The first vehicle I drove regularly was a real classic… it wasn’t technically mine, but I drove it to work at Kentucky Power during college and to the Bluegrass Restaurant in Ashland, KY, where everyone went to cruise on the weekends.
It was a dark blue 1962 Rambler American, two door, with a flathead six cylinder engine. Zero to 60 in 3 days.
And everyone said, “Oooooooo….”… Y’all are just jealous.
- The first car I actually bought was a 1972 Chevrolet Camaro, red, with black interior. It had the 250 cubic inch six cylinder with a three speed transmission on the floor. I wrecked it once, and had it repainted in maroon. I had Torq Thrust wheels, and I painted the spokes maroon to match the car. It was definitely a fine ride.
- In late 1978 while I was still in college, I traded the Camaro in on a brand new 1978 Toyota Corolla Deluxe, which was banana yellow and had a 1600 cubic centimeter four cylinder engine and a five speed transmission. I was spending enough on keeping the Camaro running each month that I could afford a car payment. I think it cost me something like $78.00 per month. Ah, to have a new car for that payment nowadays.
- I graduated from Morehead State University in 1979, and after visiting the Pied Piper in Huntington, WV, to purchase a brand new JVC stereo system, I decided I needed something “cooler” to drive. So I traded in the Corolla on a beautiful silver 1979 Toyota Celica GT Liftback, with crank sunroof and factory alloy wheels. The other cars I was considering were a 1979 MGB, black, with five speed overdrive transmission, a 1979 Camaro Z28 (beige with red interior), and a ’79 Mustang (TRX edition). In retrospect, I’m glad I got the Celica.
- Not too long before we got married, I bought a 1981 Suzuki GS450T motorcycle. It was black with gold pin striping. I had a cafe fairing mounted on it, along with lower rising handlebars. I had a black helmet which I put gold pin striping on to match the bike.
- Also, sometime before I got married, I bought a 1964 Chevrolet Impala coupe. It was blue-green, with a bench seat, a 283 V8 engine, and a four speed floor shift. Someone had converted it from a three speed column shift at some point in its life. I painted the entire car in primer, and sold it to some guys when we moved to New Orleans.
- I married my beautiful wife in 1981, and she brought along her 1973 Ford Maverick into the marriage. We sold it sometime after that.
- We decided to sell the Celica and get something cheaper. So we bought a new 1981 Toyota Corolla, which was also banana yellow. It had a 1600 cc. engine and four speed transmission.
- Next, we traded the Corolla in and bought a new 1982 Ford Escort EXP. It was a burnt orange, with an automatic transmission, and had the Michelin TRX wheels and tires on it. It seems to me like we traded it because my wife didn’t know how to drive a stick shift.
- Later in 1982, we moved to New Orleans, Louisiana. Unfortuantely, the EXP didn’t have air conditioning. After baking a while, we traded the EXP in on a 1982 Toyota Corolla SR-5 Coupe, a very rare car. It was silver, with after-market aluminum alloy wheels, and was a 5 speed. The wife had learned how to drive a stick on the flat land that New Orleans offers, as opposed to the hills of eastern Kentucky. This was probably my favorite car of all the Toyotas I’ve had. I put a Monza free-flow exhaust on it, and a Formuling France leather steering wheel.
- After nearly becoming a motorcycle sandwich between two eighteen wheelers in New Orleans, I traded the Suzuki motorcycle in on a 1982 Toyota SR-5 Truck, brown with gold stripes. I painted the silver steel wheels gold to match, and it was a nice looking truck.
- In 1983, we moved to Denver, Colorado. It was so expensive to live there that we had to sell the 1982 Toyota Corolla SR-5 Coupe to a car dealer. Bummer. A high point of the time there was the birth of our first child.
- Late in 1983, we moved back to New Orleans, and actually didn’t buy a new car during the time we were there. The Toyota truck served quite well for the three of us, albeit a little crowded in there with the car seat.
- Late in 1984, we moved to northen Kentucky, settling in Independence, and in 1985, we found out we were going to have a second child. There was no way that four of us could fit into the Toyota truck, so we traded it in on a new 1985 Subaru GL10 four door sedan, which was red.
- In 1987, we moved to Richmond, Virginia, and unfortunately, the Subaru was totaled in a traffic accident. Thankfully, there were no major injuries. So, needing a car, we bought a used 1983 Volkswagen GTI Rabbit, black, with red interior. This was an awesome car, and so much fun to just drive around anywhere.
- After three months in Richmond, we moved back to northern Kentucky, and started having problems with the GTI. It turns out it had been wrecked and not repaired properly, so we traded it in on a used 1987 Subaru GL10 Turbo sedan, dark blue, with a five speed transmission. This thing was ugly as a brick, but also was pretty fun to drive around.
- In 1991, for some reason, we traded the Subaru in on a new 1991 Volkswagen Jetta GL, sand-colored, with a five speed transmission.
