By on September 6, 2013
Life sucks

Life sucks

The Turbo Dodge Shadow that I purchased in February of 1988 lived hard and fast but, thanks in part to my strict adherence to a maintenance schedule and my belief in the power of synthetic motor oil, it didn’t die young. By 1996 the little red car had more than 135K miles on the clock and a whole lot of hard fought-street racing victories – and maybe just a few losses – under its belt. After I changed the head gasket somewhere around the 80K mile mark, the car suffered a couple of broken timing belts, caused mostly by my inability to correctly adjust the belt’s tension, but otherwise had few problems. Still, as the miles added up, I became concerned about the car’s condition and eventually purchased a Geo Metro to take over daily driving duties. Later, after sliding the Metro off an icy highway, I traded up to a K5 Jimmy, but kept the Shadow as a my own special toy. The Jimmy came with a big loan payment, however, and all it took to totally derail my carefully balanced finances was a lay-off. Before I knew it, I was in over my head and flat broke. Stuff had to go.

I started by selling my guns, then my motorcycles, followed by my records, musical instruments and my books. Finally, as the period of unemployment became protracted and the grinding drudge of poverty really set in, it was the Shadow’s turn. Nothing, it turns out, takes longer to sell than yesterday’s hot rod and in those pre-Craigslist days it took weeks of sitting around with a red and black “for sale” sign in the window before I got the first call on it. More trickled in but, like everyone looking at well used cars, the people I spoke with all wanted something for practically nothing. I quickly sent their asses packing. I really didn’t care if they had a kid in college, had an abusive boyfriend, weren’t getting enough hours at Denny’s or whatever else their personal issues were, I had my own issues at the time and giving charity to strangers wasn’t high on my priority list. Eventually, my own family took pity on me and, although he probably didn’t really need it, the little Shadow ended up with my older brother Bruce, who had unexpectedly decided he wanted a bargain basement commuter car.

Photo by T Kreutzer

The winter of my discontent.

Bruce owned the Shadow for several years and about the time I had given up my untenable situation in the states for a dead end job in Japan, he passed the car on to his wife’s sister. Two years later, when I returned to the states with a few dollars in my pocket and memories of my protracted bout of poverty in very much in the forefront of my mind, Bruce mentioned that his sister in law was looking to sell the Shadow. I could, he said, buy it back for a song. I really didn’t think about it very long, I knew the car and knew that there was no way the last few years of its life had been anywhere near as hard as the first few, but in the thought of owning it again brought back all of the struggle and frustration that I was hoping to put permanently behind me. My time with the Shadow was done, I decided, and a week or two later plunked down $500 on a smelly, well worn 1986 Nissan 200SX. The rest is history.

In the decade that has passed since my first return from Japan my life has improved a thousand fold. The instability and financial strife that hung over my life like a specter is gone and I have settled into a life of middle-aged contentment that I had begun to believe I would never attain. The psychological scars of that earlier time, however, remain. Like the hammer of a blacksmith, the merciless, relentless pounding I took during those dark days forced out much of my happy-go-lucky attitude and forged me into the harder, sharper and maybe even fiercer adult that I am today. I have only to think about those days and my siege mentality returns with a real force, I can feel it now as a physical pressure inside my head as I write about it now.

Since so much of what I do on TTAC is storytelling, I am constantly forced search my past for material. As I recall the events of those days, I find the feelings associated with those times are close at hand. The bad times have colored the good ones that came before and the happy feelings I got from purchasing my little car and racing it around the streets of the Pacific Northwest have been replaced by bitterness and anger over the way that people tried to take advantage of me when I was at my most vulnerable.

Until I started writing about cars, I did what a lot of men do, I avoided the issue by not thinking about it. But to get at the stories in my past, I have had to pick away at the scab. To my surprise, the more I work at it the more healing I have found beneath. The raw feelings, while still there, have begun to mute and the real joy of those days is beginning to shine through once more. While the experience has not always been pleasant, it has been cathartic.

YouTube Preview Image

Last week, my sister Connie posted that old Youtube video where a man’s adult children go out and find his mid-sixties Impala, a car he sold when times were hard. If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and watch now, I won’t spoil it for you. She thought that I, as a lover of cars and a big sap for happy endings, would be touched by the video and the truth is that despite having seen it a dozen or so times, I was. I’m happy for the man and amazed at how hard his children worked to make this happen. But as I sat here thinking about that video today I suddenly realized have my own missing car out there somewhere, my own touchstone from a better time that I sold when my own future was not as bright. Naturally, I have to wonder if it is still out there.

