Cars have always been my passion. Gil could care less...he never drove before we moved to the US, he is a big city guy, didn't even know how to drive until he was almost 30.
He loves Jaguars, I love Fords.
Driving was an important part of Gil's adaptation process to American life. I was from the suburbs of Sao Paulo so I always drove, but he grew up in the city where the subway was king, he always walked, took the taxi, the subway or the bus, Dallas was a shock beyond comprehension on him.
He tried, bless his heart :) but he could not make it, Dallas has a mediocre transportation system at best, very limited routes, you would only find drunk and stinky and scary looking people in the few buses available around the city.
Gigantic city blocks and NO side walks...that was a first for him, he had lived in Sao Paulo, London and Toronto, all had very good public transportation systems available, not Dallas, Texas where V8 engines are the rule. I was raised in the Sao Paulo suburbs and had lived in Oklahoma and California both places where cars and highways dominate the landscape.
Not to mention, Dallas has a brutally HOT weather in the summer and very cold temperatures in the winter which made it next to impossible to be without a car, he tried to take the bus to the Galeria Mall one day and almost passed out, literally, poor Gil nearly had a heat stroke, while looking for the bus stop to return home, he ended up on top of a gigantic overpass with no sidewalks, he could never find a way to cross to the opposite side of the roads to find the bus stop to return home, he still has nightmares about it.
That was the last day he tried public transportation in Dallas.
Just before we moved to Dallas I drove a Chevrolet Chevette in Sao Paulo, 1.0 liter, very small 4 cylinder engine, great gas mileage, this is what it looked like:
|My Chevette was white, it had a 1.0 liter. 4 cylinder engine|
|It had great gas mileage and a smooth ride|
Here I begin to describe our American car history, due to the price of gas and extremely low taxes, we could afford much nicer cars from the get go and we did, every time.
Our first American car in Dallas was a Chrysler New Yorker Fifth Avenue edition, just like the one on the pictures below:
|A super quiet 6 cylinder engine is hidden under it's insulated front hood|
|Awesome luxurious cushy interior|
|An enormous trunk that you could probably park a Fiat UNO or two inside :)|
We really loved this car...I drove it 22 miles each day from Addison, TX, to downtown Dallas and back.
I took the Dallas Express Toll way and it was like floating on clouds to work everyday.
We also drove it to Oklahoma to visit our friends many, many times.
It drives great in snow, it had front wheel drive.
I miss our Chrysler New Yorker, one of my all time favorite cars.
Our 2nd car was an awesome Ford Bronco with a wild stereo system in it, I loved the Bronco because it was a semi convertible pick up truck, the best of both worlds, it had extra large tires and it was raised higher from the ground than the usual Ford trucks, it was an Eddie Bauer edition, nice leather interior and 4X4.
|Now, this baby had an 8 cylinder powerful engine and it was 4X4|
Our 3rd car was an awesome Mercury Grand Marquis, keep in mind, gasoline was a mere 98 Cents per gallon, it was 1998.
It was the time of innocence, just before 9/11 and it was certainly before the Oil Industry mafia managed to infiltrate a president who worked for them...we would be paying 5 dollars a gallon in just a few years later UGH!!! I better not go there, it still makes my blood boil : (
|Super quiet V-8 engine, powerful yet fuel efficient, ok, not really, but who was counting?|
|Driving this car was a dream, super smooth ride!|
|Loved the trunk, you cold park 3 Fiat Unos in it and a Chevrotet Chevette :)|
The Grand Marquis ended an era for us. I got a promotion at work, we were relocated to Boston, 9/11 happened and I drove mediocre company fleet cars for a few years, 3 minivans to be more specific, liked the minivans too. We enjoyed them, not our dog Okie, he vomited every time we forced him in the minivan, Okie still hates minivans but he loves SUVs, principally because he gets an entire seat all for himself plus two windows.
We first drove a black Minivan when we first arrived in Boston, it looked like this:
|Our first Ford Windstar looked like this but it was black|
Our 2nd Ford Windstar was exactly like this green one on the photo below:
When we got relocated again, to Miami this time, yes, here starts our Florida adventure, it was 2004 and we bought a Ford Explorer Sport, the story of the day we bought the Explorer was very funny.
