3/19/09 - Car History...1989 Pontiac Grand Am

This will be the first in a 9 part series. Roxane, over at her blog, went through a list of her past cars, and I have always thought the stories based around my cars were interesting. Some more exciting than others, but still, most of them are interesting.

I'll start with my first car, that was "mine" which I believe I got when I turned 16. It was a beautiful 1989 Pontiac Grand Am. It was dark red color with two doors. It was four-cylinder, but based on the speeds at which it could reach, I would have sworn it was a V8. We bought it with over 100k miles on it, and if it were up to me, I would have driven it until the wheels fell off. Instead, I only had it for about a year and a half. The images below show the basic color of my car and the 2 door gives a basic idea of the style. The link above gives a more accurate idea of the body style.

It was just about a daily occurrence that while I was on the way to work, me and my car pool partner would cruise down the interstate at typically 100+ miles an hour. My proudest moment was doing 106 miles an hour down I630 during rush hour traffic. The weaving and maneuvering I did that day was beautiful, poetic, and most importantly really stupid.

During the course of owning that vehicle, I was rear ended at a stop light, blew a tire when I took a turn too sharp and slipped into a sewer drainage thing, ran out of gas several times because the gas gauge was broken (I started using a post-it with the mileage of my last fill up to let me know when I needed gas again), and basically just destroyed this car. One of my favorite things to do was get up to about 40-50 miles an hour on back roads and slam on the brakes to see how far I would slide. Like Roxane mentioned, this is the perfect example why parents should NEVER buy a nice car for a teen's first vehicle.

The end of the Grand Am's life came one evening after a night out with a bunch of friends. A group of about 8 of us had gone to the ice skating rink off of Bowman in Little Rock just to hang out. When we left, we had to stop by a gas station to fill up. While we were pumping, I was talking with the other guy driving and he basically challenged me to race him back to North Little Rock. Considering that I was all about driving 100 miles an hour during rush hour...doing 100+ with no one else on the road seemed like a cake walk.

We hit the interstate where Chenal Parkway turns into I630 and the race was on. Although he was in a brand new Chevy Malibu, I blew him out of the water and might have been as much as a mile ahead of him pretty quickly. I continued at roughly 80-90 all the way down 630 until we got on to I30 at which point I slowed to probably 65 or 70...just enough to speed, but not too crazy like. I figured I had it in the bag because we could not see him at all behind us. As I was merging onto I40 though, we were all shocked to see him flying in behind us and before I could do much about it, he was basically in front of us, so all I could do was floor it. In all honestly, it's amazing my foot didn't go through the floor because there was no way he was going to beat me.

I was wrong. As soon as I hit the gas pedal, the car jerked, sparks flew, smoke billowed out from under the hood and it no longer reacted to anything. My car was dead. I was able to get it to the side of the road, just in front of the Lakewood Exit and the other guy stopped and came back to see what was going on. Since I'm no mechanic I called my dad and he said he would come get us. Of course, he didn't get the whole story of what happened.

While we were waiting we were standing off the interstate about 20 feet. My dad got there as they only lived a few miles down the road and went back to the house where he immediately called a tow truck and left to meet it. Before he could get there, the tow truck called and said he couldn't find the car he reported, but that there were several fire trucks, ambulance and police vehicles in the general area.

In that short time period, maybe 10-15 minutes, apparently a drunk driver had slammed into the back of my car at full speed thinking the shoulder was another lane at which point he sent my vehicle flying into the very spot where me and my friends had just been waiting. Needless to say, my car was destroyed, and amazingly no one was injured. After I dropped my friends off using my mom's van (more on that in a later post), I went by the scene of the accident and I can honestly say that in my life I have never felt so helpless, scared, emotional and guilty all at the same time.

I know this was a long opening post, but this kind of sets the scene for the life of the rest of my other cars. Stay tuned for the next vehicle in line - 1986 Dodge Caravan.


4 Comments - Leave one yourself

What an awesome story! Can't wait to hear the rest!

By Blogger babibootiful, at March 19, 2009 at 8:02 PM  

This is more "adventure" with a single car than I've had with all my cars combined! Looking forward to future posts.

By Blogger Elizabeth, at March 21, 2009 at 8:11 PM  

What scares me about this is one my husband was probably with you and two I hope my son does not do those crazy things. I don't think girl teenage drivers are as dangerous.

By Blogger sdhorton, at March 22, 2009 at 12:39 PM  

He was riding shotgun during the race. You should ask him about his white truck on his parents gravel. I don't know if I have ever been so scared.

By Blogger DJ Walker, at March 22, 2009 at 1:29 PM  

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