Hoop-Dee Cars Make Us Stronger. Also Funnier.

Definition courtesy of
Definition courtesy of

Once upon a time, I drove a sparkly VW convertible, Aquarius blue with a gray soft top and interior. By sheer nepotism luck, I’d scored a well-paying job in Big Pharma right after I graduated college, and in May 2005, I bought her.


Named for her annoying ‘alert’ sound, Nudge had a habit of wailing the instant you sat down without your seatbelt, left the door open, or felt too smug for your own good.

She sure was cute, though. AND THE CAR WASN’T HALF BAD EITHER!

Now don’t misunderstand me: I hate to drive. No interest in cars. If I won the Mega Millions, the first thing I’d do is hire a chauffeur. But Nudge, well, she was special. A sign of independence, financial and otherwise.

Before Nudge, I had a series of hoop-dee cars. I never minded; I was grateful for my parents’ hand-me-downs, already used when they bought them, barely worth $1,000 combined by the time they were in my possession. I couldn’t stand the idea of high school kids getting brand new cars for their 16th birthdays. How would they ever learn the value of a dollar, or the thrill of gluing ‘NSync bobbleheads to the dash of their 1987 Chrysler Le Baron (“Toaster”) without consequence?

How did I have any friends?

When Peppermeister (Current Husband) and I decided to buy a house in 2010, I sold Nudge and paid cash for a used 2006 Hyundai Sonata with a buttload of miles on it. Aside from being in my price range, it handled well, had great pick-up, 4 doors, and most importantly, unlike Nudge, excellent visibility. At 28 years old, it was my grown-up car.

A while back, I asked you clever Chipmunks to vote on a name. The winner was a write-in for “Dash” (thanks, Girl on the Contrary!). The name was based on my car’s impressive engine, and also short for Kardashian (she had a lot of junk in the trunk at the time).

So it stunk like smoke for the first four months. It has a sunroof! That's almost as fun as a VW convertible... Right?
So it stunk like smoke for the first four months. It has a sunroof! That’s almost as fun as a brand new VW convertible that smells like hope and roses… Right?

Two weeks ago, I met up with a few lovely blogger friends for brunch: Rache from Rachel’s Table, Misty from Misty’s Laws, and Julie Maida from MaidaSomeArt. Julie had driven to Rache’s house in Delaware from Virginia, and Dash and I had come from New Jersey.

We traded war stories.

“So my heat knob’s not working now,” I began, as we I poured champagne and put Rache to work making delicious frittatas. “It used to work on the 1 and 4 levels, but now nothing. Which means I can’t use the defrost. Luckily, it was sleeting the whole drive here, so that was fun. I need warmer gloves,” I finished with the casual laugh of someone who knows all too well what it means to drive a car with the roof lining dangling on your head, loosely kept in place with multi-colored thumbtacks.

Julie Maida and her custom Rachel's Table champagne glass. You're welcome for my amazing photography.
Julie Maida and her custom Rachel’s Table champagne glass.

Julie replied, “Did you have a bottle of water, at least?”

I looked at her quizzically. She explained, “To thaw the ice. I took my husband’s car, and the windshield wiper fluid doesn’t work. And you know it was misting just enough where the wipers only smudge up the windshield. Luckily, I had a bottle of water in the car, so I tossed that on the windshield when I stopped to pay the tolls – which is also when I had to open the car door because the window won’t roll down.”

It reminded me of one of my all-time favorite hoop-dee stories. Peppermeister drove a real winner when we started dating in 2003: A 1987 Chevy Blazer. There was an issue with the lock, but he was able to open the doors with… a dime. A dime in the keyhole. A dime he kept hidden in the rust hole at the bottom of the driver’s side door.

Let me repeat that.

He opened his car using a dime that he stored in the rust hole of the car door.

What’s your favorite hoop-dee car story? I really can’t wait to hear.

74 thoughts on “Hoop-Dee Cars Make Us Stronger. Also Funnier.”

