The Cars

My-beautiful-pictureA Story About The Vehicles I Have Owned

For better or worse, it seems that the vehicles I’ve owned over the years seem to match the phase of my life. From the time I earned to drive at age 18, I’ve now owned twelve four-wheeled vehicles of one type or another.

I learned to drive several months after I was in the navy. I was assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center in Waukegan, Illinois, starting in September 1974. Shortly after arriving I contacted a private driving school and started taking weekly driving lessons. The car I learned on was a silver-gray Toyota Corona hatchback automatic. It was a nice little car to learn on.

I passed my road test in early December 1974, just in time to go home for Christmas with a brand-new driver’s license.

I didn’t do much driving for the next several years. Between moving around from place to place at whim of the Navy, and earning base E-4 salary which at the time was about $200 per month, owning a car wasn’t an option. I was finally assigned to my first submarine in November 1975, which gave me a bit more money and a lot less time to spend it. Finally in the spring of 1977 I was in a position to actually buy my first set of wheels. Since then, I’ve never been without a vehicle.

Although I learned to drive on an automatic, I later learned to drive stick which turned out to be a useful skill considering that five of the 12 vehicles I’ve owned have been stick. It was a (very patient) friend who taught me to drive stick on his brand new 1976 Special Edition Pontiac Trans Am, black with gold firebird decal and pin striping. For the people reading this and old enough to remember the 1970’s, this would be the same car featured in the Burt Reynolds’ classic movie “Smoky and the Bandit.”

I’ve managed to find photos of all my past and current vehicles that I’ve written about in this story. I’ve written a history about each one and what I was doing at the time, and included the specs on each vehicle.

Driver Ed Certificate
My Drivers Ed Certificate. I do not understand the reason for the date of August 29, 1974 other than it may have been the start date of my driving class. I was actually awarded my first driver’s license in early December, 1974, just in time to go home for the Christmas holidays.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

Note: This story, unlike others I have written, has become a living document. I add to it as the vehicles I own change or gain more “history.”

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck

Cheesecake Shot of Myself, My Guinea Pig (Fred) and Truck, 1987

Synopsis:

My first vehicle, perfectly suited for a single male in his late teens and early 20’s. A unique custom mini-van conversion, I kept this truck for 11 years. I made two coast-to-coast trips plus several other long cross country drives, and several moves. Although this was sold under the Chevy nameplate, it was actually an Isuzu, and the start of my love affair with the Isuzu brand.

Read The History (2,123 words)

 

1977 Chevy Luv Series Six
Purchased: – New in October 1977, San Diego, California, about 108 miles- Traded-in for 1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab, August 1988, San Diego, California, about 110,000 miles
Standard Features:  – Black/Chrome trim
– 1.6 Liter 4 cylinder Engine
– 4-speed manual transmission
– Standard bed
– Rear chrome step bumper
– Opening Vent Windows
Custom Options:  – Mini-Van conversion with red interior carpeting.
– Fiberglas Camper shell with porthole windows
– Chromed Wheels with oversize raised-white letter tires
– Custom seats, black vinyl/red cloth
– Custom black/gold-button accent interior upholstery
– Custom built-in upright ice chest with mirror front.
– Chromed Custom Wide Mirrors, right side mirror electric adjustable
– Standard bumper-mount Trailer Hitch and trailer wiring
– AM/FM Cassette Stereo with dual speakers in rear bed area, under-dash mounted headphone jack
– Column-mounted tachometer
– Citizens Band (CB) Radio w/antenna and remote under-dash speaker
– Custom red overhead light in rear bed section
Major Repairs  Overhauled engine at about 94,000 miles.
– Installed Jacobs Electronic Ignition
– Rewired fuse block with new fuse panel and upgraded headlamp fuse
– Installed electric thermostat-controlled fan
– Installed heavier-power alternator
– Added second oil pan drain plug
Comments:  – Stolen Early December 1985, from condo parking lot, San Diego, California
– Recovered December 27, 1985, by police in Waukegan, Illinois. Subsequently driven back to San Diego
– Isuzu import sold under the Chevrolet brand and distributorship’s.
External Reference:  Wikipedia Entry For Cheverolet Luv Series

The photo above was taken at my house in South Bay San Diego, summer of 1987. That would be me in the cheesecake pose, playing with my pet Guinea Pig “Fred.”

