I’ve gone through a lot of vehicles at this point, so I thought I would start compiling information about them so I can look back and recall all of the beautiful relationships I have enjoyed. I will post more old stories about these cars and bikes as time allows I get distracted from real work.
Almost every vehicle on this list cost less than $2000, and only two have cost more than $4000. The most vehicles I have ever owned at one time was four – I usually sell the ones I have to pay for the others.
1991 Honda CRX Si (2002-03) – Purchased when Hondas were all the rage, this lightweight hatch sported a great, revvy single cam 1.6L, robust five speed transmission, and a whole lot of rust. It was my first love and I insisted on driving it to high school dances and dates despite its lack of sex appeal. To this day, one of my most memorable motoring experiences was jumping into the car after school on a beautiful spring Friday and blasting it around a route 83 on-ramp to the sounds of Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” Unfortunately, the car was just too old and tired to drive to CA, so we sold it when we moved in 2003.
1965 Toyota Corona (2002-03) – I found this bright orange sedan in the quiet suburb of Naperville, IL. I pulled over to look at it because Ithought it was a 510. It wasn’t, but old cars in this condition were rare in the Midwest, so I bought it from the guy for the killer price of $150. Not only did I drive it home, but I putted it around the neighborhood a few times too before selling it to my neighbor for $650. I later heard that he turned it around for $1650.
2002 Subaru WRX (2003-2008) – My first foray into force induction, I was looking for a 2nd generation Miata when I found this amazing AWD turbo sedan. My family showed up to a Mazda-Subaru dealership, and my dad (who was aghast at the prospect of me buying a “chick” car) suggested that I get a “nice four door Subaru.” Needless to say, one test drive later and I was hooked on the powerful 227 hp turbocharged engine and the sticks-like-its-glued-down AWD system. It sat five people fairly comfortably, went like hell, and could be drifted on tarmac or dirt like a proper rally car. I gave this car to my sister in 2005, and we sold it a few years later. She learned to drive stick on it and loved it every bit as much as I did.
1974 (late) Datsun 260Z “Zeta” (2004-2007) – Having retired from combat robotics competition in 2004, I began to look for a new project to satisfy my lust for all things mechanical. Enter the 1970-1978 Datsun Z-car, a Japanese legend and one of the most beautiful cars of all time. I bought it (non-running) for a few hundred dollars, and I had plans to swap in a LT1 Chevy V8 engine. Really I just proceeded to throw time and money at it for about two years before giving up and selling it for pennies on the sunken dollar. This failed swap project was my biggest regret in life until I redeemed myself in 2009.
1978 Yamaha XS500 (2005) – I wanted a motorcycle, I had no money. This cheap and obscure Yamaha parallel twin seemed to fit the bill exactly, until I realized that nobody had any parts for it and that it would be costly to get it running properly. I limped it from Concord to Berkeley when I bought it, and it never ran afterwards. Sold at no loss: no harm, no foul. I suppose it was my first bike, but it was my first bike the same way that awkwardly timid pressing of lips during a game of “spin the bottle” at a junior high party is a first kiss.
1997 Suzuki Bandit 600 “Tornado”
Honda CBR600F4i “Strawberry”
1973 Chevrolet Impala “The Gorilla” (donor)
2001 Suzuki SV650
1989 Honda CBR600 Hurricane
1974 Datsun 260Z (donor)
1978 Datsun 280Z
1989 Ford Mustang GT (donor)
2004 Mini Cooper S
1994 Yamaha FZR600 (donor)