rest of the interior parts to materialize. I'm not holding my breath, and we ain't friends anymore.
16. '67 Chevy C10 Shortbed
I bought this truck for 3,000 bucks to replace the one that got stolen. It was going to just be a mild custom job, but I lost my mind and cut it all up. The body was fairly straight, so I threw the chassis and everything else away. The thing is currently powered by an LS2/4L85E combo and sits on a custom airbagged chassis with IRS. It runs and kinda drives, and I hope to have it back on the road before trucks are able to fly.
17. '96 Chevy Crew Cab Dualie
This is the white truck that appeared in the magazine a couple of times. It was my daily driver and tow pig and served me well. It was actually pretty decent on gas for being so heavy too. I just sold it and am kicking myself now because I had fixed all the broken parts and it was completely reliable.
So there's my list and the reasons I owned and disowned each and every vehicle. It's a pretty long list but I'm willing to bet that some of you have owned even more vehicles than I have. Drop me an e-mail and tell me what ya got and the stories behind them. See ya next month!