By the mid 1980's I still had the '75 Oldsmobile and the '84 Chrysler Laser, but had no utility vehicle to drive into the woods. Enter my '72 Land Rover Series II. Great truck that taught me a great many lessons - such as do not remove the hardtop and drive on the highway without strengthening the windshield frame. It is quite exciting to be going 65 and suddenly find the entire windshield in your lap.
In 1988 I got married, and in 1989 my wife became pregnant with our first child. The Laser would have to go, and be replaced by something with 4 door. Thank God for Ford Motor Company who came to my rescue with the SHO. A Yamaha V6 with a proper 5 speed manual. Fast and wonderful. (Stock photo as this is another car whose pictures have gone missing)
At the same time as the SHO, I realized the Land Rover may not work as a family car as one should want. Recent legislation mandated child car seats, and there was simply no place to put one in the Landy. Frankly I thought this legislation absurd as there was plenty of room in the back of the Land Rover to put in some sort of 'child capsule' (of my own design), but the wife insisted, so it had to go. Out of a combination of spite, curiosity and history I went out to buy the largest non-commercial vehicle one could, and special ordered this 1990 Chevrolet Suburban, which turned out to be a fantastic family hauler. The Olds convertible died around this time as well.
In 1996 my wife wrecked the SHO. This event was a set-back for my relationship with my in-laws as, when they called to tell me she had been in an accident my first question was 'how's the car?' (She was fine, btw) A headlong collision with a country stone wall does very bad things, and the SHO was a write off. As by this point I was living near Lime Rock race track in upstate Connecticut where it snows quite often, I decided to get something with all wheel drive. Hopefully something still fun. Enter the Audi A4.
In 1998 I was down to two cars - the Suburban and the Audi. Not acceptable. But having two young boys and an old falling down farmhouse absorbed most of the money I could generate, and there was really no justification for a third car (except my own childish complaining). Fortunately salvation came when I remembered that 20 years previously I had made an agreement with a friend that if we were alive at the turn of the century he and I would drive around Manhattan naked in a convertible on New Years Eve. Obviously I would need a convertible for this, and I went out and found a 1967 Pontiac GTO - a car I had always wanted - to fill that roll. All I can say is that New Years Eve in NYC is chilly.
Next - Part III