Gary Numan's Cars, 1979
I’ve been a New Yorker for so many years now, I forget what it’s like to own a car. Unfortunately, I have never had the vehicle of my dreams, but there is still time! I’m not sure why, but I’ve always been a car aficionado, even as a kid. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that my Grandmother drove a Fiat. She also had an Alfa Romeo and a 300 ZX, among others. I thought she was awesome.
1963, Jaguar XKE
When my parents first got married, they both had Jaguar XKEs – my dad a black one and my mom a blue one. After my sister was born, they got rid of them in exchange for a more practical, family car. No, they didn’t go for the minivan -- this was back in the days of the station wagon. Remember those? Yeah, I tried to forget also. Our station wagon didn’t have the wood paneled doors, but it did have carpeting in the back thanks to my dad! My sister and I used to lounge back there on long road trips and play “I Spy.”
Seventies station wagon - this looks just like ours!
I don’t think my dad ever got past the loss of his Jag. He bought a couple of “fixer-uppers” over the years -- a Sunbeam Alpine and an Austin Healey, if I recall correctly. I was kind of a tomboy at the time and I really enjoyed helping him with his projects and learning a bit about carburetors and catalytic converters!
vintage Sunbeam Alpine
vintage Austin Healey
My sister got a cute little (and I do mean LITTLE) MG Midget when she turned 16. It was used and it was cheap, but it was red and it was technically, a sports car! I was jealous. I used to feel so cool riding to school with her even though the car was so tiny and low to the ground, we could feel every pebble on the road. It was actually kind of scary, but we would never have admitted that. And, it was freezing in the winter time with its flimsy soft top/roof.
One day, the midget died (or “little car” as I like to call it – more PC, ya know) and my sister upgraded to an old Porsche 914. The car was chrome yellow (she was going through a “yellow phase” at the time). Again, I was jealous. Again, the car was used and cheap. But after all, it was a PORSCHE!
Finally, it was my turn to drive! I imagined all of my favorite cars and which one I would choose. I scanned the newspaper and circled used DeLoreans – I was obsessed with the gull wings at the time. I went to used car lots with my dad and looked at several sports cars and pictured myself behind the wheel. I was so excited!
So, what did I end up with? A 1979, Volkswagen Rabbit. Silver. Four-speed stick shift with bad shocks. Not at all what I imagined. But, that’s not why I crashed it into a telephone pole after only 6 months. Nope, that’s because I was being incredibly careless. Thank God I got incredibly lucky and walked (or limped) away from the wreckage.
1979, VW Rabbit
After that scary incident, I think my parents felt sorry for me! I had always wanted an Opel GT and we found and old rusty one that my dad got as another "fixer-upper." It is a pretty rare car and as I found out, it’s impossible to find parts. This was before the age of the Internet and we had to rely on car publications for information. I remember calling Germany week after week for some sort of headlight cable.
vintage Opel GT
Anyway, I loved this car. Sadly, it never left our garage. I spent all summer on my back – on a mechanic’s creeper, fixing an oil leak! I invested hours upon hours to scraping rust, filling holes with body putty and sanding. We finally called it quits because we just weren’t able to get the parts the car needed in order to actually RUN! Brokenhearted, I had to say good-bye to my Opel. I ended up with a Subaru. It was RED.
me and my Subaru in 1990