We told the sales guy we were a gay couple, it was obvious, two guys buying a car together, long story short, we no longer tell people we are cousins or roommates or whatever closeted people still tell people these days... we were shopping around, finally decided on the Silver Explorer so we made an appointment to see the same sales guy again.
Upon our arrival we noticed the guy wearing a PINK dress shirt, really? yeah, really!
Plus, he started using the word "Marvelous" in every other sentence, oh, this car has Marvelous leather seats, Marvelous 4X4, a Marvelous sunroof... UGH!!!
It got on my nerves like nothing else...we had already decided to buy the car because it was exactly what we wanted, not because he wore PINK or said MARVELOUS 100 times.
We never say marvelous by the way, we are both very butch, Gil and I are just not effeminate.
We chuckled over the idiots behavior and bought this beauty anyway:
Loved the Explorer but as soon as we moved to Miami in 2004, we faced two hurricanes and were stranded in South Florida because the Explorer's relatively small gasoline tank offered a very small autonomy, not enough to get us out of dodge on one tank of gas.
Right after the 2004 hurricane season fiasco, we were extremely frustrated with the Explorer's limitations, plus a scandal with the Explorers roll overs, that was it, safety has always been a priority for us.
We ended up driving another Minivan, this time a Dodge Caravan, during a few years when we owed two cars:
|The most economical car I ever drove. Seat, steering wheel all in the perfect alignment positions.|
We also owed an Infiniti G35 for a brief 6 months. I totally HATED that car. It was too fast and super quiet, I got the 3 first and only tickets of my life. The car was cheaply built and started falling a part quickly...first and last time we ever owed a Japanese rice burner as my brother would call it :) ... yes, I am car biased, I love Fords and Chryslers.sue me! Here is a picture of our Infiniti:
|I don't know if other Nissans are worth anything but the Infiniti was the crappiest car we ever drove|
We are still driving our awesome Eddie Bauer 4x4 Expedition, it is GREAT for snow driving in New England, here are a few pictures to illustrate it:
|600 Miles autonomy with a 27 gallon tank|
|V8 Engine, this baby has Ford's biggest engine.|
It's 27 gallon gasoline tank drove us safely out of Florida, all the way from Tampa, FL to the safety of Atlanta, GA on one tank of gas.
Plus, we were able to bring all of our stuff, with all the extra room, our pets, Okie, Gil's fish tank with his fish and shrimp colonies, plus a few important plants that have been with us for many years, yes, we saved all the living things that surrounded us, thanks to our obnoxiously large Ford Expedition.
Hence our emotional attachment to this car, we could save our little family from the hurricane threat. A Hurricane that never came by the way, it took a sharp turn and missed Tampa in the middle of the night, hitting Orlando head on...well, we didn't know that when we were fleeing for our lives.
We eventually moved back to our home in New England and we still drive the Expedition.
There is one little detail, all of our neighbors are ubber civilized New Englanders who view the Expedition as the most obnoxious, ridiculously large V8 engine as a monster of the road.
Let me explain, yes, it is somewhat politically incorrect, ok, downright wrong, but, BUT, we both work from home and drive very few miles.
Our Expedition is a 2003 model and we just hit 60K miles, very low mileage by the way.
We don't commute to work, we drive around our neighborhood and only leave the house when we have 3 or 4 errands to do all at once, if I travel, the company sends me car service to take me to the Airport and back.
So, Prius drivers, BACK OFF!
If you are driving your tinny ugly Toyota to work everyday you are polluting the air MUCH MORE than we ever will... : )
We have made peace with our neighbors one at a time, explaining our car situation, I plea our case very convincingly.
First was our neighbor to the right, Mrs. Davis who traded in her Jeep Grand Cherokee for a tiny Volkswagen Rabbit and then our neighbor to the left, Mr. Mahoney, who traded in his super cool gigantic Buick Roadmaster for a Hybrid Toyota Camry, it's getting tougher everyday to owe a large V8 SUV in New England.
Like I said, it's parked in the garage everyday, we DON"T commute to work, now, get off our case. Please!