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OK, I'm a certified car nut, and way back in the day when I needed to create an online/furry identity, "Foxcar" popped immediately to mind.  Foxes and cars.  Yup, those are the best things in life!  Well, OK, a good orgasm is better, but you get the point.  :o)

So here's a chronology of the cars I've owned and often loved.  Actually, the first was the only one I hated.

Cars, you gotta love 'em.  And if you don't, get out of my web site!  Haha, just a little humor there.  So, seriously, get out.

1st - 1982 Oldsmobile Omega

Pic is not of mine, but looks just like it.


The basics:  Oh dear, he claims to love cars and we get this?  Hey, I have my reasons, and excuses, so here we go.  It was 1985 and I was fresh from Air Force basic training on my first assignment (in Ohio).  That made me an E1, a pay grade that basically amounts to peanuts minus the nuts.  I needed cheap wheels and room for friends, hadn't learned to drive a manual, and hadn't caught the car nut bug yet.  So that's how I ended up with a white 4-door, 4-cylinder automatic.  Oh, how I shudder to think nowadays.  But the payments were $86/month.

The drive:  There was one great appeal about driving this piece of crap and that was the dash.  Full, I mean old school full instrumentation.  It had more gauges than an WW2 submarine.  That was about it for pleasure behind the wheel.

Ownership:  Total piece of crap.  Those in the know will remember this as a member of GM's dreaded X-body platform.  Mine lived up to every hateful, sorrowful, frustrated and dismissive comment ever directed at these engineering black holes.  'nuff said about this thing.

2nd - 1985 Mazda GLC DeLuxe Hatchback

Pic is not of mine, but looks just like it.


The basics:  OK, this is more like it.  I consider this my first real car.  The Olds lasted a year before I bought this.  I had learned to shift a manual and that's what I got, a 5-speed.  It was a great price for a car that was just a year old, too.  Of course, it was one of the smallest cars available at the time.   Saved me a fortune on gas and maintenance, because it had a teeny engine and was just amazingly reliable.  Nothing, not a single thing, went wrong in the 3 1/2 years I had it.

The drive:  You might not believe it, but the little bugger was a blast.  Yes, it was slow, there's just no way around that with a mere 68hp.  It tried hard, though, in a "make you want to pat it's head" kind of way.  Plus, once I replaced the original skinny tires with wider Pirelli P4s, the handling went nuts.  It darted, it hung on for dear life, it changed direction like a sports car.  Too many people just have no idea how fun a small car can be just because it's small.  And well engineered.  Which brings me to...

Ownership:  As mentioned, not a single thing broke in the 3 1/2 years I had the GLC.  There was one repair, and it was my fault.  It needed new front brake rotors after I stupidly rode the brakes down a loooooong hill in Pittsburgh, warping them in the process.  Completely forgot to engine brake.  Oh well, again, not the car's fault.  At one point I smelled coolant and feared for a dying head gasket, but it ended up being a loose clamp on the radiator hose and a $20 labor charge for finding it instead of the $1000 or so I feared.  Of course, it sipped gas like a dainty debutante.  Absolutely a great litt...ok, I won't say it!

3rd - 1990 Plymouth Laser RS

Pic is not of mine, which was "Raspberry Red Metallic."


The basics:  A Plymouth???  Can I be serious?  I'd sworn off American cars after the Omega debacle, so, a Plymouth???  Please, I can explain.  First, Plymouth was an equal partner in styling, inside and out, but under the skin the Laser (as well as the Eagle Talon) was all Mitsubishi.  A shortened Gallant platform, to be specific.  It was sweet.  The twin cam 2.0L was butter smooth, and RS trim gave you a lot of the little things that make owning a car nice, like good fabric and dash materials.  I loved the dash in that car, and still do.  It was stylish and functional.  It looked so good I had a fold-out of it from the brochure hanging on my wall for six months.  That's because I factory ordered one while I was stationed in South Korea.  I don't know about now, but back then folks overseas could factory order from any American make.  I got my Mitsubishi by a technicality - the Plymouth badge.  :o)  Plus, I actually preferred the less adorned look compared to the wings and spoilers of the Talon and Eclipse.  It handled well, too, and had that overall slickness that shows good attention to mechanical detail.  I was devastated to have to let it go after only a year, but thank Colorado insurance rates.

