My first car was a 1967 Chevy Malibu. It came complete with its own beach in the back seat. The guy I bought it from took a quick trip to the Jersey Shore before he dropped it off. That Chevy ran like a champ after my brother-in-law the mechanic dropped a new engine in it and the now-defunct Fingers Radiator Repair Shop replaced the radiator for me. The only thing mechanically wrong with it was that the transmission slipped. And that it wasn’t a Corvette, the car of my dreams.
One high school summer my boyfriend (now husband) Mike and I got the brilliant idea to paint our cars. It was a no-brainer what color I chose for my car: Corvette Rally Red. I figured it was the closest I’d ever get to owning the car of my dreams. We fired up an old compressor/paint sprayer contraption and spray painted our cars in Mike’s parents driveway. That’s a whole ‘nother story that involves no drop cloths, drifting paint spray and so much more…
I loved my Corvette Rally Red ’67 Chevy. Until a mini-tornado ripped part of my college dorm roof off and deposited it on my shiny red car. The gravel roof left hundreds of tiny dents all over the hood of my car. And the paint? Chipped. And I couldn’t re-paint it even if I had the time and money for more paint because after we painted Mike’s truck poop brown the compressor/paint sprayer contraption crapped out.
You know how things can snowball? After the roof fiasco I noticed that the sun was fading the red paint color to a pink-ish. And did I mention my rear fender? It was pretty loose so I stuck it back on using auto body “fill,” one of my better ideas. Until. On my way back to Trenton State College I hit a pretty big pothole and the damned fender fell off. I jumped out of the car at the next traffic light (don’t worry, it was only like 50 feet up the road), ran back, grabbed the fender and tossed it into my trunk. Better the damaged fender you own than having to pay for a new used one at the junk yard.
Yeah…So…I continued to drive my pink-ish rusted, pitted Chevy. And Mike? Over the years he drove a Valiant, then the poop brown pickup, then a Chevy Nova that he sold to his sister, then a long-bed van (yeah, we tricked that baby out but good: fake fur…need I say more?), and then a Honda Civic (armrests cost extra back then). And I continued to wish for the car of my dreams.
One day years after we were married I was sitting at a traffic light in my pink, pock-marked Chevy. A car dealership was right outside my passenger side window. I saw a salesman standing in the lot, laughing. Then I realized he was laughing at me and my car. He caught my eye and shouted, “Lady, you NEED a new car!” as he motioned me into the lot.
The light turned green. I drove the rest of the way home, walked in the door and told Mike, “I’m getting a new car.”
And this is what I bought.