Hello, good people of Oppo. I come bearing some of the fruits of the last 15 years. As my first post, I thought I’d just skim over some of the highs and lows from the many different vehicles I’ve owned.

Me and Ms. HoneyBadger

Yup, that’s me and the missus ‘round about 2008. No, we’re not Wild West nuts. This just happened to be the largest resolution picture I could find with my face on it that was fit to print. Today we’re climbing in that infamous silver Delorean and taking a trip into the past. How many cars do you think the average enthusiast goes through in his lifetime? I don’t know either, but I’ve been through more than I can remember. Most of these entries (ok, practically all of them) are what any normal person would consider to be disposable. But to me, each one had its own character. They may have been unreliable, ugly, slow, or just plain worn out but I treasure the memories just the same. So without further ado, let’s have a look back at a few of the good ones as well as the ones I should have ran screaming away from.

1997 Ford F150

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An ex-daily driver. This truck was purchased off a dealer lot (one of only two in this list) for $600. It was an ex-government truck in remarkable shape, but the 4.2 V6 was wrapped in a tarp on the back of the bed. It seems the previous owner ignored the red line on the tachometer and broke the connecting rod in three places. He also cracked the number 3 piston and lost the oil pan. No problem! One used piston and rod, a 3.8L Windstar oil pan and pump, some serious cross member grinding for said pan, and away we go. It was reliable as an anvil except for the main wiring harness trying to set itself on fire, until I broke the transmission case getting it unstuck.

2002 Dodge Ram 1500

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This is one I wasn’t too sorry to see go. An incredible appetite for 89 octane, massive curb weight, underpowered despite its 5.9L Magnum engine, a chronic overheating problem and a plummeting resale value left a sour taste behind. The recurring driveline repairs caused by some lead footed off road driving didn’t help either. It mostly saw use pulling home other project cars and scaring small children with its leaky dual exhaust. At $8500, this was the most expensive used vehicle I ever bought. Adios, big Dodge. You’re somebody else’s problem now.

2000 Chrysler Cirrus

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Why I bought this tin can I’ll never know. A little 2.4L inline four and a tired slushbox transmission made this car about as entertaining as a shot of novocaine. Another ex-government car, it was a 2800 dollar ding to the wallet that now sees use as an off road buggy. It’s comfy with the a/c and good stereo, but somewhat vulnerable to rocks and stumps.

1994 Chevrolet 1500

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Ah, many memories behind the dash of this green gas guzzler. This low mileage short wheelbase chevy saw a lot of use as my first real 4x4. This truck was up on two wheels in gravel pits and beaches, ploughing snow and sand until the frame bent, and bouncing exhaust pulses off the northern forest through old logging trails. The Goodwrench 350, 700R4 automatic, glasspack exhaust and four mud tires made for some entertaining weekends. It ate all four u joints on a regular basis, had an even bigger appetite for fuel then the dodge, and bounced along our gravel roads with the aplomb of a Russian chiropractor but is still sorely missed after its untimely demise. The tailshaft on the transfer case disintegrated, dropping the driveshaft into the asphalt. The truck somehow stayed in one piece and my father bought and sold the truck shortly after.

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1978 (I think?) Chevy ¾ Ton

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I vaguely remember this little 2wd longbox chevy from when I could hardly touch the pedals. My Dad had purchased it, and then given it to me for a short period of time. I’ve never driven it nor do I recall what happened to it, but I can still picture that polished Edelbrock air cleaner under that hood that whispered songs of speed to me.

1995 Ford Mustang

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One of my favourite cars and the only other one purchased at a dealership, this green monster was a graduation present from my father (well, sort of-$300 a month until I paid off the $6900 loan). The roller cam 5.0L and tremec 5 speed gave the 3.08 posi a real workout. I powershifted that poor ford through countless burnouts, drifted it across numerous parking lots, and pegged the rev limiter until the valve springs begged for mercy. The only modification to this pony was a muffler delete to the 2 ½” stainless dual exhaust which then sounded more like a P51 Mustang at full throttle. I found out what 140mph felt like, perfected a good heel-and-toe downshift, and felt like Mad Max on the run. It went through a set of rear tires at least once between oil changes and provided many hours of Hazzard County antics along the empty county roads. In short, I did everything I wasn’t supposed to and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. Selling it was the biggest mistake I ever made, and I let my Dad sell it for me-I couldn’t watch someone else drive away with my pride and joy.

1980 Ford F150

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You can’t beat a bulletproof truck bought for 25 cents a pound (less than the scrap value !) A 300 six and a four speed manual made for cheap reliable motoring. I drove this truck while courting my wife, and had one memorable off road excursion when we missed a corner in a snowstorm along a twisting logging road. We ended up some 300 feet past the apex, buried up to the hood in snow and brush. Good ol’ Dad came to the rescue with several hundred feet of chain and his trusty diesel truck to pull me out. Also, I have no idea why I painted it 3 different colors.