The drive:  There's nothing like a smooth twin-cam four that revs to 7,500rpm.  This was the car that got me hooked on high redlines and led to the succession of Hondas/Acuras below.  Also high insurance.  Colorado, circa the early 90's, had shockingly high insurance.  But back to the car itself.  In a word, fun.  In it's first year, 1990, the RS package got you the sweet 2.0L DOHC four, 16-inch wheels with 205/55-16 performance tires, extra equipment and better fabric.  Handling was tidy and fun, with good grip and no nasty habits.  It wasn't a standout, but good enough to win comparison tests against contemporaries like the Ford Probe.

Ownership:  I only had the Laser for a year, and in that time it was flawless.  Over the years I saw countless examples that were tired and neglected, victims of poor maintenance and lack of care.  Unfortunately it quickly became a darling of the tuner/drive-too-fast-and-crash crowd.  After a few years it became almost impossible to find a sweet, original example.  That's a shame, because it had a nice balance of comfort, fun, power and economy right out of the box.  The only thing that grated was the pre-airbag motorized seat belts.  Oh, and insurance each month was more than my $242 car payment.

4th - 1991 Honda Civic DX Hatchback

Stock photo, looks identical to mine.

The basics:  Thanks to the scumbucket sleezeball jerkoff loser whore insurance industry in Colorado, I had to ditch the Laser and get something I could afford to insure.  Having read numerous comparison tests were it always won, I settled on a Civic and took a test drive.  I was quite surprised.  They weren't that quick, but felt faster than they were because of the incredibly low beltline and a low ride height allowed by the all-around double wishbone suspension, as well as the impression of seeing the road right in front of your feet.  Even a Mazda 323 felt like sitting in a pickup after the go-cart feel of the Civic.  As I'd become something of a technical fetishist, I was impressed by the sophisticated chassis, SOHC 16-valve engine and creamy, snickety gearbox.

The drive:  There was good and bad about the Civic's double-wishbone suspension.  The extremely low cowl that gave it that go-cart feel and outstanding all around visibility limited the available suspension travel, and the springs were quite soft.  This led to more float than you'd expect, while grip from the 175/70 all-season tires was unimpressive.  It also understeered a lot.  And yet - it had that zero resistance feel to it as it rolled along, and at a brisk pace handled quite well.  Pushing harder, though, led to plow and little fun.  A set of performance tires did help some (I think they were Yokahamas).  I suppose that's an enduring appeal of Hondas from the 90's - with the exception of the hottest versions they didn't excel in one area, but had a real sense of cohesion and felt great at 7/10ths.  And there was always the peace of mind that comes with Honda quality, except...

Ownership:  ...I had a lemon.  It never failed to start, never broke down, and nothing ever fell off.  But mine was dogged by small problems.  Soon after taking delivery, paint started peeling from the bumper at the headlight seal.  It took my local dealership over a year to stop the front alignment from constantly going out of whack, netting me a free pair of tires along the way.  I don't think that was ever truly cured, though.  It was recalled at least twice.  A steering column gear needed replaced.  At just under 60,000 miles, when I took it in for the scheduled service, I complained of a buzzy rattle coming from what seemed like just beyond the pedals.  The service advisor came to the showroom where I was wandering and told me it was the water pump starting to fail.  I had become quite friendly with one of the salesman by then (this is now 1995, nearly 4 years after I bought it), and it was obvious to him that I was fuming.  I think he could see that "last straw" look in my eyes.  He showed me a great lease deal they were having and suggested I test drive a new Civic Coupe...

5th - 1995 Honda Civic Coupe EX

Not mine, but identical.

Civic Coupe

The basics:  I sat there and thought about it for a few minutes first.  In the end, I decided to give it a try.  Compared to my '91, the '92-'95 Civic was a complete generation change, not just a facelift.  So I decided to give Honda another chance.  I'm glad I did.  The change over my hatchback was profound.  Quiet, refined, tight build evident in every nook, comfortable, loaded to the gills and it looked great.  They still do.

