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#291051 - 06/10/09 03:03 PM My Car-Just A Little Bit of Happiness
Clockwise Offline

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Pennsylvania
I sat in my old car for almost a half hour today. It doesn't run because it has a blown head gasket (at least that's what we were told). I just sat in it remembering some things. It's a 95 Pontiac Grand Am Gt. Bright red. It's not new or flashy or modern. It's got those old cotton/poly blend material seats and cheap black plastic on the inside. No cd player, just a cassette deck and an am/fm tuner. No iPod connector, no DVD screens or backup camera. Just power windows, locks, steering and anti-lock brakes.

So I sat there for a while just looking around at all the gages and buttons. The buttons to roll down the windows still in the center consol instead of on the door (never quite got used to that). Top speed 120mph (I never did above 65, my parents said I drove like an old lady). Still got a half tank of gas after all these months.

My parents didn't pay for it. I bought it with most of the refund I got from financial aid so technically I didn't pay for it either, but there something about it-something special. I remember withdrawing the $1800 from the bank and having to go to work that day so my stepdad gave the guy the money and left the car outside my job. That night was my first time behind it's wheel and I drove around for over an hour. It was mines , all mines. My parents have their own cars so I was the only one who drove it. Even though it was old I felt so free in it. Opening those heavy doors was a joy to me. I actually found myself smiling as I sat there gripping the steering wheel and pressing the buttons.

That felt satisfying. It feels good when something unexpectantly makes you smile. Don't you guys think?

Thanks for reading.


Yet another 24 hours.

#291068 - 06/10/09 04:58 PM Re: My Car-Just A Little Bit of Happiness [Re: Clockwise]
TJ jeff Offline

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 3594
Loc: Northern Wisconsin

It's always good to have memories that make us smile smile

a first car brings with it lots of good feelings -that "grown up" feeling - the feeling of freedom - being able to go where you want to when you want to...

I can still very clearly remember my 1st vehicle - it was a 76 Jeep Cherokee with a 401 V8 (with straight pipe exhaust), full time 4 wheel drive, and averaged a whopping 8mpg... - I have so many good memories with that vehicle - nothing like pulling up to the stoplight next to your buddy who is trying to show off to the girls by doing a 2 wheel burnout and totaly smoking him with a 4 wheel burnout smile smile smile

Who will cry for the little boy? - I will... - Antwone Fisher

Abuse happens in silence/isolation - Recovery happens only when that silence/isolation is broken...

TJ's History

#291080 - 06/10/09 07:54 PM Re: My Car-Just A Little Bit of Happiness [Re: TJ jeff]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

What a great set of memories you have in that car, and yes, of course you paid for it!!! If you hadn't used the financial aid refund for it, that money would have been available to you for other things.

I no longer have the car that had such memories for me. It was a 1969 blue Camaro coupe, not a powerful model, but it was MINE! I really liked that car and I kept trying to fix it up so it would pass inspection even after the repair costs were way out of control.

I do have a cool story about it, though (one of many, actually). My Dad agreed to sell it for me when I was in graduate school abroad, and he parked it out by the road with a sign on it, "1969 Camaro, $1200. Inquire within." There were some nibbles, but no sale. So after some weeks he changed the sign to "collectible vintage Camaro, $1700. Inquire within." It sold within a few days! laugh

Hold onto those memories, bro. That's the good stuff!!!

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#291162 - 06/11/09 07:25 AM Re: My Car-Just A Little Bit of Happiness [Re: roadrunner]
Trucker51 Offline

Registered: 05/21/08
Posts: 2826
Loc: Denver, CO
My first couple of cars bled me almost to death with all of the maintenance issues. I head gasket job could be pretty expensive, or if you have some tools and anyone there with some experience, you and them could do it yourself. You would just have to take off the valve cover then loosen the head bolts and pull the head off. You will need to thoroughly clean the mounting surfaces for the two new gaskets then apply the new gaskets with gasket sealer. It will help to have a torque wrench when you put it back together, though it isn't really necessary if you just really securely tighten everything. Use the gasket sealer sparingly, but cover all of the mounting surfaces. The two gaskets for one side of the V-6 and some gasket sealer shouldn't break the bank. If the engine is an overhead cam 4-cylinder model the job should be left to a pro, and it might be less-expensive to buy a rebuilt or scrapyard motor too. But if your engine is the V-6, you could save some dough if you managed to do it yourself. Who knows, maybe your stepdad would help you.

Here are the two listed engines for your car:

# 1994-1998: 3.1L 3100 SFI V6: 155 hp (116 kW), 185 ftlbf (251 Nm) of torque
# 1995: 2.3L DOHC Quad 4 L4 engine: 150 hp (110 kW), 155 ftlbf (210 Nm) of torque

The 4-Cylinder is listed as a DOHC (Double overhead cam). Is your car a 4-cylinder or a V-6?

My first car was a 1971 Duster Twister 340 V-8 in orange with a flat black hood and racing stripes. I had it when I was 16 and even though I worked 25 hours per week at that age I could hardly afford it. My 2nd car, when I was a senior in high school, was a 1970 Mustang Mach 1 with a 351 Cleveland V-8, which I wish that I still had, even though I couldn't seem to keep clutches in the car. And my 3rd car was the biggest gas hog of them all. I had that 1964 Buick Riviera for 3 years. It had the optional high-compression 425 V-8 with the 2-4 barrel carbs straight from the factory, which only got about 8 miles per gallon, unless I opened the back carb up, then you could actually watch the gas gauge go down!!! Still at 70 mph you could stomp on the gas and open up the back carb, drop it into 2nd and it would throw you back in the seat, and in a couple of seconds you would be going triple digits. What a sleeper that car was.

After that cars just got to be a piece of machinery that enabled me to get where I was going. But those memories of my first few cars are still powerful for me today. Along with all of the things that my friends and I did back then too. Hope that you can get your car fixed and that you can enjoy making some more memories with it.


"We stay here, we die here. We've got to keep moving". Trucker Mark


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