(Update: Two new COALmen are signed up, and the first one starts tomorrow already. Thanks for all the expressions of interest; many of you have terrific stories to tell of your cars. We can still take more one-off COAL stories anytime, and I’d be glad to have someone preparing for the next series or two).
CC’s COAL (Cars Of A Lifetime) Series has become a weekend institution since quite early on. We’ve had a number of COALmen who shared with us all the cars they’ve ever owned; in the case of Jim Klein, that was no less than forty three. Our last series ran out a while back, and I don’t know about you, but I miss my weekly COAL fix. CC thrives on the multitude of voices and experiences, so it’s time to enlist the services of a new COALperson or two. It’s not about how many cars you’ve had, or how utterly unique they were; it’s about sharing your experiences, which are always fascinating to the rest of us even if they might seem mundane to you.
If you don’t have pictures of your actual former cars, that’s no problem either (we know where to find them). It just takes a willingness to write one up per week, for the duration. Every one of our COAlers has found the experience to be very gratifying, and well worth the effort. I know there’s literally hundreds of you out there whose stories we’d like to hear. And they’ll be recorded here for posterity. So let’s form a line up over here at the Contact Form, or send us an e-mail directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s so much more fun than actually hauling coal.
And of course we’re always looking for other Contributors too. The inflow has been a bit slow lately, whch may be a summer thing, but if you’ve got a car or story you want to share, send us a sample text of what you have in mind at the above e-mail, and we’ll set you up as a Contributor.
Wouldst I could do this .
I could do that. I, uh, think it might be a bit monotonous, however.
Why’s that? Do you tend to stick to the same sort of car?
I’ve had two trucks for work, a ’00 Ford Econoline and a GMC T6500. Other than that all have been Mercedes-Benzes, 5 e-classes from 76-95 all diesels, a diesel 79 S-class, a gas ’95 C220 and a gas ’05 ML350. And my next car is an already ordered Mercedes Metris.
I can weave a good life story to go with them, though. I hope.
My COAL series included among others, 8 B bodies, 3 J bodies, and 6 K car derivatives. Needless to say, from someone who owned numerous versions of the same car, I would love to hear about your experiences with your multiple Mercedes Benzes.
I’d love to see a COAL series from someone who has owned one or more Alfa Romeos. In other words, what Clarkson calls a “True Petrolhead.” Anybody out there fit that description?
I’ve owned two Alfas … and four Toyotas, a Hornet and a Vega (plus other cars). Does that make me a petrolhead?
You’ve already heard about my Pacer, my Subaru FE and my Silhouette minivan. By my count, that only leaves 13 to go (and that’s not counting the cars my dad had when I was growing up that I learned to drive on).
I have a few written buy since you changed the way to submit stories, I have not been able to figure out how to send them. I did do a COAL on my 2006 Taurus but also wanted to do one on my 1997 Lesabre, 1999 Firebird and 1995 Deville..
I just sent a potential entry to the contact page. I hope it gets through as I didn’t save a copy!
Got it. And sent you a reply.
I thought that since I just retired from the military that I would have some time to sit down and write a COAL or ten but it feels like I have less time than ever. When things settle down I will though.
I know this is nothing more than good intentions, but I have a dozen or so writeups to do as well (lifetime car count is now close to 30).
I’ll see what I can pen up. I’ve only sold one vehicle (It was a complete lemon), so pictures shouldn’t be a problem….
When we submit COALs you never respond or publish them!
I don’t remember seeing anything from you. I searched for your e-mail address; nothing. When did you send it? With what e-mail address? Care to re-send?
Anyone want to “ghost write” for me?
I’ve had 136 cars over 24 years. I’m also a horrible, horrible, really horrible writer.
You are a horrible writer only because you think you are. 🙂 Writing about something you enjoy is much easier than you might think. Like doing anything for the first time, the first piece or two will be more difficult but you will soon find it flowing freely out of you. In time it may even become an opiate of sorts – as will reading the comments in response to what you have written.