  1. I used to drive a Ford Taurus wagon with limited cargo space because of the two jugs of anti-freeze we carried at all times. It had a mysterious leak that no one could fix. To this day, the smell of Prestone on a hot engine brings me back…

    1. Ha! You know you have a hoop-dee when trading cargo space seems like a small price to pay. Peppermeister managed to get the heat knob working again on levels 1 and 4, but it requires the finesse of a harpist slash surgeon.

  2. My parents refused to buy me a car so that I would have to learn the value of hard work. Stupid, right? Luckily they let me borrow their cars. They had an old Toyota Camry that really wasn’t all that bad- except for the car alarm situation. If you honked the horn on this bad boy, the car alarm would go off. I didn’t honk the horn often, but I did once after getting cut off. The alarm (which was VERY loud inside the car) went off and little did I know, the only way to shut it off was to flip a little switch down by the pedals. Unfortunately nobody told me where this switch was beforehand and it was very well hidden. So after driving around like a freak with the alarm going off, I had to pull over to find it and turn it off. To this day, I hesitate before hitting the horn. That kind of trauma sticks with you.

    1. Ha! Oh, you poor thing. It’s one thing to remain relatively anonymous, tooling around in your hoop-dee, but when you have that kind of attention drawn to your situation, ah… Now you not only know the value of a dollar, but a good therapist!

    1. Believe it or not, they were a big hit with my male friends (whose drunk butts I was often carting around… gawd, I can’t believe *I* used to be the DD…guess that’s why I had friends ;)).

  3. My first car was a 1966 Ford Mustang. $500. It had 280,000 problem free miles on it when I bought it from an old man. I drove it 2.4 miles and she shot craps. We got it running again, but I didn’t have money for new brakes for a few weeks. Stopping became an adventure as the pedal had to be pumped vigorously to get the brakes to finally catch. Ah only 17 year old Don could have stomached that adventure. It took Regular gas (you know what that is?) which was getting hard to find so i ran out of gas monthly. The best part was that there was a giant hole in the passenger floor board. My ignoramus buddy used to dispose of his McDonalds trash through that hole. His punishment, however was that if I hit a puddle, water would SPRAY into that seat. Like fire hose spray! It scared the crap put of me the first time, but became quite funny after awhile. I must have said “wow, that’s never happened before!” to near 100 soaking wet people before we patched it up.

    1. Note to self: Put down coffee before reading your comments. First of all, is there any other kind of gas besides regular??

      I’ve heard of hoop-dees with holes in the floor, but NEVER with such a stunning fire hose feature. If you ask me, that brings the value up to at LEAST $550, brakes or no brakes.

      1. I guess unleaded is the new regular. You used to have regular, unleaded and diesel. Maybe the regular had lead? I don’t know, but there was supposedly a difference. They phased it out and ass reamed those of us with regular only gas cars still. The engine finally died completely and I replaced the engine with one that took unleaded gas. Then I totaled it my senior year in high school and my dad reminds me of this fact still 20 years later.

        1. Okay, I’ve GOT to pay closer attention the next time I go to the gas station, because I’ve been asking them to ‘fill it regular’ (I live in NJ – they don’t trust us to pump our own gas) for the last 15 years.

          I wonder what the statistics are on 17-18 year old boys totaling cars. Peppermeister did his senior year, too! …Twice.

    2. I have a ’66 Mustang now and it runs great (after sinking a crapload of money into it) BUT- you still have to pump the breaks vigorously for them to catch. It’s the only thing that keeps my teen girls from stealing it. They’re afraid.

  4. My first I-Bought-It-Myself vehicle was a green 1984 Chevy Blazer (Peppermeister and I are kindred spirits),, “Dave”, that I got when I was 19. I loved that thing. It was old and getting closer and closer to the hoop-dee description each day. But Dave served its purpose. The only problem was….it would stall whenever I made a right turn. Unless, of course, I completely floored it which kept it level of chug-chug up to complete the turn.
    I taught my best friend how to drive using Dave and she was well aware of having to put the pedal to the metal in order to keep from stalling if we were going –> that-a-way.
    RIP Dave.

