Wednesday, September 06, 2006

collection collective: vintage cars


i have
never had
much luck
with cars.
part of
the problem
is
that
i have never
driven a car
that wasn't
at least
10 years old.
also
i have
always been
a poor
student or
biologist
with
little money
to invest
in autocare.

i had a
reputation
of having
the car
that always
broke down.

but
i
dearly loved
each one
of
my
vintage
blue cars.

the photo
above
is
my first car.
a 1978
toyota celica.
a girl
couldn't
love
her first
car more.
i bought it
from
my older brother
for $200
when i was 15
in LA.
he stenciled
roaches
on the doors
for me
and
it was dubbed
the roach coach.
it went through
a whole
series
of paint jobs
and many
trips
from seattle
to LA
and back
throughout its
6 or 7 years
with me.
that's
steve severin
leaning against it-
one of my
teenage idols
from
siouxsie and the banshees.
when my brother
[same one]
worked for
lollapalooza
in 1991
we drove them
around in
my car
with
my brother's
art school pal,
manly hanley
[in the
background].
but alas
the roach coach
met its
tragic end
in
ellensburg.
the engine
finally blew
on rainy
holiday
trek
across
the cascades.

then
i bought
my dream car,
a vintage vw bug.

that's me
in front
during
a seattle
snowstorm.
this
cute
baby blue
1969 bug
was purchased
from a guy
in seattle.
after handing
him the money
for the car,
he kindly
invited me in
for a bong hit.
my mother
gave him
a proper
german name,
otto.
sometimes
i called otto
kaiser wilhelm ,
when
he pissed
me off.
oh how
i loved
otto-
even though
he sputtered
and
couldn't go over
55mph,
and none
of his
gauges worked,
i was smitten.
but alas
he too
met a tragic
[but amusing]
end
in tacoma
on the way
to visit my parents
with
all my brothers
and grub
in the car
after 6-7 years
of
faithful
service.
otto sat lifeless
in the meadow
in front of
my parent's house
by the barn.
otto was put
out to pasture...
until some
high school kid
bought him
for $200
and rebuilt
him
to his
previous
glory.

then there
was
betty blue
my 1987
powder blue
volvo 240dl

she was
bought in
chapel hill,
nc
in 2001.
i wanted a wagon
to carry
a surfboard
but
i fell in love
with betty blue.
betty's owner
was a cool
artist gal
who lived
in a coop
and loved
her car
like i do.
betty has
taken
many
an adventure
with me-
through NC
and
to DC...
but alas
betty blue
stopped
running
yesterday-
the engine
just died
in DC
after safely
taking grub
home.

this may be
it
for
betty blue.
and
i may
be back
to
knitting
on the metro
for good.


share your
strange
collections-
join flickr's
collection collective.

21 comments:

Eero said...

There's just something about old cars...I sometimes think, why did I drive that hunk of gas-guzzling Cruiser junk around for so many years? Then I see one on the road and my my heart says "Ah! Oohhh!"
Does a 16 year old Grooper count?

Cate said...

This makes me sad that I never took photos of all my ex cars. Thanks so much for sharing yours!

blair said...

It all sounds very romantic when you describe it! Love that they are all blue too.

bike&beer said...

oh no! i had a bad feeling when i read "then there WAS betty blue"... not "there IS". sorry to hear her heart stopped. alas, one day we all go. you took good care of her! till the next blue comes around... she'll be remembered fondly.

lisa said...

wow. what a story. i especially appreciate the first photo and story.

alyssa said...

Wow, that was awesome! Yet, another brilliant post to help set the mood of the day. Thanks you.

hannah said...

i love all of this. all of it.

ms. pea said...

oh betty! i will do an auto-healing ritual as soon as i get home tonight and murmur swedish incantations over a cauldron of bubbling wiper fluid. betty was the best car i ever mooched the use of.

Lily said...

i love how you documented all this, very smashing pic of you and your blue bug! also, i got the fig skirt, thanks so much Gwen and it fits fine! very cute package as well, you made my day! xoxo

MikaJ said...

let me know if you need to borrow a volvo...it isn't blue...but it runs...

justine said...

you're too cute.
old car's, you know I love 'em

nichola said...

Ack, sorry to hear Betty Blue dies yesterday. That's the main reason i no longer have a car, too much expense and trouble when they break down. Public transport may be a pain in the butt but it's pretty good here in Melbourne and much cheaper!

suzamaphone said...

i spent $800 on my volvo, mr. butters (or whatever i ended up calling betty's bf), last week. and then i noticed that it was leaking coolant. a lot of coolant. so i called the mechanic and complained, made yet another appointment to have the radiator checked out today, but blew it off because i'm sick of putting money into that car. and i've put a bandaid on the leak by pouring some Stop Leak into my radiator. we'll see how that works. my car still runs great, but it's falling apart. so sad. i'll soon be putting my own volvo out to pasture -- maybe he'll get to finally meet betty when they're both in volvo heaven.

gracia said...

Afraid I can't drive a car as I never learnt. Living close to the city I always preferred to walk or indulge in a spot of people watching on the tram, sometimes with a faithful cocoon like walkman or armed with a good read. I love your tales and stories which accompany each blue trusty or not so trusty motor vehicle... beautiful!
cheers, g

Shari said...

hi gwen,
oh i love these tales of cars. my fave is otto. t loves betty blue. he has been working on a similar ode to his old cars here. xox shari

lisa s said...

we currently have 3 old cars in our driveway.... a 76 scout [which we need to sell] a 66 plymoth fury... and a 70 bug... :)

um.... steve from siouxsie? holy canoli.... xo

ashb said...

oh this was a fun post to read bug!
I love that you name your cars, that's the best part ;)

& so strange to see a shot of Seattle with SO much snow lol.

I also have photos of all my cars & little stories to accompany them, thx for sharing yours
xoash

Carson said...

What a great story.Great pics as usual.
My first car was a '71 honda civic in about 18 slightly different shades of gold (20 slightly different shades by the time I sold it). It leaked oil like a sieve and major bits of the engine were glued together with araldite (by the sweet but dodgy mechanic I bought it from).
It did however get me, 2 non-driving college mates, 3 doonas and half a bottle of vodka all the way up to Byron Bay and back after graduation.
Somehow.

julie said...

im sorry, im know i shouldnt laugh but you made me with your lovely stories of lovely blue cars!!!!
I love the picture of you and otto!!
Good luck in finding the next blue cutie!!!

Hayley said...

I have always been the stable "still under warranty" car person. When I was buying my first car, all I wanted was a light blue Volvo [exactly like yours!], but my parents thought buying a used car was "buying someone elses problems" so I had to buy new [even though I was paying for it myself].
I love your old car stories and I love the picture of the Roach. :)

You are inspiring me to write my own car story...

Cheers!

Cheers!

Amy said...

Sorry about Betty. My blue car got sick last week too but it should be fixable since it is not vintage at all. Metro knitting sounds like a much more productive time than dealing with cars.