Don’t Say Mustang

The most important piece of advice Cupcake had for me about this blog was quite simply, “Don’t say mustang.” Now, he admits that many car fans appreciate the Mustang and think it is a fine car. He just knows that the first car that people who don’t know anything about cars like to talk about so that they sound like they know something about cars is the Ford Mustang.

To simplify:

People who don’t know about cars talk about the Mustang to impress those who do know about cars.

The people who know about cars are usually not impressed.

So when you are talking to your car person this weekend and trying to show how much you love them by conversing about cars, please, for the sake of your sanity and the longevity of your relationship with this car person, for the sake of the thirty minutes of your life that will be lost while you get lectured on “real cars,” for the sake of your ears, please…

DON’T SAY MUSTANG.

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Photo Courtesy of Cupcake (and a random stranger’s car)

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Riding in a Pathfinder, 1998

As much as I have a complicated relationship with automotive vehicles, my first memory is, in fact, being strapped in the backseat of my family’s Nissan Pathfinder. I was exactly a week shy of turning 2 years old, and Daddy was driving me to the hospital to meet my brand-new baby brother. Most of my memories from that year involved cars, actually: losing the arm of my baby doll in the Pathfinder and never recovering it, watching Mama sing while she drove, or riding shotgun in my carseat as Daddy flew around tree-lined hills in his black Mitsubishi 3000 GT with the pop-up headlights that were my favorite because they looked like eyes.

But mainly I remember that Pathfinder. I remember the sunlight through the front windshield filtering to the back and my feet swinging over the edge of the seat. I remember Daddy in his purple polyester tracksuit with the college logo embroidered on the front. I remember going uphill, and NOT going the way I thought we should be.

I remember when my baby doll’s arm rolled under the seat. I remember Mama coming to my side of the car and looking all over the floorboard. I remember telling her where it rolled when I lost sight of it. She couldn’t find it.

I remember getting sick in the back seat and Mama pulling over on the side of the highway to clean me up. I remember the State Trooper pulling up behind us and Mama fearing she’d done something wrong. I remember the State Trooper giving me a plastic star to wear for being brave. I remember having to sit on the conveyer belt at the Target checkout to scan the new clothes Mama bought to replace what I’d been wearing.

I remember goldfish and Mama singing. I remember green apple Dum-Dum suckers that Mama would only give me if I wasn’t going to fall asleep. (Somehow putting the sour sugar in my mouth always made me more drowsy.)

I remember bits and pieces of the Pathfinder. But most important was my brother on the other side of the car and Mama driving up front, tossing things back to make sure we were ok.

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Truck or Nerd Emoji?

For a truck, my Frontier particularly reflects my personality. I love the chrome grille, but it kind of looks like glasses. I love my front license plate, but it kind of looks like buckteeth.

My truck is the equivalent of the nerd emoji… 🤓

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I’m not sure I want to admit that my truck is a nerd car. (My brother’s Frontier looks much more athletic.) But perhaps in my attempts to make the truck girlier, I ended up making it nerdier.

Turn it sideways, and the Frontier actually looks like a truck. The extended bed is long and sleek, kind of like my lanky legs. The side mirrors stick out like my ears, and the luggage rack sticks up like my hair. I wonder if this correlation between the looks of a car and the driver has a logic behind it. Are we attracted to cars that oddly represent an aspect of our physical appearance? Or is it just a coincidence? I suppose we’ll learn more as Wednesdays progress.

Reformed Rust

An interesting trend I have noticed at local car shows is painting old cars to look like they are rusted without actually being rusted. My favorites are painted teal with reddish brown edges.

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It’s really a fascinating technique. If you look closely, you can see layers upon layers of purples, reds, oranges, and browns. Even the teal has multiple layers of darker and lighter shades.

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This particular truck even tricked out the interior entirely in denim! You can see the jeans pockets on the seats and the roof.

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Whether you think rust is the worst thing ever or a really cool look, the amount of time and effort that people invest in these pretend-rust cars calls for respect. It’s truly an impressive art.

