Today will begin a series on cars. Big cars, small cars, old cars, new cars. Cars of all colors and creeds. Cars that got me from A to B all of the time…and cars that only did it some of the time.
I’ve been driving since I was sixteen years old. I’m forty-four now (my birthday isn’t until April, but tant pis, we’re close enough), so this list is going to be long. With that in mind, I’ve decided to break it down into manageable chunks, like a true Six Sigma Black Belt.
At sixteen I got things started right away with the Dodge Aspen, a 70s something, pine green 6-banger that I will refrain from saying bad things about, because this car was never bad to me (at least not on purpose). I learned how to change alternators with the
Aspen, a skill that would
come in handy with a car coming later on this list. I also learned how to close a door made by
Dodge. Lift and pull! Is it still like this? Maybe one of you Viper owners can tell me.
This car excited me, mainly because it was my first. It had an unkillable slant-six motor, rusty holes all over the body, and a front grill that looked like it had been punched through by Ivan Drago.
When the brake line broke after a year behind the wheel, I sold it to an old couple who liked it even more than me. I told them everything in the car worked perfectly and sent them on their merry way down route 2 towards
Cleveland. They have not been seen since and I have kept
my nose away from all traffic reports coming from the Plain Dealer.
(just kidding; it took the husband about five minutes to snap a new brake line in place and THEN they drove off).
The Dodge Aspen/Station-Wagon/slant 6-cylinder engine/automatic transmission: An ugly but tough 6.5 out of 10
p.s. I replaced that front grill with one I found at a junk yard; the
absolutely deserved it
Car number two:
The Buick Century 350
We took one of these to Richfield Coliseum to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls. Michael Jordan and the
Bulls. Yes. On a night when Mark Price, Brad Daugherty,
Hot Rod Williams, and the rest of the Cavs beat the Bulls, my Century 350 was
in the parking lot. That’s really all
you should need.
Turns out it was just too awesome for its own good. One night on the way to
, the engine burst into flames. We pulled over and tried to figure out what
to do, but the fire kept getting worse, until at last the car exploded into a
glorious ball of unleaded gasoline that lit up northern Ohio for miles. The culprit turned out to be an oil leak—one
I had known about but, being a teenager who worked at a grocery store, did not
have the money to repair. Fremont, Ohio
This car worked hard, played hard, and died like a man. I need to go get a beer now. Rust in piece, my friend.
The 1974 Buick Century/2-door/350.2/automatic transmission: A totally badass 8 out of 10
Check back soon for cars three and four on this list. We’ve got parking calamities and bondo featuring Andy Capp. Oh and more pictures, so it should be fun.
Tag Cavello is a novelist and short story writer.
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