QOTD: High School Superstar?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd high school superstar

If you’re someone who enjoys thinking back to your high school days, you were either exceedingly popular at the time (jerk!) OR achieved absolutely nothing in later life. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Four touchdowns in a single game at Polk High — that kind of thing.

Others only think back out of distaste for the present and nostalgia for that long-ago era; the simplicity of life, the fashions, the relaxed social and regulatory norms… and the cars populating the student lot. It’s more than a little jarring to see near-mundane rides that could have been had for a few grand in my senior year now fetching eye-popping prices on Bring a Trailer.

Thinking back, should you have invested in an airtight car bubble upon graduation?

Student-owned cars are known for two things: their low purchase price, and the fact they’ll be driven into the ground within three years at the absolute latest. While some rides stood out, coveted by other students, most were wheezy, rusting shitheaps with a resale value approaching zero.

Let’s think back. A base Tercel five-door, Pontiac 6000, base Ford Tempo, mid-90s base Mazda Protege (automatic), Luminas aplenty… yeah, nothing there to nudge anyone’s resting heart rate.

There’s no chance my 18-years-dead Corsica would fetch overseas vacation money if it hit the auction block, even if its condition was showroom mint. And who would be surprised? Older vehicles sometimes fetch exactly what they’re worth (or less). Like that ’85 Cutlass Supreme Brougham that went for $2,900 earlier this week.

A lucky — and likely very satisfied — buyer.

Then there’s Japanese compacts from the late ’80s and ’90s. The twenty- and thirtysomething flat-brimmed Radwood crowd are nuts about fourth-to-sixth-generation Honda Civics. Add Si badging and its auction magic. Bids soar higher than Jim Morrison on a Parisian bender. You could pay for a year of leafy college grounds with the proceeds.

Every generation seems to have its favorites.

So, B&B, was your high school ride questionably reliable transportation and nothing else, or what that particular make, model, trim, and vintage a classic in waiting? Could it break five figures at the auction in good, original shape?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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  • JustVUEit JustVUEit on Apr 20, 2020

    Back in my day, it was mostly malaise era rust boxes that were pretty well worn out and barely road-worthy. A few of the more popular types all had late 60's rustangs and they thought they were hot shyte despite the face they were all straight 6 powered and backed by the slushbox. I didn't have wheels at the time despite my Cadillac appetite and rusted out Vega budget. I was eyeing up a 74 Chevelle that sat in out apartment parking lot unmoved for months. It had rust up to its ears but hey, wheels are wheels, right? I left a note for the owner asking if they were interested in selling but that only served to make them mad. Down the street was a 68 Tempest perpetually with a For Sale sign in the window. It too was a rust box with a replacement engine. The old man kaboshed that one. So I was left to live vicariously thru a friend's car, a mid-70's something Dodge Dart that somehow managed to escape the crusher while it was being inserted in to it. No two body panels were the same color and the danged thing overheated when trying to climb any sort of hill. He always made sure to carry extra bottles of water. We spent many a Friday and Saturday night crusing the mall parking lots in that thing. Good times.

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Apr 21, 2020

    I went to high school when 70’s American musclecars were just becoming desirable again. This meant that no one really had a jalopy musclecar – but a few kids had something they tried to keep clean. Biggest collectible (today) from then? Probably the 1971 Mach 1 Mustang that one guy owned. Another friend had a ’77 Dodge Charger with the 360 V8. It wasn’t the “rich Corinthian leather” that Ricardo Montalbán offered up for the sister Coronado, but instead a wonderful two-tone black & gray houndstooth cloth. Unfortunately, the 727 Torqueflite and 360 made for a thirsty but not terribly fast combo.

  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.