Carspotting 2019 : Down the Road (Down the Road)

Here are all the old parked cars I found in 2019. It's a bumper crop; plenty of great old iron is still in use around the mean streets of Indiana.

My love of cars did not start until just after graduate school when Acura released the 1994 Acura Integra GS-R. I couldn't afford one at the time, not with the need to pay off student loans, so I instead bought a fifth-generation Honda Civic. After that car was destroyed in an accident, I bought mine, a flick-your-fingers five-speed manual transmission rush of adrenaline painted in Milano Red, used (pre-owned?) in 1996 from a then middle-aged golfer in well-to-do town in New Jersey. In the two-years he had owned it, he had driven it over 45,000 miles, and I drove it for another 120,000 miles. It wasn’t the fastest or most powerful, but for me, it was the most fun drive I have ever had. I drove it until 2006 when Bhavna insisted that trade in my impractical two-door sports car for a more practical four-door "responsible dad" sedan, e.g., a 2006 Honda Accord EX-L V6.

As a boy living on small islands in the West Indies in the late 1960-1980s, I was exposed only to cars from Japan and the United Kingdon (UK). The West Indies was at that time an aftermarket for used (pre-owned?) Japanese and British cars. The Morris, Triumph, Datsun/Nissan, Toyota, Honda, Daihatsu, Mitsubishi, Suzuki brands are all very familiar to me. Similarly to Japan, all of the islands of the former British West Indies drive on the left side of the road. American car companies apparently didn't care to make left-hand drive cars.

My dad had a Morris Mini, which, when we lived on the island of Bequia, served as the family car until his third son, my youngest brother, was born. While my dad was not a sports car driver, some of his friends took to rally racing Mini Coopers around a course near the Arnos Vale airport in the then British Overseas Territory of St. Vincent & The Grenadines.

Shortly after that, Morris introduced the Mini Moke, a no-door, no side-panel death trap, which one of my uncles thought was the perfect low-maintenance vehicle for puttering around the narrow pot-holed and cliff-lined coastline of Bequia. I recall that one uncle owned a Triumph 1300 while another uncle owned a Morris Marina.

Dad also had a UK version of the Volkswagen Beetle, which I think was his last European car purchase. By the early 70s’ cheaper Japanese vehicles had entered the Caribbean market. Mom bought a Toyota Starlet hatchback when she started driving. Dad purchased a Datsun then a Toyota Carona. Toyota was his brand of choice until Mazda entered the market, but in later years, he drove Hondas.

All of that was a long-winded way of saying, I know a lot about Japanese cars; I know a little about British cars. I know very little about American cars.

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