What's that? Tell a shitty car story? Okay.
So in high school I got it into my head that a TR-7 would be cool.
This is literally the one I had - same awful orange, same horrible stripes, no sunroof - but I bought it out of a junkyard with no engine, an empty axle housing and only one front wheel for like $500. That's because (1) I fully intended to put a Buick 231 V-6 in it (an easy conversion) (2) I intended to build that 231 strong enough to warrant a Ford 9" (an incredibly difficult conversion) (3) there weren't a lot of Triumphs in New Mexico.
I bought it out of the weirdest junkyard I've ever found; the only licensed Ferrari mechanic in the 4 corners area had a bizarre collection of strange and wonderful machines in various states of disrepair, including two Lotus Super 7s (not Caterhams), a Lotus Sprint, assorted MGs, a couple Abarths and, perpetually under repair, an Aston Martin Lagonda:
Not that that's relevant, but you are now aware of the worst Aston Martin you've never heard of, so there's that.
once the car was secured, the next step was of course the rear axle (which was a weekend-long adventure to procure, considering the junkyards were two hours away) and the engine, which came in the form of a non-running '77 Buick Skylark purchased out of the Little Nickel for $125. My father in his infinite wisdom decided it would be easier to determine what was wrong with the Skylark motor with it in the car than to just pull it and rebuild it.
Famous last words.
What was wrong with it was a miserable front main seal, which Buick had made out of wax-impregnated sisal fiber (because fuck Buick). This led us to discover that the oil pump had been installed backwards (because fuck Buick) which, once the radiator is out, is an easy fix. So then I had a fully functional Buick Skylark which I drove while in the process of outfitting a full-race Ford 9" rear axle on a Triumph TR-7, in the snow, under the trees, at 7,000 feet in New Mexico.
The project stalled, as you might imagine. Engine swaps are challenging when you have cover, heat, and a reasonable home life. When you're exposed to the elements, taking 4 Honors classes and sleeping in cars because your home life is so dysfunctional you find such swaps challenging. But hey - I still had the Buick. Which didn't handle well. Which revealed itself in a characteristically-bad way when I blipped the car around an animal at 50mph, thereby causing the piece of shit to spin out and smash into a parked Volkswagen. My passenger ran home to change his pants. The parked Volkswagen drove away unscathed. The Buick had its driver rear door punched in a good 18 inches because that vehicle was such a piece of shit.
My father, in his infinite wisdom, determined that the first remedy was to pull the dead door off. Which, a reciprocating saw, a come-along and a crowbar later, we did. We then discovered that the frame had bent at least 3/4" from the accident and a new door wouldn't fit. So January 1992 I had me a 3-door Buick as my daily driver.
Meanwhile I'd decided to turn the 3.8L powered Triumph TR-7 street rod into a 4.3L powered Triumph TR-7 4x4. After all, I wanted a Jeep and my father, in his infinite wisdom, decided it wouldn't be too hard to shorten the frame down and put a Triumph on top of it. That's a whole 'nuther story. The important parts are (1) it is too hard (2) I did it anyway (3) It ended up with a 400CI full-roller V8 but it took until September 1994.
During which time I was still driving the 3-door Buick.
I also found somewhere to work - my grandparents' house, a mere 30 minute drive away - that had heat and an FM radio. So my life, for about 2 years, involved climbing into the 3-door Buick, listening to industrial music on tape, then spending 12 hours working on cars while listening to country music (thou shalt not touch the knob), then climbing back into the 3-door Buick and listening to industrial music on tape.
I even drove clear to San Diego and back (to see Ministry, Sepultura and Helmet) in the 3-door buick. The plan had been to take a friend's car. I had 5 tickets. All 4 friends bailed on me. It snowed the entire way there.
In addition to being a really shitty car to begin with, I had no appetite for improvement on it. I put used tires on it. They blew out regularly. I had that thing blow the right front on windy mountain roads twice in one day. It also had a brake proportioning valve with a screw loose or something, which didn't improve the already-shitty brake response. If you had to brake in a hurry there was a one-in-three chance that it would lock up the front left and rear right (causing it to veer right), a one-in-three chance it would lock up the front right and rear left (causing it to veer left), and a one-in-three chance it would lock up all four. I got good at panic-swerving - nothing to the left? Dive. Nothing to the right? Dive. Either side blocked? Well, hope his bumper is tougher than yours. I only rear-ended maybe three people, never hard enough to do any damage. Except, of course, to the Buick.
It actually came up in a County Council meeting once. Some council member had an axe to grind against derelict vehicles. He walked up to the podium and presented a picture of my car (this was on Public Access) and said that something needed to be done about these unlicensed, undriveable vehicles. Someone piped in from the audience "no, there's a kid that drives that thing every day." Kind of derailed the presentation.
I had a cop pull me over once for "improper condition of vehicle." Because it was Espanola, though, and because I was white, he backed down when I asked him what part of the code required doors. There isn't one in New Mexico.
Had a deal with a local junk yard owner. We'd bring him cars, he'd give us parts. I drove that fucker into his lot a dozen times looking for 4x4 Triumph parts and every time he'd stare at the buick and say "that's going to be mine, soon." I never contradicted him.
My dad hung onto it for a year after I left. I've never really known why. Inertia, I guess. But yeah. I put about 30,000 miles on a 3-door '77 Buick Skylark V-6 4-door sedan. In sleet, snow and dark of night. And in the end, I got away before it could kill me.