Wednesday, November 5, 2014

These are the Corollas I have loved

It was a big day for my oldest son with a rather unexpected turn of events.
He bought his first car.
It is not a fast car, a flashy car or even a two door, but it is in decent shape and it is all his.
It was also the automotive deal of the century: he paid $30 for it. It came with new winter tires that are worth around $600, so he did very well.
There is nothing quite like the feeling of getting your first set of wheels. The sense of accomplishment and the freedom only having your own ride can provide are wondrous.
I was 16 when I got my first car. It was a 1974 Toyota Corolla with a 1,200 CC engine and a four-speed transmission.
It was slower than a molasses fart, but it got great gas mileage and when you are 16 and always on the verge of being penniless, that is a good thing.
Of course, I wanted a hot rod with a big engine that would go 200 mp/h, but had I possessed such a vehicle there is a very good chance I would not be here today.
I would likely have ended up a statistic, a headline in the local newspaper about another lost youth. I did not appreciate it at the time, but considering how much of an idiot I was behind the wheel, that little red Toyo was the perfect car for me.
I put 48,000 kilometres on that car in 18 months and every one of them was a hard kilometre.
My friends and I were rather - how shall I put this – enthusiastic when it came to driving. I was in two accidents, had enough speeding tickets to wallpaper my room and more close calls than can possibly be remembered.
Did I mention my friends and I were idiots behind the wheel? I hope so, because we were. The amazing part is, no one got seriously hurt. The accidents were minor fender benders and not even a scratch was had by anyone.
I then bought my beloved 1969 Nova that I fixed from a rust bucket to a three-tone blue beauty. I drove that car in a much more responsible manner, but the lure of driving like and idiot was far from banished from my mind.
So, when I found an ugly, orange Corolla station wagon for $500 I jumped on it. The purpose of owning this car was to have something to beat on. I could have cared less if the motor blew up or it sustained damage, which explains why I jumped a set of train tracks and a ditch with it. I reserved my energetic driving mostly for off-road, where they was less chance of seeing members of the local police community and much less of a chance of hitting another car.
I drove that car for several months before selling it to a buddy of mine for the same price as I paid for it. He knew what the car had been through as he was in the passenger seat for many of the off-road adventures.
He had it for only a couple of months before he rolled it and sold it to an auto wrecker for $50.
I have owned several vehicles since that ugly orange Corolla wagon and ironically enough I found myself behind the wheel of another red Corolla for the past few years.
But unlike my first red bomber, this car is driven in accordance with the law – mostly anyway. It is my commuter car and it trudges back and forth to work five days week.
Like my other Corollas, it just runs and runs and runs. It is getting on in mileage and will soon be traded off for another vehicle.
It does not have the memories of my first car, but what can compare to your first.

Copyright 2014 Darren Handschuh

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