[Kurt's note: This article marks the official debut of Jen Stadler on RideLust. You've already read her stuff in the "Learning To Fly" article, and I think you'll agree that she's got a RideLust sense of humor. She's another misfit with 5w30 in her veins, so please welcome her to the RideLust family.]
My retinas are still smoking, but my appetite finally came back from reading Mr Angry’s list of 30 Custom Cars from around the world. Unfortunately for me, I saw more than a few similarities between those chariots of fire and my own first set of wheels. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say many of those in my age group made dubious “modifications” to our cars in the name of coolness, so at least I wasn’t alone. The difference between, say, my parents’ generation and mine is that their Mustangs, GTOs, and Roadrunners still look awesome and fetch big money at Mecum; our Civics and Focuses? Not so much. Read on, to see what I mean.
For a current car connoisseur, it’s amazing how long it took me to learn to drive in general (you guys already know my stick-shift shenanigans). I’ll spare you the boring details but I didn’t get my own ride until I was 19. It was a Fourth of July sale at the Fairgrounds and we picked up the only cash car there – an 11-year-old, 1991 Honda Accord coupe (trust me when I say its two doors were its only redeeming feature). It was the most fetching shade of champagne gold, accented by full bordello-burgundy interior. Oh, I was straight pimping alright. My best friend had a ’96 Civic coupe with Altezzas, and another had a brand new ’02 Acura RSX complete with JDM body kit, white rims, and red “Honda Integra” badges. The Fast and the Furious? More like The Fads and the Supercilious.
So of course, I wanted to fit in with everyone else and the quickest way to do so was to buy as many Mugen parts as possible, budget allowing. Mine did not, but I did instead end up with a very nice pair of G-Racing gunmetal rims, some Eibach lowering springs, a Pioneer stereo system, some clear corner signals, and the requisite lower-windshield vinyl decal of our car club. The universe got its revenge on me, though, for creating something so heinous. A month after installing the springs and rims (which never did sit quite right and rubbed the wheel wells every time I turned), I hit a slick patch on my way to school and ended up assassinating an innocent palm tree on the side of the road. I recall opening my eyes, seeing a smashed front end, and thinking “I’m sure that can be fixed”. My first words to the paramedics, upon being asked if I was okay, was “My dad’s gonna kill me.” The Accord was a total loss but I limped away with only a broken ankle.
As much as that car makes me cringe in retrospect, I loved it and I beat the ever-living hell out of the F22 engine every chance I got. I still would love to do a project car one day, but that will be far in the future when I have more spare time and money (hah!) I’m sure I can’t be the only person who had a pathetic first mode of transportation; I would love to know, what was yours?