Cars I've owned in the Awful Aughts

So, here we are, at the end of the Awful Aughts. The automobile in America has pretty much jumped the shark, maybe for good (Exact moment: The day the movie 'Cars' was released).

Still, I'm a gearhead. I'll die a gearhead. The 2000's coincided with my twenties; having no debt to speak of, a well-paying job, and no one to answer to besides myself, I wasted as much of my own money and my inheritance on cars as I could. Motorcycles are much cheaper and more fun...wish I'd figured that out 10 years ago. Anyway, onward. This list is pretty-much chronological:

* 1995 Nissan 200SX SE-R: (140hp/FWD). Nickname: "Little Green". My parents bought me this car, brand new, when I was 16. I drove the crap out of it until 2001, when I traded it (and my soul) for a VW Jetta. This car was my first love. I dated my future wife in this car. Yes, it got some rattles after SIX YEARS OF ABUSE. Honestly, I redlined this car every time I drove it if I could.

* 2001 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg edition: (150 hp/FWD + Turbocharged). Nickname: "(none)". My first manual transmission car. I hated this car. I had the opportunity to buy the first WRX in Lexington that March day back in 2001, but I chose the Jetta because it was the yuppie-BMW wannabe car. Lots of good ideas, poor execution. About as involving to drive as a Buick--soft, soft, SOFT suspension. Dismal reliability. When the clearcoat started chipping off I decided to dump it in August 2002.

* 2003 MINI Cooper (115hp/FWD). Nickname: "The Pup". Objectively, this was as bad a car a the Jetta, and the dealer was a 2 hour roundtrip away from me. It leaked water from a weld in the hatch area. Thankfully, it didn't have the Stay-Cracked windshield like the 2002 models were famous for. Despite all that, I DID NOT CARE. I loved this car. Amazing combination of fun, frugality, great looks, practicality (hauled a Lay-Z-Boy), and great Clown-Car stories. There was the time I drove back I-64 in a Blizzard. Then the time I had both my parents in the BACK, putting along like a 2CV at 45mph because we'd just invaded Iraq and 'needed to conserve resources'. This car WAS my identity from 2003->2005. My email address starts with 'mini' to this day.

* 2000 Chevy Silverado (255hp/4WD). Nickname: "Big Red". Here's the sore thumb. My dad GAVE me this truck in 2004. Yep, outright gave it to me, with only 100k on the clock. "Everybody oughta have a truck, son." And, in the throes of hating the VW, I'd considered buying a light pickup, like a ranger or Nissan Frontier. "Pah!" said my dad, "Those tin-cans get worse mileage than a full-size. I'll just give you my truck when I'm done with it." And he did. Single-cab, basic V-8, reeking of cigarette smoke that no febreeze could cure. I'd probably still have this truck if it didn't send my girlfriend/future wife into asthma at 10 paces. In any case it make a great trade-in on...

* 2004 Pontiac GTO (350hp/RWD). So, yeah, I went insane one day, and saw that the slow-selling '04 GTO, that Holden import from Australia, was selling for TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS OFF. Yep...December of 2004. The 2005 models were in, and they had 50 more horsepower and the new LS2 V8 ('04s had the LS1 and 'only' 350 hp). So, the next day before I could come to my senses, I impulse bought this thing 10 minutes after Courtesy Pontiac opened in Lexington. This was the most brutal car I'll probably ever own-- 6-speed Tremec transmission, clutch like a tractor, exhaust note like a NASCAR. Cruised at 90mph too easily for my own good--thankfully, the anonymous styling didn't attract too much attention from the cops. Came to my senses right after buying my house (and backing into the GTO with my mom's dually--Dharma at work?). It sold within 2 days of being listed on the GTO fanboi site.

* 1990 BMW 325iS (170hp/RWD). Nickname: "The White Elephant" Ah, marriage. Suddenly, having a brand new car and debts didn't sit well with me. Also, I'd liked BMW's since I could read Car and Driver at age 7. So, I resolved to sell the MINI, find the best clean E30 BMW I could find. And, wow, did I find a creampuff--2nd owner, all records, needed nothing. I sold my MINI on April Fool's day, 2006 and bought this car 3 days later. It was a wonderful car, built like a tank. Whitney hated it--never should've bought a car she didn't like and couldn't drive. Finally, the ongoing maintenance costs of having a 20-year-old car for a daily driver drove me to sell it in October 2008. Sold in something like 1 week, for about what I paid for it.

So, for those of you keeping track @ home, that left me without a car. So now, I'm driving..

* 2000 Toyota Camry (120hp/FWD) Nickname: "Yoda". Undoubtedly, the best engineered, most reliable car I've ever driven. Yeah, it's boring. Yes, I keep scheming to get rid of it. Still, it's safe, reliable transportation, including a back seat and a trunk. :-)

Keeping it means my next 'exciting' car can have 2 wheels:


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