It's one of the chains in Cleveland that I used to attend when I had cars that needed all sorts of cheap junk and more expensive parts when they broke down. My lack of car trouble began when I bought a 1994 Saturn SL. I stopped needed alternators, distributors, break pads and rotors and muffler parts. (The 1989 Dodge Omni I had was a stainless steel exhaust so that's the exception. Breaks and power steering pumps were another story.) My fondest memories are of those POS cars I had when I had barely enough to afford a ride from McWages. (Dime's worth of gas, up my ass.) Lookit at worthless junk I've saved from various years of car ownership.
Not all of this debris came from cars I owned. I have a couple of items saved because, well, lets get those out of the way first.
In the olden days when American cars were either big guzzlers that fell apart fast or small sh*t boxes that fell apart within six months or a nasty Northeast Ohio winter, manufacturers cut costs in every way. You could get a Pinto or a Vega, radio delete or even a Chevette with no back seat. Of course the Japanese imports were pretty cheap as well, only they tended to run a few years longer. This is the shifter boot from the Honda Civic when it was barely a car. It didn't have carpet, it had a vinyl mat. The shifter was mounted on the floor. It was covered by this. It was my friend's car and the first we pushed it out of the driveway and went joy riding without a license. I don't remember how I got this, likely taken from the car the day it went to the scrap heap. Of course I couldn't drive a stick, but I had to have a memento. I couldn't use it on any of the stick cars I've owned because, well, cheap cars progressed a lot when I got a stick Saturn, so this stayed in my junk box.
This is true junk. Really. I was out with friends, but I had my first Hyundai Accent (more on that in a moment.) We were out walking and went to cross the street when I saw this by the side of the road. My guess, it was the center hub cover of a Hyundai Elantra, or Hyundai sCOUPE. They used such covers on more deluxe wheels. This came off of a car either from a pothole or an accident. It was chewed to bits, but it had the Hyundai logo, so I kept it. *shudder* Maybe it was a bad omen...
1979 Chevy Chevette Emergency Brake BOOT
Ain't she a beauty? What a machine. Cost $1000. Immediately started to show why. From small things like the mechanical ventilation controls breaking to the electrical system failing to the main crankshaft pulley falling off. This car was a disaster. It had been in accidents before I got it and it was junk when I traded it for a "step up" car. I got a few things of debris before I traded this car in. One in my junk box is:
A cheese ball vinyl emergency brake cover. I did get more use out of this on my next car. Hmm, maybe this is an oil cozy? A male splatter guard?
1979 Chevrolet Monza Crap
A drunken American autoworker built this! It's a vehicle! It's the good side for this little brown nugget. The stereo was a previously mentioned UNISEF $10 Tokyo Shapiro special. This was what I traded in my Chevette on. Never mind that my brother had owned a 1976 Monza 2X2 that was all Bondo and about as reliable as the Yuengling tap at my local. No, mine was a later model. Mine was different! Mine was 2 years of $200 payments.
Trouble began when the bad side of this car which was not in the ad, was the body damage caused when I was hit and run. Then, every system broke. Alternator, power steering, air conditioning, brakes. Then the rust came. The doors rotted out and would keep shutting once shut. The door latch rusted and fell into the body. I needed to go to Builders Square and buy oversized washers and bolts and hack saw a solution. Two mufflers and pipes later including one wrapping around the axle when backing from a friend's driveway, holy hell was this thing a bucket.
Of course when this ad was placed in my local car shopper magazine, it still had a dealer warranty which paid for very little of the above. After deductible, I got rooked for it, but I could sell the car with it. $2000? What was I thinking? The doors were still in tact. I resolved to keep it and ran it through all the issues until my hatch window was vandalized which lead to the eventual failure to my cooling system. I sold it for $50 to be made into a "hovercraft" for a low budget "proposal" for a sci-fi TV pilot which was a half assed dream. To be fair, the guy that was producing that dream also put me on the air and backed me for being his replacement, and that got my first job hosting a morning show. $50 seems like a bargain for that chance.
First saved item? The door handle guard. Never mind that this had fallen off when the plastic around where it was screwed in had rotted away. This was CHEVROLET QUALITY. It's plastic, or it would make a good ashtray.
The other thing I saved? The horn cover, which was the center of the steering wheel. No air bags. No stalk mounted horn button. It was in the center. You could hit it. It was a big target. When you took it off and pushed the horn, you got a nice 12V shock. Look at that fake plastic stitching. What's that sh*t at the top?
More Chevrolet crap. This was a pin purchased from a flea market that was directly across from the GM Canada plant and was inside an old discount department store. I loved that place with the big plastic tarps hanging from the ceilings where the roof leaked and the gaping pothole filled parking lot. Same flea market moved a few times. I bought a few more cheap pins. Ahhh, it was the 80's. The crap goes on forever.
Here was more! These were the door locks that I bought from Forest City auto parts. The were supposed to be "theft resistant". They used to make door locks big and round at the top. Perfect to break in and steal your radio. These were tall and smooth. No way to get a coat hanger around it to pull up right? Silly me, with a bit of a crimp in the hanger, I broke into my car several times when I left my keys inside. I could have waited for my door latch to rust out...
FU cheap Chevrolet crap. Look at the space where there would have been an analog clock. Look at that giant gas gauge. Look at that cheap fake knitted padded dash. Space age silver. Warped plastic cowl. Aren't you glad they came out with the Citation? Um...
