The Early Years (80s and 90s)
My first car was a hand me down from my Dad and it was a beater. An early 80s Ford Escort station wagon with a manual transmission. It was ugly, but to me it represented freedom and dramatically expanded my world so I loved it. I’ll never forget feeling so proud when I installed a Jensen tape deck and a pair of 6x9s. The problem was that I was lazy and used electrical tape…didn’t know how to solder. The music would cut out on big bumps sometimes.
For my high school graduation, my parents surprised me with a 1987 Ford Taurus sedan…a huge step up from the Escort for sure. It was a tank and I loved it. I was working in home/car audio shops at the time while going to school and my ugly white Taurus had a close to competition quality sound system in it…likely worth more than the car!
The first car that I purchased with my own money was the 78 911 SC Targa that is detailed on the Porsche page. The second car was a major downgrade in fun from that car but a lot more reliable…it was a new 97 Honda Civic. I told you it was a major downgrade!
Seattle (early 2000s)
When I first moved to Seattle I wasn’t driving much so I picked up a cheap beater…an ugly 87 Jetta. Gold with a brown interior…so much ugly:
When VW released the 2000 Jetta VR6 redesign I fell in love. I thought it was the coolest car, it had these awesome blue and red lights inside and that VR6 engine was a blast. Too bad it was also a total piece of crap. The transmission was replaced, major engine service required and things would just fall off. The final straw was when I was driving down the road and the drivers window just fell into the door. No reason…it just gave up and fell inside. I drove it to a Toyota dealership and traded it in just like that!
That brings me to what turned out to be one of my favorite vehicles of all time (outside of Porsche), a 2002 Toyota 4Runner. I loved that truck and it took me and eventually my family, everywhere. Reliable, fun and I think for an SUV it happens to look great too. I would own another 4Runner in a heartbeat but I think the older ones look better than the new ones personally.
Still Seattle (2010 decade)
Next to Porsche, Audi holds a strong second place as my favorite car brand. When I was looking for something sporty to replace the 4Runner, I test drove the S5 and fell in love. I still think this is one of the nicest looking cars on the road for under $80K. It’s a heavy car but still fun to drive. The growl of the V8 firing up was better than coffee in the morning.
The manual S5 was fun to drive for pleasure but it wasn’t very practical as a daily driver given my long commute in Seattle traffic and frequent need to haul kids, dogs, bikes, wakeboards, etc. I sold it back to the dealer and drove away in an Audi Q5 SUV. I know, I know but just wait.
I wanted to reclaim some of the fun of the S5 so I loaded it up with titanium 20×9 BBS CH-R wheels, Michelin Pilot tires, the KW V1 Coilover kit, an AWE Tuning exhaust and the APR chip. While not the S5 and certainly not a 911, I managed to create a fun daily driver, people mover and grocery getter.
My current daily driver is a really fun 2018 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon that I’m enjoying customizing. It’s great to drive, takes the family on adventures and the top comes off for summer sun!
Some other vehicles that my wife and I have enjoyed over the years:
Our daily driver, road tripper, people mover Volvo XC90 that manages to hold 7 and still feel fast and fun to drive.
A beautifully restored Jeep Grand Wagoneer that we bought and sold back to Wagon Master…it just wasn’t reliable enough for regular use but what a collector if we had the room.
My wife’s first car when she moved to Seattle and I still think one of her favorites ever
Matching red Ram 1500 Rebel that was just a bit too big for what we were using it for.
We had this beautiful but a bit soulless Audi S5 Cab for a while.
The reliable but not very exciting Nissan Murano.