Participation Required: Best and Worst Car Stories

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42 Responses

  1. PP Vet says:

    Cars are so well made now it is scary. They are relative miracles of engineering. Over 100 years of gradually refining and improving everything about them. I have a car with over 160K miles, never tuned up. A fuel pump, and AC compressor, that’s it. It’s a BMW.

  2. PP Vet says:

    Just to be clear, by “BMW” I mean “Big Mormon Wagon” (15 psgr van).

    Cars have one purpose: To get me and mine from Point A to Point B. Period.

    If I had a wheel alignment rig in my garage, I would almost never have to pay anyone to work on my cars.

    The Holy Spirit cares about what we drive. He will lead us in that area of our life as in every other area. Thank you God!

    My kids like to total cars.

    Driving is very very very dangerous. Only drive when absolutely necessary. Really, I mean it.

    Wife just called – 100 yards from home with a flat. Will wheel the compressor out there and bring it home. Be right back.

  3. Hi Reuben!
    Having owned a number of cars & vans all these years including a Rambler, a Pinto and a Pacer station wagon, the absolute worst was my wife’s Mercedes 300 diesel, stinky, noisy, it sounded like a tractor but it DID have the best AC and a huge moonroof that opened as wide as most of the top of the car.

    She has since settled into having to own convertibles, and has a Toyota Solara which is as tricked out and well engineered as she could ever want, and when the wife is happy everyone’s happy.

    My best has been my current car, a Honda Element, perfect for hauling gear for audio & music gigs, helping friends and family move, a literal box on wheels. It’s always fun to let someone figure out how to open the suicide doors!

    So now you know who has the style and taste in the family and who is utilitarian and quirky.

  4. erunner says:

    Several years ago we bought a 1995 Toyota Camry for $500. They were told it needed a new engine so I decided to buy it as I put very few miles on a car and a cheap investment was right up our alley.

    My neighbor of 26 years is a mechanic. He’s the guy that everyone in the neighborhood comes to because he’s honest and charges way too little for the work he does. He asked if he could have a look at the car. The mechanic who pronounced the car was deceased noted that oil had gotten into the radiator and had ruined the engine. I still have his bill somewhere that came with the car.

    Well my neighbor simply drained the oil and the water replaced a few parts while he was at it and we had a modern day Lazarus on our hands! He wouldn’t accept a penny from me for parts or labor and we still have the car. It has about 230, 000 miles on it.

    Maybe four years ago I got a call asking about my car from a group that runs tests for the state. They get one car of a certain year, make, and model. I gave them my information and they said they were sorry but they already had a car matching ours.

    The next Monday they called back and for a reason I now forget they said they could use my car. While they had the car they would fix any issues it had. It would take about ten days. During that time I received a free rental of a brand new car along with free gas. Upon returning my car to me they also gave us a check for $500.00!!

    I had an old Toyota Corolla that was stolen from in front of our home. There are many car thefts in our neighborhood as we are a quarter mile from the freeway I suspect. Anyway a bad habit of mine paid off. I had let the gas level get down to almost fumes and they ran out of gas and the police found the car in a small neighborhood park across the boulevard. They left a dirty diaper in it but otherwise no damage was done. I love Toyota’s!! πŸ™‚

  5. covered says:

    erunner, that was an awesome post! Your story would make for a great Toyota commercial!

  6. Nonnie says:

    2 car stories:
    (1) When we got married, we had nothing. My dad gave us an old 1960 English Ford. It was beat up and barely running, but it was free. **Oh, and I should mention that the front passenger seat was missing. So when we drove anywhere, I sat in the back seat as my groom sat in the driver’s seat. The car broke down 2 weeks after our wedding so we walked for then next few months until we could save for a down payment on a little VW bug.

    (2) When we lived in the Philippines, it was common for one missionary who was leaving the field to give away or sell (very cheap!) their belongings. We returned after a year’s furlough, basically having to start all over again. We had nothing, no car, no furniture…nothing. A couple was leaving country and had an old clunker they basically gave to us. As my husband was driving down the hill he heard a huge “clunk” and then dragging noise and the car died. Turns out the gas tank just “fell off.” Being the good missionary he was, he dutifully crawled under the car and “wired” it back up, and off he went. The next day he purchased the proper metal bands to hold the gas tank in place. That car got us around for quite a while!

