I've been working on a car web site with some Canadian friends recently. It reminded me of all the cars I've owned over the years; there have been 15 in total. Not a lot by some measure, but all were memorable.
The first was the most important. In 1971 I was fixated with the Triumph TR6. I worked all year pumping gas on weekends, delivering for Chicken Bayview and working in my Father's factory in the summer. By June 24th I realized I would never have enough money to buy the car in the Fall. It had to be new as there were no used ones around and I was going to be over $1,000 short. I announced to my parents this sad reality and that I was going to take what money I had and go back to Mexico for the rest of the summer, as I had been there the year before on a road trip with 'Grit', my high school quarterback and best pal. Parents not happy. After some whispered meetings they announced they would give me the thousand bucks and insurance money, if I promised to work out the summer and not head back to Mexico.
The next night, Friday, Dad and I headed for Ashley Motors on O'Conner Road. They only had two; a Sienna Brown and a Navy Blue side by side on the lot. I pondered until my Father yelled from the dealers doorway that he was missing his dinner. I chose the brown. After driving it home I left the lights on and drained the battery. Ominous start.
That began a four year love/hate with a car. It looked great, sounded fabulous and broke down at every opportunity. Over the four years the engine seized once, two clutches fell out, front brakes seized, electrics crashed, u-joints went by the dozen, the exhaust system would just fall off weekly. Once, the "racing" gas cap came loose and I unknowingly wound up with 10+ gallons of gas floating in the trunk for weeks.
But I truly loved that car. Three years in, I had it completely re-built for $2,000 as rust had appeared in every seam. In 1975 I had my first job at Claude Neon and it was 'suggested' I sell it and get a proper, quieter car. Today, I have my copy of the TR's bill of sale framed on the wall in front of me. June 25th, 1971. $3,500 with $175 Provincial tax and $50 dealer prep. AM radio standard, no options. $3,725 total. Almost every car since has been 1,000 % better but that's the one that mattered most.