 

Photo Collection
Chevy Luv with Cousin Mike Fenton, spring 1980 This photo was taken in the early spring of 1980, at my Aunt and Uncle’s place in Baldwin, Long Island. The person with me is my cousin Mike Fenton.
Chevy Luv with Chuck Schmitt This picture was taken in late spring, 1980, at Mom’s house in Burlingham, NewYork. The person in the photo is my best buddy Chuck Schmitt. (Chuck gave me my intro lessons to auto mechanics)

 

Chevy Luv Factory Brochure
1977 Chevy Luv Advertisment Cover page for a 1977 Chevy Luv advertising brochure. Looking through this brings back some pleasant memories…
1977 Chevy Luv Advertisement Page 2 I still love the lines of the exterior styling. Even in it’s time, this truck had a quirky, to me almost an “art deco” look, that set it apart from every other small truck in it’s class.
1977 Chevy Luv Advertisement Page 3

My particular truck did not have the Mikado package; there were enough options even without the factory upgrade package.

Along with the exterior, I really loved the dashboard styling. This brochure doesn’t really show it well, but the padded dash featured a “sideways hourglass” look, with the instrument panel symmetrical with the glove box, and the radio as the “waist.” Without the A/C option there was a shelf where the A/C interior unit would have mounted, which provided plenty of map storage. I also mounted a fire extinguisher under this shelf for long distance driving safety.

1977 Chevy Luv Advertisement Page 4 For some reason, this brochure does not include the Black color scheme. The instrument panel lighting was light green (a feature carried through in the 1988 SpaceCab) which I also enjoyed. To me the green lighting looks “professional” and easy on the eyes.

Index

1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


1979 MG Midget 1500, in Torrence California

1979 MG Midget 1500

Synopsis:

This was the second car I owned. I purchased it while in my late 20’s as my hot “Southern California” singles machine. I owned it two years concurrently with my 1977 Luv. This car was the most enjoyable car to drive I’ve ever had – when it ran. This car also taught me what “high maintenance” really meant.

Read the History (1,253 Words)

 

1979 MG Midget 1500
Purchased: – From Private Party, May 1984, San Diego, California, about 32,000 miles
– Sold to Private party in July 1986, San Diego, California, about 56,000 miles
Standard Features: – 1493 cc 4 cylinder engine
– Zenith-Stromberg Carburetor
– Red w/ Gold Pinstripe
– Beige/Black Interior with Custom decorated fabric seats
– 5 speed manual transmission
Custom Options: – Convertable Soft Top
– Split Tonneau Cover
– Chrome Trunk Luggage Rack
– Wire Wheel Covers
– Am/FM cassette Stereo
– Under-dash mounted digital clock
– Custom seat upholstery
Major Repairs: – Overhauled Carburetor
– Replaced Starter Motor
– Replaced Alternator
– Replaced all 4 brake slave cylinders, master cylinder
– Replaced front disc brake pads, rotors
– Replaced stock distributor with Allison Electronic Ignition System
– Replaced mechanical fuel pump with trunk-mounted electric fuel pump
– Replaced fan belt
– Replaced all four Pirelli Steel-belted radial tires
– Replaced horn button along with turn-signal stick
– Replaced Clutch, crankshaft, front and rear main seals
Comments: High maintenance vehicle, but a serious kick to drive whenever it worked
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for MG Midgets

 

Photo Collection
1979 MG Midget and Proud Owner 1979 MG Midget and Proud Owner. This was one of a series of photos taken near my sister’s house in Torrence, California, in the summer of 1984.
Mom and the MG Yes, this is Mom with my MG. She did not enjoy riding in this car with the top down.
Auto Trader Ad The ad I placed to offloadsell my beloved MG. I’ve heard it said for boats that the two best days in a boat owner’s life are the day they buy the boat, and the day they sell it. This would be true for my MG.