Here’s one to thing about…your comment managed to say a lot in very few words. To me, that shows a certain ability for good, clear writing.
It’s easy to waffle on. Try telling a story in a short amount of words and you’ll find it’s much harder.
And wow, 136 cars in 24 years?! We need to know more!
Agreed. We want to know!
I’d start with your all-time favorite car. Strong emotions make stories write themselves.
Superb! It’s why I rarely can screw anything together on here. I try too damned hard.
Good comment, Jason.
It’s very rewarding to write articles. The only (minor) problem I’ve got is to translate my thinking in a south-eastern Dutch accent into decent written English. Thus it always takes more time than initially planned…
136 in 24 years? Holy geez man and I thought I have owned a lot being at number fifty nine currently in twenty three years.
Give it a shot! There’s a gotten be a few dozen good stories among those vehicles.
136 Cars?! Geez, You got a different car every 5-6 months?! I have some catching up to do.
I originally had trouble submitting as well, and figured nobody was interested. I persevered and eventually I got hold of Paul directly and it turned out my submissions never arrived, he was very interested in them though. By the second installment I was publishing them directly (and I think someone proofread them for a while before they actually went live).
My point is if you think that you were ignored, that was NOT intentional. Either your submission just disappeared or something but generally (always?) content is welcome and appreciated, this site is very collaborative and nobody is getting rich off it (yet). And just because someone already did a COAL with a Taurus, a Caprice, and a Corolla does not mean that if your list reads the same or similar that there is no interest, on the contrary, everyone has different experiences. Oh, and if you think your rides are boring and mundane, that doesn’t matter either, it’s actually more likely to have people relating to the story.
Lastly, you don’t need to have a long list. I found myself super interested in Matthew Streeter’s COAL series even though his list was not particularly long.
And Paul, I count 43, not 41. Yes, I’m German 🙂 And I still owe you the 44th!
I wonder what it could be?
That was funny, I literally laughed out loud. It was just in the shop for the service when we got back from TN and having dinner with you and we got a spanking new one as a loaner. Allison got a little too used to that one and now wants that. Uh, no, not going to happen.
We could run a QOTD to find out!
Actually maybe I’ll do it as a COAL clue, that might work well, thanks for the inspiration!
It only seemed like 41 🙂
Wow, “super interested?” Really? I’m… I’m extremely flattered! Thank you! I didn’t know I was supposed to own more cars, though 😀 My one big regret is not owning some more interesting JDM stuff while I was there. Maybe there will be a chance in the future. I want a Mazda AZ-1 or a Toyota Sera.
It would be a very limited series from me, I’m afraid, as we keep our cars till they wear out. In forty years I’ve owned four cars!
Wow, but think of the stories you can tell of those four! From new in the showroom and how you decided on “the one” to the scrapyard perhaps. To be honest I struggled to find stuff to relate with some of mine due to the ownership length being so short that Kevin Martin liked to call them “extended test drives”…
Okay Jim, I’ll give it some thought.
BTW, I’ve never bought a car new. Only used. And, with the exception of my first car, all locally owned.
Hmm – maybe there is a story there…..
That’s even better, buying used is always interesting as well! I smell four interesting stories… 😉
Agree on all counts.
My parents owned 4 cars in 57 years. One for four years, one for six, and the others 20+ years.
Thanks for the reminder…I actually have one 3/4 done… I started it around May, and it got shoved back as the summer time (and my warm weather social life) got ramped up.
Ill try to finish it off this weekend and submit it.
I have also tried to register at Curbside Classic without success. I’ve owned a myriad of vehicles over the years and have stories to go along with them all.