  7. Nonnie says:

    Erunner! Great story!!! 2 of my kids drive Camry’s.I hope they get the same miles out of them!

  8. rick says:

    The worst car I ever owned was an American Motors Sport About wagon. It had to be towed back to the dealership the same day I bought it. It took the fine mechanics a day to figure out that the gas gage was stuck on half full mark. Then the radio would only go half across the dial. It took two attempts to fix it before they decided to replace it. It would bottom out just going down an interstate. It would turn off while driving 60 miles an hour. They never could figure that one out. Finally, one day I opened the driver side door and it fell off. That’s the truth. I went to the dealership and tried to sell it back to them and the manager of used cars refused to even make an offer to by it back. I finally sold it to a used car dealer and I noticed that about 6 months later the business was closed. I think that car caused that to happen. This is was car from hell.
    Today I own a Rav 4 2005 that’s has 140,000 miles on it and runs like a charm. It used to be my go to work car and I used it at work in all kinds of conditions, today it is our do whatever car. My wife use to drive Honda Accords that we passed on to our children when she bought another one. I love Toyota and will buy another one some time after 200,000 miles on this one.

  9. Kevin H says:

    Jumping in here on the Toyota bandwagon that has started to form. I currently have a 2004 Camry that I bought new. Over 9 years and 120,000 miles later the only thing I have needed to get fixed on it was a minor repair to the A/C. I’m hoping to keep it at least another 9 years and 120,000 miles.

  10. The Dude says:

    The best car I ever drove was the Chevy lmpala.Easy to maintain and eletroglide on the highway.

  11. Reuben says:

    Somebody did not get the memo on “Participation Requited”!

    Actually, I knew if I said that, there would be a whole bunch of people who would intentionally avoid the topics like the plague. πŸ˜‰

  12. Reuben says:

    LOL, missed the spelling on that one!

  13. filbertz says:

    worst car ever–my wife will attest to this–our ’72 VW Karmann Ghia. Heater didn’t work (at all) so we had to scrape the frost from INSIDE the windows in the winter. Further, it had a carburator issue that resulted in it sticking at high rpms when the driver pushed in the clutch to stop at traffic lights. We’d then have to hop out, open the trunk-hood, and flip over a mechanism to get it to stop revving. My wife drove it to work and in the winter it was the pits to have to stop frequently and have to tend to the screaming engine while the wind whipped her wrap-around skirt (uniform) up. We were broke college students and couldn’t afford a mechanic’s bill. Later learned it was likely a broken .25 cent pin. Traded it in on a Nissan when I got a job.

    best car…probably our current Jetta TDI–drives great, trouble free, 45+ mpg on the freeway, and great stereo.

    worst cars make the better stories… πŸ˜‰

  14. filbertz says:

    My kids would argue that our best rig was our 15 passenger Dodge van. They would sit in the far-back seat and when I went over the speed bumps, they would bounce up and hit their heads on the roof. I remember doing brodies with it in the parking lot once with my son’s soccer team in it…they were sworn to secrecy about it. My son eluded the police in it when he was 17 or so…Another son who drives Stykers in the Army attributes his skills to learning to drive in that big ol’ van.

  15. Glen says:

    I never had a car I didn’t like. The lower tech the more fun………
    In order: 60 Rambler American, 63 Rambler Classic, 65 windowed Ford Econoline van (purchased at phone company auction),70 Plymouth Valiant, 67 Dodge Dart,
    79 Mercedes 230 (gray market), and my current old person’s car – 99 Mercury Gran Marquis.

    That 1960 Rambler American was fun to drive and fun to work on. Compact, but not too small. Simple, very simple. It had a flathead six rated at 90 up. Vacuum operated windshield wipers – lots of fun climbing Kellogg hill on I-10. It had heavy duty chrome plated bumpers that didn’t give at all and a non padded metal dash board. The radio had two round knobs – on/off , volume and the tuning knob…….no presets………..you had to wait a minute or two for the tubes in the radio to warm up…….really.
    It had a wonderful “WeatherEye” heater,too, but no a/c, just old fashioned vents and wind wings.

