I have concluded my run of COALs. I’ve really enjoyed reminiscing. Today, I present a summary of sorts. I’ve skipped many COALs (some redundant, others with no compelling story). Here are some of my COAL highlights and lowlights:
Dirtiest: GMC Sierra COAL here owned by a landscaping company, foul and filthy in every way imaginable. A mouse made a nest in the glove compartment out of shredded owner’s manual pages. Honorable mention: a Dodge Ramcharger COAL here previously used to haul hay. Additionally, someone transported some kind of large creature with white fur. The fur was embedded in the seat fabric and carpet, and was also in every crack and crevice.
Fastest: Not the C5 Corvette COAL here. I made a Grand National clone COAL here out of a ‘87 Buick Regal. I added a warmed over 6.0 LS engine. This car ran high eleven second passes in the quarter mile (proof below). Lots of power. How much? I think it went through four transmissions and three rear ends. Lots of power. Honorable mention: My ‘93 “notch” Mustang COAL here was super-light and ran twelves in the quarter. It had a 5.0 with a stock bottom-end.
Smallest: ‘86 Yugo GV (No, I didn’t buy it, was a gift). I drilled four new holes in the floor so I could mount the driver’s seat further back. I’m tall, but not that tall. Honorable mention: I got rid of my ‘99 Miata COAL here because it was too tiny. Even going to get groceries – alone – there was not enough room!
Slowest: Ironic that a V8 sports car is actually the slowest car I’ve ever owned. My ‘81 Camaro COAL here (first year for the electronic feedback carburetor) had a 267 c.i. small block and was woefully underpowered. Making matters worse, this was a 3,600 lb car with an automatic. I let the hot girl in our high school drive it one time and she turned to me and said “I’m giving it gas but it doesn’t go!” The Yugo was faster.
Most painful: Once, I bought a very beat out mid-nineties V6 Camaro COAL here . Any reasonable person would have had it sent to a junkyard. It was thoroughly used and abused with about two hundred thousand miles on it. The engine ran rough, the interior was thrashed. It needed a bunch of bodywork and paint, which was good because the clear coat was peeling off in sheets. Then, I accidentally hit the one good corner of it on the side of my house while backing up. It was the only car I ever owned that I seriously contemplated letting go for scrap. I ended up doing all the bodywork and then having Maaco spray it bright red. Another reason for the bad memory: When it sold, the buyer paid in $20 bills and lied about how many were in the giant stack. I thought I just miscounted until I re-counted them all – after she had already driven away.
Largest/Heaviest : When our kids were growing up we bought an ‘01 Chevrolet Express passenger van. I think it was a little under three tons empty. Honorable mention: My ‘74 Cadillac Coupe De Ville was B-I-G . In an accident it demolished another car – later I noticed a scratch on its bumper.
Cheapest: Tie. Three cars have been gifted to me. The Yugo (see smallest, above), a Cutlass Supreme COAL here and a Dodge Grand Caravan. I helped a friend choose/find a car, and then another for her son. My payment? She gave me her late model minivan, even delivered it to my house.
Most expensive: On two occasions, I’ve bought a Ford Flex for my wife. One, when the model was new in ‘09, and another a couple years ago. Both were north of thirty grand.
Most common: The hands-down winner is the Ford Fox chassis, I’ve had a bunch, including a Merc Zephyr COAL here and a Mark VII LSC. COAL here More specifically, I’ve owned a lot of Mustangs. Five of mine were of the ‘87-‘93 iteration, COAL here plus a ’95 GT ragtop COAL here which was just a derivative of that Fox.
Oldest: I currently drive a 31 year-old car. It is a 1986 model – a Camaro IROC-Z. The oldest model year car was a 1971 Toyota Corona my friends and I painted camouflage in High School. We probably should have masked off the windows first.
White, regular cab pickups: So many: an ‘84 Toyota Hilux, a nineties Ranger (year?), an ‘09 Colorado, and a ‘99 GMC Sierra (above). All were regular cab, all were white. Two had tailgates. I painted my El Camino white too. COAL here
Weird tidbit: I’ve owned 54 cars, mostly domestic, with about a dozen Japanese in the mix. Nothing European (I’ve never purchased any European car – the Yugo was a gift). Ironically, a bucket-list car of mine is European: I’ve always wanted a Ferrari 308 GTSi. click
I am grateful for this COAL opportunity (thanks, Paul) and I’m thankful for all the comments. Curbside Classic is a great corner of the web. Before I started, I was concerned about negative comments, but the super-majority have been positive, even affirming. God bless.
Thanks for a great series James! Love this overview, you weren’t shy to immerse yourself in the car ownership process, the V6 Camaro story was pretty painful!! I always play it safe when buying cars, I need to loosen up a little, thanks for some great inspiration..
“Thanks for a great series James ! Love this overview, you weren’t shy to immerse yourself in the car ownership process . . ”
Thoroughly enjoyed the read.
It is always enjoyable to join in the car-experiences of another enthusiast. Thanks for taking the time to bring us along.
Fun stuff, I think I missed some of those COALs along the way so I’ll have to go back.
54 cars, you are a very energetic man. I’ve owned just 8, and I’m 50!
You need to get busy, son!
As i said before, 40 and going on 3 cars, but that’s why these series are so great- we get to live the stories, and even if you’ve owned 50 cars there’s always going to be one here that you’re not familiar with. Thanks for a great run!
Hell, I’m 53 and I’m only on my second car, 412k miles on 2 Hondas from new, not bad so far.
Thank you for an entertaining series. I always enjoy stories of cars that enter in worse shape than they exit. That makes the GMC landscaper truck and the all banged up Camaro my favorite stories. You could have grown strawberries on that carpet. Sorry you took a hit on the questionable payment method. This happened to me once when selling bike. He too paid $120 in $20 bills. I was surprised that he did not dicker. After recounting the bills I realized he had them folded over and counted to 6 even though there were only 5. Bastard!
I’m going to have to go back and read some of those COALS, it looks like there will be some good reading there.
For as many cars as you have owned I’m surprised that not 1 German car was “in the mix”.
I’ve owned about 30 vehicles and while most were American branded vehicles, there were a handful of Japanese cars and a handful of German-built cars. (About half of the 5-6 German-built cars I’ve owned were Fords/Mercurys.)
One regret? In the mid 70s a co-worker had a Fiat 850 Sport coupe I really liked. I didn’t know it could have been mine when I needed a 2nd car and bought a 7 year old Valiant (instead).
James, Thank you for a great series of COALs covering many interesting vehicles. I have less energy than you for dealing with the sheer volume of cars coming in and going out, and admire your sense of automotive adventure.
Especially an NB Miata (but I’m not being objective here)!
I’m also less smart than you because I did pay good money for a European vehicle (a 2001 Passat GLX). I think I paid for it twice; once at the dealer and then again for many many expensive repairs.
And not one picture of said wife….
I need to do a COAL, I’ve had 32 cars and 9 motorcycles. And 2 ex-wives
Excellent and entertaining James. Thank you!
I’d have to look it up to be sure but I think you and I might be tied at 54 cars. Now that would be a great QOTD.
How many cars have our fellow CC ers owned?
Winner gets a year’s free subscription to CC?
Loved this well written series as well because you actually got your hands dirty on each and every one of those vehicles! I am just as committed (stubborn?) when it comes to rescuing vehicles so that they are in better condition when they leave my hands. ?