I can do it. Had eight cars in my 15 years of driving
I actually intended to do this and may, or may not, have submitted an initial entry. Like several people have mentioned above, I could not figure out how to wrestle the submission process into something I could use. I actually have the first three installments written, with a fourth about half finished. I don’t know exactly how many of mine would be worth submitting, after my first 7 or 8 cars I was able to begin purchasing new, or at least newish, vehicles and these, while more reliable, were probably less interesting. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of my cars, at least not the ones before I got married. I will take another look at the submission process to see if I can figure out how to deal with it.
New does not equal uninteresting! We do not discriminate against ANY decade of cars on this site!
It’s kinda like Top Gear, in that the cars are sort of like coat hangers holding up broader stories.
I may have to take a go at this as well. Cars I’ve owned.. 1970 Satellite hard top, 1964 Malibu, 1969 Road Runner coupe, 1969 Barracuda fastback, 1962 Peugeot, 1968 Beatle, 1967 Charger, 1967 Dart Gt convertible, 1982 Supra, 1983 Mustang GL 5.0 convertible, 1984 Daytona Turbo, 1988 Subaru GL-10, 1975 Buick Skylark hatchback, 1990 Pontiac Sunbird, 1987 Pontiac 6000 LE 4-Door, 1978 Supra, 1987 Dodge Caravan, 1973 Ford Ranger pickup, 1983 Oldsmobile Regency, 1986 Mazda GLC, 1988 Yugo, 1991 Geo Metro, 1976 Corolla, 1973 1980 and 1985 Volvo 145 and 245 wagons, 1993 Festiva, 1993 Explorer Sport, 1994 Explorer, 1997 Ford Ranger, 1993 Le Barron convertible, 1984 Chrysler Laser Turbo, 1974 Cougar XR7, 2006 Chevy Silverado, 1996 Chevy Cavalier, 1993 and 1995 Chevy Corsicas, 2 1988 Toyota Tercels, 2000 Cougar, 1997 Honda Civic coupe*, 2014 Camry SE, 2011 BMW 328ix*, 1997 Mustang GT convertible*, 1996 Maxima*, 2008 Chevrolet Colorado LT crew cab*, quite an equal opportunity car sampler I suppose. I suspect I may have missed a couple.
Holey crap that’s a lot of cars when I write them down.
I think that finding pictures and posting a timeline would almost be sufficient.
* indicates current fleet in drive way.
I think we’ve got two new COAL series getting underway in response to this post, but we’ll get back to you and some of the others asap.
Also had a 69 Toyota Corona for a year, Body and interior held up well as I have usually lived outside the realm of the tin-worm. Mechanically, another story. The unleaded fuel made short work of the valves and between the transmission having broken band for reverse and a valve job I sold the car for more than I bought it for. Purchased summer 1986 for $150 (100k miles more or less), sold May 1987 for $500. White with blue interior. 100% appliance with a decent face.
Generally as in picture.
My other car during this time period was a Honda CB450 with 30k on the clock. This was a great bike and in spite of appearances handled like it was on rails and was completely bullet proof. Was a sad day when my wife convinced me to sell it shortly after my oldest daughter was born.
Very NICE ! .
Every time I see one of these in two door format , i have to resist the urge to stop and buy it .
Here’s a hint. If you already have a list of every car you’ve owned (or that was significant to you), you’re exactly the right kind of person to do a COAL series! If you don’t have a list, well get busy!
I think this is mine:
83 Toyota Tercel
87 Acura Integra
89 Toyota Four Runner
85 Toyota Faux Runner
84 Toyota Tercel Wagon 4×4 auto
81 Toyota Corolla
85 Lincoln Towncar
76 Toyota Celica GT (my first manual)
85 Nissan Hardbody
81 Toyota Pickup beige
84 Toyota Camry
81 Toyota Cressida
86 Toyota Celica
85 Toyota Van (same one twice)
86 Toyota Van
73 Dodge Tradesman
87 Buick Roadmaster
83 Subaru 4 door something or other
90 Lexus LS400
65 Ford Fairlane 500
87 Toyota Corolla Fx
You currently have an ’87 FX? I’m interested in reading about every single one of your cars. I’ve had one of all of these either in my family, circle of friends, or personal bucket list but haven’t actually owned one myself of any of these but they all interest me and doubtless plenty of others here.
