For last week’s Throw Back Thursday (#tbt) post, I shared a picture of my first car. Here she is, in all her glory.
To my utter amazement, one person commented, “that car is AWESOME!”
I can only assume she was being sarcastic, because my first car was anything but awesome, whitewall tires notwithstanding. Hell, I was being sarcastic when I called it “a real babe magnet” on Facebook. The only things it attracted were:
- Ridicule from my friends and classmates
- Hefty repair bills from the local auto mechanic
Maybe in an alternate universe where crappy cars painted bright yellow are coveted, it would have been considered awesome. But this was Planet Earth, circa 1986. And my six-year-old Chevy was hardly a hot rod. It struggled to reach 55 mph on the freeway, and sometimes would inexplicably begin losing speed, even with the gas pedal pushed all the way to the floor. I’d be going 40 in the slow lane, and have angry old ladies flipping me the bird as they zoomed past in their Volvos. Oh, and the gas gauge needle was broken. It would “float” somewhere between empty and full, usually coming to rest in the middle. I had to keep careful track of my mileage, and despite this, I did run out of gas one time. My future sister-in-law dubbed it “generic” because of the color scheme, the same applied to generic foods in the grocery store. I countered by telling people “I drive a ‘Vette,” an admittedly misleading statement since this was a CHEvette and not a CORvette. It’s amazing what a difference two little letters can make.
The ironic thing is, this was the car I wanted. Before moving to California in the summer of 1986, I’d lived in South Dakota, where a friend of mine drove a Chevette, too. I thought his was a decent little car, and it was certainly affordable. Besides, what’s more American than baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and Chevrolet? So when we moved to San Jose and I was ready for my first automobile purchase, I sought out a Chevette. And found this little beauty, priced to sell. I was thrilled at first. There’s an undeniable bond between a boy and his first car. But I soon grew to despise the color, and ended up having it painted candy apple red and tinted the windows. I kid you not. This was a very trendy color in 1987. Unfortunately, a new coat of paint and darkened glass did nothing to improve the car’s performance. It lasted about two years before I traded up to a Honda Civic.
So now I’m left wondering. Was Michelle being serious when she called my car “awesome?” Could it be that, nearly 30 years later, nostalgia for the past has grown to the point where a Chevette is seen as a desirable vehicle to own?
Have I become cool three decades after the fact?!
Better late than never, I suppose.
What was your first car? Did it make you cool?