    A manual three on the tree transmission with overdrive and 15 inch wheels got me 25 mpg back when gas was as cheap as 25 cents a gallon during a gas war. Oh yeah, pull up on the door handle to open and pull down to lock the door – no buttons. It didn’t come with seat belts, so my dad ordered some from Sears catalog, drilled holes in the floor, and installed them himself. There was no carpeting on the floor, just rubber………..

    My folks had the car for three years, my grandparents had it for three and then I got. We did that with several cars. It was primitive by today’s standards, but a fun car.
    Thanks Reuben for making this a Participation Required thread.

  16. Alex says:

    Best car I had, I got too young.

    Sold my baseball card collection and bought a Ford Mach I mustang from a local auto repair shop owner, Joe, from Autoland. It had a 351 Cleveland engine and the guy had converted it to a 4 speed automatic tranny (trannie? the car tranny not the chick with an Adam’s apple πŸ™‚ It was a thing of beauty. Red with black stripe, big Cooper muscle car tires and chrome wheels. Custom black hard top (not standard I was told). It was a sledge hammer.

    Unfortunately, I was very young, very stupid and my step-dad was cheap and stupid as well. No full coverage auto insurance, just liability…and I got in a near head-on collision with a Chevy Impala. Both cars totaled. We signed over the car to the tow yard (which was really stupid, the tires, wheels and interior and other parts etc were worth money, but I was a young naive teen and my step-dad an idiot, so I lost not only the car, but all the stuff I could have salvaged and sold off).

    Still remember the wreck like it was yesterday. We were southbound on Demaree, on our way to Sequoia Athletic Club. My bro was in the passenger seat. We were turning left (east) onto Whitendale. It was an uncontrolled intersection (no turn arrow at the time), the light turned yellow as I was pulling into the intersection, there was still oncoming traffic, figured they’d stop, thought they were far enough away that they had to stop for the light, one guy disagreed, he sped up to make the light, I had already started to complete my turn…it all happened so fast, had no time to avoid a collision when I realized he wasn’t stopping. We hit opposite front corners. It was a gnarly sound.

    My bro was knocked unconscious, I thought he was dead. I was bleeding pretty good from the face (hit the steering wheel pretty good, nose was tweaked). I pulled my bro from the car, he came to later (to my relief). His head hit the dash and knocked him out.

    The other guy ate his steering wheel and had some oral/dental damage. He was the announcer for the local minor league baseball team, so that wasn’t good.

    That’s my sucky car story. It was a great car, had it very briefly. Had it too young. Lost a great car and all the money I put into it in a blink of an eye. Wish I had wrecked it in a more sexy way, like in a drag race for pinks. Oh well, it is what it is, learned some stuff. Just glad my bro wasn’t hurt too bad (glad the other guy wasn’t hurt too bad either).

  17. Alex says:

    Next best car I owned was a blue BMW 330i premium & sport package. It was loaded. Actually, it was my wife’s car πŸ™‚ but she let me drive it sometimes πŸ˜† It had tiptronic (or steptronic?) shift feature that was really cool…allowed you to go manual or automatic. It was a rocket and handled like a race car. The sport suspension stability control system it had was remarkable. The Germans build a great automobile. The downside was it was a ridiculous amount of money to pay for a car and routine maintenance was terribly expensive as well. No wonder BMW’s last forever, you have to put in a zillion dollars in routine maintenance, replacing everything about every 15,000 miles, yikes! The other downside was that my wife got a lot of speeding tickets.

    That was another life, a different set of priorities. I like my Dodge Ram 4×4 pickup now…and will drive it until it dies. Will never buy another fancy car again, my wife is over that phase as well. She likes her 4×4 SUV momma-mobile just fine. The thing is a tank.

