I lived in rural Maui back when there was zero bus service and you had to have a car to get anywhere (though we did moderately well for local area access on bicycles via back roads and pineapple fields). The fact that it is an island made out of the slopes of two mountains (one of which is 10,000′ tall!) meant a lot of steep rides though, so like any teenager in a rural location in those days, a car was a significant desire. 🙂
My first automobile was a Chevy Love truckthat I purchased when I was 14-1/2 – six months before I could get a permit and license to drive. $250 and we had to tow it from a neighbor’s yard because it didn’t run. It was in terrible shape. He’d stopped driving it several years prior because the back of the truck was so rusted out that his dogs’ legs were falling through and the water in the puddles in the unpaved road to our group of houses was splashing up into the cab through the giant rust holes. Truly an amazing vehicle! 😛 The back tires were extra wide for some reason, but that just made it seem cooler 🙂 It looked something like this, but with a ton of rust holes:
Of course I was stoked to get it and spent the next 6 months getting it running, putting plywood down in the floor of the truck bed, and so on. Had to get the rust ground off the brakes by a machine shop (raw metal sitting == rust build up fast in Hawaii), clean out the mildew, etc and so on.
The deal with my parents was that if I drove myself and my sister to school (no school buses to the schools we were in) then they’d pay the car insurance and just enough gas money to go those miles. The truck maintenance and gas for any other trips was on me.
I got my permit at 15, and two weeks later my license (minimum required waiting time). The muffler was pretty rusted out and so it sounded a bit like a crop duster when I pressed the gas pedal (i.e., loud and frappy). It also wouldn’t idle so I had to keep tapping the gas pedal at stop lights and stop signs to keep the motor from dying; other teens thought I wanted to race (ha!).
During some periods it wouldn’t start reliably. Had to push start it pretty regularly so I parked it up an embankment that let me roll it down towards the house and hopefully get it to start (yikes!). Some periods I’d start it first and then run inside to take my shower before driving to school so that I wouldn’t have to take a second shower after getting all greasy getting it running.
Anyway, at one point I decided to make a stencil out of legal size file folders (only stiff card stock I had access to for free :)) and spray painta logo on the side of the doors to embrace the crappiness of the truck and so I made one that evoked the circular logo of the state that was on the side of government trucks.
I found the stencil in my mementoes box and without further ado or story telling, here it is:
🙂 Apropos, for truly it was a rusted hulk that should have been scrapped, but got me around the island for maybe a year before I upgraded to a $750 car that burned almost a quart of oil a week and a went through about a quart of transmission fluid every two days until I took the transmission out and got it rebuilt, but that ran much more reliably and had much less rust 🙂 (So bad for the environment – we were so clueless back then! sigh).