- In 1992, we found out we were going to have child #3, after a seven year span. There was no way that five were going to fit in the Jetta, especially with a baby in a car seat, so we traded the Jetta in on a used 1990 Ford Aerostar van, which was unusual in that it was a five speed manual edition, still with seven passenger seating.
- In 1997, we traded the Aerostar in on a new 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, which was dark brown. This proved to be a mistake, as the transmission gave up on the Caravan at about 55K miles.
- In 2001, when the lease was up on the ’97 Caravan, we turned it back in to the leasing company. After being assured the transmission issues with Caravans had been resolved, we leased a 2001 Dodge Caravan SE. This also proved to be a mistake, as the ’01 Caravan’s transmission puked at just about the same mileage as the ’97 Caravan’s did.
- When the lease was getting close to running out on the ’01 Caravan, we traded it in on a used 2003 Toyota Matrix XRS, which has the Celica engine and six speed transmission.
- Last year, we traded the Matrix in on a used 2007 Toyota Sienna van. We found ourselves doing a LOT of traveling, and really needed something bigger than the Matrix. I will miss driving that thing, though, as it was one of the most fun vehicles I’ve owned in recent times.
- 2012 Ford Fusion, purchased late 2013. The Sienna was traded in on it. We just needed something to get better gas mileage since we were down to only 3 in the house, and we were still driving a lot. The Fusion gets an average of high 20s mpg all the time, where the van was doing good to get 20. The Fusion has a 4 cylinder engine, and is nicely equipped. UPDATE:
I traded off the Fusion last night (9/7/17).
- 2015 Subaru Outback, Fusion was traded for it. It’s pretty loaded. We like it because it’s AWD, and it’s a wagon, so we can haul things.
- 2017 Subaru Outback, 2015 was traded for it because it had a lot of miles, and we wanted something more affordable to maintain.
I also had numerous second and third vehicles throughout my time driving. The dates and times on some of these are rather fuzzy, so these are no particular order.
- Two Yamaha RD350 motorcycles, unremembered vintage.
- 1979 Mercury Bobcat, 2.3 liter 4 cylinder engine, 5 speed transmission.
- 1974 Toyota Corolla, white, with 1.2 liter 4 cylinder engine, 4 speed transmission. This was bought in 1987 while we were in Richmond, Virginia. I drove it back to northern Kentucky when we moved back, and burnt a valve (I think) along the way. It was eventually donated to Goodwill.
- 1977 Toyota Corolla, blue, with 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed transmission.
- 1969 Chevrolet Impala sedan, turquoise with black vinyl top, 350 ci. engine and automatic transmission. This was my grandparents’ last new car. I sold it later when needing some cash.
- 1979 Toyota Corolla, silver, with 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed transmission. I bought this used to drive to Toyota Motor Manufacturing in November of 1993. I later sold this car to good friend Paul Hughes for his daughter to drive.
- 1979 Toyota Corolla, mustard yellow, with 1.2 liter engine and 4 speed transmission. I bought this car for $50 from a friend at church, and sold it to a coworker, while I was working at the East Bend Power Plant near Lawrenceburg, Indiana.
- 1991 Ford Escort, black, with 2.3 liter four cylinder engine and five speed transmission. I bought used Escort GT wheels to put on it, added some pinstriping and some killer driving lights, and had a pretty nice looking car. I sold it to a young man in Latonia when I didn’t need it any longer.
- 1974 Toyota Truck, multi-colored (you’d have to see it to know what I mean), 2.2 liter four cylinder engine and automatic transmission.
- 1992 Volkswagen Jetta GL, turquoise, with 2 liter engine and 5 speed transmission. This also had honeycomb VW GLI alloy wheels on it. This replaced the 1979 (silver) Toyota Corolla.
- 1993 Toyota Truck, dark blue, with 2.4 liter engine and 5 speed transmission. I bought this in 1996, and it is the vehicle that I owned the longest of any. I sold it in April, 2007 to a Mexican man who wanted to use it for a lawn service. At the time I sold it, it had 243,000 miles on it, and as far as I know, is still going strong.
- 1988 Chrysler New Yorker, given to us for our older daughter from a friend at church. The daughter was rear-ended by another youth from the church, and the car was totaled.
- 1988 Honda Accord Coupe, green, with 2.4 liter engine and 5 speed transmission. When we purchased this car from long-time friend Walt, I believe it had 318,000 miles on it. My older daughter drove it for a while, then I sold it to a co-worker. I believe it had 342,000 miles on it when I sold it.
- 1992 Honda Accord Sedan, grey, with 2.4 liter engine and automatic transmission. This car was also purchased from long-time friend, Walt. Walt had bought it for his in-laws, and they gave it back.