Cars and Coffee, Corvette City

Cupcake and I parked in the movie theater parking lot and walked towards the clumps of people at the other end of the aisle. The last weekend in March was comfortably cool and incredibly windy. I fit in the old lady group wearing sensible shoes, comfortable denim, and long sleeves. We also all had hair blowing in our faces. (Car shows are not places I recommend wearing sticky lip gloss.) I looked around at the block of cars about four aisles wide and wondered where everyone was. Cupcake explained that since it wasn’t the first weekend of the month, most of the exotics stayed home. At the other weekends I had been to, cars filled up the whole movie theater parking lot. This event mainly seemed to be Corvette City.

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American cars occupied most of the lot this weekend. A couple of people drove their Porsches, their MGs, and their BMWs. One Nissan 370Z slid into the parking lot and a Bentley rolled in an hour after the event started. Most of the high dollar cars stayed home. The Corvette section, however, took up a whole corner.

The Z06s are my favorite Corvettes, which I believe makes Cupcake happy. To me, the black detailing looks sharp and the stingray looks sporty. To Cupcake, the Z06 goes incredibly fast. Who needs more than that?

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Mr. and Mrs. In-Law own the silver C6 Corvette. Mrs. In-Law drove me to the store in it once while Cupcake planted a mailbox, and we enjoyed riding with the top down in the sunshine. Our hair didn’t even get that messed up by the wind! The blue C7 Stingray Corvette was a beautiful, eye-catching color. I thought it was a Z06 until Cupcake pointed out that the arrow package was different. (The arrow package is the splitter, the spoiler, and other design elements that make the Z06 handle better than any other Corvette.)

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Maybe there were more to Corvettes than I realized.

Good Guys, Part 1

The official name of the Tennessee Titans’ football stadium changed from ‘LP Field’ to ‘Nissan Stadium’ in 2015. Since I drive a 2007 Nissan Frontier Crew Cab Extended Bed truck, Bro drives a 2011 Nissan Frontier Pro-4X truck, and Mama drives a 2011 Nissan Armada (not the LE, for which she is only mildly bitter), the name ‘Nissan Stadium’ doesn’t bother me one bit. In fact, I kind of like it. However, since Cupcake was raised on American muscle cars like the Buick GS, the Pontiac Trans-Am, and the Chevy Camaro, he and Mr. In-Law do not take too kindly to various Nissan redesigns being plastered across their “Titans’ Stadium.”

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Picture from Titans Online

The stadium cast a massive shadow on the interstate side of the parking lot as Cupcake, Mr. In-Law, and I bought tickets to the Goodguys Car Show. For mid-May the high was only in the low seventies, and at 10am in the shade, I needed every layer I was wearing. Even my short-sleeved boyfriend admitted a chill.

Mr. In-Law handed me a brightly colored ticket covered in graphics and ads to stuff in my purse as I tripped along behind them towards the first lot of cars. Each lot surrounding the stadium seemed to be devoted to a particular year or brand or type of car, though I never could figure out the pattern. As we looped the first lot in search of their friend from the GS Nationals show, Cupcake and Mr. In-Law stopped at every black Buick or Chevy in the vicinity to stare at the engine and critique any rust. I preferred to scout out the pretty colors. (I was just along for the ride.) Greens always caught my eye first, though the dull forest Chevy lacked any sparkle, and the other green cars tended to lean more towards Military Metal or Peppy Pesto than Granny Smith Apple.

As we passed the entrance into the stadium itself, I looked up and saw a shiny Nissan Titan precariously showcased on a metal shelf. It was definitely not a toy. In fact, the bulbous nose of the truck made it look rather more like a monster than the trim and sporty vehicle that was my Frontier’s big brother. The new nose job made the Titan look practically American. Thus, I could cross the Titan off my potential-new-car-dream-list. Cupcake always suggested that I look at Chevys or GMCs instead, so I figured I could do a little research on American style while I was here.