I’ve always been a car enthusiast. My first word was “Jeep,” but that’s only because “Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce” is a bit of a mouthful for someone who still regularly shits his pants.
For as long as I can remember, when I asked someone their name, it was always followed by an inquiry as to what kind of car they drove. I spent my lawn mowing money on subscriptions to Motor Trend and Hemmings.
I had over 700 Hot Wheels. And when I was a young gearhead, I always envisioned my future driveway filled with interesting supercars and badass lifted trucks. The adult me of my young imagination drove something with a supercharger and probably flames.
My Toyota Camry
The adult me of reality, however, drives a 2001 Camry. The automotive equivalent of an NPR tote bag. It’s gray with a gray interior, a 4-banger, and an automatic. It’s the antithesis of an enthusiast’s car. It’s the exact opposite of everything a car guy wants.
It’s slow, sterile, and boring. And I love it so very much. I love my Camry so much, in fact, that I just bought another one. I’ve graduated from the perfectly normal guy-with-a-Camry to the much more, ehm, eccentric guy-who-collects-Camrys.
My new ‘Yota is a 1991 DLX model with a full blue interior, a 5-speed, automatic seatbelts, and a bumper sticker boasting the past owner’s support for the local Christian school’s booster club.
I didn’t mean to buy it. Really, I didn’t. But it was $250, and I felt I needed to save it from an undignified end at the salvage yard.
My daily-driven Camry is actually quite nice. It only has 120,000 miles on it, and its previous owners were an elderly couple who bought it brand new in 2001. My new Camry, on the other hand, is a bit shit. It smokes like Joe Rogan.
One of the windows is a JDM weight-reduction trash bag. The CV axles sound as if they’ve got osteoporosis, and when you get above 55, the hood latch loses its grip on the car and begins to bounce up and down in a rather terrifying manner.
It’s a Used Car. That’s for Sure.
Perhaps most concerning is that the automatic seatbelt no longer does its NHTSA-mandated job of keeping me tight against the blue velour and instead dangles from the A-pillar directly in my line of sight.
In other words, fucker’s mint.
Yes, I know it’s absolutely ridiculous to own two of the same economy family sedan, particularly when one of them is essentially scrap. But if it’s wrong to love a boring car that the rest of the world views it as disposable, then I don’t want to be right.