- 1995 Honda Accord Sedan, maroon, with 2.4 liter four cylinder engine and five speed transmission. This was my commuter vehicle, but was sold in 2008 so that I could buy an automatic tranny car for my wife.
- 1966 Chevrolet Suburban, grey primer, with a 292 cubic inch inline 6 and 3 speed manual transmission on the floor. I bought this in May, 2007, as a father/sons project, but had to sell it in October, 2007, because of lack of funds.
- 1991 Honda Accord EX Wagon, green, with beige interior. We bought this from a Presbyterian minister in Lexington, with only 117K miles on it. It was for my wife to drive (she had some knee problems and couldn’t drive a stick any longer, so I got the Matrix for a while). When we traded off the Matrix for the Sienna, I got this car for commuting, and she got the Sienna. We sold this car in May, 2011 to a nice couple from Dayton for the wife to drive.
- 1989 Nissan 240SX, silver, 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed transmission. My wife named this my “mid-life crisis”, and I guess it is. You can see more about this car here. It was sold in January, 2012, to be able to pay some bills. The 1992 Toyota below was purchased then.
- 1992 Toyota Truck, multi-color, 2.4 liter 4 cylinder engine and 5 speed transmission. Affectionately called “the junkyard dog”. Read more about it here. It hung around for about a month, then was sold in Feb., 2012, to someone who’s supposedly going to make a show truck out of it.
- 1981 Volvo 242 DL, maroon, 4 cylinder automatic. The “Swedish Chef” joined the fold 2/16/2012, and was purchased from an art professor from UofK. I got it for a good price, but there’s some sort of electrical issue going on where the battery isn’t being charged. Diagnostic testing is ongoing. The interior is roached, but the body has no rust. I sold this one to a kid from Charlotte, NC, who is going to fix it up and race it.
- 1993 Honda Accord Coupe, charcoal, with grey interior. This used to be a pretty nice car, but was pretty roached by the time I got it. It seemed like it was going to have transmission problems, so I sold it after about 5 weeks.
- 1989 Volvo 740 Turbo Wagon, white with dk. red leather interior, 5 speed. I bought this one on 9/4/12 from a guy in Burlington, KY. It is well used, but still in pretty decent shape. It made the trip back to Lexington with no problems… but the oil pump let go after a little over a week and puked the engine.
- 1993 Mazda Protege, this was bought from some good friends, driven for a bit, then sold.
- 1992 Honda Prelude, bought from a guy in the military. It was great fun to drive, even with the issues it had, but it was really difficult to get in and out of, so I sold it a couple of weeks after I got it.
- 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback Wagon, purchased 8/31/13 from the proceeds from the Prelude. It’s two tone green (top) and gray (bottom), and needs a muffler or something in the exhaust, as do all my 2nd vehicles. If we had invested in muffler manufacturing when we got married, we would be rich now just from the mufflers WE’VE bought. Hopefully this one will last a while. It’s 5 speed, full-time all wheel drive, and everything seems to work on it. UPDATE: What happened to the Subaru? In December, 2013, a little old lady decided to have her very first traffic accident in 70+ years of driving… with me. I was not pleased at this choice. The poor Subaru was totaled as a result.
- 1990 Ford Ranger, purchased on 2/6/14 from a guy in S. Lebanon, Ohio. It’s maroon over silver, with purple paint sprayed over the maroon on the bed only. Yep, another winner. It does have a new clutch, tie rod ends, tires, and a few other things. It may not look great, but it drives pretty well. UPDATE: sold the Ranger shortly after purchase. It got absolutely horrible gas mileage for a 4 cylinder 5 speed.
- 1998 Ford Contour SVT, I bought this “beauty” from someone in Lebanon, Ohio. After putting new struts/springs/wheels/tires on it, it has turned out to be a pretty good driving car for the last couple of years. It is fun, and handles very well. It has a custom intake on it, combined with straight-through mufflers, and will really snarl when pressed. Body has 246K miles on it, and engine has about 140K miles. It looks like this one will be around until it dies, which we hope is a long way in the future. UPDATE: It got a flat tire, and sat for a while. When I tried to start it (and jump it), the battery was dead. Seems like the alternator is dead too. It’s just not worth putting any more money into. SO….. (UPDATE: sold to my friend Lonnie in 2019, who fixed it, and flipped it for profit. I still miss that car.)
- 2009 Ford Mustang, V6, 5 speed, with about 58K miles. It’s black with black interior. I was able to get some GT wheels for it from a guy in Louisville. It’s a blast to drive around, and travels nicely. I just put a Pypes muffler on it to give it a little snarl. I sometimes call it “Darth Stang”. Well, it seemed funny at the time. I recently added Ford Motorsport lowering springs (1.5″) and new KYB GasAdjust shocks. I also purchased a cold air intake and will install that shortly.
So, if you are doing the math, that’s 52 vehicles I have owned since 1975.