First Car: Cadillac Catera
Back in 2008 my father blessed me with this car that for some reason was called a Cadillac. I enjoyed myself in it to say the least.
Back in 2007 my dad told me that he was about to drop 3500 bucks on a Cadillac. He had owned one before and I loved it. His first was a 1990 Sedan Deville which achieved 360 thousand miles. By the time it was done with it’s life, the electrics were broken, the pedals were worn down and the seats looked like someone tossed a running lawn mower in through the front door.
His next Cadillac was the Catera which eventually became mine before I graduated from high school in 2009. It was a doozy.
I have two sisters and through history, my parents either gave them or purchased them their first car. WHICH WAS GREAT! So when my dad told me that I would more than likely get the Catera for my first car I was off the walls excited.
Our dial up internet had smoke rolling off of it while I researched this car. Horsepower research, top speed research, torque measurements and so on. Because I was a junior in high school with a love for cars, ESPECIALLY cars that no one else had. I soon figured out why no one else had the Catera.
The Caddy that Zigs shined across the tv screens in the mid to late 90's when General Motors decided to use an Opel to appeal to a younger American audience.
This car was on the U.S. roads for two years before Lincoln decided to bring out the LS with a 3.9L V8 just to show up Cadillac's 3.0 V6 powered Catera. Later in life, the Catera turned into the CTS which is still being produced. It survived. Kind of.
My dad worked in golf course construction and when he bought the Catera it was already a good ten years old. Why put full coverage insurance on it? Good question. I've had five Cadillacs and none of them had any more than the good ole' comprehensive.
One evening the phone rang at the house. It was the phone that you had to actually stand up to answer. It was my dad. He told my mom something on the phone that made her chuckle a little bit and as the minutes rolled on by I finally paused Midnight Club Los Angeles to see what was going on. Just as I walked into the kitchen the phone clicked off and mother told me that dad hit a deer with my future car.
I was pretty devastated but I knew my dad and he would make it work.
So he got home that weekend and it was a mess. It was fixed... but it was a mess. Dad had gone to the junkyard in Columbus Ohio and purchased a replacement hood and headlight trim. It was white... the car was blue.
"Here you go son. You've played your cards pretty well over the last sixteen years and I would like to present to you your very first car. It's a two tone Cadillac Catera with comprehensive insurance and it kind of smells like cigarette smoke."
This was all before I got my license and we all lived in rural Ohio so illegal driving wasn't really frowned upon in our eyes. The whole town got one sheriff visit a week. I gladly took it for a spin and the worry of what my friends would think sort of began to go away. So what... it's my first car... who cares? Aren't they supposed to be a battered pile of garbage? (My car, not my friends).
I got my license three days before my seventeenth birthday. Two days later I got in my first car accident on a closed road. My friend and I were testing our emergency brakes. I slammed right into him. So the next day (my birthday) I got a job. My dad fixed the front push bar with a hammer. #TheClarksonWay
Through the years, I wrecked it probably six times. Once in a ditch on a snowy evening. I ran a red light and got T-Boned. E-braked it into an embankment, got rear ended at Wal Mart, ran it through a creek, so on and so on.
I used to have pictures of this car when it was still all the same color. Back when the 12 disc changer in the trunk still worked, when the Bose speakers still produced more power than the engine and when the door would stay shut. Those pictures are long gone. The whole door story is actually pretty funny. I'm not sure why the driver door wouldn't stay shut but I fixed it with a little bit of 740 ingenuity. Just cut the seat belt out of the back, tie it around the interior arm rest and stretch that bad boy under the console lid and click it into the passenger side. It worked... but the winter months sucked.
Toward the end of its life, the creamy substance began to appear on the oil cap, the tie rods were weak and the electrics were getting awful.
Once the head gasket gave out, I knew it was over and done with. And it was time to say goodbye. I loved it and still do. I got to put twenty thousand of the two hundred and twenty three thousand miles on it. Maybe one day I'll find another one and re-live some of the painful memories but who really knows?