 

1979 MG Midget Factory Brochure
979 MG Advertising Brochure Cover Cover page for a Factory 1979 MG Advertising Brochure.
1979 MG Advertising Brochure Foldout

Foldout photo of the car. The large front and rear bumpers were required to meet DOT standards in the American market. The bumpers were filled with some type of fluid that allowed them to compress and distort, then comeback to normal after the pressure was released.This picture does not show the wire hubcap option my car had.

For all the mechanical problems, the MGs are pretty little cars. I personally believe that the red with gold pinstriping color scheme was the best-looking model.

I did have an MG ballcap, but not a T-Shirt.

1979 MG Advertising Brochure Page 4 People who have owned an MG will immediately understand the association with windsurfing. Adding sails to an MG would greatly increase the odds of getting home without a tow.
1979 MG Advertising Brochure Page 5 This picture makes the interior look a whole lot larger than it really was. The horn button was on the end of the turn-signal arm, not on the steering wheel itself. Hitting the horn too hard (like when someone just cut me off) would break the horn button, requiring replacement of the entire signal arm switch assembly. I learned this.
1979 MG Advertising Brochure Page 6

A display of the options and major features. The shifter had a very short throw that made for quick shifting and easy handling. The split tonneau cover was actually a slick idea. Sometimes I would keep the passenger side cover on while driving, which would provide some wind-protected space for books and papers.

The roof could be put up in a matter of moments, which was handy whenever I spotted approaching rainstorms.

The trunk (called a “boot” by the British) mounted luggage rack was a nice feature. I used the luggage rack for several trips, including my cross-country drive to Wyoming.

1979 MG Advertising Brochure Page 7

More windsurfing association. Notice that this brochure does not have any pictures of the MG in actual or even simulated motion.

 

Index

1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback

Synopsis:

This was a good, practical family car. It didn’t run especially well and it didn’t look especially nice, but it was reliable. I owned it for over three years spanning the time from when I lived in San Diego to when I lived in Naples, Italy.

Read the History (1,052 words)

 

1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
Purchased: – From Auto Dealer summer of 1986, San Diego, California
– Sold to Private Party, 1990, Naples, Italy
Features: – 1.6 Liter Four Cylinder Engine
– Brown Exterior Four Door Hatchback
– Brown Interior
– Air Conditioning
– Automatic Three Speed transmission
– AM/FM Radio
Custom Options: – After market Cruise Control
– Added “third eye” brake light
Comments: Okay Car, economical to operate, but nothing particularly outstanding about it.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Chevrolet Chevettes

The photo above was taken at my house in South Bay San Diego in the summer of 1987. I still had the Chevy Luv at the time.

1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure
Brochure for 1980 Chevrolet Chevette Cover page for a factory 1980 Chevrolet Chevette brochure.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pg 2-3 Most pages in this brochure are two page spreads.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 4 - 5 There was a lot of usable cargo room, but limited by the low overhead.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 6 - 7 Decent enough style for the time, comparable to what other US car manufacturers were putting out. I though the foreign car manufacturers had nicer designs.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 8 - 9 The interior was actually pretty comfortable for a small car.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 10 - 11 The dashboard was simple and functional.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 12 - 13 I do believe this was the first year that cars staring using extensive electronic controls. Our Chevette had HEI ignition and an electronically controlled carburetor.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Pgs 14 - 15 Having an automatic transmission was a nice touch. Most foreign car makers were producing manual transmissions in their economy cars as standard with automatic transmissions a pricey upgrade. This car was the least expensive car we found with an automatic.
1980 Chevrolet Chevette Brochure Back Cover Nice touch with the “Build Your Own” meme.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck

Synopsis:

1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab PickupOf all the vehicles I’ve owned, this 1988 Isuzu Pickup was my favorite. I bought it new right off the dealer showroom floor. I ultimately owned it for 16 years, loosing it to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. I owned it for the years spanning my life in San Diego, Italy, and Mississippi, navy and post-navy life, and two marriages. On the day it was ruined it had over 230,000 actual miles and still looked sharp.

