1976 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser...which my parents bought new and handed down to me upon my 17th birthday (and driver’s license) in 1988. This car was a lemon...worse than a lemon, probably. There were constant issues with it, such as power door locks working occasionally, wind up windows refusing to budge then working fine. It was weird.

As a child, I would ride in the ‘way back’ seat, facing backwards. It was fun...except I would frequently feel ill, and one time passed out. Turns out the car leaked carbon monoxide into the cabin. My brother closed one of the back doors on my finger, and the car refused to unlock for me to extract it (my brother had to climb into the back from the front seat to pull up on the lock, which resisted his effort for almost a full minute).

Once I started driving the car, it mostly treated me well...but when it didn’t it REALLY didn’t. The Olds Rocket 350 was a torque monster, and would spin the posi-traction rear at the drop of a hat in the rain. Studded snows an posi made it unstoppable in the snow...the bias-ply recapped front tires ensured is stayed unstoppable in the snow, rain and dry. The recapped rear tires threw a belt and slapped the crap out of the fuel tank (thoughtfully placed directly behind the rear wheel). The spare tire was one of the studded snows...excess torque + studded tire on dry pavement = wheelspin and sparks...into a puddle of leaking high test. The resulting fire was impressive, but thankfully did not find its way up into the tank (only dripping, not a streaming leak) or onto the vehicle.

Then there was the time I was enjoying a lovely lightning storm at the reservoir...very romantic. We were parked by a small service building and some trees that were all a lot taller than the car. Yeah, we got struck by lightning. The already terrible paint on the roof looked even more terrible afterwards, but that was the only issue...other than the radio (which had only played 8-track tapes for months) starting to work again. Go figure.

One time my friend and I decided to see how fast our stupid 70's lumps were (he had a 75 Lincoln)...and the brake master cylinder decided to shit the bed when I gently applied the brakes at 102mph. Luckily the emergency circuit was still pumping some pressure to 2 of the brakes so nobody died, but it was a near thing. The power steering pump also went out once when I was going around a corner at a slightly rapid pace...it was not a car you wanted to have manual steering in at over 4000lbs...but the guy coming the other way was smart enough to swerve into my lane rather than to the right.

There was also the fact that, as a 13-14 year old product of 1970's American manufacturing, the body was 60% rust...as I found out when I attempted to remove the phony woodgrain and found it was literally holding the body together. Seriously. The section I started to peel back wound up flapping around and flying off on the highway once...right in front of a state trooper (it did not hit his car, thankfully, but I got an ear-full just the same).

These are only some of the things that happened...and, yes, many of them were either my fault directly or due to situations I created. But that car had it out for me from when I was a child...I may have abused it a bit in a subconscious attempt to return the favor. After 15 too many neutral-drops (and once accidental slam into reverse at 30mph) shredded the trans, we took it to the junkyard. I still miss it...