    1. Dave! What a great car name! I’m dying to know, what made him a “Dave”?

      And stalling only when you make right turns. These kind of hoop-dee stories make my heart as warm as my hands would be if my heat knob actually worked.

      1. Julie Julie Julie….you should know me by now…Dave was a girl car. 🙂 And she rocked that name. She was cool and hip and old school and Dave suited her well. And when I downsized to my Chevy Cavalier I named her Dave Jr. It fit.
        My newest car…a silver P.O.S. (which, oddly enough, I’d planned on blogging about but won’t now) is named Fernando. But he’s a boy car because he let me down and I’ll never let it go.

  5. I didn’t think I could love you more. Then came the photo of the NSync bobbleheads. Jim is going to flip out when he sees that. (he loves NSync and JT….shhh…don’t tell him I told you that)

    Oh God–ALL of my earlier cars were P.O.S.’s. My very first car was a blue 1982 Buick Skylark. My friends affectionately dubbed it “The Blu-ICK”. I had saved up money working part time at a lingerie store (I am not making that up) so I paid half while my dad paid the other half. Total cost: $2,000. The radio gave out, it would only come on in spurts (must have been some loose wire) so in order to get reception, I would SLAM my fist down on the right side of the dashboard. Eventually a crack formed there. All my friends knew about this move. We’d be toolin’ down the highway, a good song would come on (like Led Zep’s Kashmir) and whoever was in the passenger side had the job of slamming his/her hand down hard to get the song to come back on. Got a lot of my teenage frustrations out on that car.

    This reminds me…I also used to hitch a ride to school with my older brother’s friend in his beat-up old van. I once got in and he warned, “Be sure to keep your feet up.” I said, “Huh?” looked down and a PIECE OF HIS FLOOR WAS MISSING. Yep. He had this gaping hole in his car, it had just rusted straight through. You could see the road passing by underneath. I felt like we were the Flintstones.

    1. HA! Tell Jim I still have those bobble heads…somewhere. Probably not too far from this glorious pillowcase that recently came into my possession.

      Bu-ICK. Love it. You could have tapped out a beat along with the song. But wait, if you whacked it twice, would the radio switch back off?

      It’s AMAZING how many hoop-dee car stories involve the Flintstones feature. What would happen if you got pulled over? Is there any law that says you CAN’T drive with a rust hole in the floor? Or do the cops just feel too sorry for you to give you a ticket?

      1. And we live in Rust Central, the constant salt/snow/ice just strip our cars super fast. I think at one point he duct taped a piece of plywood over the floor. Your story about Ed’s dime killed me by the way.

  6. I drove my 1997 VW Golf until the wheels fell off … Literally. It had over 200k miles on it when odometer stopped working but that was waaaaaay after the speedometer stopped working. Once things started to go south, it seemed like some random bit or piece would break once a week. The back windshield wiper came flying off on the freeway, door handles stopped working, the crank to MANUALLY roll the windows down … Good times. The episodes of wheels and tires were the last straw for me. Sadly, the engine was good. That little car hauled balls! I sold it for $500 on Craigslist. Sometimes, I miss it … Until the heat kicks in under the leather seats of my new car. 🙂

    1. Oooh you’ve got the seat warmers now! Yeah, you paid your dues all right. Though I really think I need to hear more about this wheels-falling-off “episode.” The fact that the speedometer didn’t work makes me think you were going 120 miles/hour without realizing it, and they just flew off.

      One of my favorite things about my first car, Toaster (the one with the ‘NSync bobble heads) is that it was so good to me for YEARS, and then one day, in front of my parents’ house (where I lived), it just wouldn’t start. Never left me stranded. I miss you, Toaster.

