Lament for my car

I found an old pic of me with my car from 1989 that used to be on the now-defunct Friends and Family page (removed basically due to the lack of updates and traffic). Today, I looked up the invoice price for my car and it was $9588. I did not get the car as new; it was a year old and a former rental car for Hertz. I remember when we went to get the car. It was 10 days before my 16th birthday and my step-dad was working for a car lot. They had just gotten in a few Corolla FX’s. Two of them were the regular FX (blue and grey) and there was a red FX-16. I decided I liked the grey one better, and we raided the others for the tool kit and the back concealer (a flip up cover for the back compartment area.

I am not sure when it happened, but eventually we figured out that the car had been rear-ended. There was a ton of glass bits in the well where the spare tire was. Also, the back window leaked like crazy. My car always had a musty odor to it, no matter how many air fresheners I put into it. The front window also had a leak that had to be fixed. The back hatch paint was not exactly the same color as the rest of the car (no doubt due to the low-bid approach of Hertz to fix the car). I was happy with the car for the time I had it. The major headache was always the brakes. It seemed like we were always doing something with them. Joe Holmberg and I attempted to change the brake pads on the car one day in Davis. Little did we know that there was already something wrong with them. A caliper had fallen off of the left front brake and completely messed up the brakes. The car vibrated like crazy when I stopped. After a few months, we took it to a shop and discovered how bad things were. My mom then forbade me to work on the car myself.

The other big problem was a leak in some hose that basically squirted oil around my engine. It was amazing how far that car drove with essentially little amounts of oil. My dad first noticed the problem when I first drove down to visit. He had two major statements on the car: “There is no oil in this thing” and “I can pee more that that radiator can hold”. Dad was always one for good comments. Despite all of that, the car faithfully served me, never leaving me on the side of a road. We were able to navigate the Cuesta Grade near San Luis Obispo in a driving rainstorm and many bridges in high winds.

From 1988 to 1995, the Trekmobile (as my mom referred to it) shared many momentous occasions in my life including getting my license, being crammed full of people to see Fantasia in 1990, commuting home from college, first love and heartbreak, going on many a geography fieldtrip, graduating from college, and moving countless times. I had no intention of getting a new car until sometime around late 1995. I had been working full time at my UCD job for a few months, and awash with cash I began to look into the possibilities of getting a new car. I had some money from my grandfather’s estate in the bank after his passing, but was taking my time doing research on places like Sometime in the summer, my car was broken into in the parking lot of my apartment complex. I remember being woken up by the neighbor who drove a similar car. She said that when she pulled up, she noticed my doors open and the window smashed. It seems someone caught them in the middle of the break in. They tried to take the radio (an old cassette radio) and did a good job of throwing everything around in the car. Fortunately, nothing was taken. However, the Trekmobile never “felt” the same. I no longer felt comfortable in the car. Someone had broken the trust and the bond with my car. So I started looking more and more and eventually decided to buy a Honda Accord. I lucked out and found a great deal on one and at the same time found someone who was willing to buy my car for around $2000. So in January of 1996, I sold the Toyota and bought Jeffrey.

So I guess I will always wonder what happened to the car that made the owners junk it last year. It was junked in a town near Monterey and I wonder if it is sitting in a junkyard facing the ocean, reminiscing about its owners. Thinking about the good times like taking me to school that first day I could drive by myself and leaving the ground on Highway 120 near Mono Lake. Like going to that first Star Trek convention. Like sitting in the parking lot during the 1989 earthquake (look, I’m a geographer I’m sure he enjoyed it as much as me). I would love to get my old license plate to hang on my wall at work along with plates from my other cars. A fitting tribute to a big part of 7+ years of my life. We’ll always think of you and miss you. Thanks for all the memories.

I guess I’m not quite over it yet.