The Webmaster’s Past Cars


Here I am in a "record company press release" pose.
This photo is from 1990 or so.
I’m older now and have less hair.

Past Vehicles

1976 Plymouth Valiant

160,000 original miles or thereabouts on the original (and unrebuilt) 318 engine, transmission, trans fluid, carburetor, and radiator when sold. (But it was on the third speedometer!) I cured the problems the dealer had not been able to! Surprised? There are more photos over on the Plymouth Valiant site.

1976 Valiant

1973 Dodge Dart

225 slant six with a rebuilt (badly) Holley carburetor. Liked the fender mounted turn signals. Didn’t like the manual drum brakes! Someone driving it for the first time thought they had failed, that’s just the way they were.

This is the Dart at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home near the University of Virginia, in roughly 1984. Sold at about 130,000 miles, probably also in 1984. I liked the car for a while but then was sucked in by a more fun and comfortable car.

1976 Chevy Camaro

The least reliable car I’ve had, the Camaro had leaky rings, so every time it started cold blue smoke would go shooting off into the distance. The 305 V-8 was less impressive than the 318, it had less power (as one would expect) and the car was heavier. Plush interior and comfy ride. Handling didn’t even approach that of the Rabbit but easily beat the Dart!

camaroLeft parts all over the place. I left my heart in San Francisco, but my bumper fell off in New Brunswick, my radiator cracked from a bump in Union, my fender came off in Piscataway, my muffler and tailpipe came loose in Edison, and my starter fell out of the car when I closed the door in Highland Park. I was glad when I sold it. It did have the most powerful stereo of any car I’ve had, so I could be a jerk. At the time, having a Camaro and being a jerk were synonymous, so that was OK.

I’m a Mopar guy but I have to say, this is one of the best looking cars I’ve ever owned.

1970s Buick Skylark

The less said the better. It was given to me in return for helping someone else find a $300 1971 Dodge Coronet. I think I sold it for $300. I don’t think I drove it more than a couple of times.

1979 VW Rabbit

Until the 300M, the most reliable car I’ve had. I got it from my father when it wouldn’t pass inspection due to a bad vacuum hose. 30 mpg, 99 mph top speed with base engine and four-speed manual. It could outrace my V-8 Camaro 0-50 (and then get burned above 50), and easily outpaced Escort GTs at the Ford plant where I worked for a while. Great car, great handling even with 50,000 mile old 13-inch tires as long as the road was perfectly dry and clean. Terrible car when under warranty, but once out, only need one new brake caliper at 50K or so and one new alternator at about 100K. Sold it when I went to college - about 102,000 miles and no rust. Should have kept it, for when I needed it, but I figured I’d be in school for five years in Manhattan, and would then get a great job and pay all my bills with money left over for a hot new car. Ha, ha.

I had photos but they had my girlfriend in them and since she’s married now and has been for over a decade, I think it’s better to just let you remember what Rabbits looked like. It was beige if that helps.

1973 Plymouth Satellite

It had spent its entire life on the streets of Manhattan, and the (original) suspension looked the part. Original 318 and TorqueFlite, abused but still fine. A quick tune-up cut the emissions into a quarter of what they had been five minutes earlie. Nothing liked to come off of that car, and why should it? It had been once piece since 1973, and here I was trying to take off shattered tie rods, brights switch, etc. I know that photo doesn’t look complimentary, but it is, and that’s the color the car was painted - primer gray which had presumably been silver once.

Sold at 137,000 miles when my insurance policy turned out to be twice what the Allstate agent had said it would, and New York refused to do anything about the fraud (and I couldn’t get another policy -- and Allstate wanted a retroactive payment for the retroactive premium increase!). Managed to sell the car to a friend, for $50; a year or two later it turned up again, and another friend took it to Rhode Island, sold it later, and saw it a year or two later, still on the road and looking as bad as ever.

The two door had a much different look than the normally-grilled four door. It was a tough car that put up with a lot of abuse.

1977 Plymouth Fury

Extremely comfortable car, very good handling for something that size (or even for something much smaller), decent gas mileage, sold (why did I do that?) at about 110,000 miles. Came by it a year later at Rutgers, with CB equipment drilled into it. Original 318/TorqueFlite. Another “Why’d I sell it?” foolish decision I would probably not make again.

1991 Plymouth Sundance

2.2 liter 5-speed. Bought it at Autoland of Springfield NJ. Autoland and a couple of other dealers helped me to get a new car via "voluntary buyback" from Chrysler. A nice deal in the end, I got a nicer Sundance (they improved the clutch and sound insulation; it seemed to be better made; and it had the 2.5 engine!) brand new for little extra cost. Turned out later the dealers were the main problem with the car. This is a terrible picture but it is the only one I have. I checked out the car by VIN and it appears that it was resold at auction by on September 2, 1993, resold by a dealer on October 19, 1993 to someone in Annville, Pennsylvania; resold to someone in Ware, Massachussetts in 1997; and junked on October 20, 2000. The car had 107,954 miles on it at that time, and it was given a salvage title; I don’t know why.

1993 Plymouth Sundance

2.5 liter 5-speed. Added Yokohama Avid MDH-4 tires and it handled more like a Neon than a Sundance. About $60/tire including mounting and balancing to transform the entire car. They were still 185/70R14s, and the ride was as nice, but on water it held its grip, and on dry pavement it cornered quickly. Even better in snow. Added a K & N filter, but doesn’t make much of a difference except making a throatier sound under low-rpm acceleration. Passed its 40,000 mile checkup with no problems - original brakes were still okay. Sold it for the Spirit R/T.

1991 Dodge Spirit R/T

Dodge Spirit R/T at restMoving over to Dodge again...95,700 miles when I got it.  Has all the things I’ve never had in a car - power windows, power locks (the Neon does have those), Infinity sound system, effective burglar alarm with remote door opener!, remote hood opener (the Neon has that too), and the need for premium gas. So far I’ve been averaging 27 mpg or so on routes where the Sundance achieved about 30.4 mpg. On the other hand I’ve found 224 hp and 218 lb-ft of torque to be handy now and then. The only modifications I can see are the K&N air filter and 2.5" smoothly-bent exhaust pipes. (Sold to Dave Strz). Photos in our Spirit R/T section.

1995 Dodge Neon

Departing from the Plymouth wife’s roomy zoomy Neon. Cool car.  No problems at the 40,000 mile checkup - original tires and brakes all OK. This car became mine as of 2003 when my wife got a 300M. I waited long enough, don’t you think? (Now has 95,000 miles.) Photos in our Neon section. Finally sold with 108,000 miles in 2005.

hi neon

2000 Chrysler 300M

Acquired by my wife in 2003, allowing me to get the Neon. Sold to Chris Carpenter in late 2013. I miss it.

2000 chrysler 300m

2003 Plymouth GT Cruiser

Five-speed with the full turbo. Sold it in favor of a 2006 Chrysler Town & Country which I’d love to replace with a smaller car, but it’s so danged useful.

Current cars

2006 Chrysler Town & Country

Sold. An exceedingly utilitarian car. Comfortable enough, yes, powerful enough, soft and forgiving, and easy to abuse by loading it with stuff.

2013 Chrysler 300C

1974 Plymouth Valiant

A slant six. I said I’d never get another! Here’s the review.

1974 valiant

2013 Dodge Dart

Why? Why would I buy an Aero, for one? Why a 2013, the worst possible year? What am I, an idiot? See the review.

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