As apparently one of the older Oppos here, I have had quite a few cars, and my timeline seems to start earlier than most I’ve looked at... (listed in order of purchase)
1985-1987 - Pontiac Grand Prix SJ
T-Tops, Black Leather buckets and an integrated 8-track/CB in the dash to go with the 400cid under the hood. I would still have this car if my father hadn’t sold it on me when I went to college because it was “taking up space in his garage”. Yes, this is a scan of a slide photo I took of it back in 1986.
1988-1989 - Toyota Celica GT
Just like this one, though this one isn’t mine. Mine ended up with the front end kind of crushed in after a winter collision. This was my first manual car.
1989-1989 - Subaru GL
Once again, this isn’t my car, but mine looked just like this one. I was young and dumb, got married and when my wife quit her job with a kid on the way I could no longer afford to pay for this, so it got repossessed. This is truly the root of the WRX. Manual transmission and the manual 4WD lever made this really fun and often surprised others from light to light.
1990-1992 - Chevrolet Malibu Classic
Another one of the “not quite my car in the photo” but this one is close. Mine was an anonymous tan color. It has a small block V8 with no power and rear windows that didn’t roll down. I took it with me to Army training where the rear windows came into play as a buddy couldn’t hold his liquor, but let it all go on the door panel. I told my dad to sell it when I went to Germany for two years.
1994-1994 - Cadillac Coupe DeVille
Though my car had the wire wheel hubcaps, this looks a lot like it. I only had this car for about a month. I bought it in Houston when I came back to the states and on the drive to Chicago, it blew the radiator, in January. When that got replaced the transmission went out. Then driving from Chicago to Maryland it threw a rod in Elkhart, IN. I liked this thing, but in the end it needed too much.
1994-1994 - Buick Skylark Wagon
Photo Not Available
I couldn’t find a photo even close to what this was. Since I traded the Caddy in for it as a roadside dealership in Indiana it was a rusty mess, but it was big and it ran. There was a Rocket 350 under the hood that started and ran in the worst of conditions. That was the best part of the car. The rest was terrible. I could only stop by planning well in advance or running it into snowbanks. I didn’t bother keeping this one long and it went to a scrapyard for $50.
1994-1995 - Chevrolet Malibu Wagon
Mine was two tone grey, but otherwise the same. I bought it from an auto auction in PA for $175. The V6 under the hood had been replaced, with all of the vacuum hoses disconnected and plugged off and it had a tailgate full of cigarette butts. I put brakes and tires on it and left the back seat down to hold my mountain bike most of the time. My wife hated this car, but ended up having to drive it for a while when she blew out her left knee. This was my last automatic transmission car.
1995-1998 Honda Accord DX
I put aftermarket wheels on mine and tinted the windows, otherwise this is spot on. It had been bought in Alaska by its first owner, so it had no AC and a block heater. The big selling point for me was the manual transmission. This was a good car, if unexciting, until I ran it into the back of a pickup truck trying to avoid getting flattened by a semi truck.
1998-2004 - Datsun 280zx
I loved this car. It wasn’t the fastest thing going, but it looked good and was probably one of the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned. At the end of my ownership it would often sit for months in the garage and start right up whenever I wanted to take it out. The wife hated this one too, “It’s too low and I can’t see anything!”
2000-2012 - Datsun 510 wagon
This car defined me for a long time. I bought it since the 280 wasn’t ideal for running around with three kids in the car, and I refused to drive something normal or have a car payment. The wife had car payments, I had cars. I basically re-built this from the ground up. All of the wiring I re-did by hand, including the fuse box. All of the mechanicals got upgraded or repaired. It was a hell of a lot of fun, and in the end had dual side draft carbs, dog-leg 5-speed, and a Nismo long tube header that would set off car alarms. It died a sad death on the back of a Chevy pickup whose driver was too interested in his phone to check his mirrors.
2004-2012 Nissan 240sx
This one was a real workhorse. I bought it to replace the 280zx (though I should have kept that one longer). It was fun for a while, but eventually it got tiring to drive. In the end I took out the power steering, the air conditioning, and other things, all because they were busted and cost too much to fix properly. I bought this car for $600 and sold it for the same eight years later.
2008-2012 - Datsun 510 wagon
This one should look familiar, but it’s not the same car as the first 510. I actually owned two of these at the same time. Once the first one got crunched it lived in my garage and became a parts car while this one got the accumulated wisdom of my year of work and ownership of the first one. Eventually it dropped an intake valve when I didn’t have the money to have the head rebuilt so it sat for a while. It got sold as part of a package deal with the other wagon and a garage full of Datsun parts. I used the money to buy a camera.
2012-2014 - Subaru WRX Wagon
I bought this when I got hired on at my current job as a replacement for the 240sx. This car was my baby. It had all the room of a wagon, excellent speed and quickness and was super clean when I got it. I was out one Sunday afternoon with a friend when a lady in a VW Jetta decided to not hit her brakes while I was stopped at a red light. My beautiful WRX got turned into an accordion. The back end was bent so badly that it popped all of the interior panels loose, wedged the spare tire in the well so it couldn’t be removed and none of the rear doors would close properly again.
2014-2016 Ford Focus hatchback
I bought this car as a kind of compromise. It was new, fuel efficient, and a manual transmission. I got a good deal on it because it had been on the dealer lot for a while as no-one wanted the manual, even though the dual clutch automatics sold in these cars was known to be problematic. Ultimately though this car just couldn’t hold my interest.
2016-current Ford Mustang ecoboost
My autocross monster. My weekend racer. My daily driven race car...