Read the History (3,318 Words)

 

1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
Purchased: – New from dealer, 1988, San Diego, California, about 84 miles
– Totaled by flooding during Hurricane Katrina, August 29 2005, Gautier, Mississippi, about 230,000 actual miles
Features: – Black w/ Chrome Hardware
– Gray and White Interior, grey fabric seats
– Isuzu Spacecab Silver and Red Decals
– 2.6 Liter 4 cylinder Electronic fuel injection Engine
– Power Steering
– 4 way disk brakes
– Cab and a half, rear half seats in cab
– Automatic transmission w/ selectable Overdrive
– Air Conditioning
– Sun Roof w/Cover
– Tilt Steering Wheel
– Pop-out side cab windows, tinted glass
– Rear Sliding Cab Window
– Operating Vent Windows
– Standard Bed
– AM/FM Cassette Stereo, later upgraded to AM/FM CD Stereo
– Chromed Steel Wheels w/ Aluminum inserts
Custom Options: – Tonneau Cover w/ Stretcher Bars and bed-mounted frame
– “Rhino Lining” bed lining
– Rear Chrome Step Bumper
– Class Three Towing Hitch w/ Trailer Wiring
Comments: Will probably always be my favorite vehicle
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Isuzu TF Series Pickups

 

Photo Collection 
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup One of a series of photo taken with my truck parked in the driveway at home in Gautier, Mississippi, the spring of 2003. By this time the truck was 14 years old and still ran as good as she looked. It would not be until later that year when I started developing mechanical problems, nearing 200,000 actual miles.
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup I also had great luck with the quality of the tonneau cover. By this time, the cover was ten years old and just beginning to fray and tear. Not bad considering the number of times it was stretched out full of water after a Mississippi rainstorm.
My beautiful picture This was the last photo taken of my beautiful truck, November 2004, side by side with my newly purchased 2004 Rodeo. At 16 years old the truck still looked great.

 

1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure 
Brochure Cover for the 1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure cover page of the 1988 Isuzu Pickup series. This includes photos and descriptions of the entire line of pickups Isuzu produced this model year. I do believe 1988 was at or close to the high point for the Isuzu pickup line in America.
Inside Cover 1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Isn’t this a pretty shot? The standard Isuzu pickup, but with the same exterior color scheme my truck had.
Inside Cover Foldout The photo above would be the top-line pickup version sold that year. This was the full LS “SpaceCab” model but with four-wheel drive that my truck did not include.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Description This really was a tough, well built machine. After years of working on my old LUV pickup, I could easily recognize the continuation of body and chassis engineering.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Engineering Details No four-wheel drive on my truck, but the engine offered plenty of power for everything I ever did with her.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure The operating side vent windows, sunroof, and the standard wide-view mirrors actually looked good.The side vent windows were a touch I really enjoyed. I don’t know why vehices don’t include this nice feature anymore.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure I do believe it was the only 1988 truck that offered four-way disk breaking, and the direct fuel injected engine was also rare in small pickups for that year.
1988 Isuzu Pickup LS Interior I loved the interior. I was disappointed that the really cool dashboard style of the old LUV series pickups was not continued, but this was still a nice layout. Having the control buttons right up next to the instrumentation was pretty innovative. The dashboard tray was wonderful!
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Interior The standard truck interior. Still nice for a small pickup. This year’s model did include front airbags.The upholstery was as well-made as the rest of the truck. After 16 years the dash had never cracked, and the seat fabric looked nearly like new.I always thought the tilt steering wheel was an odd feature for a truck, but very useful when there were two very different sized people driving it.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Features and Options The truck line was loaded. Note how many different options could be selected for the different body styles.I think this may have been the last year that chrome bumpers and trim was available on any Isuzu truck.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Features and Options Aluminum wheels were just beginning to come out during this era. In 1988 many tire shops would not touch aluminum (mag) rims as they had not yet invested in the special equipment required to work with aluminum. Using the older tools meant for steel could easily crack aluminum rims. Isuzu’s design of a steel rim with aluminum center pressed in meant it was easy to find a suitable tire shop, years before all shops were aluminum-rim capable.There was a plastic center cap covering the grease hubs and lug bolts pressed into the aluminum wheels. The caps on my wheels lasted for 14 years, before three disappeared in a matter of a few weeks while parked at the shipyard I worked at.
1988 Isuzu Pickup Brochure Back Cover Final view of the beautiful 1988 Isuzu pickups line, saving the best for last – the black with chrome LS model.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan

Synopsis:

1976 Alfa Romeo AlfettaA true “exotic” car, even more so than my former MG Midget. This was a pure Italian spec sedan built with the heart of a racecar. I purchased this car as cheap temporary transportation after arriving in Naples, Italy. I made some engine repairs which gave me a great appreciation for Italian engineering. As I didn’t need it after my first several months in Italy I sold it, and actually got more for it than I paid. A great little car.

Read the History (819 Words)

 

1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
Purchased: – From private party, 1989, Naples, Italy
– Sold to private party 1990, Naples, Italy
Features: – White w/ white interior
– 5 speed manual transmission
– DeDion Rear Axel Suspension
– 1.6 liter 4 cylinder engine
– Front engine w/ rear transmission, high speed drive shaft
– Front Vent Windows
– 4 way disk brakes
– Dual Overhead Cams
– Dual Sidedraft Carbs
Major Repairs: – Replaced the water pump
– Rebuilt the brake master cylinder
Comments: A fun car to drive! The best handling of any car I’ve owned.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Alfa Romeo Alfettas

 

Photo Collection
Alfa Romeo Alfetta A second shot of my exotic Italian-built family race car. Photos were taken in front of our “Parco” (Duplex Home) in Castelvolturno, Italy.

 

1976 Alfa Romeo Factory Advertising Brochure
Alfa Romeo Alfetta Sales Brochure Cover Cover page for an authentic 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta sedan and GT models. This would be for the American import versions, so there would be some changes made to accommodate US DOT standards. Overall, I believe the major components described in this brochure are the same as my Italian spec car.
Alfa Roemo Sales Brochure, Second page Page two of the 1976 Alfa Romeo sales brochure. The actual brochure I scanned from is a fold-out single page, but it was too large for this web format. I found the description of the DeDion suspension especially interesting.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta Sales Brochure Page 3 Page three of the 1976 Alfa Romeo Sales Brochure. This offers details on the engine and interior features.
Alfa Romeo Alfetta Sales Brochure Back Cover Back cover of the 1976 Alfa Romeo sales brochure. This includes a list of standard features, options, and a brief history of the Alfa Romeo Company.
Magazine Ad for the 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta A full page magazine ad for the Alfa Romeo Alfetta. I liked driving smart.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan

Synopsis:

Mercedes Benz 200DA basic German-built tank I owned during two years of my three year assignment in Naples, Italy. This was a solid German spec diesel sedan that my first wife and I used to explore Italy for the two years we owned it. It has been my only diesel-powered car. It was roomy, comfortable, and economical even by European standards. I have fond memories of this car for the association with exploring the beautiful Italian country-side.

Read the History (1,394 Words)

 

1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
Purchased: – From private party, 1990, Naples, Italy
– Sold to private party, 1993, Naples, Italy
Features: – From private party, 1990, Naples, Italy
– Sold to private party, 1993, Naples, Italy
– Taxi-cab Yellow with Green interior
– 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder Diesel, later upgraded to 2.4 liter diesel
– 4 speed manual transmission
– Manual Choke, later upgraded to automatic with the larger engine
– German lighting standard including split parking/snow lights
– Fog Lights
– AM/FM Stereo
– Mercedes Hood Ornament
Major Repairs: Originally equipped with a 200D engine. The engine failed within one year of purchase, and was replaced by a local dealer with a 240D engine. The larger engine provided slightly faster acceleration and more power.
Comments: No power steering, built like a tank.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Mercedes-Benz 240 D Series

The photo above was taken in the mountains just outside of Naples,Italy, in the winter of 1991/1992, on the road leading to the Monastery of Monte Vergine.