      1. That was a good little Toaster … Can’t say the same for mine. More info on the wheels episode after I find/photoshop an appropriate photo to go with it. Haha

  7. My first REAL car (my own, paid for and not handed down), was an adorable little maroon Honda Accord hatchback. It had been totalled, but repaired by some seady guy with a shop and sold to me for $3,000 in my freshman year of college. It was a stick shift, so I had to learn in order to drive it. For some strange reason, the battery kept dying on me. I replaced the battery, although it was practically brand new. Then the next week, it would be dead again. I would keep jumper cables handy and charge it to start it pretty much every time I had to go somewhere. It just became what I did, because nobody could figure out why it was dead after sitting for a few days.

    After months of this, I just so happened to get into it one night and noticed a little light on under the dashboard. It seems that there was a previously unknown by me tiny door that opened up on some fuses under there, and when the little sliding door was opened, an even tinier light came on. Well, it seemed that the door had come open and the light had remained on, unbeknownst to me or anyone else checking out the car in the daytime. It was only that I happened to be sitting in the car at night and saw this little glow and that is when the lightbulb came on.

    I guess that’s less of a hoopdee story and more of a misplaced door with lightbulb story, but the car was probably about 15 years old when I got it and when I eventually had to stop using it (yeah, you heard me), it was because a check of the car discovered that the back bumper was almost completely rusted off and could have droppped off any minute while I was driving, thus taking the gas tank with it and consuming me and the car in a deathly firey explosion. So, yeah. There was also that.

    1. Hey I was just clicking on your blog as I saw this comment come in! Bloggggy friendsssss.

      “…that is when the lightbulb came on” – HOORAY FOR PUNS!

      But oh gawd. This bumper story has given me something entirely new to worry about.

  8. Oh. Where to start? Coming from a deeply impoverished area, where the ‘rich’ kids were the ones whose fathers worked in mines (‘my dad makes $300 a week!’), you’d be surprised how many kids had access to cars — even if it was their parent’s … and a hoopdie (local spelling, thx) at that! My first call was names Asshole because it LITERALLY (not almost, not figuratively) spent 1/2 my time of ownership at my dad’s buddy’s from childhood, who kinda worked on cars. Ugh.

    I still live in the Ozarks. If you wreck it and it’s drivable, you don’t fix it. My car before this one, got rear-ended IN A CAR PARK. Walk out, car’s bumper’s crushed in. Drivable? Roll. Hell, I didn’t do it. That’s the car that I went off the farm road on ice and hit a tree. Crushed in the front bumper (making them a matched pair). Drivable? Roll. Hit a deer on the hwy, collapsing the front UNDER/ into the wheels. Drivable? No. ::hangs head::

    This car, I hit a deer on the hwy (started saying I want a fecking RAMROD on the front to skewer the next one) going ~60 (or whatever the speed limit is, cos I’m a Law Abiding Person, duh). Drivable? HAHAHAHAHAHA. No. Insurance company insisted on NOT totalling it. My car at the time was worth 7k. They paid 12k to fix it. HAHAHAHAHAHA. Its frame was bent. Still drives wobbledy…but drivable? ROLL.

    1. “A matched pair,” ha! Yep, that was pretty much my mentality with the initial line of hoopdies (I think I prefer the Ozark spelling)! Is it moving forward when I hit the gas? We’re on; will worry about the brakes later.

      It always amazes me when I hear those insurance stories.

      1. Yeah, they ‘saved me’ from buying a new car (which ended up better for me, monetarily) but I LOVE they screwed themselves. Cos you know with all my ‘lack of claims,’ they’re more than made ga-billions off me over the last 25 years.

  9. Ahhh reminiscing on my first hoop-dee is wonderful! It was a 1992 Chevy S-10 with a rusty roof and somehow permanent dog paw prints in the back. I paid a total of $1500 for it, crashed in through a mail box obliterating the passenger side of the truck, then selling it for $1500. I count that as a victory!