I know that a 1988 Dodge Shadow, even one equipped with a turbo, doesn’t have the provenance of a mid sixties Impala or Papa John’s lost and then recovered Camaro, but I’d like to think the old car is still out there. Perhaps it endures in someone’s barn or stuffed into the back of some junk filled garage. Maybe it sits now at the curb, paint peeling, but still in use awaiting it’s moment of fame as the subject of one of Paul Niedermeyer’s photo spreads at Curbside Classic. The VIN could tell me for sure, and I am working on getting it now. I have reached out to my brother and even called the insurance agent I used to use in the hopes that the VIN might be on some old scrap of paper somewhere in their files. Maybe you can help, too.

1988 Dodge Shadow

The car is a 1988 Dodge Shadow two door in Graphic red with a charcoal grey interior. The only options the car had were a turbo engine and the five pointed alloy wheels offered that year. It had the top of the line cassette deck, the one with the joystick, and I added black and white tape pinstripes the week after I bought it. I purchased it at Dwayne Lane’s Dodge in Everett Washington in February of that year and was originally licensed in Washington State, receiving the number 506 BGE. Its last known location was Oregon where my brother’s sister in law lives.

To be honest, I don’t know what might happen if I find the car. With my plans to rotate back overseas next year firmly fixed, throwing the car into the mix would surely be problematic. Still, I might be able to store it and put it back into shape when we come home a few years from now, so I am open to the idea of looking for it. I know that it will no longer be the cutting edge performance car it once was, it was already well past its prime when I sold it, but it would be nice to have it come home. The car’s return won’t erase all the hard knocks I had to take during those dark days, but it might help take away some of the sting I still feel when I think back upon that time.

I understand now, why the man cries when his kids bring the old car home. It’s not because he loved it, it’s because he has overcome the hard times that forced him to sell the car and its return is a tangible proof of his own, ultimate victory over all the crap that life once threw at him. That’s the real power of a touchstone, to bring back the good memories and mute the bad. I think I’m ready for some of that.

Thomas M Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

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50 Comments on “Recapturing My Youth: Looking For A Touchstone...”


  • avatar
    thats one fast cat

    A great story, as always. I can connect with searching for a car sold long ago that at one time meant something to you, or holds memories of your past.

    Unfortunately, and I sound like a bit of a cad to raise this, but my bet is your Shadow has already been reincarnated. It is perhaps already in your house, in the shape of an appliance door, or perhaps that most noble of vessels, a beercan.

    So hoist one up high, and see if the logo has flaky red paint.

    • 0 avatar
      schmitt trigger

      I have to fully agree with this assessment. Chrysler products are not particularly long-lived.
      I would like to think that it has been re-incarnated into something more glorious than an appliance. Perhaps as an I-beam into some Asian skyscraper or a hull plate of an ocean freighter.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I don’t think there’s a snowball’s chance in Dickens that this Shadow is still with us, especially if it had 135k on it 17 years ago. But, if you end up with the VIN, do a Carfax and you’ll at least get the location where it was last registered. Then call around to some mechanics in the area if it’s a small town. If it is/was in a big city you’re probably hosed unless you can sweet talk the DMV into giving you the last owner’s address.

      Also, even if you find it, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t feel the same. I tried to buy a 1989 IROC to re-live the old days. Unfortunately, the two decades of BMW, Mercedes, VW and Honda products I’d owned since made the Z feel like a primative, hard riding, rough idling, and rattly and creaky turd that I was embarassed to drive. I sold it less than a year later. You might be best off leaving that memory to RIP. My $.02.

  • avatar
    badhobz

    amazing…

  • avatar
    phargophil

    I’m always amazed at how expressive your writing is. Well done.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I don’t have nearly the life experiences you have had (fortunately?), but stories like this are part of the reason I like owning old vehicles.

    It’s also why I’m conflicted about stuff like LeMons and “Spec Panther”. If a car can have enough memory built into it that seeing it brings someone to tears, I don’t know how I feel about grabbing an old car, gutting the interior, painting a KFC logo on the hood, and driving it at a racetrack until it explodes.

