QOTD: Falling in Love a Little Too Late?
Yesterday’s QOTD post by youthful scribe Steph Willems got me thinking about the cars of my youth, as intended. But the thoughts weren’t about the cars I would’ve had on my (non-existent) posters, but rather those I fully ignored in those days.
Little did I know.
First, I’ll explain the lack of posters in my room. Instead of those flat pieces of paper, I had a collection of 1:18 scale diecast cars. Real paint, rubber tires, steering wheels that worked, and some suspension too. The star of those three shelves was the Mercedes-Benz SL500, in silver over grey and R129 guise. The roll bar even popped up! The upstairs hallway was the town; the doorways were driveways. But I digress.
My limited toy car collection was a representation of the flashy mainstream metal I had an appreciation for at the time (even a Twister-ready ’94 Ram 1500). In my youth, I ignored any vehicles of the obscure or vanishing variety — things I value now. Cars like the Saab 900 Turbo, the Volvo 240 wagon, or the Subaru XT6. I never looked at rear-drive V8 American cars like the Town Car, the Fleetwood Brougham, or the C4 Corvette (in teal). “Those are for old people,” I thought. Was I wrong? No. But I have a certain appreciation for those things now, even if BMW drivers from the east coast come along and tell us all how crappy they are. Don’t care!
I didn’t appreciate anything especially old, either. America’s beautiful luxury Packards, the Mercedes-Benz 500K, and Talbot-Lago coupes were all “too old.” There are many, many more, but you get the point.
What cars fell prey to your youthful ignorance, only to find your favor later once their time was long gone?
Miatas. I grew up with a preference for V8 muscle/sports cars. Little did I know the joy of light weight, and how 40 mph can feel like 80 mph in a car like the Miata. Luckily they've held up well, and I can still buy them today. Currently have a 2000 SE.
Early Hondas, Datsuns and a few Toyotas. Early Civic and Accord, first Datsun 510 (and B-210, 610 710 and 810), boxy RWD Corolla, first gen Celica. Audi Coupe GT. Volkswagen Fox and Golf, Mercury Capri XR-2, Mercury Zephyr. Some later Hondas as well, grew to love the Accord, the last generation Prelude, and some Civics. Have no desire to turn them into "tuner cars", just enjoy them stock with maybe a little larger wheels from newer Hondas (16" Fit alloys on a 1992 Accord coupe, for example).
I like exactly the same cars now that I liked then. And I have now owned many of them over the years.
The first generation Mercury Sable cars. I was born in 1980, and by the time I finished high school I really wanted a 1988 Thunderbird Turbo coupe. When I started shopping for a car around 2000, 80's era Sables were common inexpensive used cars, but I found their styling to be odd, and ended up with a 1989 Taurus. I made many trips to junk yards hunting for car parts where I encountered numerous Sables, and one thing that really struck me was how the interior door handle was integrated with the door panel on the '90 to '91 models, and some had a very realistic burled walnut trim along the top of the door. The seat fabric was soft and fuzzy, and the seats had more cushioning than most cars. The styling began to grow on me, and I realized that although it looks very similar to the Taurus, every exterior sheet metal part was different, along with the bumpers. The differences were subtle, but tasteful, and the execution of the wrap-around windows of the sedans were so clean and tasteful. Last year I bought a 1988 Sable LS wagon, and my only regret is that I didn't buy one sooner. It's a quiet, comfy car, with neo classic American styling totally distinct from anything else.