February 2003

For now, you go to this website to play 20 questions. I won, but probably only because I was thinking of a yellow sweet pepper (it guessed in 24 questions).

Some have expressed interest (or amazement) in the sheer number of cars I’ve owned, and the stories attached to them. I’d like to throw open the gate to some of these stories (at least the ones I can tell at this point–I may never be able to tell the upside down license plate story–where are you, Stacy Modrak?). Here they all are–the cars of Dave.

Vehicle Year Bought Year “Departed” Reason for “Departure” Notes
1974 VW 412 1983 1986 Wrecked, Totalled. Bought from my dad by Kevin Corcoran and myself. Kevin and I each owned half of it for a year. Through it’s numerous car troubles and challenges, it taught me more about auto mechanics thatn any car before or since. Interesting note: when it was totalled, my driver’s seat sunk through the floor. Let’s all have a moment of silence for the most “character building” vehicle I’ve ever owned.
1971 VW Super Beetle 1984 1984 Sold. Bought it from my parents. Later, Dad sold it–I only had it a few weeks. A great car, but strangely my least favorite of all the VW models I’ve owned–no cargo space. Fun to drive, though.
1967 VW FastBack Type III 1984 1984 Sold. Sold it–this thing was a wreck all the time I had it. Rain would splash up inside the car on my feet from the holes in the floor.
1977 VW Rabbit 1984 1986 Traded in. Traded in for the ’86 Chevy Nova–I should never have done it. Long story.
1971 AMC Javelin 1985 1985 Sold. Bought from my ex girlfriend Irene Zaleski, and then sold a few months later after several mishaps.Only got up to 40 mph after driving for 1/2 hour–it was the timing chain, but I never knew it until after I sold the car. Scene of the strangest story I’ve never told.
1985 VW Golf 1985 1988 Wrecked. Totalled. The car I should never have bought. The 18% loan is engraved on my mind for all time. Loaned it to my ex-girlfriend Ariana for a few months in 1986, but got it back later (see below). Involved in a nine car accident on City Line Avenue (Ariana had it at the time and was driving). Rear ended by some girl in Media who tried to get out of paying for repairs. Totalled by a tipsy driver running a stop sign. It was a relief to be done with it.
1986 Chevy Nova 1986 1986 Wrecked. Totalled. I owned this car for 3 weeks and drove it almost one thousand miles before I ended its existence in an icy road accident–my only 180 degree spin in a car. Strange hijinks by my GMAC rep caused me to owe GMAC $2,500 after insurance settlement. When I refused to pay, they threatened me for a while, and then put my debt in a “loss category.” I never heard from them again, and it never showed up on my credit record. Strange.
1974 VW 412 1986 1986 Given Away. Not satisfied with the first 412, I bought a second one from the Black family in Ridley after I: totalled the Nova, bought the first 412 back from Kevin, and totalled the first 412 four weeks later. A few weeks after this, I traded the second 412 to Ariana to get the Golf back, since I was still solely responsible for the loan. Did you actually follow that?
1981 Honda Prelude 1988 1989 Sold. One of the best cars I’ve ever owned. I’m truly sorry to this day that I sold it for the ’74 VW Campmobile. It was really a wonderful little machine.
1974 VW Type II Campmobile 1989 1989 Sold I was desperate to get a VW poptop camper, but then hated the ’74’s furniture layout. No room in the cabin. I bought a ’76 Camper a few months later and sold (partially gave away) the ’74 to my brother Joe. Joe completely refurbished it and drove it to Olympia, Washington, where he sold it and went to Guam (where he lives to this day). I named this camper “Ulysses” when I owned it.
1976 VW Type II Campmobile 1989 1990 Sold. One of the best vehicles I’ve owned. an adventure all the way. Caught on fire in Georgia over Christmas 1989. Sold it to Bruce Kelly in order to help pay for my wedding. I’ve seen it recently in Bruce’s yard, parked. I’m thinking about offering him some $$ for it and restoring it. I named this van Hal (as in the Hal 9000). Many stories from this one.
1981 VW Dasher 1990 1991 Sold A trooper of a car, but the one I to which had the least attachment. I bought it from John Davies, and it really helped me out a few times when my other cars were out of commission. I sold it to Sam Caggiula, giving myself tendonitis from spray painting the hood blue (it was a yellow replacement hood bought separately for the blue car–I don’t remember why, but my hand hurt after painting that little bugger).
1987 Chevy Nova 1990 1991 Junked. Bought from Frank Lamotta. Visibly burned oil after driving for 45 minutes (“visibly” defined as huge clouds of choking smoke surrounding the car and endangering all life nearby). The left headlight was taped in with duct tape. It never left me stranded, though. I drove it to a junkyard at the end of its life and left it there (not abandoned–they did give me $25 for it).
1981 Subaru Station Wagon 1991 1994 Sold (to an abusive new owner). Dollar for dollar, the best buy I’ve ever had. I bought it for $1,000, drove it for 70,000 miles, and sold it to Stacy McNew for $400 when I bought the Vanagon. Unfortunately, Stacy beat the crap out of it, somehow blowing the hood off on I-83 and violating it in various other ways. I felt so bad for that car–I wanted to apologize to it for selling it to Stacy, but it was too late.
1987 VW Vanagon Camper 1994 1998 Rebuilt. Rebuilt. Rebuilt. Sold. The most traveled, but absolute worst value I’ve ever owned. We’ve done more traveling and living in ths car than in any other car we’ve ever owned. I took the car 100,000 miles in 4 years, and it cost me $15,000. It had several major breakdowns. It left me stranded on the road. It gave me second degree burns on over six percent of my body. I miss it still.

