The replacement for Margaret was an ’83 Corolla that my dad bought me for a mere $300. The man he bought it from thought the car was dead but dad knew it just needed a new starter. Kim, as I called her, was a weird shade of yellowish beige. She looked a lot like the car pictured, a side from the color but including the rust.
She didn’t have A/C and I opened the drivers’ side window down by putting my palms against the glass and sliding it downward. She didn’t have a decent radio until a friend installed one for me that we took from Margaret after the accident. (More on that in a minute.) For a while there, she had this crusty maroon carpeting covering up the cracked, aged top of the dashboard. It would slide off in times of hard braking. The drivers’ side seat belt worked but was nearly shredded.
In order to avoid not passing the state inspection for the window and seat belt – all of the inspectors were forgiving for some reason – I took Kim to a different shop each year and took her when it was hot out so that the window would already be down. Tricky, tricky, I know.
I was driving Kim the first and only time I was ever stopped by the police. He was letting me know that my lights were not on. I played dumb since I knew they weren’t working correctly due to a short caused by a radio installation by a friend. Luckily he let me go after he said I should check my fuses and learned that I was not far from home.
Kim and I endured a lot together. We went through 4am drives in the snow, which is insane considering that she was a rear-wheel drive! Oh, I suppose I should point out that it was not my idea to leave at 4am in the snow. We had to get to work to update school closings for the TV station. We also went through a moment when her right side rubbed up against a work SUV’s bumper. The SUV was unscathed but poor little Kim had this black streak and a dent after that.
I sold Kim to a friend in 2000. We wheeled and dealed back and forth at a local hamburger restaurant, writing down prices and offerings on tiny pieces of straw wrappers. In the end, Kim went for about $300 and a bag of M&Ms. After that, Kim was known as the LVMCHN, the personalized license plate created by her new owner. We jokingly called her the Love Munchin’ after one of our friends misread the plate, but it was intended to be the Love Machine. Her stick shifter was changed to a baseball and a Bob’s Big Boy bobblehead sat in the back window.
After about 3 years, she was sold again to another friend for his sister’s use. Last I heard, Kim was somewhere in Martinsville, VA.
Next up: Margaret II