This is not yet complete, but feel free to start here.
1982 Pontiac 6000LE
For my high school graduation, I was given my grandmother’s old car. It was 10 years old and had a mere 25,000 miles on it. It proceeded to quickly wear out its entire front end, requiring expensive repairs I couldn’t afford. Though my parents were convinced it was because of my crazy driving, it was actually because the grease had broken down inside all the moving parts due to lack of use, failing to lubricate properly. This came from my mechanic who worked on a local town’s police car fleet. He would know what hard driving actually does to a car.
The Pontiac got me through college until one of the only accidents I’ve ever had in my life crushed it in. It was too worthless to fix, so I saved some money and replaced it.
1995 Mercury Tracer
My family had connections at a local Mercury dealer, who hooked me up with a deal on a former program car. I drove it for a few years, having the transmission rebuilt along the way. A few years later I sold the car to my girlfriend. Later she became my wife, and I was stuck with the car in my driveway again. After the rebuilt transmission gave out again (just outside warranty, of course), we had it replaced with a used unit, which shifted better than the original ever had. Eventually, a friend bought the car and took it to North Carolina.
I discovered autocross in this car and enjoyed it even though this was the worst possible car for the job. So I relegated the Tracer to daily driver duty and bought…
1983 BMW 320i
I was autocrossing regularly with the Boston Chapter BMW CCA, and found this for cheap in the newsletter classifieds. This was my first project car, one that I didn’t have to rely on to get to work—though I did enjoy a week with it on Cape Cod when I got sent to training at my workplace’s home office. This was my autocross toy, and though I wasn’t competitive, I had fun, with rear wheel drive and great handling despite an insane amount of body roll. But eventually it broke, and I discovered my new daily driver was faster. I always intended to take the 320i to the track, but I never did, and sold it instead.
1995 Saturn SC2
Yes, my daily driver Saturn was faster than my BMW. I did my first track day in this car, a rainy day at Lime Rock Park. I was passing BMWs like crazy with front wheel drive in the rain. I got hooked on this car’s performance potential, and tuned it up a bit with power, braking, and suspension modifications. It was fun, but I joined a cult.
1990 Mazda Miata
A friend and I were enjoying autocross and track days but were concerned at the possibility of breaking our cars and not having a ride to work on Monday. So we bought this car together, which had won its autocross class in the New England Region SCCA. We expanded our autocross schedule to include the Renegade Miata Club, and added a roll bar and racing harnesses to continue doing track days. In the end, I moved away, and sold out my half of the car to my friend I owned it with.
1996 Saturn SL2
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The SC2 was burning more and more oil—a common Saturn flaw. Before the engine blew up, I decided to swap the coupe for a sedan that would have a usable back seat. I proceeded to almost never use the back seat. This car was strictly my daily driver, but that didn’t stop me from adding an intake, or keeping my SC2’s alloy wheels to replace this car’s steelies. I also brought it to the 2001 Saturn Performance Club Rally, which was fun. I switched jobs and got a company car, which made the Saturn rather redundant. So I sold it to a friend.
2003 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg Edition
At least, that’s what it was in a past life. Now it’s a slick little Smyth Performance ute. You can read a summary of the build at The Drive. It was a fun project, but life changed, I moved to New Hampshire, and the state’s stricter emission laws than Massachusetts (“Live Free Or Die?”) meant it would’ve been a huge hassle to bring it with me and keep it on the road legally. It is now in the care of a friend who uses it as her farm truck, while I still have the option to borrow it when I occasionally need a truck.
2015 Subaru WRX Premium. This car was primarily my daily driver since it’s fairly new and quite reliable. Most modifications were comfort and convenience in nature, such as a Kenwood TM-V71A ham radio and a JVC Apple CarPlay head unit. I loved it, but once COVID-19 hit and my day job went remote, I didn’t drive it anymore. It wasn’t worth the monthly payment for not getting the use out of it, so I sold it.
2003 Dodge Ram Van 1500. I wanted to explore the #vanlife, so I picked this up to give it a go. I used it to go camping, exploring, hauling my motorcycle places too far from home to ride in comfort, and as a mobile amateur radio rally support command center. I liked it so much that I outgrew it. It was a great weekend warrior, but I had bigger van life plans.
1998 Honda Pacific Coast 800. It’s sort of the minivan of motorcycles, with a cavernous cargo area and somewhat ungainly looks (“I like big butts and I cannot lie…”). But it’s also super reliable, low maintenance, comfortable, and easy to ride. This was my daily driver for seven years until I needed to cut down and sold it. You can read more about it on RideApart.
1995 Honda Shadow ACE 1100. This is the bike that Harley-Davidson sued Honda over because the shape and even the sound were too similar to their bikes. Too many aftermarket parts to name. It’s currently off the road due to needing an engine-out service to replace a water pump. I expected better of Honda.
2001 Suzuki Savage / LS650 / S40. We picked this and an 86ed ’86 parts bike from my ex-girlfriend for my wife (it’s complicated). When my Shadow broke near the end of last riding season I swapped my plate over and rode this instead. It’s too small for me but that’s not important — it’s for my wife to learn to ride. I just gave it an extensive test ride first.