    1. Ooh. That gives “You’ve got mail!” a whollllle different meaning.

      Aren’t hoop-dee stories the greatest? Especially when you come out on top. Which you always do, incidentally, when you’re not the one living through the stories.

  10. I had a VW Rabbit and you had to keep the heat running year-’round unless you were going fast enough to ventilate the engine. It was the only way to keep the car from over-heating.

    Then I had a car that you had to park on a down-hill slope or it wouldn’t start.

    1. Well now the downhill slope thing just sounds like a good time. You know you have a hoop-dee when… based on the description, you can’t tell if you’re driving an actual car or a box car.

  11. My first car was a white Ford Escort that was handed down to me. Then I bought my own first car which was a red Ford Mustang GT in 1983. It had a stick shift and I did not know how to drive one, so I learned on my way home from the car dealership (which was quite an experience and many many times stalling in the middle of traffic, but I learned really quick). My Father worked at Ford Motor Co., so I got great discounts and always got the coolest cars to drive!

    1. You know, that is probably the BEST way to learn how to drive a stick shift, but SHEER NECESSITY. I’m terrified to even attempt it in a controlled environment.

  12. Here’s how I fixed the heater of my ’65 Chevy Nova back in the day: 1. Go out on a freezing cold Philadelphia winter day and start the car. 2. Crank open the driver’s side window. 3. Drive. 4. Slowly crank the window closed as you drive along. 5. It feels warmer!

  13. Junker car stories really are the best, or at least some of the most hilarious memories!
    I used to drive a rusted out 1993 F-150 that could start up WITHOUT the key even being in the ignition. This was especially great if my brothers and I were fighting over who got to drive because the “Holder of the Keys” claim was null and void. Instead it was always a mad dash to see who could get into the driver’s seat first. Oh, and I forgot to mention that the driver’s door didn’t actually open so you’d have to slide across from the passenger side. Classy, yes? 🙂

    1. Wow, every time you left the house it was like Amazing Race! Were you ever soclose to victory, only to forget the driver’s side door didn’t open? That would be me.

      1. Oh yes, time and again! It doesn’t help that my brothers are both younger but almost a foot taller. I should have gotten a handicap advantage since their legs were so much longer…

  14. My first car was sold to me for $100 by my sister, who was gifted it from an admirer where she worked. Ahem. It was an ’85 Olds Cutlass with doors that didn’t shut properly and lots of rust and I was too impatient to wait for it to warm up in the winter and a couple of times, because of that, the accelerator stuck down while I was driving. Terrifying. Also while warming it up once while I scraped the windows in the grocery store parking lot, I managed to shut and lock the door. Locked myself out with the car running. Yup. By the way? HELL YEAH for paying cash for your car. That’s the way to do it.

    1. Gifted to your sister from an admirer! Oh, you’ve got stories, JM, oh-hoh, yes you do.

      In hindsight, asking people to tell their hoop-dee stories WHILE I DRIVE ONE, may have been a mistake. I have a whole new host of things to worry about now.

      I can’t imagine making car payments ever again (like I did with Nudge).

    1. “My Red Corvette,” ha! Nice. I’m starting to think there’s a real market for the Flintstones models. I mean, hearing all of these stories is making me kind of WANT one…

  15. Oh man, do I got stories! My father was a mechanic, remember? And he loved bringing home cars from the junk yard and fixing them up for us to drive.

    But first – can I give an Amen! and a Testify! to the idea that a teenager’s first car should NEVER be a new car! And I’ll forgive you for thinking of cars as appliances. I know a lot of people love cars more than I do, and even more love them less than I do. But I sure do love ’em 🙂 And I love that you wrote a post about cars even if you don’t love cars.

