Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Standard Situation

My first car and the car I learned to drive with was the '67 Mustang. It was an automatic. After the wreck we were facing money issues, I had not completed paying for the Mustang, yet was faced with having to spend a lot more money for a reliable replacement car.

We quickly found that our price range was restricting us to cars that were standards... It can't be too hard to drive a standard right?

My father found a listing for a '84 Nissan 200sx and we quickly went to see it. The people selling it bought it as a family car and their horrible little brat was running all over it, driving them nuts. It was a reclamation car, it had been in a horrible accident, pretty much destroying the driver side front of the car. It had been repaired pretty well in hindsight, though I always worried about the structural integrity of that repair. The price was a little out of my range but I was car-less and needed to get around. Though I couldn't even drive it home, we bought it.

I quickly found out that my father had little patience for teaching me to drive a standard. I don't really blame him, I was horrible at first. My brother took over the driving lesions, though not any more patient, he did have perseverance. I finally passed his tests. I was horrible at first, but over time, it became like second nature.

My brother had bought rims for the Mustang, complete with spinners, though the spinners were quickly removed as they were just funky. He paid a fortune for them, but miraculously enough, they fit just perfectly on the Nissan's 4-lugs. (yes, that means the Mustang was an in line-6, not a V-8. Obscure Mustang knowledge.)

Also added were some custom fabricated Stainless Steel mudflaps, and a nameplate for the front. I still have the nameplate stashed in my memories box.

That car was the last year they made it in a rear wheel drive. It was just short of a sports car, quite zippy and had a wonderful top speed (I took it to 120mph but I won't say where and when, and it had a little room to go faster but I wouldn't) That car took me through several important years, I had many fun times in that car. Right before I graduated College, I began to have problems with it and it became unreliable.

I remember having the clutch replaced once, and when we sold it the clutch needed replacement again so I guess maybe I wasn't that great of a standard driver. We rolled the car into the used car lot with a cracked head and a slipping clutch and traded it in for a Green S-10 Pickup truck, again a standard. I will discuss the trunk situation in a later post.

The dealer was disappointed with the cracked head but had made the price offer a day or two earlier when the head wasn't cracked. He admitted that his plans were to scrap the engine and transmission so it wasn't that big of a deal to him. Honest Used Car Dealers seems to be so anti-cliche, but in this case I believe it was true.

The standard situation. I had tried teaching my now wife to drive a standard and she never really picked up how to drive it, I guess I suffer the same lack of patience the rest of the men in my family suffer. I hope to teach he on the Spitfire once it is rolling on the road so that she too will hopefully catch the Spitfure bug.

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