    My worst car was a VW Rabbit that was held together by bubble-gum, duct tape and bailing wire. It was a real POS, but learned another lesson and learned how to pick parts at junkyards and how to install stuff like a thermostat and a radiator etc.

  18. Alex says:

    I’ll probably get sued for defamation for calling my step-dad an idiot above.

    Oh wait, truth is an absolute defense.

    Never mind.

  19. Glen,
    My Rambler American was a hoot. I remember the straight 6 and all the space between the body and the engine block. Compare that to today’s vehicles where there is no space at all!

    Alex, those are valuable life lessons!

  20. I had a 1960 Rambler that I inherited in 1965 when my grandmother died. I was 16, it was my first car. It was charcoal grey with push button automatic with fold down front seats. πŸ™‚

  21. Reuben says:

    I figure MLD for a Ford Taurus, or something else totally boring. Babs probably drives a Escalade. With spinners in the shape of crosses.

    Love the stories!

    Alex, my wife has a deep desire for a BMW.

    For a short while, I drove a 54 Hudson Super Jet. It was my Dad’s. Man, was that car cool.

  22. Here are some cars that will make us all drool…
    http://coolerthanbefore.tumblr.com/archive

  23. Reuben says:

    There are some real classics in that list, G.

    I wish I had one of these…

    http://www.bugatti.com/en/veyron.html

  24. DeadManRiding says:

    A cop pulled over on my bicycle and gave me a warning for riding on the wrong side of the street.. More of this and a bicycle will be my worse car.. I want my license back

  25. Reuben,
    Actually, I do drive a Ford Taurus – but my identity is not in the car I drive… like some.

  26. Reuben says:

    Oh, but it is! And I proved it! Win!

  27. Oh Reuben, you are the type of guy who also wears his shirt open with gold chains – you too kool.

  28. I bought the 2004 Taurus in 2008 for $10K. it had 25,000 miles was in perfect shape. I bought an extra 75,000 mile warranty with it and except oil and 1 set of tires, I haven’t put a dime in it.

    Now my wife drives a big GMC Yukon XL

  29. brian says:

    Ok Michael in his wisdom put up this post. I loved the cars I had, well most of them. I have owned many many cars and have had awful luck with most of them. I have been broken down in so many places so many times that I cant count. One of my first cars was an impala back in the 70’s it had duck tape holding one side of the doors closed so you had to get in through the other side or go out the window. I got pulled over by an officer, this really nice older police person who came off like a second father to be honest, The memory still sticks with me and is still a sweet. We actually talked about a great deal more then my car, you know to good advice perspective from someone who has been there and done that. Well he started doing his job writing me the fix it ticket which was continued on the back of the ticket. So I said can I just drive it to that lot and junk it. So thats what we did, I got rid of it that minute he got rid of the ticket saying I had junked the car and I even got some money to take the bus home.

    Then there was the Ford Country Squire, it went from my friend who got it from some other guy who got it from some other guy and so on. I was a big recap fan for tires because they were cheap. Going to the beach down Highway 17 to Santa Cruz I got a left front and right rear tread coming off. That was fun. Good thing I carried several spares, tools, an extra carburetor and so on with me. I also carried the most important fix it tool Duck tape. This wagon was primer black so I painted a big grey arrow on the hood so I would always know which way I was going. That car was great, it was at one time the only running car in my family with ten or so cars out in front of our house. It went to my sister, then she gave it to someone else who gave it to someone else. I found out they found it on some lawn after it was left when someone hit a tree. It was still running.

    I got a Dodge Durango, some of the most holy moments in my life happened in this car. For two-three years I was able to take some of my students all over the place. I mean the memories just overwhelm me with hope. Going to church, out to eat, every week for two years I kept six students with me to do a vocational activity on campus and then we went out to eat. I usually paid for most of this and it was a real cost but the discussions, the observations, the true humanness was a miracle. I mean the folks (students) I took out had never had that opportunity, several of the parents said it was such a blessing and never quite got why I did it. I remember saying to one parent, I like being around Jesus. She gave me a strange look but I think they got my point. to be continued.