    Okay. 1979 VW Dasher. Diesel, bland metallic green, four speed but with a racing clutch that caught immediately off the floor and had great handling. Nothing worked on it. My sister and I both drove it. Here are a few of its stories:
    1) For a while, the ignition would randomly stick and we’d have to hotwire it under the hood. Then my father fixed that by wiring it to a button on the dash. You’d put the key in, turn it, then hit the ignition button. Of course, that’s now the new fancy technology to start a brand-new loaded luxury car, right? Well, in 1988, it was hooptie-style.
    2) My father also had to wire the horn to a second button on the dash.
    3) Sometimes the headlights went out, but you could get them started again simply by opening a door and slamming it shut. We got good enough at it that we didn’t even need to slow down. I’m sure we gave minor heart attacks to a passenger or two.
    4) One day, my sister was driving and I was in the passenger seat. We were waiting at a red light. No dancing, no shaking the car – just sitting, chatting, waiting for the light to change. The passenger side window crank handle suddenly popped off and flew right across the car and landed at my sister’s feet.

    That was a fun car 🙂

    If you want to read about the stories from the 1980 Chevy Chevette I drove in college, go check out my post about Lucille, my current car:

  16. “hoop-dee” – love it! I’m so with you on the 16-year-olds and new cars. Even if you HAVE the $$, parents are nuts to do that. I used to watch that obnoxious Sweet 16 show where the kids get an Escalade and I’d wail and gnash my teeth.

    I never had my own car until I graduated from college. My parents took me down to their dealer where I picked out a Chevy Citation hatchback. I loved that little car. I can’t remember if it was new or used, but I drove it until it joined the ranks of the hoop-dee, then it was towed to the junkyard with much hoop-la.

  17. When I first met my now-husband, he drove an ancient Fargo van with a rollered-on paint job. We went to one of his cycling races in that van, and en route, we noticed that it was SNOWING inside the van. Windows were closed, doors were locked, no sunroof or anything, but it was still snowing INSIDE. Despite the indoor storms, Marty was still heartbroken when we sold that van a few years later. Now we drive a space age Mitsubishi Delica van. It’s so much cooler (and way less snowy inside!)

  18. Her name was Ruby, a 1994 Nissan Sentra that would turn herself off every so often when making a turn. One winter the heater stopped working, my sister and I were huddled in our pea coats as we drove home for Christmas. Did I mention I lived in Montana? Heaters are needed in those frigid temps! good times though, makes us who we are… Thanks for stirring those memories, Jules! 🙂

  19. My first car was a 1987 gray (that’s the only color they came in) Honda Civic box. It was rusted out so bad that my friend cut herself on the jagged edge getting into my car and had to get a tetanus shot.

    My second car was a 1987 gray Toyota Corolla. Most of my friends don’t remember this car because it was indistinguishable from my first car.

    Both of my first two cars had spiders living in them. Spiders. They would crawl out through the vents while I was driving. I kept a can of industrial strength Raid in the car. One morning at school, I was furiously spraying my car and kicking it in frustration when a girl parked her brand new Audi next to me. “Are you ok?” she asked, with genuine concern. I just hung my head in shame.

    Also, I love your bobblehead N’sync dolls. I went with the Hawaiian grass skirt girl.

  20. Four years ago I had a little ford ka, Freddie. None of its external door handles worked, so once you were out… You couldn’t get in unless you went through the boot. My dad created some cables tied to the inside handles and poking out the gap in the door, with a little finger loop for me to tug in the right direction to open the door. Quirky!

    I offered to drive on my first date with my boyfriend… A cunning plan because he drove every time from then on to stay away from poor Fred!

  21. My husband has only ever owned hoop-dees (besides the black Ford Taurus his grandmother gave him that he plowed into a snow bank and totaled after falling asleep at the wheel).

    When he picked me up for our first date, his silver Mirage was looking good with it’s hunter green trunk. I got in the car and noticed that the entire dashboard was CAKED in yellow pollen. And there were acorns all over the floor. That’s what happens when you don’t roll your windows up. Or ever clean your car. He’s wreaked havoc on MY car, which is a 2003 Honda Accord Coupe and well on its way to becoming a hoop-dee.

