Ever have a car/motorcycle you wish you had back?

I know there has probably been a thread about this before … but the “Dream Car” thread got me thinking:

I had a 1959 Villager station wagon from 1978 to 1986 or so. This was no show princess; I got it with about 126k on it, did a full frame up rebuild on it, and drove it another 110k or so. And not just me - it was a sort of community vehicle within the family for anyone who needed major size for camping, hunting, whatever. I only sold it because the inspection was dead and no one wanted to do the work for me, I had crushed a hand and couldn’t do the work myself, and the cops were going to have it towed. I wish to hell I had that one back: I should have found a way to stash it somewhere until that future day we all dream about before we hit 35. For some reason, for the last two or three years, I miss the hell out of that car. I even know where I could lay my hands on a stash of 8-tracks for the player I hid under the seat.

For those who have owned different cars or motorcycles: is there one you wish you had back?

I loved my Aerostar, but when it passed 235K miles, I decided it needed to go. The interior was somewhat worse for wear, the a/c compressor was cracked, and I worried about the transmission. I got $600 for it from a guy who intended to DIY it. Wonder if it’s still on the road?

Sadly, it was a '97 - the last year they made 'em - so no newer model to replace it. Of all the vehicles we’ve owned, that was my favorite.

Wow, this is a topic I occasionally contemplate, usually while driving along after seeing an older classic car.

So here are a few. 1937 4 door Dodge sedan…Big old straight six that had tons of torque. 1953 Chevy 2 Dr BelAir…my first car that I repainted, rebuilt, and cherried out the interior…but it still had an anemic sex coupled with a 2 speed auto transmission. 1965 two door Mercury Comet…289 cu in V8, and turquoise. 1969 Chevelle 2 door that was fast. 1969(?) Honda SL90 that was set up for dirt racing. 2001 Toyota Tundra, perfect size and good performance, with absolute reliability. And the list goes on…

My 62 Corvair. What a fun, simple car!

I wish I had my Porsche 911SC back.

I wish I had my '76 Yamaha 250 Enduro back.

I had a 1985 Honda Prelude that I really liked. It wasn’t fast but it seemed fast. It handled like a go-cart, got almost 40 mpg and had a good sound system. At about 90,000 miles it got partially submerged in a flash flood and was never the same. I drove it a couple more years but had lots of electrical issues. The timing belt broke and I junked it.
Years after mine was gone I saw one driving around town a few times that was identical and was absolutely pristine. It made me really miss mine.

I haven’t had that many cars and am not particularly sentimental about them, but my husband has two he wishes he had back: an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser which he gave to his brother after he left for college, and a used Porsche 911 he got a good deal on while working at a car dealership. We still see a Vista Cruiser around here from time to time. It would have been a great car to have when we had two large dogs. I also think it’s about the same size as my first apartment …

Mom once owned a late model Rambler, when I was a kiddo.

I had an '89 200SX with the 300ZX motor up front driving independent rear wheels. Fun car, but others kept running into it. It was stolen (and totaled for minor damage), repaired and totalled again (I have no remorse, the car was restored to pre-total condition), was repaired and hit and totalled again, and was finally T-boned before I could repair that damage. The side collision was not feasible to repair, so I had to let it go.

We had one, too! A Rambler Rebel, red with double white stripes on the bottom.

1999 Ford ranger. I miss that truck. It got me through college and my first job.

I had a 1976 Ford Torino. 2 door. It didn’t have the sport package.
I really enjoyed driving that car. Shouldn’t have sold it.

I’ve been fortunate to have had many great cars and bikes in my day. There are a handful that stand out that I’d like back:

1982 RX-7 GS. My first ‘good’ car. I babied it, had it repainted when it started looking worn and in general loved it and could have imagined keeping it forever. That all came to an end when I was massively rear ended, totalling the car before I was ready to move on.