  30. Linnea says:

    Great thread, Reuben!
    Most fun car– my parent’s gave me their old 1968 VW bug to use in college. No A/C, but it had a stick shift and a a cheap radio and but I loved it….until someone set it up on blocks in the dorm parking lot and stole all 4 tires and wheels. My parents promptly took it back πŸ™

    When I graduated, I bought a Toyota Tercel and headed out to CA for my first job. I loved that car, drove it to the ocean or San Francisco every weekend and covered it at night to prevent malathion from damaging the paint. It was the medfly-spraying years and every night helicopters with wide booms would pan out over the Silicon Valley, eradicating the fruit killing medfly. The Tercel would have lasted forever, but was totaled in a collision just before it was paid off. I still miss that car.

    Worst car: a used Chevy Yukon that kept failing at all the worst times and places, and yes, a van with fake wood trim and a transmission that nearly felt out of the engine cavity (the transmission place didn’t replace the mounts). That car was never the same after this: My husband had taken that van on a fishing trip with our young kids and on the way back, a semi lost its drive train right in front of him and he ran over it–sparks flew, the undercarriage of the car ripped out, and the gas tank was ripped open. The repair shop tech said it was a miracle the car didn’t flip with the amount of damage it sustained. The Lord protected my family!

    Now, I just drive whatever will get me from here to there safely and with decent mileage.

    Oh, and eRunner– my mom gave our oldest her 1994 Camry and it’s the best car ever.
    I’m a Toyota lover and so’s my son!

  31. brian says:

    The Durango eventually gave it up; it was electrical which the Durango was notorious for. But the Christmas in the park trips, the going out to eat, movies, and so on. To this day each of those students remember what our trips. They ask me can we go out again. I often want to but reality reached me. I had an accident, thank God, the person was not hurt badly and I carry max amount of insurance, I just did not see her. Nevertheless, I realized I could not afford the coverage I was carrying because I wanted to make sure each person is covered if the worst happened. This most likely shows my lack of faith and even apostasy but that is another post. However, back when I worked several jobs to keep the right coverage I was able to take the folks I work with skiing, rafting (try that with 15 folks with disabilities down cat three rapids). Add to that surfing, scuba diving, wind surfing, chasing seagulls on the beach, and so on). Transportation is the one key, being willing to drive, deal with the issues of broken vans, a van being hit by a train, car, and so on and filling out the paper work into the wee hours of the morning and listening to the parents and care providers into the even later wee hours of the morning. Taking the adult student who had never been to a News Year Eve celebration where they got to stay up to actually 12 midnight then having to drive them home and help put them to bed because of staffing. To be the legs, arms, eyes or whatever because that is what Jesus became for us.
    So many memories where transportation was the lynch pin to the opportunity. I still remember the wheel chair lift equipped vans I had access to in the organization I use to belong .I could take the people to almost anywhere and I did. We did this Christmas dinner at two of the churches I attended. The first one was an Open Brethren church the second was a CC spinoff. The first one was my home church for many years, but those people opened their church to the people I love more than my own soul. It took buses and vans to get those folks there and one population was introduced to another population that did not know what to do with the ones they were serving. Translation my old church did not know what to make of autistic developmentally disabled individuals. But they tried, and that is the gospel with feet, they tried. Not clear, not ordained, not apologetically oriented, but human. They tried. I remember that. It started with a van that got those folks there.

    OK I have shared just a few of the many great moments, I do not like doing this as it comes off as oh look at brian and I want attention. I could care less for attention and I do not want God’s rewards if I deserve them, which I do not. I just wanted to share some of the best memories I have lived related to cars / vans.

  32. brian says:

    Sorry Ruben this was your thread my sight keeps failing, a reason I may not be able to drive much longer sorry about that.

  33. Ixtlan says:

    A toss up between my Silverado and Tahoe. I like roomy vehicles that sit up high. Still have both. But then again, there is my Harley-Davidson…. sleek, fast, comfortable and cheap to run.

    I don’t talk about the piece of $#*+ foreign car I used to drive.