    • 0 avatar
      Blue-S

      LeMons and Chumpcar racing doesn’t have to be a death sentence. My team’s neon has at least 10 races on it, two of which including a certain TTAC writer/instigator on the driver roster.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        Ideally, yeah. Even if the car’s written off in a bad wreck, it still went out in a blaze of glory.

        When I had to move over the new year, I sold my first car, not running, to a prospective LeMoneer for $300 and two bottles of liquor. Apparently he’s hoping to debut it next month… haven’t heard much, though.

  • avatar
    mypoint02

    Great story again Thomas! As for the Dodge, try running a Carfax on the VIN. That should at least tell you if it has been bought or sold recently and, if so, where. Also, if the state requires emissions or inspections, those should show up as well. Good luck!

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    If I were in your position, I’d be trying to find your dad’s Olds Cutlass instead.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/dealing-with-loss-my-fathers-oldsmobile/

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I just bought my Cressida back. Don’t do it.

    Like calling up an old flame for a booty call, it’s just a bad idea. They are never better, or the same, always worse. Granted, I’ve never experienced a struggle like you did. Maybe it’s like getting dumped, booty call, then you go there and she still has the same miserable traits while being fat.

    Maybe you should buy your guns back.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      This. Good and bad memories are just that, memories. The best place for them is in a box on a shelf right next to the old photos, they’re there when we need them, but we don’t need to look at them every day.

      Funny thing about that Chevy story, I’ve wondered if the old man was crying because he was so glad to get rid of it, now he’s stuck with it again… Gee, thanks kids

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Agree 1000%. See above on the story of my IROC. That Shadow is going to feel like a shadow of (his memory of) its former self if he’s had any decent cars since then, and it may make him feel worse psychologically.

      • 0 avatar

        That’s the kind of remark I’d expect from Kenmore.

        Where is he anyway? He’s been standoffish since I asked him if he called my sister even though I believe him when he says he didn’t. I’m sorry I asked, I miss him.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Yep, that’s what I love about the best and the brightest – their ability to take what appears to be a beautiful moment and snark long and loud to bring it down.

  • avatar

    Thomas, my first car, the one that I love, is sitting behind my fathers pole barn in upstate NY slowly rusting into the ground.

    Anyone have a good lead on a white ’86 Ford Escort Pony, with a four speed and not much else?

  • avatar

    If you’re a car guy, there’s always one car that’s special for some reason. Mine is a silver 1968 Olds Cutlass S coupe that I haven’t seen in 25 years.

    Good luck on your quest, Thomas! While I’m sorry for the hardships you experienced, I appreciate and enjoy the stories.

  • avatar
    lon888

    Its funny how we ingrain in our minds things from times past – be they good or be they bad. I still remember the VIN of my first car, a 73 Datsun 240Z which I purchased in December 1976. I had great times and terrible times in that car but I would love to have it back. I can’t even begin to give you the VIN for my latest ride, but I remember a VIN from 1976 as clear as a bell as well as the original license plate number.

  • avatar
    Delta5

    Good story. I never went through that kind of hardship, but I understand the desire. One of my first mid90′s high school car crushes was on a 1991 Dodge Shadow ES Turbo. White, coupe, red TURBO badging, grey mouse-fur interior, alloy rims, power-bulge hood, and a manual. I couldn’t afford it at the time, but did take it on several test drives. Through the fog of memory and adolescent hormones, oh what a fun little car.

    Good luck. I hope you find your lost love! :-)

  • avatar

    oh, damn this. On the eve of the tests.

  • avatar
    dolorean

    Lovely story TK and I feel for you. Somewhere in the vast wasteland an ’84 Metallic Charcoal Mercury Lynx still waits for me, though knowing its pretension to go through distributors and archaic computer modules, I somehow doubt it.

    I did own, passed to me from my Mother to use in high school, an ’87 1/2 Dodge Shadow ES turbo with every option offered. It had the same stereo, that coolly rounded turbo bump on the hood replete with an analog turbo gauge on the dash, a sleek, simple body colored spoiler on the rump, a hatchback design with 60/40 seats (rare in those days), power sunroof, CC, A/C, and unfortunately, a 3spd auto tranny.