  22. My first car was a Hyundai Exel that I was so proud of and excited to drive – it was a total POS though. I remember driving to work one day and feeling like people were checking out me and the car. I was feeling a bit special until I parked at work and realised I had driven for 20 minutes with the handbrake on… There was smoke pouring off my tires – hence the stares.

    6 months into owning it the gas indicator stopped working so I had to guess when I needed to fill up. As you can imagine that didn’t work out so well and I have been driving along highways bunny hopping because I’ve run out of gas and not understanding why i’m slowing down.

  23. I never really had Hoop-Dee cars, I had brothers and a father who loved to work on cars and who actually tricked out my cars when I bought them. The first car I bought with my own money was a 1969 Ford Torino, it started out as a Hoop-Dee, don’t remember what I paid for it. My brother and Dad put it up on blocks, dropped in a huge engine, new transmission, repainted it and replaced the interior. My first car was hot and fast!

  24. I drove a previously owned Mustang in the 80’s that sometimes wouldn’t reverse. If I couldn’t back into or find a pull through parking spot, I had to hope that it would either get into gear, or that there would be a couple of people around strong enough to push me out to where I could get it into drive. Sometimes I also had to flick open the butterfly thingy on the air filter casing manually to get it to start. She was orange and I called her Bunny.

  25. We just recently replaced my Hoop-Dee car. It was a 1991 Chevy Celebrity. It was a crap car all the way around, but during one ice storm my husband made it even better. He tried opening the driver door, and busted the handle. Then he tried opening the rear driver door and busted that one too. For two years, I drove it and couldn’t lock or completely close my driver door, lest I have to climb over the passenger seat to get in. Eventually we replaced the doors with used ones. But the used doors were baby blue; the rest of the car was maroon. The heat didn’t work (minor problem when you live in Minnesota and it dips to -20 degrees in the winter), there was a huge dent in the front bumper, and it still had a tape deck. I kept waiting for that effer to kick it, but it WOULD NOT STOP RUNNING. It was only replaced because Jason was hit by a drunk driver who totaled his truck, and the dealership gave us a good deal for buying two vehicles at once. Otherwise, I’d probably still be driving that beast.

  26. I had KING of all Crapmobiles – my DeLorean (hello, Back to the Future) that I inherited when my dad passed. I just sold it on eBay 2 yrs ago and it only at eleven thousand miles. I sold it for $10K, but we estimated that over the years my family and I have put in more than $25K for repairs on it. No joke – at least 1 out of every 3 times I left the house with it, I’d return home in a different car because the DeLo wouldn’t start up wherever I was. But it did look pretty damn sweet.

  27. My first car was a 1988 Volvo GL named Julia. She had seat warmers and no air conditioning. I live in Texas, guess which one of those things I would have traded for the other?? Although, she did have a pretty sweet crank sunroof. I loved her. And I had a lucha libre bobblehead glued to my dash. We would have been such good friends Jules.

  28. My original whip was an enormously long Crown Victoria. It only lasted a few weeks, but they were an eventful few weeks. My first night on the town as a full fledged driver I took a few bong hits (I was 17 and not aware of the perils of driving and smoking). With my altered depth perception I thought I could squeeze down what appeared to be an alleyway. It happened to be the same width as the car. I just remember sparks flying and that screeching sound from metal scraping on brick.

    I wasn’t grounded like I’d feared I would be and attended a gathering a town over. As we were pulling away, some guys from the festivities jumped on the car joking around. I didn’t realize that one was still hanging onto the back and gunned it. I heard a huge splat and a chorus of “Oh Shit!” I was so scared that I drove off. I went back a few minutes later and aside from some minor lacerations, the hit and run victim was fine. Still stupid, but fine. Side note: I made it up to him with a heavy petting session a month later.

