Man of A Thousand Autos – Part 1 - Freedom

Illustration for article titled Man of A Thousand Autos – Part 1 - Freedom

This week I continue my quest to document all of the daily drivers that I have driven, well, daily. SPOILER ALERT: not one of them was a Ferrari. But there were three Porsches.

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Ah yes, the 1987 Tercel DX. For me, so much more than a car. It was MY first car. That’s right, I didn’t have to share it with my older sister. In fact, my parents bought this for me before she got her first car. The male readers’ pride will be swelling by now, bolstered by the knowledge of their brother receiving favour over the better-smelling sibling. Alas female readers, be comforted in the knowledge that my sister was always more hip, cool, and savvy than I was, or probably ever will be. She didn’t need a car at that time – she summoned rides at will from her hip, cool, and savvy friends.

I don’t remember that I was actually looking for a car of my own at that time, but rather I think my dad simply wanted me out of the house more often. Well that, and the fact that my dad loved cars and could see the value that wheels would bring me. My Tercel was owned by a little old lady, clichés aside. It was only a couple years old, but it looked pre-aged due to the unique scratch repair attempt said lady tried on the passenger door and driver’s quarter panel. Her paint attempt was comprised of a beautiful shade of silver, quite unlike the rest of the silver on the car, applied liberally with a spray can, in a way reminiscent of Bansky’s early works of urban graffiti, but with less social commentary.

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Illustration for article titled Man of A Thousand Autos – Part 1 - Freedom

The interior was sparse, but housed a wide variety of rubber, plastic, and vinyl. Perhaps E.L. James owned one of these cars before writing 50 Shades of Grey (note that I have not read the book, nor seen the movie, so I am merely surmising). As the seats stuck to bare flesh on hot and cold days alike, the first order of business was to acquire sheepskin seat covers. As this was the mid 1980’s, I believe these were probably made from actual sheep, rather than the fibrous byproduct of waste oil recycling. The back seats were left uncovered, laid bare to remind my passengers of the stellar importance of calling shotgun.

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The clutch went Squeeeee CLICK every time I used it, which was often, given the need to row through all 5 gears while wringing every ounce of juice out of the 62 horses housed neatly under the hood. It was a faulty pedal-mechanism, but I never fixed it due to its charm, and the constant draw of funds going into the stereo system. Yes, the kick-ass Craig single-DIN unit with auto-reverse cassette, 5 band equalizer, and rocking 5” 2 ways in the doors. I can barely remember what any of that means.

I loved the Tercel. Not for its speed or style, but what it really brought to me. Freedom.

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View From The North is written by Shawn T. Greek, located in the Great White North of Salmon Arm, BC. That’s in Canada, eh! “Silly” is my default setting.

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