Oct 12, 2011

First Car

ASM826 started this one, as near as I can tell.

I'll definitely jump in on this one.

About 2/3 of the way through my freshman year of college, RIT announced they were closing one of the high-rise dorms for renovations, and the incoming freshman class was the largest ever. As such, all non-freshmen were being kicked out of the dorms. University-owned apartments were available by lottery, or we could take our chances on the local market. I opted for the campus apartments, and ended up in the only "on-campus" complex that was not part of campus - it was a solid 3 miles down the road with relatively regular bus service.

Mom and Dad talked over the summer and decided I needed a car. Who was I to argue? We went shopping on a couple consecutive weekends while I was home from the camp I worked at, and looked at a few options. Nothing was combining condition, price, and reliability the way we needed it to, until I glanced at the used-car listings for one of the local dealers.

We went down and looked at a 1990 Honda Prelude SI. We drove it. I loved it. It was at the top end of the price range my parents were willing to consider, but I had to go back to camp and left the decisions in their hands. They called me later that week and asked if I could come home after camp on Friday to pick up the car. Well, duh.

The car was awesome - black with a tan interior, sunroof, power windows, 5-speed stick, and more power than it knew what to do with. The little 2.1L I4 cranked out about 140hp but the car only weighed 2,400lb and was geared short. It would take off like a rocket if I put my foot down and could chirp second gear... Not that I'd do something like that.

That car was a dream - it handled well, cruised well, got good mileage, and was incredible in the snow. I wish it had stayed together better, but it reached the point of needing major mechanical work (both CV's were shot and would have been approaching the value of the car to replace, then my then-girlfriend's father backed into it and crunched the fender - that was the death knell) and was traded in on a newer car.

Adventures? Not many. I got punched in the face at a gas station the first night I had the car - adding a small bloodstain to the seatbelt where I bled on it. Trying to drive stickshift at night at moderately high speed while stopping a bloody nose with one hand? That's talent. ;-)

Another night coming home from college I had a jackwagon in a minivan trying to set the speed limit for the highway. I had the cruise set at about 71 (speed limit +10% is my norm on the highway) and some guy passed me, pulled in front of me, and promptly set his cruise at 67. I slowed down until I had an opening to pass and did so, then set my cruise back to 71 and kept going. A minute later he passed me again, pulled in front of me, and slowed down. Repeat a couple more times. About the third time I kept my foot down when I passed him and put a solid half-mile between us. A couple minutes go by and he repeated the act. I put more distance between us, and he did it again... or tried to.

By this time traffic was nil and the road was wide-open. When I saw him coming up beside me, I shot him the bird and blipped the gas whenever his front bumper came into view in the corner of my eye. I kept this up as we continued down the interstate, and he never got past me. I saw the sign for my exit coming up and glanced down - we were going at a speed a bit short of plaid. Whoops...


ASM826 said...

Yes, I started it. Got the idea from a new book called "My First Car".

Great write up, just the kind of memories I was hoping to get to hear about.

ASM826 said...

And corrected the oversight by adding you to the blogroll.

Ruth said...

Heh, I had a 91 Civic that would do that too....damn I miss that car!

Old NFO said...

LOL- Good story! I'll get mine up when I get home this weekend!