2018 – 50+ Vehicles – All Fun Memory Makers

Music, things, people, and numbers are just a few of the things that help me connect my past with a fun, positive, exciting or crazy story.  The 50 plus vehicles I have owned during my life do this best.  Most of these cars will be key parts of my stories in the coming posts, but for now I had hoped that by sharing my list of vehicles it will encourage others to remember and share the thing that brings back their fun, positive, exciting or crazy story of the past.

My choice of vehicles will also start to help paint a clear picture of my beliefs, as I was never one to pick a vehicle based on what my neighbor thought, but rather based on what I thought would best improve the world I live in, and protect the family that I love.  A few them where not officially owned by me, but I did use them on a daily basis, so I included them to ensure no story was left behind.  Oh’yeah, and sometimes my funds where so limited it was a reflection of what was in my pocketbook, still a part of my belief, a belief in helping to rebuild green in my wallet.

The 50 plus cars include:

  1. 1968 Volvo 144
  2. 1977 Chevy Nova
  3. ** 1968 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 (Owned by Uncle)
  4. 1971 Volkswagen 411
  5. 1977 Volvo 244
  6. 1979 Volvo 245
  7. 1971 Volvo 1800E
  8. 1985 Volvo 765 Turbo
  9. 1969 Volvo 142
  10. 1974 Volvo 144
  11. 1968 Volvo 145
  12. 1991 Volvo 744 Turbo
  13. 1996 Saturn SL2 (bought new)
  14. 1967 Volvo 122 wagon
  15. 1968 Volvo 122 wagon
  16. 1990 Volvo 745 Turbo
  17. 1988 Chevrolet C2500 PU
  18. 1982 Volvo 242 Turbo
  19. 1983 Volvo 244 Turbo
  20. 1985 Volvo 744 Turbo
  21. 1985 Chevrolet C2500 Suburban
  22. 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity
  23. 1996 Plymouth Breeze
  24. ** 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager (was parents, but had during last few months of their lease)
  25. 1988 Buick Century
  26. 1998 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  27. 1992 Chevrolet Caprice
  28. 2002 Oldsmobile Alero GL2 (bought new)
  29. 1993 Ford T-Bird
  30. 1991 Chevrolet Corsica
  31. 1987 Buick Century
  32. 1991 Buick LeSabre
  33. 1994 Chevrolet Caprice
  34. 1996 Oldsmobile Bravada
  35. 1999 Oldsmobile Intrigue
  36. 1993 Saturn SW2
  37. 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt LS (bough new)
  38. 2006 Chevrolet HHR 2LT (bought new)
  39. 1989 Chevrolet Suburban V1500
  40. 1991 Chevrolet Suburban V2500
  41. 1998 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 LS
  42. 1996 Buick Park Avenue SE Pkg
  43. 2000 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
  44. 1994 Chevrolet Caprice
  45. 1992 Chevrolet Suburban
  46. 2004 Chevrolet Tahoe
  47. 1988 Volvo 744
  48. 2005 Chevrolet Malibu Maxx LT
  49. 1984 Chevrolet Celebrity
  50. 1995 Pontiac Grand Am
  51. 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco (bought new with help from parents)
  52. 2008 Chevrolet Malibu 2LT
  53. 2011 Subaru Outback Limited
  54. 2008 Buick Lucrene CXL
  55. 2013 Chevrolet Sonic LT Turbo22467582_1037773063026826_188628626426834422_o
  56. 2013 Chevrolet Traverse LTZ

There are definitely more than 1 on this list I wish I still owned and others I would warn people from buying.  Following how most things are done in the automotive world, I thought I would give out my “awards”.

  • Most Durable: Suburbans & Caprices.  Many of them where taken off road, pulled stuff heavier than they where made for, drove through snow that caused the front end to plow its way through, where used on dirt roads as if we where rally racing, had oil changes and maintenance less often than where scheduled to have, had water put in their tank to see what would happen, and just about anything else that could be done to abuse them.
  • Most Reliable: The Buicks with the 3.8 V-6 engines and Volvo 240s without turbos.  While they might have small things break after 100k miles, the engine and bodies held up well, looking good even when they where over 10 years old.  While the Volvos often had stupid things like window switches, power seats, etc., break, the only problem I ever had with an old Buick was the heated and cooled seats no longer working.
  • Overall Lowest Cost with No Repairs: Our 2013 Chevrolet Sonic has been flat out outstanding when it comes to fuel cost, maintenance, and repair needs. The Sonic now has a little over 90,000 miles, has the original brake pads, only the second set of tires, zero repairs that where not covered under a recall or TSB (factory paid for known update / repair), and it consistently gets over 36 mpg, even with my heavy right foot.
  • Least Reliable (considering abuse, age and miles): 2011 Subaru Outback was in the shop every year needing repairs or maintenance at a cost of over $1000 a year.  It was great for back roads, snow driving and was generally comfortable, got good gas mileage for the size, but the issues seemed non-stop.  It included replacing door window switches and door lock switches, replacing the water pump, replacing the battery before 100k miles, replacing a part for the ABS system, having the hood realigned when near new, multiple brake pads before 100k miles, and expensive 30k mile tune ups (something I had not been used to having owned GM cars prior).
  • Best Handling: The 2002 Oldsmobile Alero with the GL2 package was so much fun to take on a corner.  Car and Drive noted it got better track performance numbers than a BMW 3-series so of course I pushed this car to limit on as many corners as I could.
  • Worst Handling: I had high hopes for the handling of the Chevrolet Corsica but it was awful, with the back-end coming out and the front end plowing long before anything else I have owned.  If it was raining you could pretty much forget trying to stop as the back brakes would lock up with any slight pressure causing the car to lose control quickly.
  • Best Off-Roader: The Oldsmobile Bravada always surprised me when we took it to the off-road trails.  My cousin went so far as to tease me about it, asking if I kept Grey Poupon in the glove-box because where other SUVs and trucks struggled, the Bravada just went through without issue, all while we sat in leather lined seats.
  • Most Disappointing: In the early years of Saturn, I was fan with hopes that an American brand could finally make a compact that would compete with the worlds best.  In 1996 I bought a SL2 and have never been more disappointed, so much so that I returned it to the dealer within 120 days.  It was loud, the front seats were uncomfortable and the overall car was just not one that did anything for me.
  • Ones I Wish I Still Owned: 1968 Chevelle for obvious reasons (though I never actually owned it I guess) and 2002 Oldsmobile Alero GL2 since it was one the last Oldsmobile models made.
  • Vehicles I Hope to Own Again: I hope to own an old or new Suburban again, as nothing seemed so capable and so much fun, especially with kids.  If I could get alternative fuel made from waste like I did when I owned them I would do it again, but until then I will go for vehicles that have less impact on the environment.
  • Best Memories and My Heart Goes To: Marie, our 1984 Chevrolet Celebrity, was more like a member of the family than a car.  She lasted over 30 years and 290,000 miles on the same engine, clutch, water-pump, etc.  She drove the girls and I everywhere in comfort though often slower than the rest of traffic.  In the end she even kept my #2 kid from getting hurt in an accident.  The lady in the newer Mercedes was hurt, but my daughter walked away without a scratch or sore body part, and in the end that is what will make her a legend forever.

Have you had as many cars or do you know someone who has?  What one has your best memories that your heart goes out to?

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