Indeed that is my current car. The list is not in order, though. Just found it in a file I had started a while back. I DO have articles posted about a few of them.
I want to read about your ’83 Subaru 4-door something or other!
2001 Subaru Outback
I could contribute another COAL or two as long as you don’t mind more VW stories seeing how I just purchased my 20th Volkswagen.
I have actually thought about doing a write up on the ’67 Bus I used to have, one of the few I do actually miss.
Do it. Do it now.
I wrote a post on our club forum under the heading of brand loyalty. It could stand on it’s own as an article but rather than a COAL it would be more like a Lifetime Of Cars if there were a series for that. There are no pictures in the article itself though I might be able to find one or two of the actual cars the rest would have to come from other sources most have been covered here. There is a box of old photos at mom’s house that is known to contain a few. Should I go looking?
Ive had about 90 cars at the last count but many were repeats and have driven hundreds. used to shuttle rentals about, Yeah I might try to piece something readable together.
In 27 years I’ve had only 9 cars. I feel left out.
I’m a contributor here and have owned just six cars, plus three that I bought for my now ex-wife. It’s not the quantity of cars, it’s the tales you tell. And even a tale that feels pretty mundane to you will be compelling to us.
I’ve been considering submitting a story with many photos of my grand parents cars which they owned in the 30’s and 40’s, many of which I’m not even sure what they are in the photos so thought it’d be a fun piece for all.
I attached just a taste 🙂
OMG do it!!
Yeah I think I will. That’s my grandma in the photo in front of our old house in Yonkers, NY. My family really loved their cars and I definitely inherited the automobile gene.
Hey, my father had a 1935 Ford like that one, a black 4-door sedan.
Definitely need to post some more COALs as well as sightings. I don’t have a smart phone and oftentimes am not carrying a camera with me, except for my cheap flip phone. It takes grainy photos at best, and the results have not been so ideal for article material. While at home, and with a good camera handy, I have taken some pics of the latest wagon I’ve been trying to save in hopes of writing a new COAL – – -maybe I’ll get around to posting something again soon.
This is my list in chronological order from age 16 ’til now (I’m 50). A lot of worn out beaters were foisted on me by my folks in my teens. I would then be blamed for it when they shortly (and entertaingly) shat out their tired mechanicals. I would then be ‘gifted’ with another clapped out heap and the cycle would repeat. After the first seven, I was working and buying them myself and had much better luck. A good story or two can be had with all of them.
I will have to source the ‘Net for matching pictures as I don’t have photographs of any of them. I can easily commit to a story a week until the ending and will write up the next one as it happens.
1976 Honda Civic Wagon
1976 Cougar XR-7
1970 Karmann Ghia
1968 el Camino
1984 Subaru GL Wagon
1991 Olds Calais
1992 Subaru Justy
1992 Olds Achieva
1996 Olds Ciera
1998 Chevy Tracker
1977 Ford LTD
1991 Olds Calais
1973 Ford Galaxie 500
2000 Toyota Celica GT
1987 Cadillac Sedan DeVille
2002 Chevy Impala LS
2005 Nissan Sentra SE-R Spec V
1966 VW Beetle
2006 Nissan Quest
2007 Nissan Sentra
2007 Chevy Cobalt LS
2010 Hyundai Accent GS
2007 Ford 500 SEL
2013 Nissan Versa S
Shoot me an e-mail: email@example.com
Which ones shat themselves the earliest?
Paul, we should have a celebration with the 10,000th post.
Yes! In a bit over a year from now, presumably. And our fifth birthday is in February.
I guess we need to celebrate that!
Votes for favourite posts?
I could write a few COALs, but that would involve close to 75 cars.