Oh, it was named Kalypso (yes, I know most people spell it with a “C.”)

1980 Honda Prelude 1997 1998 Traded in. Bought to help out when the Vanagon was off the road, and to help recapture the good feelings of the first Prelude I owned. Sadly, it never shined. It just didn’t have the same karma. No sunroof, either–that’s no fun. We traded it in on Denise’s (my wife’s) Forester in 1998.
1990 Subaru Legacy Wagon (AWD) 1998 2000 Traded in, dying. Bought in a hurry when I sold the Vanagon. Good buy, but it developed engine trouble (ironically, the same trouble that plagued the Vanagon–leaking head gaskets. Exhaust was leaking into the coolant and pressurizing it). I traded it in for another Subaru.
1990 Subaru Legacy Wagon (2WD) 2000 Present Still working…knock on wood This replaced the first Legacy wagon as a matter of necessity. It’s been a great buy, and needs to last at least 3 more years. Then, if all goes well, I will have my camper van again. Oh yes. It will be mine.

Due to the nature of my life, I’ve known a lot (and I mean a LOT) of people. The Internet has helped me find some, but some seem to be beyond reach. These are people I knew and care about, and whose lives enriched mine. From Denny’s, for instance: where are Nancy Sage, Paul Maneos, Bob Raquette, Bev Carey, Bobby Van Leer, Amy Friedgen, Mark Edwards, Kari DiOrio, John Bianchini, Ed Grocholski, Gary Fasy, Fred Morris, Bob Clemens, Ed Shubin, Ariana Pagones, and many others? I think it’s time to get back and say hello to some of these folks, but I live two hours away from them now and my time is limited. I hope they’re all doing well–good folks and good times.

It’s weird to think about a Mercedes as a camper, but look at this Westy (warning: it’s an Acrobat PDF file)! Daimler-Chrysler owns MB and Westfalia now, and is introducing the Freightliner/Sprinter into the US, including camper models. If they can get the Vito Marco Polo in here, that would be great. It is uncertain at best that VW will ever have a camper model again. Production of the Eurovan ended early last summer, and Winnebago ended their contract for camper models last year, too. Any 2003 models you see of the EV Camper are left over from the last production run in 2002.

My goal is 2005 for a camper (2005 is only 2 years away! Freaky.).

Here it is: Kalypso

Great van–many trips. But you have to get rid of a van when it gives you 2nd degree burns over 6 percent of your body (it was mostly my arm, and it healed without any scars, but it was enough for me).