My Cars

 

 

Houston

  1. 1972  AMC Gremlin   Bumble bee yellow with black racing stripes; straight six, three on the floor, and a relentlessly cheap black vinyl interior.  There was a "Desert only" position on the A/C thermostat, and shifting into first gear was impossible unless the car was dead stopped.  Purchased new from an American Motors dealer on Kirby Drive for list price, $2195--about a dollar a pound.  I took this car to Kansas for my senior year at Bethany.  It was never the same after Jimmy Zawadski, Steve "William Bendix" Berke, and I drove it 24 hours nonstop, Lindsborg to New Jersey, for Christmas 1972 in a sort of one car Cannonball Run.  STICK • HATCHBACK • TWODOOR • AIR • MADEINAMERICA • VINYL • POS • OOG • WRECKED

  2. 1974  Toyota Celica GT  A green coupe with a tan interior, 18RC engine--a great car, and a huge step up from car #1.  Cost, fully loaded, from Palm Center Toyota on Griggs Road in Houston: about $4000.  On the day I took delivery I drove it for a couple of hours around Loop 610 marveling at how solid it felt, especially in turns. I will never again be as moved by a new car as I was by this one at age 22.  I actually made the effort to learn how to give this car tuneups--plugs, timing, points adjustment, the whole deal. It proved very reliable. I'd probably still have it if the headliner hadn't come unglued around 1985.  I see '74 and '75 Celicas on the road to this day.     STICK •  TWODOOR • AIR  • OOG

  3. 1980 Honda Accord   Metallic blue, four speed hatchback. The hatch squeaked and the steering was unpowered, and I really wanted an automatic but was talked out of it at the dealership to save a few bucks, so this car got on my bad side, right from the get-go.  My salesman at Bill McDavid Honda near Gulfgate was Mike Murray, the son of Pastor Jack Murray, my father's co-pastor at Augustana Lutheran Church on Wheeler Avenue. Jack's wife Miriam was a Swede from Lindsborg.     STICK • HATCHBACK • TWODOOR • AIR • FRONTWHEELDRIVE • POS

  4. 1981 Toyota Corolla Wagon  The engine made an almost imperceptible tapping sound when I bought it, and the sound got louder every day.  Within six months, it was a hammering.  "Don't buy a car used," my mother told me. "You're just buying someone else's problem."  She was right, at least in this case.       USED • AUTO • HATCHBACK • AIR • POS

  5. 1982 Datsun Maxima  My first "loaded" car, the Maxima had an automatic transmission, power windows and door locks, plush seats, and so on. If something went wrong, it told you, in an urgent female voice: "Parking brake...(pause)...is on."  "Fuel level...(pause)...is low."  "Left door...(pause)... is open." (Seven messages total.  This feature was laughed out of the market, but it actually worked quite well.)  The Maxima had a diesel engine.  I learned that when you really need one, a gas station that sells diesel can be hard to find.  Cost, maybe $12,000?  Can't really remember.  I bought this at a dealership on the south side of Westheimer just past the Galleria.       AUTO • AIR • POWERWINDOWS • DIESEL • OOG

  6. 1985 Nissan Pickup  This coppery-orange long bed compact truck was bit tinny but at a low, low $7500 new, it got the job done. The dealer was on I-45, near North Shepherd. I'm not sure about the date, but I do know it was the first year Nissan pickups said Nissan rather than  Datsun on the tailgate.       STICK • TWODOOR • AIR • STEPBUMPER • VINYL • TAILGATE

  7. 1987 Acura Integra  I bet this well-built little silver hatchback is still on the road somewhere in the Bay Area.  $13,000 something from an Acura dealer on I-10 not far from the Bear Creek Golf Course.  The driver's seat was a bit uncomfortable. Once driven at a fairly high rate of speed into the side of a hill on Highway 9 just south of Felton by yours truly.      STICK • HATCHBACK • AIR •  SUNROOF • FRONTWHEELDRIVE • WRECKED

California

  1. 1989 Toyota Supra  In-line turbocharged six; black with tan leather. Probably the fastest car on this list (it's between this one and #10). Automatic. I bought this car from Santa Cruz Toyota for $26,000 when they were still downtown on Laurel St. I had hoped Liz would be more impressed by this car than she actually was.  Sigh.      AUTO • HATCHBACK • TWODOOR • AIR • POWERWINDOWS • LEATHER • OOG

  2. 1991 Honda Accord   I should have kept this more-than-adequate black sedan; I would have saved many thousands of dollars over the next few years. Although perhaps it says something about this car that I don't remember much about it. I bought it from Stevens Creek Honda for about 15 grand, and they threw in a free tank of gas.        AUTO • AIR • RONTWHEELDRIVE • POWERWINDOWS • SUNROOF

  3. 1993 Lexus SC-300  $40,000 worth of jet black, gold-kit trimmed, tan leather driving style.  Arthur and I invented the heater game in this car*.  Sacrificed after six months to buy vehicle #11.  I wish I'd bought the automatic.  Stevens Creek Lexus.      STICK • TWODOOR • AIR • POWERWINDOWS • LEATHER • OOG

  4. 1993 Fleetwood Jamboree   I purchased this year-old Class C motor home from a nice couple in Mountain View for $40K.  The debate rages at the car history department of www.charlieanderson.com:  Is the Jamboree a car or not?  Close enough; it had tires, a motor, and a steering wheel.  (On the other hand, it had a queen-sized bed, a water heater, and a toilet.)     USED • MADEINAMERICA • AUTO • AIR • POWERWINDOWS

  5. 1991 Ford Festiva    Not Fiesta, Fes-ti-va.  A smart ass Idaho mechanic once asked me, "Where's the other half?" But this Kia-built hatchback is still on the road today,festiva.jpg (45848 bytes) unlike the rusty pickup the mechanic undoubtedly drove to work that July day in 1993. 45 MPG—try doing that with a whole car!  Towed for 20,000 miles by Vehicle #11, above.  Bought used from a Saturn dealer in Spokane, Washington in August, 1993 for $4500.  No A/C, no radio even, if you can believe that.     USED • STICK •  HATCHBACK • TWODOOR • FRONTWHEELDRIVE • VINYL • OOG

  6. 1994 BMW 318    $26,000 at Stevens Creek BMW. A very nice car, a great handling car, but jinxed. It kept getting into wrecks, even when parked.  What a great fuse box it had.     STICK • AIR • POWERWINDOWS • SUNROOF • WRECKED

  7. 1999 Honda Accord    My current ride is the pick of the Accords on this list, with leather, power everything, and a V6.  Someday I'll remember this car for the 60,000 miles I've put on it in a little over two years doing a near-daily commute to San Mateo.  $24,500 from Ocean Chevrolet-Honda at the Capitola Auto Mall.  It's a light metalic tan ("Heather Mist"), a great color for not showing dirt.  Except for a driver's seat that can get uncomfortable after an hour behind the wheel, I can't complain.     AUTO • AIR • FRONTWHEELDRIVE • MADEINAMERICA • POWERWINDOWS • LEATHER • SUNROOF • OOG

 

Notes

This list does not include wife, parent, or company cars.

Every car on this list except for #12 had air conditioning.

 * On a hot, sunny day, roll up the windows and turn the heater on full blast.  First one to say uncle loses.

KEY

POS         "Piece of Shit." Denotes an automobile with which I had a generally bad experience; a car I wish I hadn't bought

OOG         Out of Gas.  I ran out at least once in this car.

WRECKED  Major body work was required at least once.

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All Content © 1998-2002 Charles R. Anderson  •  This page was last modified on 11/13/2003