Think mid to late 1980’s. I don’t remember the exact year that I had this piece of crap car as I’ve tried to block it from my memory.
It was a Ford Escort station wagon, white in color—looked very much like the one in the photo. Like the one posted here, it was usually parked. That’s because it usually didn’t run.
I had a little joke I would tell about that car. “It gets great gas mileage,” I would say, “because it’s towed everywhere.”
The last straw was driving home from my accounting job at a pharmaceutical company located in Pleasant Ridge. Right there on the Norwood Lateral, on a hot summer afternoon and during rush hour, the timing belt went out on the car. Apparently, me and that piece of crap automobile were all over the news—channels 5, 9 & 12 back then—as we were major league tying up traffic.
After getting the car to my mechanic, he dropped me off close to home. Walking the rest of the way, I remember going into a grocery store and getting two bottles of wine. As soon as I walked inside my house, I started drinking—polishing off both of those bottles.
Just in case you haven’t already guessed—that was the first and last Ford Escort I ever owned—again, a piece of crap—but what came next was one of the best cars I ever had.
It was a Dodge Aspen station wagon—looks exactly like the one in the photo. I don’t remember what year the car was, but we traded in that Ford Escort for it. It had that wood grain paneling on its sides, that luggage rack on top and plenty of room inside for my wife and kids. I loved that car and it hauled us all around for a lot of years.
I think it would still be on the room today if it hadn’t turned into a rust bucket. It got so bad towards the end that except for the driver’s door, the rest of the doors were rusted shut. Because of that, we had to get another car, but I continued to drive that Dodge Aspen on solo outings until it no longer made any sense to keep it.
I hope wood grain paneling makes a comeback on automobiles someday. In my view, it stands for “family on board.”
(Photos from WordPress)