Hey, remember these? When I had the Monza, I worked for my first electronics store Olson/NWS electronics and we sold re-manufactured crap. Kraco stereos re-manufactured? Fisher audio equipment where you had to cut the "magic connector" (which hooked to other Fisher products) and screw on a power adaptor so you could plug it into the wall. I bought this "power doubler" so I could use my Hi Gain 40 channel CB and my new BEL radar detector.
I remember this was my Christmas gift. It was the best radar detector out there for the price. It has the GaAs diode which was supposed to do blah blah blah. The leader at the time was the Escort radar detector which was $450. This one the next best in tests and was only $150. Good gosh, $150 for this? Indeed I never got a ticket while using it. Of course I was racing around at a speed of max 93 MPH with my 2.5 4 cylinder Monza. I used this in my Dodge Omni as well, and never got a ticket. Actually, the only speeding tickets I ever got were in my Chevette. I found the magic passing gear and got one for 43 in a 35. I did get one when I moved back to Cleveland and was driving 32 in a 25 in a Parma speed trap. I'm sure this detector might still work, but it's like using a Citizen pocket B&W TV which reflected off a mirror and had a back-light and had no input for anything. See what I'm saying? It would go boop boop beep beep, and that is all.
1999 HYUNDAI ACCENT (or AWWW MY BALLS) Stuff
Whoops! Look at this mess. It was my 1999 Hyundai Accent. See what I was saying above? Geeze, was I okay? Annie Annie are you okay? Help!
Okay. Here was the scoop on this car. I had no faith on Hyundai for years. I remember the EXCEL being the biggest batch of badly assembled bolts that it was a throwback to the cars I'd owned before. However, Hyundai pulled a Chrysler and decided to outdo them. 10 Year, 100,000 mile power train warranty. 5 year 100,000 miles on rust. 3 years, 36,000 miles on just about everything else. Suddenly, Hyundai was building a reliable sh*tbox and it cost a few thousand less than other imports. Plus, had better fit and finish than many of the cheap American choices at the time.
My 94 Saturn SL with no air and stick had run forever. $1500 was all I spent on repairs excluding tires and breaks. Nothing major failed. But, it was an accident magnet. Oh what the hell, here is a picture of when it started attracting damage:
I worked at WIOT in Toledo and walked out of my apartment to go to work at 5:15am and found this. The police actually ran me to the Meijer nearby so I could buy film to take these pictures. Someone whacked me good, likely a drunk came around the corner at high speed and pushed my car into a rental car and up on the rise. I had to wait while they found the driver of the rental because I couldn't pull my car away without doing more damage to the rental. From there I had a hole put in my hood, a pole on the front and the back, and finally the car gave up it's frame for me when I got clobbered by a fully loaded lumber truck which destroyed a F350 which destroyed the back of my car which damaged the Thunderbird in front of me when I fell back in the seat and let off the break. Whew. Bye bye plastic car. I still have the floor mats from it.
Back to the damaged Hyundai. The only thing that went wrong with the car while I owned it was the radio. It left a "bonk" on the tape when I ejected it. That's when I learned that the dealer I bought it from really didn't give a damn about customers. Because it was a showroom demo, I got a "2000" Accent manual for it with a promise that I'd get a "99" manual for it. 6 months later... I got it. 6 Months. There were very few squeaks and rattles, and they fixed them all. The tape deck however, they said they couldn't find a problem. So, I had one of the service guys bring a tape of his own to play in my deck and sure enough, he found the problem. Ahhh, but the stereo was on "back order". So, I waited. I solved the problem by fast forwarding the tape until it ended then ejecting it. Another 6 months. Finally, I'd had enough.
I was visiting my Mom in Ohio and locked my keys in the car and called Hyundai service to get me inside. In the process they broke my door lock and I couldn't unlock the door from the outside. Because I was still waiting for my radio, I went to a competitor Hyundai dealer across the river in Louisville. Wow. They had taken care of a ton of people like me because I had an appointment for a new radio within a week and it was better than what was in the car AND they fixed my door without me going through the claims process for roadside damage. They even shuttled me across the river to work. If I still lived in Louisville, they would always get my business.
A few weeks later, it was destroyed. I always thought if I got creamed by someone when I was driving a tiny, light car, I'd be a goner. It was snowy, it was busy, and where I worked, the street let out 500 ft from a rise and a railroad crossing. I pulled out as someone came across at a high speed, and they slammed on the breaks as the came over the rise and slid into me. Let me say, if you never experienced the airbags blowing out on you, you're lucky. I couldn't breathe. I rolled down the passenger window to get some air. Thankfully I lived through it. My insurance even found $500 to my advantage rather than $2000 to my deficit. Three days later I had bought a used 1999 Nissan Sentra and I drove back to where the accident had occurred and found the headlight. I did take the photos the day after the accident and got the hub cover. Oh yeah, and I also got...
My bathroom mat. Although I don't consider that JUNK because it's used every day. Everything else shown above, is indeed JUNK. I consider my Nissan as the best car I've ever owned with a close second my Saturn SL. But, I'm now a dedicated Hyundai owner. I'd own another Nissan in a heartbeep. Chevrolet? Hmmm. Saturn? Who? Were they a company? Hey, I owned a Grand Am for six months as well. Who? Pontiac? Oh yeah, Dodge. Um... Ford? Um.... Whomever has the best floor mats wins. :)