    With a 5 spd manual, this car was amazing. You could minimize the turbo lag by revving the little four pot to 2200 while holding the brake pedal til launching in a flurry of front-wheel torque steer smoke. With the auto, the lag dismally took a second to kick the throttle into WHEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!! mode until it hit the limits of its wussie torque converter. With the 3spd, highway crusing was abysmal but Chysler thoughfully included an electronic detonating device in the Cruise Control for entertainment value. This would initiate the entire electrical system to self-destruct when set that would make the fat-man from British Leyland green with envy. The turbo blew up at 48K miles and again at 90k, the head gasket at 70k, and we finally had enough of the demon seed and traded it in for a ’92 Explorer SLT. I’ve stayed far away from Dodge ever since.

    Wished you best of luck though. Let us know if you find it.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’d buy back my 1964 Chevy Impala SS convertible in a heartbeat, if I could afford it. Why? That was the car I owned when I was in the USAF from 1969-1973. It was a California car and was a real beauty.

    No, I never experienced financial hardship like the author – my time in the service was good and most memories pleasant, and have never been without a job – sometimes I wish I wasn’t working, though!

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I agree with Crabs, buy the guns back, not the car. I too have toyed with the idea of tracking down my first real car, a 1987 Monte Carlo SS. I quickly decided that I didn’t want THAT car back once I remembered all the Dukes of Hazzard, and Smokey and The Bandit re-creations I did with it, including tangling with a dump truck on the freeway that one time.

    Should a really nice one come up for the right price, I’d consider buying another one, but as far as the first one is concerned, it’s best to let go.

    So that being said, if you must buy a car, find yourself a clean Daytona IROC R/T

  • avatar
    April

    I guess go for your dream but maybe it would be better to let the thought of getting your car back go. It sounds like the memory is better to savor than the reality of a 25 year old Chrysler product.

  • avatar
    rolladan

    This story really hits home man. I’m probably not as bad off as you were in your story but now that I’m married and have 2 babies times are definitely tough for me now. The same pay I received when I was single allowed me to live like a king but now with 3 mouths to feed and a mortgage and a car note for the wife’s car it’s getting tough to make ends meet. Probably by the end of this year I may need to sell my mr2 turbo which I’ve owned before I was able to legally drink. This car was my dream car before but now at the crossroads I may have to let it go… I hope my kids are cool enough to find it for me later in life. Once the wife starts working again I’m sure we’ll be fine but unfortunately bills don’t wait.

  • avatar
    PunisherBass

    I still have my first love, a 98 Park Avenue Ultra, it’s nothing special to an outsider but it’s priceless to me.

    My dad bought it used in 2000 and it wound up being the last car he ever drove, he passed away in 2006 and was left to me but I have too many memories of driving him around in it when he was too sick to do so himself. Getting rid of it would be like getting rid of a part of him.

    I’ve driven it cross country many times, I’ve kept it in as good of shape as my wallet it will allow, and it’s treated me very well in return. It won’t be my daily driver forever, but for as long as I’m alive it will have a spot in my garage.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    Thank you Thomas ;

    I remember walking ’round with cardboard on my shoes and wearing .35 Cent Goodwill shrits & pants for years while I tried to raise my family .

    Those trying times led you to be the Man among Men you are now , never be ashamed nor sad , those years taught you well ~ many others wallow in self pity or whatever , you (IMO) went on and made your self quite a nice little life .

    I have two old cars like this , I don’t expect to ever see either one again ~ thw’59 Ford F-100 was terribly rusted when I got it in 1968 , the 1960 VW # 117 DeLuxe Sunshine Roof Beetle was prolly Hot Rodded or otherwise ruined by some kid in the 1980′s .

    Life awaits ahead , you’re doing a good thing writing .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    vcficus

    Echo the writing comments for sure; I always enjoy reading your work and it takes introspection and writing about what you know to make a writer better. Great post.

    As a Ohio boy who wanted to move to Detroit and help make cars I went out and got an 1985 Mustang GT when I graduated college in 1990; promptly wrecked it after moving here and got another. I really enjoyed the car until around 2000 when some personal issues related to alcohol starting getting in the way of my driving… when they started getting in the way of my insurance too I let it sit.

    After several years of it sitting but my sobering up I realized I was simply scared of a 130,000 mile muscle car with no airbags or antilock brakes; I ended up trading it to a friend who was just getting into cars for some sax lessons.

    After a few more years I can’t play the sax but he’s got a nice souped up and cleaner car; worked on it with his kids and I see it often.

    In fact I got to cruise a little next to him in the Woodward Dream Cruise this year; I went out and got a 2012 Mustang GT and I LOVE working on it, it’s renewed my car mojo and has loads of airbags too
    :-)

    So I think sometimes you can’t go back but you can move forward.