Photo Collection
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D For all the photos I took during the three years I explored Italy (and other parts of Europe) I have very few with our Mercedes included. This would have been taken sometime in spring of 1992 on the Sorrento Pennisula, one of my favorite local weekend drives.

1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan Factory Brochure
1978 Mercedes 200D Brochure Cover Cover of the 1978 Mercedes 200D Sedan Factory Brochure. This is actually an insert into the entire brochure package. Mercedes produced a rather lengthy and wordy description of all their Mercedes models for this year, together with brochure packets for each model. In the interests of keeping this relevant, I only posted scans of the 200D model.
1978 Mercedes 200D Brochure The car was large and very roomy inside, but no “frills”.
1978 Mercedes 200D Brochure Final page includes the technical data for this model. Simple and straightforward, pretty much like the car itself.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

1991 Volvo 240 Sedan

Synopsis:

1991 Volvo 240This was my first wife’s pick and a car she dreamed about for several years before we purchased it. It was another roomy, comfortable sedan and good family car. I have to admit, I just never really cared for it. It went with my ex- as part of our divorce settlement, and was subsequently ruined by Hurricane Katrina.

Read the History (894 Words)

 

1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
Purchased: – From regional dealer, 1996, Atlanta, Georgia, about 80,000 miles
– Went with first wife in divorce property settlement, October 2001.
– Totaled by salt-water flooding during Hurricane Katrina, August 29, 2005, Gautier, Mississippi
Features: – 4 cylinder 2.4 Liter engine
– Silver-Grey with white/maroon leather interior
– Automatic Transmission
– Air Conditioning
– Power Steering
– Power Windows
– Heated Front Seats
– Moon Roof with Windspoiler
– Cruise Control
– AM/FM Cassette Stereo
– Front Airbags
Comments Comfortable driving car, heated seats were very nice in the wintertime.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Volvo 200 Series

The photo above is the only remaining photo I have of this car. I cannot place the date or location of the photo.

1991 Volvo 240 Sedan Factory Brochure
1991 Volvo Factory Brochure Cover page for the 1991 Volvo Factory brochure. This covered all models produced by Volvo in this model year.
1991 Volvo Factory Brochure
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan Brochure
1991 Volvo Factory Brochure Specifications and options available for the model year.
1991 Volvo Factory Brochure Gratuitous large foldout of all Volvo models for 1991.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV

Synopsis:

2004 Rodeo LSI purchased this SUV brand new via the Internet service of E-Bay Motors. It was intended to be a replacement for my aging Isuzu LS SpaceCab. As with my previous two Isuzus, this vehicle was a real joy to own. It was the most comfortable vehicle I’ve ever had, looked great, handled well, and was extremely practical. I ended up owning this vehicle for eleven years, and it became the last Isuzu I owned. This Rodeo spanned the years I lived in Mississippi and northern Virginia, and was the tow vehicle for both my first and second boat.

Read the History (3,349 Words)

 

2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
Purchased: – New from dealer via Internet sales, October 2004, Orlando, Florida, with 14 miles on the odometer when purchased
– Sold to private party through a Craig’s List ad, December 2015, with 116,840 miles on the odometer
Standard Features: – 3.5 Liter six cylinder direct electronic fuel injection engine
– Metal flakes Maroon finish with tan interior, fabric seats
– 2 wheel drive
– Automatic Four-speed transmission
– Air Conditioning
– Power Steering
– Electronic ABS Front-wheel Disk Braking with rear drum brakes
– Class III hitch, trailer wiring, and towing package
– Alloy Wheels
– AM/FM Stereo w/ 6 CD Changer
– Cruise Control
– Power Windows
– Tilt Steering Wheel
– Power Door Locks, Remote Operator
– 3-way Power operated driver seat
– Four-way mud flaps
– 2 trip odometers
– Front airbags
– Fold-down Rear Seat for slide-in cargo space
Custom Options: – Factory standard fog/driving lights
– Roof luggage rack
– Class III towing hitch with heavy-duty wiring harness.
Major Repairs Fairly constant electrical problems with sensors and control switches. Replaced the Alternator twice. Extensive body work resulting from three significant accidents and several minor incidents
Comments: A sharp looking SUV, extremely comfortable driving, and a lot of power.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Isuzu Rodeo

