The fastest car I ever owned was a 1987 Nissan 300Z. It was a silver T-top that only sat two people and probably needed a new clutch by the time I was done with it. I remember my thighs sticking to the deep leather bucket seats and burning my hands on the leather steering wheel in the summer.
I didn’t realize I could be whatever I wanted to be when I was that young. I don’t think 50% of teenagers do when they are given a sports car while they are still in high school. At the time, I just knew that the more I knew, the more I would succeed in life.
The car also had a cassette player during the golden age of compact discs. In fact, most new music wasn’t even released on tape anymore so I had to dig through crates at garage sales and thrift stores to find something suitable.
Tom Petty’s Greatest Hits filled my ears that summer before college. American Girl.
My fancy, vintage vehicle brought me everywhere. I probably saw over 30 concerts that summer — Phish, String Cheese, Keller Williams… I had a steady job at a Steak-N-Shake serving burgers and shakes to all my friends just so I can have cash to fill the tank and go. My step-brother called it the “bat mobile” and I always liked that, it made me feel like a superhero.
I brought it with me to college but it ended up just sitting in the parking lot all semester. I only really took it out when I needed feeder fish for my piranhas. I decided by Sophemore year that I would be a commuter. In the fall, one night after a Friday night football game at the school, someone through a brick through the back window of my sports car. I ended up parking it on the side of my mom’s garage for months before I started driving it again.
I upgraded to a truck by the time winter came around. Luckily, my brother was away at college and he had a white, shiny Chevy S10 with a body kit that sat low enough to the ground that it scraped all the speed bumps in the school parking lot. It wasn’t fast like my Nissan and I had to put sand bags on the back bed so it didn’t fish tale all over the road when I’d hit a patch of ice.
The Nissan grew older and my dad eventually brought it out to the family farm where things go to die. To this day it is still sitting in one of the pole barns, gathering mouse poop and Roundup dust. Dad never even transferred the title out of my name so it still shows up when the bank runs my credit report. Whenever they ask, I just smile. There really is no good explanation why I haven’t insisted it was taken care of.
I’ll admit that if I had more money than I knew what to do with, I would probably fix the old car up. If I could talk to my old self, I would insist it be taken care of. Now it is just a hunk of steel with some great memories in it’s joints. What I wouldn’t give to take it on a journey just one more time.