The drive:  A quantum leap (don't you just love that figure of speech?  A "quantum" leap would actually be a very tiny thing, yet we use the phrase to suggest a very big thing) from my '91, the '92-'95 Civic EX won deserving praise for it's fluid, fun handling.  This was a car that you could play with all day.  It rewarded smooth, consistent inputs with lovely balance and adjustability.  As with most Hondas, grip wasn't especially high, but it used what it had very well.  Clearly, this was a standout case of handling over grip.  I simply cannot say enough about how well this car could handle.  Yes, it would ultimately understeer, but what front-drive car doesn't?  It even had decent steering feel, something Honda usually forgets.  And oh, how I loved the drivetrain.  The SOHC 125hp VTEC four sounded wonderful, actually growling a little more than the highly strung DOHC VTEC nutter in the later cars, while remaining butter smooth.  Revved to 7,200rpm, too, and like all VTEC engines, felt like it was hardly trying.  The gearbox was peerless in it's day, save the Miata's.  If you can find a cared for, unmodified example of one of these, get it.

Ownership:  This was the first car I leased instead of buying.  It was also the first Honda of mine that lived up to its reputation, as all would henceforth.  Other than the interesting dash top vent needing replacement early on (they just swiped one from a car on the lot), it was utterly reliable and free of faults.  If I remember correctly (this is 2011, after all), it was recalled once for the ignition coil.  Those two niggles are it.  A complete peach!  As mentioned, the EX was loaded and other than the SI, the EX was Honda's sporty version of it's cars at the time (nowadays it usually means just more equipment, not more sport).  The seats were great, with nice fabric, comfort, and support.  Pedals were nicely placed and you can never say enough about a good Honda gearbox.  The dash shunned the super cheap route and instead used better plastic in a simpler design to rein in cost.  A good choice when competitors showed cost-cutting much more obviously (hello Toyota Paseo).  Every detail of the interior was executed with amazing attention to detail.  I remember comparison shopping a Saturn SC2, and the interior left me completely cold after poking around the Honda.  This car remains one of my all-time favorites.

6th - 1999 Honda Civic Coupe SI

Not mine, but identical except I didn't have a stupid boy-racer pointless idiot loser dork tacked-on rear spoiler

Civic SI

The basics:  1995 was the last year of the Civic generation that spawned my black coupe.  The 1996 - 2004-ish generation didn't do much for me.  Honda went with a more formal look, losing the taught curves of my '95, and softened things up considerably.  I remember driving a '96 EX coupe while I was waiting during a routine service.  I came back thinking it was the nicest Buick Skylark I've ever driven.  At facelift time a couple of years later Honda did sharpen it up a bit, but taller sidewalls on skinny tires couldn't be overcome.  Then I got a flyer in the mail that an SI coupe was coming; manic 160hp 1.6 DOHC VTEC engine revving to 8,000rpm, 15-inch alloys with 195/55 tires, stiffened suspension, the works.  I called the salesman I was friendly with and begged for the first blue or black car they got.  I ended up with their first blue customer car (a local racing outfit got the literal first one).

The drive:  Take the '95 EX Coupe mentioned above, keep everything, and turn it up to 11.  Same great balance, same stable yet flickable handling; but more grip, more power, and, of course, more revs!  I liked the sound of my '95, but this engine sounded absolutely blow-your-mind amazing from 6,000 to 8,000rpm.  It was, as I had hoped, a complete departure from the worthy but dull Civic lineup of the time.  The only flaw was gearing from a farm tractor.  In almost every car I've owned (and I'm writing this in 2011), third gear tops out at roughly 90mph.  In the SI, it was 80.  This short gearing was good and bad.  Good because it, along with a butter smooth engine that never seemed to strain, made town driving painless.  I completely disagree with criticisms that the lack of torque made the SI sluggish in calm driving.  Just let it rev a little more in each gear - you won't hurt it, really!  The bad came when you found yourself on a wide, long curve and suddenly you've got no 3rd gear left.  The engine's at redline but the tires and chassis are telling you more grip and play are waiting.  Since upshifting in the middle of a hard charging corner is stupid, you try again the next day in 4th - but it doesn't have the power in 4th to pull the same speed, or it matches the 3rd gear effort but with more understeer.  What it needed was a sixth gear to spread out the ratios a little more, but in 1999 only expensive sports cars had those.  It was still a barrel of laughs, though, and I don't think the short gearing killed the fun too much.  And the grip it could find from modest 195/55-15 tires was pretty impressive.

