Potential: Revealed

Strategic Thinking, Innovative Ideas, Growth Marketing, and Revealing of Potential

Car nostalgia

The definition of nostalgia is “a fond longing for the past”. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently there was an article named Cars We Love To Hate. Now, the words “fond” and “longing” as part of the definition for nostalgia might be a stretch but I did feel quite nostalgic when reading this article.

Perhaps because of the seven cars featured, I drove three of them as a teenager and as a college student: the Chevy Vega, the Chevy Corvair, and the AMC Pacer.

Notwithstanding that the first car my Dad let me drive was made infamous by Ralph Nader’s “Unsafe at Any Speed” screed, these cars did exactly what was needed: get me from point A to B, cheaply and with pretty decent reliability. The fact that I became a bondo “artist” with all of these cars (partly due to Michigan weather and road salt, partly due to cheap nature of these cars) also doesn’t ruin my recollection. I probably see these cars (plus my mom’s lovely AMC Hornet, my sisters’ AMC Rambler and Ford Fairlane — a great car!) as part of my character and shapers of my life philosophy:

Be happy with what you have (for others have worse or nothing at all), take care of that which you’ve been given, and if want something better then work hard, save and persevere until you reach your goals.

Did I say these things to my mom and dad back in the late 1970 and early 1980’s when I drove these jalopies? Doubtful. But through the lens of time — and the fact that my youth was “celebrated” in the AJC article, certainly served to improve my memories.

How about you? Any stories to share?


  Alan wrote @

The Dodge Dart should be included on the list of “cars we love to hate”. I bought one when I was 16 and drove it for over 10 years. My Dart was a beauty but she had several quirks. One quirk was winter starting (some call this the “cold start”). One a cold winter day, after numerous turns of the starter, the screwdriver trick had to be employed. This trick involved shoving a flat head into the carburetor to open up the shutter valve (allowing more air to get in). The results were usually good with one exception. When it did start using this trick, flames shot up about 3 feet, often hitting the hood. Luckily I never had a fire from using this fix (I did have one fire though, from a bolt lodged against the battery)

The other quirk was torsion bar breakage. One day while driving, the left front end just decided to drop down about 2 feet. Now as I drove every bump I hit caused that side of the car to bounce up and down like a low rider. Come to find out this bouncing was caused by a broken torsion bar that had to be welded back into place. I had the work done twice on the right and again on the left in the ten years of ownership. When the right side broke for the first time, the mechanic at the repair shop said “I am an expert on Dodge Dart torsion bar welding, I do about 15 or so a year”. Just another part of owning a “cool car”.

My Dart was many things to many people; a taxi for my little sister, a drive in movie hauler (the trunk could hold 3 small and 2 large high schoolers), a Friday night street cruiser, and transportation to and from work/school, but above all it was a “cool car”.

  Randy wrote @

The Dart was indeed a “cool” car! My spouse had the cousin to the Dart, the Duster, when we first met (when I was the proud owner of the Vega mentioned in my original post above).

And we kept it for a while even after we were married … poor in money, rich in “car coolness” was the trade off I suppose. The engine compartment was absolutely huge — despite a pretty big 1970’s vintage Dodge monster sized engine, you could stand inside the engine compartment under the hood and work on the car!

  adamgrizzly wrote @

For me it was the late 70s early 80s vintage Honda Civic. Hatchback was my version. Very small, not cool or able to attract girls and it was loud after putting many 100s of thousands of miles on it. But amazingly reliable. Per mile seems like it might have been the cheapest car you could ever own. I’m glad I’ve grown up, prospered and can now drive a car that is far less reliable, costs way to much to get repaired and serviced (thanks to German overengineering I would guess) but is beautiful and gets you admired for driving it.


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