1986 Ford Mustang

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Another short lived project, this was. Bought as a roller, it received a 302/C4 swap from a fullsize Ford of some sort. It never ran right, and was shortly thereafter sent on to a new owner. I appear to be shovelling dirt in this picture, and I’m quite aware of how it looks.

1991 Chevrolet Cavalier

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The General Lee flies again! Well, sort of. This poor cavalier received the worst treatment of all of my trusty steeds. It started out white, then got a strange blue stripe around the truck and rear quarters, and finally was coated in a bright orange coat applied between high school classes that would have made even Jesse Duke proud. It also had a custom dual exhaust (courtesy acetylene torch) behind the 3.1L V6, which had a really unique sound at idle thanks to a bad misfire at low rpm. I learned how to do high speed handbrake turns in her, as well as fording water and finding out the hard way that frozen trails along the lake can do serious damage to an oil pan. This was also my first convertible courtesy a circular saw and axe at the end of its life.

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1988 Ford Mustang

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Another orange clunker, this was my first sort-of fun car. It came to me with one dropped valve in its 2.3L four, a big dent in one rear quarter and not much else. But for $400, it was awesome. Instead of going the sane route and finding a nice 351 Windsor, we rebuilt the little four in the dirt, pounded the dent out with an axe and some bondo, and blasted a layer of $12 rust paint over it. Some 14” chrome wheels and BF Goodrich tires finished it off, and I was the proud owner of an orange mustang that could barely top 70mph or spin the tires at all. Still, I was a little said to see it go after all the hard work that went in it.

1992 Chevrolet Beretta & 1983 Lincoln Town Car

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This ship sailed many years ago, but is oddly enough the Lincoln is the one car I miss most. Purchased at an auction for $200, I had so much driving this land locked yacht that I sorely regret selling it for $600, even though it was a nice profit. It had full power seats, climate control, and a wheezing 302. The el cheapo chrome hubcaps and a little 10” steering wheel were the only additions, and I spent many a happy mile floating over the bumps. It had its share of pratfalls, including breaking the downshift linkage on a trip to a remote lake. The car would shift down into first if I took my foot off the gas, so we made the return in record time with my foot firmly on the floor. Good thing it could only reach around 85mph on the gravel roads. I learned how to hydroplane over large puddles in this car and also found out that tall, narrow tires make excellent rudders. This is the only picture I have of it, and that’s only because I took a picture of this other nasty automobile.

A white elephant that I couldn’t wait to get rid of was this beretta. It had a 3.1L V6 out of a 1996 Pontiac Grand Am, and the engine computer never quite figured out what to do with it. It was sort of fun rowing the gears, but constant problems dampened the fun and nearly electrocuting myself with the ignition didn’t help either. Just for the record, don’t use metal pliers to pull off the spark plug boots.

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1987 Chrysler Laser Turbo

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This was the first car that I drove on the road. It had a little 2.2L turbo four and a cable shifted 5 speed transmission, and I was so proud of my 7 psi of boost. There was no greater thrill then spinning the tires through the first three gears and watching the boost gauge spool up. Fast and Furious, eat your heart out. Alas, the previous owner had neglected to reinstall all the motor mount bolts, a fact we only discovered after the car went through four driver’s side cv axles. It was traded for the beretta after it couldn’t pass an inspection, but I will always miss my first and only turbo car.

1981 Datsun

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My very first car! I was 13 years old when an uncle gave me this tired old Datsun pickup after its windshield was kicked out. This truck was rusted beyond belief, but with a somewhat leaky dual port intake and twin plug ignition on the 2.2L engine it provided untold hours of gear banging fun through ditches and swamps. It was gradually stripped down to little more than a frame and an engine, and I fondly recall slaloming through fence posts and clocking lap times around our 160 acre section of land.

1974 Honda CB550

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11,000 rpm never sounded so good. Some wiring issues, a leaky carb, and a lack of fine motor skills keep my $300 investment in the garage. I’ve never even had it past third gear. I can’t bear to post a picture of its current state, so instead you can look at what I want it to be.

1981 Pontiac Firebird

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My only Pontiac at the moment is this underpowered beast. The 305 hardly musters up the torque to spin the 295/50s, but I love it to death anyway. Who cares about the time slip when you’re rattling windows down Main Street with the T-tops off and the wind in your hair. This picture is many years old, since I can’t for the life of me find the folder where my more recent pictures went. And it’s parked in a dark shed at the moment.

1971 Ford Mustang

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In case you haven’t noticed, I really like Mustangs. This car I’ve owned for nearly 11 years, and it’s finally on the road. It’s not much faster than the firebird with it’s 302/C6/9”, but that straight-piped over-cammed rumble does it for me every time. Leopard print dash, big monster tach, slapper bars, coilovers, hood pins, and staggered slot mags time warp this beast right out of the 1970’s. It looks like it eats small children, screams like a banshee on Red Bull, and plasters a big stupid grin on my face.