For today’s writing exercise I need to describe one of my firsts. It shall be my first… car.
I was traveling with the recruiting team with my college on summer vacation 1997 and came home to one of the best surprises my dad had ever planned for me — a car! It was an ’87 Toyota Celica ST, and had a manual 5-speed transmission.
A little back story is needed before I finish up telling you about the Toyota. Two years before that I was driving to a girl’s house to take her out for lunch and was using my dad’s 87 burgundy Mercury Cougar with a 5.0. I think I was messing with the radio, and was lost at the same time, and ran through a red light slamming right into the broadside of a brand new Mercedes. Fortunately no one was hurt… except for Dad’s car.
It was totaled but my dad knew a guy from church that could straighten the frame. My Dad loved that car and to this day I’ve felt bad because it never rode the same again. I’d saved up $700 for a car by working at Red Lobster making biscuits and baked potatoes, which then naturally went to help Dad fix his car to the tune of around $1,500. I give you the backstory because Dad bought my first car two years later. Technically, I still owed him $800 but he chose to buy the car for me anyway.
It was silver with grey interior and really fast for four cylinder. It had a decent stereo with only a cassette player, but I’m old school and it worked out just fine. The only problem with the car was that it had been in a minor front passenger side collision and it needed some paint work, a new fender, and one of those flip up headlights. We were pretty proud of ourselves after we got done with the repairs because it looked about as nice as the rest of the car did. You would have never known it had been in a wreck unless you looked real close.
A couple weeks after that I drove back to college in Springfield Missouri. I’d been there for about a month or so when a teal Chevy Berreta pulled out in front of me on the corner of National and Bailey. I slammed on the brakes and unwittingly hit the other car with the same exact spot that I’d just repaired. It was like I’d hit Ctrl Z on the damage because it looked exactly the same as it did before my dad and I repaired it.
The wreck was clearly the other person’s fault and luckily the gentleman in the conversion van behind me had an old Motorola bag phone that he used to call the cops with her license plate numbers. No one stuck around, including the Beretta, and I waited there for about 30 minutes before the cops showed up. The teal Beretta pulled up about two minutes before the cops got there because she’d home home to grab her license she’d forgotten at home.
I had to go to her insurance company to have the damage assessed where they told me they could total the car out and give me a check for $2,600, or I could keep the car and they would give me $2,000. It was a no-brainer to take the money and keep the car being that it was still completely drivable. I used some of the money to fix the car again and the rest on an engagement ring for my now wife. We will be married 19 years in two weeks.
I’d love to hear about your first car in the comments below!