MercedesCredit: javrsmith

Since turning 16 and obtaining my driver's license, I have owned a number of cars and trucks. While many of these were just basic transportation, I did own some interesting examples over the years. This article lists several, including my favorites.

1973 AMC Gremlin
This car was basic transportation back when I received it. It was equipped with a six cylinder engine with a three speed standard transmission. It was configured as a three speed on the floor rather than the more common "Three in the tree", so named because the shifter was part of the steering column. The Gremlin had a standard floor mounted shifter. The clutch was good and except for an alternator, it didn't cause much trouble. The car was $400 at the time and it looked pretty good. It was red with a large white stripe, making it look like the "Starsky and Hutch" car, to a degree. I managed to back the car into my grandfather's Oldsmobile. While the Olds was unharmed, the Gremlin suffered substantial body damage. After quick work with a hammer and some paint, it was none the worse for wear. The car was eventually sold for $400, the price paid for it initially.

1969 Plymouth Barracuda 318
This car was somewhat better than basic. It had a vinyl top, power steering, power brakes and a 318 V-8 engine. Barely 10 years old when I got it, it had a minimum of rust and drove very well. The engine was original with about 90,000 miles. It was quite strong and good on gas, (at the time). Unfortunately, my maintenance routine was lacking. I neglected to put enough antifreeze into the block, resulting in a freeze. The block cracked as a result and could not be reliably repaired. The engine was replaced with a 340 cubic inch model.

1969 Plymouth Barracuda 340
A used 340 from a 1970 Plymouth Duster was purchased for the Barracuda. The 340 was essentially equivalent to the 318 in looks and for installation purposes. The only difference between the two engines was internal, mainly that the larger engine had larger diameter pistons. That and it had different heads to accompany the larger pistons. And the camshaft was different. As a result, the similar looking engine performed radically differently. With it, the Barracuda was something of a rocket. On paper, the new engine was perhaps a 100 horsepower improvement. In practice, it made the car move with urgency. The new engine was able to reach high revolutions, and quickly. As a result, the car felt like a very strong performer. Unfortunately, it was then very hard on gas. The increased power resulted in about a 50% increase in the monthly fuel bill. This was unsustainable at the time and the car was sold.

1976 Plymouth Volare
This was another basic transportation example that I owned. It was pretty good on fuel, after the Barracuda. It was also very reliable. Interestingly, it was quite good in the body, except for the front fenders. They were very rusted. Better examples were simply not available for a reasonable price. The car was sold in favor of another car in better shape.

1959 Mercedes 220S
This car was an interesting classic. It was equipped with a six cylinder engine with a four speed manual transmission. Everything worked well with the car. It also had dual carburetors and an overhead camshaft. This gave the car ample power which allowed it to reach highway speeds of 70 miles per hour. It took some time to reach this level but it was smooth when driving. This unit was purchased in Sacramento, California. As such, it had very little rust. It was painted white, but poorly. From a distance it looked fine but closer inspection revealed problems. The white color was sprayed over an earlier gold, and the paint job was poor. Dirt was painted over. Even the gold paint was a poor job. It hid the original factory green. This car was actually delivered with a rare green polyester paint that was only available late in the production of this type of 220S Mercedes. Very few have survived with this paint color.

1967 Mercedes 250SL
This Mercedes was a treat. It was painted in a baby blue shade, and the paint job was well done. The car had been restored so it had no rust. These are typically plagued by rusty fenders and floors. My example was solid in these areas. This was actually a very rare car as the 250SL was not produced in very high numbers. Available on in 1967, it was quickly replaced by the more common 280SL. My car was actually equipped with the newer 280 engine, which may have come from a sedan, not an SL. Unfortunately, this car had an automatic transmission which was problematic. Something of a modified manual, the transmission gave problems from the beginning. Repairs to the unit were difficult and expensive. Rather than undertake such a job, the car was sold to another buyer. It was then moved to Alberta, not far from Saskatchewan where the car had originally been delivered back in 1967.

2006 Nissan X-Trail
My current vehicle is an X-Trail. This is an interesting model. It was sold in Canada in 2006, although some 2005 models were available. The car was also sold in various worldwide locations such as Australia and Malaysia. It was never sold through American dealers. This car has been extremely reliable. It is an all wheel drive model. As a "Bonavista" model, it has the extremely large sunroof. It also has enhanced seats and an interesting sound system. It sports a cassette, CD and AM/FM radio. Evidently cassettes were still popular in Asian countries that sold the X-Trail. The X-Trail is an unusual model in the Nissan line. It has similarities with other models such as the Rogue, Pathfinder, and other sport utility vehicles made by Nissan. It is also similar to other manufacturers' sport utility models. As such, Nissan must have had difficulty establishing a unique market for this car. It was dropped from the Canadian sales line, but continued to be sold in other parts of the world.