By Madeline Klein on March 27, 2017 in Say's Spotlight
If you missed part one, check it out! Otherwise, let's dive right into the second set of our Say employees' "my first car" stories!
The definition of cool
Vehicle: 1980 Ford Fiesta
My first car was a 1980 Ford Fiesta. It was used and provided to me by my very gas-price conscious dad. I wanted a car that was "cool" so I added louvers, mud-flaps, fog lights, a sun-roof and of course, a stereo with large mounted speakers in the back. It was the coolest Ford Fiesta in the whole mid-state area! And years later when I met my wife, it turns out her first car was also a Ford Fiesta. – Marc D.
The Little Fella
Vehicle: 2002 Ford F-150
My first car was a 2002 extended cab, tan F-150. For my senior year of high school, I had college-level classes that were across town from my high school, which meant I needed to drive. I didn't have enough money to pay for half of a car (which was always the deal my parents offered), so my parents agreed to carpool while I drove my mom's car. It wasn’t the most convenient set up for my parents, and after I wrecked my mom's car, they decided we needed another option.
My dad surprised me with a truck in the driveway, saying he found a good deal and that it was HIS truck, but I could use it. I absolutely loved driving a truck, but panicked when I realized how narrow the spots were at school. My boyfriend at the time also drove an F-150 and our spots were assigned right next to each other. Luckily, the other boy who parked next to me drove a small hatchback and parked as far over as he could in order to give me extra room. (Thanks Peter!)
The truck was supposed to be my dad's "back up", but seeing me drive it made him miss driving a truck. He ended up trading in his CR-V for a newer, bigger F-150, which led to naming our trucks the "Big Fella" and the "Little Fella." The Little Fella officially became mine when I went off to college, and while I never paid half of the price, my parents allowed my perfect grades to make up the cost difference. The Little Fella got me through college and into my first big girl job, making it very tough to say goodbye when the time came to trade him in. –Amanda B.
Vehicle: 1973 Chevy Pickup
My first car was an orange and white 1973 Chevy pickup truck that my grandpa found stored in a barn. It had been in the barn for several years with anything of value stripped from it. We got it working and replaced any necessary parts. Since it was a "three-on-the-tree" transmission, it was a stick shift, but the shifter was on the steering wheel column like an automatic gearshift lever, not on the floor. After a couple years, the gearshift linkage in the steering column locked up. A replacement steering column cost more than the truck was worth, so my friend's dad cut a hole in the floor, and put a floor-mounted gearshift lever straight into the top of the transmission. Because of that retrofit, the shifting pattern was backwards, which meant I was the only one who could drive my truck after that. I only had the truck for about four years, but it was a great truck with many great memories associated. – David V.
The Fixer-Upper II
Vehicle: 1967 Volkswagen Bug
My first car was a beat-up 1967 Volkswagen Bug that I bought for $500. Although it ran great, it was a rough looking car with little blue paint left on it and significant body damage to multiple fenders. The inside was a wreck. Even though it was an ugly looking car, almost everything could be quickly and cheaply repaired, keeping it on the road, which was important to me as a broke college student.
While I was driving back from Kansas City to Warrensburg one night, the accelerator cable broke. This cable ran from the gas pedal, under the seats and through the firewall to the engine in the rear. My quick, cheap fix was to punch a new hole in the firewall and then run the, now shorter, cable back over the top of the seats and anchor it to the steering wheel. To accelerate, all I had to do was push up on the cable with my hand. Other than learning quickly that excessive turning of the steering wheel would also cause quick acceleration, the old Bug ran well enough to drive the 50 or so miles back to college. – Rockne C.
The one full of life lessons
Vehicle: 1997 Toyota Camry
My first car was a green 1997 Toyota Camry. It had four doors, a sunroof and a cd player. What more could a new teenage driver really want in a car? To get the car, my dad said I had to come up with half of the $500 selling price. So, I scrounged up my babysitting money and got myself a brand new, used car. I was so proud of myself for financially assisting the purchase of my car, whereas most of my friends were given theirs.
My dad made sure the first lessons I learned from this car was to make sure I knew how to change a tire and my oil, just in case. It wasn't a brand new car, but I treated it like it was. Every week I would clean it out, vacuum and wash it. (Of course, being a teenager, that only last so long.) I had it for a little over a year before it started having some issues. So I traded her in and got my brothers used Toyota Avalon. If I could give any advice, it would be to appreciate the vehicle you get and make sure to take care of it. Because a working car that's not so pretty, but gets you to and from, is better than no car at all. – Eliza M.
The Mean Green Machine
Vehicle: 1999 Chrysler Concorde
My first car was a 1999 Chrysler Concorde. A family member upgraded from the Chrysler, so I got a pretty good deal. I was 16 years old and thought "let the adventures begin!" However, a few months later, I fell asleep at the wheel and got into a wreck with a semi. The semi tried to avoid "The Mean Green Machine" by veering towards the ditch. I guess one might say what happened next was destiny. The semi's cab ended up colliding with and driving over the driver's side of my car. I spent the entire summer on bed rest. The Mean Green Machine went to the land of open roads—where the gas is free, there's never a line for service and no semis are allowed. –Derek M.