Cars

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Writing this page made me wonder where I got my liking for cars and everything about them from. It can’t be a men’s thing, that’s too sexist of myself, and to be honest I can’t think of anything in my life experiences that was so different than other kids that steered me into a car enthusiast. I personally like the sense of freedom and independence that a car gives you without mentioning the thrill and adrenaline it produces. If you ask me to sum it all, this would be:

Cars are more than just machines; they’re an extension of one’s personality. The thrill of driving a powerful car, the feel of cornering, and the buzz of acceleration are unmatched. It’s about the freedom, the adventure and the sheer joy of driving.

My dad and growing up in Baja drove me towards off-road and 4×4 cars as the region is great for off-road adventure, camping and all of that. However, my engineering mindset and my economy steered me to more efficient cars. My dad owned several Toyota’s pickup trucks and 4Runners which he used them to take to beaches in the Baja California peninsula, regardless of if it had vehicle access or not. Off-roading towards a secret beach, or anyplace really, has no comparison; think about it, when have you heard or seen a kid excited saying wow, we did 65mpg on our Prius? That’s right, take your kids off-roading.

Ensenada hosts the SCORE Baja 1000 event, amount several others, which is an off-road race from Ensenada all the way to reach Los Cabos San Lucas in Baja California Sur. Literally 1000 miles of raw and cruel dessert, definitely not a race for the weak. La revision (the registration) is a huge event where the public have access to racers, pilots and most of all the vehicles. Anyway, here are the cars I had the chance to experienced and owned myself.

  • 1990 Toyota Pick-up
  • 1987 Honda Accord
  • 2002 Chevrolet Malibu
  • 2002 Focus SVT
  • 2012 Nissan Altima
  • 2012 Chevrolet Spark
  • 2015 Audi A3 Quattro

1990 Toyota Pickup Truck

This was my first car; it was actually my dad’s, but I want to say he gave it to me trying to make me return home. This is a 1990 Toyota Hilux. At the time this pickup was a bit old, had worn out seats, no A/C and most controls worked half of the time, but I loved it nevertheless; definitely made me happy.

As shown in the picture, it was red and it had 32-inch tires mounted on 15-inch American Racing Outlaw II rims, best rims of the 90s if you ask me, and it had a roll bar with two headlights. It was a small effort to make it look like Ivan Stewart’s famous Trophy Truck. The truck suffered many transformations, different rims and tires, but not under my ownership. I drove this car until my dad found me a replacement car as he wanted his truck back.

1987 Honda Accord

The second car I had was a blue 1987 Honda Accord, like the white in the picture, and even though it was old for the time, everything in it worked as expected. I loved the pop-up headlights and enjoyed its moonroof, its acceleration and speed. The car was a stick-shift with 5 gears and the top speed I drove it was 130 mph.

The story I like to talk about this car is how I blew away the moonroof but backstory first. A weekend before I blew the moonroof I went to a Fall Out Boy concert in San Diego where I was designated driver; I drove back home my friend’s new 2004 Chevrolet Astra. It was a Mexican car, meaning the dashboard had kilometers instead of miles. I speed the limit, “cruising” around 220kmph (more or less), thinking I was driving close to 85-90mph. I was so wrong; no wonder my friend’s brother and his friends had their faces as if they’ve seen a ghost or something haha

Back to my car’s story, I jumped onto the highway toward the city of Tijuana, Baja California; I had a volleyball game to attend to. By the way you must drive the toll road between Tijuana and Ensenada in Baja California; it’s one or the most scenic roads in Mexico. A long stretch came and so I stepped on the gas wanting to see how fast my car could go. Trying to see if my car was as fast as my friend’s Chevy Astra. The speedometer was slowly increasing 80, 90 100…, 120 when suddenly, I felt, heard a “suction” que moonroof was “open”. The friction caused by the air and speed sucked out the moonroof. And so there it went, my rear-view mirror captured the whole scene, the moonroof flew through the air until it splashed into pieces once it hit the road.

Chevrolet Malibu 2002

This was a transition car that my mom lent me while the next car was on its way. There is nothing sexy about this car that I remember of, but I have two stories. The first one tells the reason why I ended driving this and the second tells when I almost got hit by a drunk driver.

I sold my 1987 Honda Accord to buy my next car. I gave the money to my mom, so it was properly saved. I don’t know where she stored the money, but she got robbed by the house-maid we had at the time. Pushing out the purchasing date of my new car. The next story happened after an Eskimo concert while I was parked outside of my parents’ house. I was inside my house making me a sandwich when this neighbor’s crashed into it. The neighbor fell asleep, stepping onto the gas hitting the car. The impact pushed the car onto the sidewalk and if it wasn’t for the two big palm trees in front of the house, the car would have ended in the middle of my parents’ living room.