    A few weeks later, decked out in the cheesiest possible 90’s club wear, my crew and I headed out to an 18 and under night club. The car made it about 20 minutes down the highway when I realized everyone was speeding by me and pointing at the car. It slowed to a roll and I got it to the side of the road and plumes of smoke rose from the hood. My friends and I, as young and as a dumb as we were, thought this meant the car was going to explode. We took off running in the rain at a full sprint. Eventually I made my way back to that old boat of mine to ward off the scary male motorists offering their assistance (in reality they were probably good samaritans but you never know). Good times.

  29. I had a 1969 super beetle. By the time I retired her, the bottom had rusted out enough so two people could lift the body off the frame. Instant go-kart.

  30. I have several, but I’ll give you the short versions of both:

    1) The Lusitania: The first car I drove exclusively was a 1987 mint green Chevy Caprice. The trunk lock was broken, so I kept half of a pair of scissors in the glove compartment to jimmy it open. This was a hoot when picking people up at airports in front of state troopers.

    2) Gir: My first “real” car was a 1993 Subaru Legacy. Midway through my senior year of college, she was stolen during a blizzard. Once found (and there’s a lot of good stuff in that story), I started my car with a screwdriver for four months. I even carried the screwdriver into the courtroom when I appeared before the judge to get my pound-fee back. (This was a hit with the security guards.)

  31. Hey girl! My hopdee car was the first one I ever had. It was an old mailtruck with the steering wheel on the wrong side of the car. I loved that car dearly, but is slowly and eventually died on me, but its memories will always be missed.

  32. The first car our family bought in the US was 20 years old and had the most awesomely dysfunctional transmission ever. Somehow, the transmission broke in some magical way that made the car could only go forward. Yes, you could put gears in reverse and it would still go forward. Go back? Never. If it were 2012 we could have put Obama campaign bumper sticker on it, because “Forward!” was the motto this car lived by. Add the fact that the car was green, and practically made of recycled spare parts, and you have a perfect progressive vehicle. As a matter of fact, that car could even drive uphill forward when it was in reverse. It wasn’t accident how we found that out. You see, that wasn’t really good at going uphill on “Drive”, but switch gears to “Reverse” and it would climb up. The trick would work just as well on Neutral.

  33. I once owned a 1982 Honda Civic. His name was Fred. He was red and you could put a foot out of the hole in the floor to stop him if the brakes failed. They never did, I used the hole to dispose of my gum wrappers. (My Flintstones car! Hence Fred.) Some one attempted to steal him one night. They couldn’t figure out how. You see there was an issue with the ignition (the switch did what it wanted, sometimes it would shut itself off while you were driving. Once while I was passing a semi on the highway!) and I rigged it so you had to connect 3 wires, turn a key (which was lying in a heap of wiring on the floor) and then press a button. The would be thieves left me a note. It was plainly stated: Your car is too much of a piece of @#$%^ to even steal. Thanks for the gum. Sigh. I loved that car!

  34. My college BF was a total Ahole, but a genius (rhyming with penis you know). We went to college in KC but would come to the great armpit of Norristown, PA to visit my parents in summer. On the way back one trip his POS car broke down. Dont break down on the PA turnpike. It’s death on a prison road. I was panicked. He had a hole in the water coolant (where ever the damn water is stored). He started mooching around in his POS filthy backseat, found a disgusting large cup with a huge straw and some duct tape. Now why he had duct tape is still a mystery, but it saved our collective asses, so….anyway, he takes out the water container and duct tapes in his (now cleaned by me) once large 44 oz soda drink. Duct taped the heck out of everything and the straw to the line. Worked perfectly. I had to hear this damn story all next year. He actually kept the duct taped system in so he could show everyone how inventive he was. Blech, my stomach is turning acid from this. Later.

    1. Ha! Thanks for sharing this / giving us a laugh at, er, your expense (I like that in a blogger…)! I’m still hung up on why he had the duct tape too, but am glad you made it out of that relationship (and Norristown?) alive.

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