Mine moved really fast, loved to party, was chocolate brown and huge.
My 1978 Chevy Camaro was, and still is, my favorite car EVER.
For my sixteenth birthday, when my parents asked what I wanted I told them what every girl turning sixteen told their parents. A car. Not just any car, I wanted a light pink convertible Volkswagen Rabbit.
Not too picky, right?
So the morning of my birthday rolls around, it was a school day and I was wondering/hoping/praying that my birthday wish would come true. My dad was getting ready for work, putting on his suit, drinking his coffee - when he saw me in the hallway he gave me a wink and a nod along with my happy birthday hug - like something really big was about to happen.
I excitedly and quickly got ready for school, blasting my Prince cassette tape in the bathroom as I made my hair extra huge for my big important day. Oh my God, I thought, they really did it, they got me a car! I put on extra eyeliner so my eyes would really pop for the pictures my mom was about to take of me opening the garage door.
I came flying downstairs and both my parents were in the kitchen waiting for me, which led out to the garage. They were both smiling, my dad more than my mom, he still had that crazed look in his eye like something huge was about to take place.
“Ok Lori, let’s go, this is it, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” He said as he led me toward the garage door with his had cupped over my eyes.
The door opened and I was confused. “There’s nothing there,” I said. “What do you mean?” my dad asked, “Look, it’s your brand new car!”
In the middle of the garage was a tiny Matchbox car.
It was, indeed, a Volkswagen Rabbit, which at one time had been white. One of them (I’m guessing my dad, it was a sloppy job) had painted the car with light pink nail polish. It even had a bow on it, which was bigger than the car itself.
Needless to say while Dad fell over laughing, I was not amused.
I went to school, my hopes of a new car dashed. But my hair and makeup looked really good.
|They even gave me flowers in a car-shaped-vase.|
Mom and Dad came out front when they saw me coming – this was my new car – my new baby.
My ’78 Camaro’s name immediately became Frankie – after Tim Curry’s Dr. Frank N. Furter in the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Was I the only sixteen year old girl with a gigantic tank bomber car named after a sweet transvestite? There had to have been others, right?
When friends came over and I’d ask, “Who’s car we taking?” the answer was always, “Let’s take Frankie!” My parents would holler at me to move Frankie so they could pull their car out. It was a given that when I got older and my brother Mike was old enough, Frankie would be passed on to him.
But alas, Frankie passed on before he could get passed on.
I was driving my brother Mike, his friend Ronnie, and my girlfriend Jocelyn home from Mike’s football practice. It was raining hard and the road was slippery. All I remember was a car in front of me and slamming on the brakes. We hydroplaned ad caused a thirteen car accident.
|The host to many make-out sessions.|
The seats folded waaay back.
My dad sent Frankie to a repair shop and got him fixed up. Even slapped a new coat of paint on him, bright red. But when he came back - he wasn’t quite the same.
He didn’t run right, he broke down a lot. His brakes were kind of mushy and scary. And that red coat of paint freaked me out, he looked way better to everyone else but not to me. I missed his poop-brown exterior.
Ultimately Frankie went to the auto graveyard in the sky. We got rid of him because he kept conking out and breaking down.
But I dreamed that he lived on.
Maybe he was give to another teenage girl on her sixteenth birthday and became the love of her life.
I hope to God her parents got those mushy brakes fixed.
I honestly could not tell you the make or model of any cars I have had since. Little beaters here and there, to get me from A to B, to and from college, to and from my various crummy jobs.
Today I drive a white, mid-ninety-something Toyota. A Camry I think? I’m not sure.
But I’ll never forget my first, my Frankie. The only car I ever had and probably ever will have that I truly loved.