2002 Ford Focus SVT

This was the car I went to college on, having great memories and many experiences. Back on the day this was one of the best looking hot-hatchbacks, a very sexy car if you asked me. Its performance, comfort and features made the driving experience a blast, especially when I took corners at full speed.

I might be nostalgic or it might be that it was my first “sportscar” but I haven’t felt the same driving experience this car gave me. Although it was a 4-cylinder engine it had plenty of power, it had a good sound and the whistle noise it made when going into third gear, gave you the confidence to keep going. I upgraded its headlight to 6500k HID lights which improved visibility and its looks as this headlights had a blueish tint. The stock rims, extended fenders and chromed exhaust pipe completed the look.

The cockpit was designed for the driving experience as everything was within pilot’s reach, this feature was hardly seen in cars back in the day. The 6 speed transmission had a aluminum knob that added to the dual tone seat which matched the pedals. Whether AC/DC or Snoop Dogg were rocking through the speakers, the sound system set the mood ride. I can’t count the number sunset I drove and speed the limit with this baby.

2012 Nissan Altima S

This car was sexy, it definitely standed out everywhere, especially while driving in Mexico. Whether people stared at it or the police stop you just to check you weren’t a narco. I had it for a short period of time although there wasn’t anything wrong with this car.

In my opinion the Nissan Altima isn’t a car known due to its reliability and a good car, however my car never complained or gave me trouble. The only complaint (if any) I could said it’s its MPG, its 2.5L engine was gas thirsty but it never bother me as it was compensated with power and speed. If I remember correctly it cruised at freeway speeds, 90mph @ 2500rpm, having plenty of power left to speed more.

I tried to add personality to it by upgrading its wheels, a trunk lid spoiler, tinted taillights, sound system and upgrading its headlights to 6500k, so it had a blueish tint. I say it had all the bells and whistles, for being a Nissan Altima, but despite of all this effort the car lacked character. Although it felt good looking at it, it was a boring car once you started driving it. It’s reliability and practicality felt bland and soulless; it didn’t evoke passion or excitement.

2012 Chevrolet Spark

Have you even thought of the lottery, or any of those lucky prices, being rigged? That was something I used to think of. This car is proof that they are not, at least the one that I participated on. I won this car at the Caliente Stadium when I went to watch “Los Xolos” play.

Don’t remember who Xolos played against but there I was, tailgating with a bunch of volleyball friends and my baby sister. We had a carnita asada and drinks at the stadium’s parking lot and as expected from those years, I hydrated a little to much. The game was about to start so we decided to meet in-front of the Coca-Cola stage close to our season ticket’s seats. There were some fun games going on the Coca-Cola stage, games to win an opportunity to compete for a brand new car at half time. The line to participate on these games was long, long like trying to get doorbusters deals at Bestbuy on Thanksgiving.

Mi carnal (my bruh) Mario was eager for us to participate but I was too drunk and didn’t wanted to do the line. The line to participate was already closed that I say he, Mario, annoyed the Coca-Cola host so much that we were the last two persons allowed to play. My friend Mario juggled the soccer ball 3 times a lost getting a ton of tease from the host. I was next and, at the time, I didn’t knew what was I participating on nor what was the winning price. The contest was: who ever juggle the soccer ball more times will win a ticket to participate in the main event, at half time, and the big price was a brand new car. The host also mentioned I had to do more than 103 juggles to beat the current maximum, and he pointed to a kid that was part of the Xolos’ U-17 team.

Don’t know how I beat the record but I ended up doing 110 juggles. My friends stopped me from drinking and prepared me for the contest. There were 4 participants in the main event and it consisted of running while driving the ball from one of the cornerkicks to the goal and score, with our feet tie together. The other 3 players were winners, at the coca-cola stage, of a penalty shootout, a Xolos’ history trivia and the last one was voted as the ugliest person. Not to brag but there was no competition, most of them didn’t seem to do any type of exercise and they were a bit happy (drunk).

They made us wear a Coca-Cola branded overalls and tied our legs with a heavy-duty elastic. Each one of us went to our designated cornerkick and off we went after the whistle. I’m always in good shape, all the jump training, for volleyball, paid off to win the game. I jumped through the entire field, driving the ball straight to goal. I kicked the ball when I was about to get into the small box. I heard the crowd yell when I scored. I fell doing so as I was exhausted. I won the car, posed for the newspaper photo and a week later I picked up the car at the Coca-Cola facility in Tijuana.