my first car


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Not My Oldsmobile
This is an '88 Oldsmobile Calais International. A real picture of my real car is coming soon.

Vital Stats:

  • 1987 Olsmobile Calais Sedan
  • Purchased June 1994 by my parents
  • Donated to charity June 2002 by my parents

This was my first car. My parents bought it for me at the end of my junior year in high school, in order to alleviate the problems of taking me from place to place. I fondly remember the sense of freedom that car gave me. I used it (a LOT) throughout high school, but I didn't bring it with me to college. When I came home after graduating, the plucky Olds got me to work and back until I got my new car. Since it technically belonged to my parents, I left it behind when I moved out of my parents' house.

Ahh, the undoubtedly have the image of your first car etched into your brain. I remember the utter caution with which I first drove it, afraid to break anything. The paranoia faded pretty quickly - it was eight years old, fer chrissakes - and I became the typical teenage driver. I once made the trip from deep inside Damascus to Shady Grove in just under 11 minutes. I also remember cutting off a middle-aged (but quite fiesty) woman while giving my friends a ride home. Something about trying not to miss a turn, and not quite taking the time to look where I was going. Then there was the time I slid in the rain and rear-ended a Hispanic fellow at low speed (traffic jam) on the I-270 spur. That little incident led to a frivolous lawsuit that was eventually settled a year later. Of course, that reminds me of the time I first learned that the car slid easily in the rain, or that it loved to romp through freshly fallen snow. It's a wonder that the car didn't fall apart under my abuse...but I did love it enough to wash it whenever I had a chance, and occasionally treat it to some premium unleaded. Yeah, that was pretty useless, but I felt proud for spending a few extra bucks on my ride.

In a true display of my dorkiness, I once hung an old SIMM (probably under 1MB) from the rearview mirror. A good friend of mine handed it to me after doing some work after hours in the computer lab, and I guess it struck me as a suitable alternative to fuzzy dice. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately), I got sick of seeing the damn thing swing into my field of view every time I made a right turn, so the SIMM ended up on my desk after about a month. I still have that SIMM somewhere on my wasteland of a home office desk. Man, I wish I'd had a digital camera back then.

After graduating from college, the little Olds came in very handy for going back to visit my then-girlfriend. As a matter of fact, I drove it up to propose to her (on 5/19/00! Don't say I never remember anything). As much as I liked cruising in the new car, I felt the older one was more appropriate and had closer ties to our relationship. I didn't know it then, but that was the last long-distance trip it ever took.

During the spring of 2002, the engine started to suffer from serious backfire and lack of power. The engine eventually would stall, regardless of how it was driven. After doing some research on the web, I came to the conclusion that the timing gears were starting to strip, and that they would have to be replaced. Unfortunately this would have meant removing the engine from the car, or paying a shop $600 to do it. Sadly, my parents decided just to donate the car. :( Once it's fixed, I'm sure the new owner will get years of use out of it - the rest of the car was in fantastic shape, with shiny paint and no rust after 15 years of hard use. I miss it dearly.