    Good luck!

  • avatar
    fincar1

    The third car I ever owned was a 1948 Ford V8 2-door sedan that I had in 1959 to 1961. It was pale gray-green and had a red primer spot on the driver’s side of the rear window. The flathead needed work, and having a good job and living at home at the time, I had it built at Precision Engines in Seattle, 3 3/8 x 4 for 283 cubic inches, high-capacity oil pump, ported and relieved. Then I ran out of money so it had the stock carb and exhaust until my neighbor came up with a set of headers for it. That was such a stout motor that I had people believing the car had an Olds in it. Then they’d see the stock-looking flathead and walk away shaking their heads.

    The truck clutch I put in it was so stiff that it would slowly twist the rod that went from the pedal linkage to the throwout bearing, and the clutch would tighten up with use rather than loosen. Between that, the gas mileage I was getting, and the fact that now I was commuting from home to college instead of a job, I knew something would have to change. That change came in the form of my father saying one night at dinner that if I could sell the car he’d buy a new Volkswagen. One day later the Ford was sold, and Pop made good on his promise, bringing home a brand new red VW bug.

    A few years passed, I got married, spent some time in Oregon at graduate school and a job, then we moved back to western Washington and established ourselves in Tacoma. In 1965 or so I answered an ad for a 48 Ford 2-door and to my amazement it turned out to be my same old Ford. It hardly seemed different at all – still had the same paint job, the same chrome instrument panel I’d put in it, and the same flathead engine. The motor was making some rather unfriendly sounds though, but I guessed that I could fix it cheaply and bought the car. My guess turned out to be right – a couple of the pistons were touching the heads – over the years the rods had stretched just a little bit. I pulled the heads, ground them in the required spots, replaced them, and drove the car now and then for a few months. At the time I also had a near-new 65 Barracuda and a 57 3-speed Plymouth Fury, and the Ford just wasn’t getting used that much, so I sold it again.

    A year or so later, on the way to work, I came up behind a truck with a load of junked car bodies, and on the back of it was the remains of my old gray-green 2-door with the red primer spot beside the rear window. Hell. It was just a car, but….

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My first car a 1992 Chevy Celebrity? No thanks…

    My second car a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme? Sure I have some ideas about waking up the 307 V8 (especially living in a state with no emissions inspection.) Too bad some chop shop operators in Detroit left her stripped in an alley, carcass barely recognizable.

  • avatar
    3Deuce27

    Wishing you mucho luck in finding your old ride, Thomas.

    The old turbo Mitsu products are well appreciated here in Oregon by enthusiasts, so there is a chance it was saved.

    If you had the most recent Oregon plate number or the serial number, I could possibly source the DMV history. Oregon drops everything after 10 years of no registration, but there is still a chance. Washington might still have info.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/DMV/Pages/search.aspx

    http://washingtondriverslicense.org/result.html?t=dlr_vehicle_history#?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_term=SL_Vehicle%2BHistory%2BReport&utm_campaign=Washington

  • avatar
    pragmatic

    Companion to your youtube video

    “www.youtube.com/watch?v=82iVMONcwss”

    Only with motorcycles

  • avatar
    davew833

    I wonder if my old ’76 AMC Pacer is out there somewhere. Charcoal gray paint courtesy of Earl Scheib with my own “custom” pinstriping work, four mismatched tires on chrome “Cragar SS” clone mags, and an exhaust system cobbled together out of pieces I got from Checker Auto Parts. Do I want it back? Nah…

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Send it my way..love the design of that iconic American classic. The designers of the Fiat Multipla, must have had pics of it all over the studio and probably a real one for study.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    I sold a 63 fairlane I owned for years and heavily invested time and money in hotrodding. I found it a few years later missing the engine and in sad shape. The engine was used in a 4×4 and subsequently blown. A few weeks later the car was gone, off to China to make useless junk I suppose.

    It’s better to remember the car as it was then find it as it is now, I suspect it’s not very pretty. Savor the memories instead.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I can see going either way. Went through a bankruptcy because I didn’t get divorced nearly quick enough. Sold stuff I didn’t want to sell including Dad’s 68 chevy C10. All in all, you cannot ever really go back.

