My sister and I bought that car when we were 21. I was close to getting my driver's license and we went looking for a car with our Mom and Dad. I definitely had dreams for what I wanted as a first car but then prices clashed with dreams. At a ford dealer we saw the tan taurus. It was in our price range, had one previous owner, not too many miles, and lots and lots of space. We could (uncomfortably) fit six. And the trunk was huge. So we bought it.
I've had a lot of good drives in that car from the first drive up to NH when Jeanne and I talked the entire way with only about 10000 reminders that I drove to close to the car in front of me, driving up and down highway 3 from Merrimack NH to the MA border just to listen to the radio, to the time Meg three friends and I drove to Maine and got lost on the way back to NH, or the time we filled my car up with more classmates than legally possible including having one person in the trunk to drive to Bickfords in Nashau NH, and the many hours spent in traffic in the Bronx listening to the radio.
Onk had a cassette player in it so Meg and I made one of our first orders of business to buy tapes for the car (mostly we had switched to cds at home). We got a Hank Williams Sr tape, Billy Joel Greatest hits, Patsy Cline and Chris Ledoux. There was nothing better then rolling down the windows and blasting Hank sr from a cassette. The sound wasn't as clear as a radio or cd it was different but we loved it. Actually the radio and music was a big part of that car. Meg and I had fun one Christmas wearing Santa hats driving around in December with the windows open playing Christmas music while Schultzy sat in the back wearing antlers.
Then there was painting the car when the New York Rangers made it into the playoffs.
We had a picture of the front of the car which we got signed by the entire team during the playoff run. And Meg got her 15 minutes of fame when someone at the Garden saw the picture and recognized her from the video shouting out "Agravaine" which is Meg's Youtube account name.
The beauty about the Taurus is how well it was built. It was a perfect car to learn in. There is a scuff on the side from the first time I drove to Yankee Stadium. The bumpers had both been tested a few times. One time I was pretty sure I was in a set up. We had been stopped at a light for almost a minute when all of a sudden we were slammed into so hard I hit the car in front of me. I got out and walked to the back of my car. The guy who hit me said we should pull into the parking lot on our right. I told the guy I hit I was hit from behind and that we were pulling into the parking lot to get out of the road. However when I got into the parking lot the car who hit me was gone. Some guys in the parking lot told me he went in reverse down the road and drove through a different parking lot and was probably long gone. The guy I hit then looked at his rear bumper said "that's not enough" and left.
My ethics were tested in that car. I was delivering papers early one morning in a horrible storm. It was dark and I passed the house I needed. When I switched to reverse to back up to the car my back spun out and hit a car parked on the street. I'd be lying if I pretended the thought that 'it was 3am and if I left no one would ever know I was there' didn't go through my mind. I got out and woke the owners of the car up and left my name and phone number and then came back at a more reasonable hour when it wasn't pouring with high winds and was light out.
It also played a part in one of the worst days of my (and my family's) life. Meg and I had just pulled into a Walmart parking lot in order to pick up photo's from a recent trip to Nashville. Meg was standing behind the car when a car a few spots away pulled out very quickly and came to a stop. Before I could say to Meg "That kid (I assumed it was a kid) is going to hurt someone" the driver backed up equally fast as if he was backing into the spot I was parked in. He pinned Meg between his bumper and my bumper, pushing my parked car over a curb. Then began to drive away as if nothing happened.
The car as we liked to say had character, which was a euphemism for all the little things that would go wrong. For example the door locks which were supposed to be automatic stopped working. We would have to push the bottom multiple times to make it unlock and then eventually it just had to be unlocked manually. Occasionally the key wouldn't unlock the driver door and I would have to remove it and pull the handle a couple of times before trying again. The seat belt on the passenger side was great at locking when I hit the brakes but hated to retract. The tape player had stopped working and would only play five seconds at a time. Then there was its refusal to switch from heating to cooling which I guess was a sign of its future end.
And there was my bumper which I had covered with my very own bumper stickers.
But if you like them they are available here http://www.zazzle.com/jrkeohane
I can't say I didn't see the writing on the walls. I had told myself over a year ago that the next large repair would the end. It happened a month ago when the head gaskets went and anti-freeze was apparently spewing into the engine. It was more than the car was worth.
I'm going to miss that car.