Ownership:  With the SI came a mildly reworked dash (primarily the climate controls), which was simpler than the '92-'95 design but good quality with millimeter fit and finish.  Everything was as you'd expect from a Honda.  The only flaw of any kind this car experienced was probably not a design flaw, but a victim of the environment.  After a couple of years, the air through the vents started smelling like a really bad case of athlete's foot.  With the A/C on, the smell went away, but at all other times it was like driving inside a teenage football player's sock.  Best guess was that mold and/or mildew had taken hold somewhere.  In a rare moment of automotive shame, I traded it without mentioning this...

7th - 2002 Acura RSX (base, 5-speed)

Actually mine, for once!  AFOXCAR license plate debutes.


The basics:  2002 was the first year the for RSX, and I got the first one I could snag off the showroom.  I drove both the base model and Type S, but two things put me off the 200hp Type S nutjob.  First, I don't like leather seats (which were mandatory), and second, it didn't feel that different below 6,500rpm.  Now don't get me wrong, I'm a high-rev junky.  But the Type S just didn't seem worth the stretch.  Plus, there was insuring it...

The RSX scared the faithful by adopting the contemporary Civic's strut front suspension, replacing the double wishbones of earlier.  This didn't bother me after a good, long test drive, where the steering proved accurate, feelsome enough, and free of the pendulum feel you can get from strut suspension.

The drive:  The RSX introduced the "I" in I-VTEC to us, and the base model had the softer, continuously-variable VTEC without the crazy high-rpm cams of the Type S.  I was initially saddened by the low (for a Honda/Acura) 6,800rpm redline, but soon grew to love it.  Gutsier than my previous Hondas, yet still had that effortless, "my redline is there just for show" feel to it.  At 6,800rpm it felt powerful, but also like it was just hitting it's stride.  For more, buy the Type S and it's 8,000rpm redline, I guess.  Handling was suspect in my 2002, with a tail that felt like it was up on tiptoes when cornering close to the limit, giving the whole thing a slightly uneasy feeling.  Below that level of commitment it felt fun and responsive, with good steering weight.  I think the rear suspension was tweaked on the facelift that came a couple of years later.  Speaking of the facelift, I hated it.  The distinctive round bits of the lights went away, replaced with (boring!) straight bottoms, and they went and put in cheaper (although still white-ish) gauges.

Ownership:  Absolutely flawless from day one until I traded it.  Excellent resale value.  The RSX had the most sensational interior you could buy for under $35K.  Every single inch of interior trim felt expensive, sometimes even novel.  I haven't felt such quality in a car's interior since (that is, at the price point of cars for everyday people - of course plenty of expensive cars have nicely finished interiors).  The gauges were awesome - raised very-light-gray dials with red-lit rings and notches, they looked sweet in daylight and reversed to red on black at night.  Killer.  Seats were perfect, all the practicalities were taken care of, and there were plenty of nice touches like the double-action sliding center storage door and automatic climate control.

A word on safety, and in a word, excellent.  I was sitting still, my turn signal on, waiting to turn left into a convenience store when I was rear-ended by a girl in a Jeep Grand Charokee going 40mph.  The poor Acura's rear was obliterated up to, but not including, the rear suspension.  I was unhurt.  After tying on the bumper with some rope, I was able to drive it - slowly and carefully - home.  They didn't total it, and the bill she and her insurance had to swallow was almost $11,000.  It seemed fine after, but you know that feeling...it was just too much, it felt violated.  So I started looking for a replacement.

Onward to PAGE TWO!!!