1978 Honda CB750F Supersport. I got this bike after owning two other brand new bikes that were far more competent than this machine. But I found this bike in the classifieds looking for a winter project; something of low value I could take apart and maybe rebuild. This was a low mileage, 17 year old bike that looked brand new but only ran on three of the four cylinders. I bought it for approximately no money and did very little work on it. Other than the bad cylinder, which the previous owner told me was due to a cracked head, it was perfect and needed nothing. I rode it, as-is all winter, suspecting the head wasn’t cracked but not knowing what the actual problem might be. I finally took it to a a well respected bike mechanic who after listening to my list of symptoms and what I had tried, took out a rubber mallet, smacked the carb rack hard and charged me nothing for a now perfectly running bike. Stuck float in the carb.

It was nowhere near up to modern standards of handling, power or braking, but was just super nice and easy to ride. I gave it to a friend who had set me up with my first bike to repay that favor. Screw him, I should have kept it. He still has it.

2005 Lotus Elise. After owning this car as my daily driver for six years, I was pretty damned tired of the hassle and sold it. I had the option of parking it in the garage, slowly refreshing the cosmetics and worn components from track days and hard street use, but I didn’t. I am only now starting to regret that, mostly cause my memories of the harder days have started to fade.

2008 KTM 690 SMC. This was the craziest, most hooligan-ish bike I could imagine. It was also a POS that had changed hands three times before I picked it up as a poorly running example. I never got it quite right and it was a total pain in the ass to ride in heavy Seattle traffic. But damn! It would be right at home here in the canyons around Santa Barbara. Looking for another.

2009 BMW 135i. This was the car I just sold. The only one I’ve immediately regretted. Small, very powerful, convertible, the car I owned the longest. It was the right thing to do. But I miss my top-down blasts though the back roads here.

I had a 1979 International Harvester Scout, bought it in 1989 for $2000 with 94 000 miles on it. mrAru and I put some 320 000 miles on it between the two of us, multiple road trips across country [both North and South, and East West] daily commute of 75 miles each way for a couple years, up until it died in 2005 we bought most of the original parts from our favorite IH dealer parts department [the main parts guy was also a Scout fan] and I still have an original full on dealers manual for it [all 3 3 inch thick volumes =) ]

The only reason it is no longer with us, mrAru hit a patch of black ice, went through a New England stacked stone fence, a number of 3 inch trees and ended up wedged between 2 ancient oak trees cracking the frame. It drove back with effectively no oil pan, no oil in the engine and 3 miles didn’t appreciably kill the motor!

mrAru’s wistful vehicle was the 1984 Chevrolet S10 - we called it The Zombie … he bought it off one of the guys rotating off his boat in 1997, who had bought it back from the insurance company on a salvage registration, bent the frame back, banged the panels out and got it inspected [mirabile dictu it passed!] By some wonder of the ancients, he managed to keep it running and in repair variously so it passed inspection until the body effectively rotted off it so it couldn’t be patched up with chewing gum, baling wore and duct tape … that was an amazing farm truck.

I dearly miss my Supra.


Just two:

1971 AMC Gremlin

1976 Chevy Blazer 4x4

I was right out of college, working for a non-profit for $9k/yr, and wondering if I’d ever afford a car (let alone a cool one). Well, a local mechanic sold me his '73 BMW 2002, and continued tinkering with it even though he didn’t own it anymore. He’d say “Well, I could’ve ordered the part and billed you $300 for installing it, but I knew you’d rather have the $20 repair. Now, see this shoelace here…?”

Geez, I just looked 'em up, they’re going for 25-45k! Guess I won’t be picking one up for nostalgia’s sake. Besides, it got 17 mpg and burned leaded gas.

I shall list more than one car I wish I had back-

  1. 1988 Ford Festiva. The best econobox hatchback I ever had. Bought it for $1000, drove it nearly eight years, got $1500 for its totaled hulk (other guy’s fault).
  2. 1983 Datsun Nissan Sentra Diesel. Yes, it had all those nameplates stretched across its tiny trunk lid. Got it on the road for about $800, drove it for nearly eight years, got $1100 for it after it got accordioned between two Chevy pickups while waiting for one to turn left. The thing got 40+ mpg in town back when diesel fuel was less than $1/gallon.
  3. 1963 Studebaker Lark. I don’t want to talk about it.