  34. I know Nonnie mentioned our car adventures previously but my dad let me use his work car when I was in high school. It was a 1949 4 door Oldmobile, battleship gray sedan with a big visor across the front windshield, and skirts over the back tires. Classy eh? I never told my folks but I actually got 14 of my friends in it one night to drive home from a dance. Thye don’t make em like that anymore…really!

  35. Reuben says:

    MLD, wrong again! LOL!

    We have a 2000 Forester. I own one gold chain and never wear it. I am not Italian, and don’t wear unbuttoned shirts.

    My daily driver is a GMC Savannah 3500 work van. It has 14,000 miles on it now. The only option on it is AC. It belongs to my company.

  36. Reuben says:

    Brian,

    Don’t know what the apology is for. You can say whatever whenever and wherever.

  37. Chile says:

    Reuben, if your wife ever gets a BMW she will love driving just west of where you live. Those mountain roads are a blast in one of those cars!

    I have often had to drive winding two lane roads out in nowheresville in snow, ice, and sometimes blizzards. I would drive the ever efficient Honda Accord, but found I was always between two massive vehicles, i.e. Hummers, 350 trucks, and the various forms of Suburbans and Expeditions. I was sure I was going to be squashed one day with little left to identify my body, so I opted for a large Suburban.

    The Suburban was the most economical motor home, without the frills, I could find. We took some great road trips in it all over the West, used it as a school bus, camped in it, helped more people move than I can count, and hauled many out of ditches. That vehicle has our best family memories in it.

    My old family Rambler is the one car that will go down in history as the best ever made!

    Currently, we possess a Mercedes running on vegetable oil. Suffice it to say that passengers do not always like smelling like fries.

  38. Jtk says:

    Driving home alone from the campus I evangelize (I usually carpooled with fellow ministers), in the 2003 Ford Expedition I got through alot of grace (the seller dropped the price significantly just for me, a monthly financial support partner gave me several thousands of dollars to help buy it), when 2 young women driving next to me started being very flirtatious.

    As a married man and father, I was a little surprised, probably a bit flattered, and then proceeded to “step on it”…and that big ole SUV went fast! They soon caught up, flipped their hair, giggled etc.

    I slowed down; they slowed down.

    I sped up, then had an ingenious idea…as they started to catch up, they saw me picking my nose in the most over-the-top manner, they shrieked and drove away quickly. Ha ha

    It’s dented and all, but I’ve pulled a pastor out of the snow, helped many a person move and hauled all my family around very safely.

    I can’t go back to the little red Mazda that got crunched between 2 big trucks with my toddler son and pregnant wife in it….a horrifying moment.

  39. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Worse car-Saturn, I forget what year it was but it bled my savings dry, the electrical issues on Saturns from that time frame were horrible.

    Best Car-Toyota Camry 1996, awesome car, bought it from an elderly lady for 6,000 cash in 2005 with only 61,000 miles on it. It has been a huge belssing to me and is super reliable and in great shape.

  40. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    I didn’t get caught picking my nose, but when I had my first car at age 19 I was driving by the park when two girls were looking our way so I slowed down and they started to giggle. That’s when I remembered that I had stuffed some tissues up my nose because I was bleeding from the tackle football game that we just had at the park. The tissues were all beat up and hanging from my nose all they way down to my chin.

  41. Lowly and Broken says:

    worst car… hands down: Chevy Citation. had 2 from the car fleet at my FIL’s work. Sucktastic.

    Best… My first favorite car was my folks black VW Beatle that they had when I was born. The first toy was a scale version of it. I also had Tonkas and Hot Wheels. my first real car was a 58 Karman Giah, it was a mess, but I loved it. I taught my grandma to use the clutch when I was about 9 and my papa was in the hospital. My other favorite car was the Subaru RS (yeah, Ruben has great taste in cars) It was 2 door 5 speed and brilliant. I really miss it.

    Dream car that I love, Lotus Exige or Porsche 911 Carrera.

    And yes, I am a gearhead.

  42. Reuben says:

    Gear heads unite! Watch Top Gear?

    The Veyron episode where Captain Slow breaks the speed record is my favorite. Richard’s love for Porsche pulls the whole show together.

    I was born in 74, so I want a 74 911.

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