  • avatar
    Maintainer

    As a Turbo Mopar fanatic I hold hope that your old ride is still out there.
    If not there are a few Shelby-ized versions of the P body out there for cheap.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    It should be a simple matter to find the old VIN. Your insurance agency (or carrier) at the time likely has a copy of your old policy. Also, the DMV would have a copy of your old title (??)…………..Thomas, I love your articles and I think you’re a great writer. But please don’t have false hopes in finding your Shadow. It’s been a quarter century; econoboxes of that era weren’t designed to last more than 15 years, max—especially domestics. Sure, you have anecdotes about 25 year old Civics, still on the road, but they’re generally rusted down to their lug nuts. And since your Shadow was a turbo, it likely died much sooner, junked b/c of a fried blower; or wrecked b/c of a fried teenager…..I still wonder about my 1986 white Escort Pony. (I noticed another poster had the same exact car.) But I have no doubt that it was crushed long ago, its scrap steamered to China, and returned as trendy lawn furniture or cheap WalMart mountain bikes……….

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I too, feel your soul searing pain. A ’47 GMC pick up would heal me. Meanwhile, I have found solace of a sort. My ’94 Ranger 4×4,dubbed the Rat, is very ’47 GMC-like in places.

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Memories are a strange thing when it comes to vehicles you’ve owned in the past. For whatever reason, as enthusiasts, we tend to remember only the good and conveniently forget the bad. Trust me, that old Flinstone Flyer won’t be nearly as good as your fond memories lead you to believe. If anything, reuniting with one of your old cars from 25 years ago will be exciting at first, but the honeymoon will soon be over and only then will you realize how crappy the car was in the first place. Sorry for sounding like a negative Nancy, but today’s cars have us all spoiled—because they are THAT good. Leave the old cars in your memories and keep moving forward.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    My first car ended up in a junkyard…but even though it was slow, a bit frightening, and extremely uncool, it had something its replacement did not: build quality. I hope that my next car doesn’t have an interior that self-destructs and a seemingly incurable water into the interior problem…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    For me , the car I dumped during the hardest times for me doesn’t bring back happy memories . It was a 5 year old 1985 Park Avenue with only 22k miles, inherited from a relative . Unluckily it was a simply awful car , perhaps because it had water up to the dash in one of our famous Houston floods when it was nearly new . It had continual electrical problems , perhaps due to that . Meanwhile I had gotten married – an absolutely horrible mistake , may she rest in peace . A few months later I was fired on the day after Christmas , which would be followed by my losing an unbelievable 8 jobs in the next 3 1/2 years , including another two years in a row where I was also fired shortly before Xmas and the third year in a row where I was let go the day before Thanksgiving ( ” but we will pay you thru the Thanksgiving holidays ” ) and Christmas Eve .Perhaps most annoying , this wasn’t happening during a downturn , but in the go-go Clinton years . Meanwhile my marriage went badly , and throughout it all the damned Park Avenue was the same god-awful P.O.S. it always was , always some absurd electric gizmo- the automatic climate control system or the power windows or something failing . One not so great memory was it refusing to start while I was at an irate customer’s in some very distant exurb late at night.Finally things got a little bit better , but not before the Puke Avenue was in two small wrecks in a 3-week period , right after the climate control system died . I sold it for $ 400 to Mexican immigrant who owned a bodyshop and a year later got a notice that the car ( he had never transferred the title ) had been towed following a ” police action ” . I didn’t go look at it and even tho since I’ve seen as many eighties Park Avenue as about any other eighties car they would always remind me of a truly awful period in my life and make me cringe .

  • avatar
    jhefner

    The Blue Goose. Though, I still haven’t figured out how to submit an article to TTAC.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Don’t go there.

    I miss my Isuzu Impulse dearly (it was my first car and have a long long story). Whenever I see its picture I wish I had it here. Even my wife misses it from time to time.

    I drove that car for nearly 5 years and never let us down. It was unique. It was a blast. It was beautiful.

    But there are a couple of issues there:

    1) It is located in another continent, around 10K miles from here.
    2) Making it legal to be driven here would be SUPER $$$$. That is part of the reason I left it behind.

    The point is, at some point I realized that it belongs to my memories. That it won’t come back. And that’s (kind of) a good thing. And… I could eventually (hopefully) buy another one from Japan.

    Remember fondly your little car, and if so inclined get a similar one in good condition. Getting back to yours is surely to be a big let down as its condition will be VERY different than when you sold it.


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  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India