And the one I never should have sold-
1967 Chevy Caprice four-door hardtop (sport sedan in Chevy brochure lingo). 327 4-barrel with double hump heads and a powerglide.

My old my 1955 Chevy pickup. I loved that truck. All original. What I’d give to have it back.

My first car–well, the first car I used as a daily driver–was a 1975 VW bus. I got my license in 1997. By far the vehicle I’ve had in my past that I miss the most was that VW.

It was two-tone, canary yellow with a white top. My mom sewed curtains for it and it had a two bumper stickers: a actual honest-to-God Deadhead sticker and one from KZEL-FM Classic Rock in Eugene, Oregon. It had no air (as in, not even a fan – but it had A-pillar quarter glass) but it did have a working heater! An actual working heater in a VW. I put a cassette deck in it – a Blaupunkt Seattle, which I cant even find online today because they reused that name for a later model CD player. It was hot shit: it had auto-reverse AND fast-forward to the next song! ::strut:: It had a center console between the bucket seats that someone had made out of plywood and covered in yellow berber carpet. The interior had normal wear: a few threadbare spots in the carpet but the upholstery was in good shape and the rest of the interior was excellent. The body was perfect except for one thing: it was missing the chrome “VW” on the front because it had the spare tire mount installed there.

The turn signals did not automatically cancel and the window washer was powered by compressed air that I had to add from the gas station, there was a reservoir for it under the passenger footwell. The only thing that didnt work was the fuel gauge. But the odometer did so I just tracked my miles. Only ran out of gas once. :slight_smile:

I LOVED that bus. I would pull the center seat out, throw a cooler, a sleeping bag, and the dog in the back and head into the mountains for a few days. I distinctly remember going camping way up on some mountain in the Cascades. I remember sitting in the back, crossed-legged on the floor with a quilt over my shoulders and a cup of coffee in my hand. It was pouring rain, and I had parked on the side of some old logging road. I heard some weird grunting and shuffling sounds and suddenly this herd of elk came walking down the road, oblivious to the rain and the brightly colored weird thing with a dumbfounded teenage human gawking at them from within. 10 feet away at most. I’ve never seen a herd of elk since. Twice I drove from southwest Oregon to Northwest Montana and back. I remember driving up the east side of Flathead Lake with the windows rolled down and Janis Joplin poring out of the cassette deck.

That bus lasted me at least three years. The oil filter fell off as I was driving into Portland along I-84 in a late fall rainstorm, and the engine committed seppuku. I had it towed home but it never ran again. My dad offered to help me find and swap in a new engine, but I had no desire to do that much work. I sold it to some old hippie for $300 and bought a little Nissan 2wd pickup.

I miss the hell out of that VW. I don’t even have a single picture of it. Today 1) I’d likely find it too uncomfortable for a daily driver, and 2) if the engine ran it would be worth $15K. I fully realize that it’s probably the memories I made while I had it that hold such romantic feelings rather than the vehicle itself, but it was still a damn cool vehicle.

The first car I actually owned was a 1979 IH scout II Traveler. It had a longer wheelbase than the Scout. I worked on a farm when I was 14 to “earn” it. It had a blown motor and no interior carpeting–just bare metal. My dad and I barely made it the few hundred miles from the farm back home, this after finding a motor to replace the bad one. We rebuilt that motor and then it blew up before I turned 16 and we had to replace it again. Nothing ever worked right and the doors and window seals leaked, which in western oregon is a Bad Thing. We finally sold it and bought the above-noted VW before I turned 16, so I don’t consider it my first vehicle.

I think an original Scout (not the II), restored with a manual transmission would be fun to own.