 

Photo Collection
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS One of a series of photos taken at the dealership in Orlando, Florida before driving back to Mississippi. At the time these photos were taken, the Rodeo had 8 miles on the odometer.
2004 Isuzu Rodeo Side view of Rodeo, taken at the Orlando dealership when the Rodeo still had only 14 miles on it.
2004 Isuzu Rodeo, rear interior shot Rear interior shot showing cargo area with rear seat up.
My beautiful picture Photo taken in November 2004, side by side with my venerable 1988 Isuzu LS Pickup parked in my driveway in Gautier, Mississippi.
My beautiful picture Another photo side by side with my 1988 Isuzu LS Pickup. Looking closely you can see the difference in the aluminum wheels between the two models.
Leaving Mississippi with Boat Leaving Mississippi on our house hunting trip, September, 2006. I pulled my boat all the way to the Washington, D.C. area cruising just under 60 MPH, with no problems. I discovered that the cruise control was really handy when I needed to take it slow.
Arriving in Virgina, October 2006 Arriving at our apartment in northern Virginia, October. 2006. The trailer was loaded down with books, tools, and other heavy belongings I didn’t want to pay the movers for. Once again, our Rodeo made the trip with no problems.
2004 Rodeo Sale List The sales list with all options listed for my Rodeo. A bit weather beaten as this was one of the documents soaked by hurricane Katrina.

 

 2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
 Cover page for the 2004 Isuzu Rodeo SUV  Front cover of the Isuzu 2004 SUV lineup of the four different SUV models available that year.
 Foldout picture of the Isuzu 2004 Rodeo SUV  Foldout of the 2004 Rodeo SUV. I still believe Isuzu has consistently offered the nicest designs for the vehicles in their lineups.
 Isuzu 2004 Rodeo Brochure This was the first six cylinder vehicle I owned, and really liked the extra power. Lower fuel economy was the trade-off for the extra power, I rarely commuted long distances with her.
 Isuzu 2004 Rodeo Brochure Interior shot. Once again, Isuzu came through with a very comfortable interior. The dashboard is sleek and highly functional with the instrumentation I like. The rear fold-down seats create lots of interior cargo space, almost as much as my old LS SpaceCab Pickup (limited by the overhead space). Some nice touches are the tie-downs in the rear cargo space and a storage box on the side of one rear wheel well.
 Isuzu 2004 Rodeo SUV Brochure Spec sheet listing all the various options offered in the model year.
Isuzu 2004 Rodeo SUV Brochure Additional specs showing the color and exterior options. My Rodeo didn’t come with towing package, fog lights, or roof rack crossbars, but I added these after purchase.
Isuzu 2004 Rodeo SUV Brochure Final shots of the four SUV models Isuzu offered in 2004.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback

Synopsis:

2000 VW New BeetleWe purchased this as a second car that I briefly used for my commutes while Winnie got to drive the Rodeo. It was a cute little car that was surprisingly roomy and very maneuverable. With a five speed manual transmission it got great mileage, but a stick shift in stop-and-go traffic proved irritating. Once Winnie learned to drive a stick, this became her car as it proved too impractical for car pooling, which was my normal commuting mode at the time.

Read the History (874 Words)

 

2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
Purchased: – From private party, September 2007, Woodbridge, Virginia, about 96,000 miles
– Traded in for 2009 Nissan Versa
Features: – Silver with black interior
– 2.0 Liter 4 cylinder Engine
– 5 speed manual transmission
– Front Wheel Drive
– Power Door Locks, Remote operator
– Air Conditioning
– AM/FM Cassette w/ 6 CD Changer
– Front airbags
– Fold down rear seat for extra rear cargo space
– Headlamps are always on in a “Running Light” mode
– Has cute dash-mounted flower vase. Winnie thoughtfully added yellow silk sunflowers as her custom option.
Major Repairs: – Had the brakes rebuilt right after purchasing the car.
– Replaced the water pump, which included replacement of the timing belt.
– Replaced the sensor for the driver’s seat airbag.
Comments: A fun car to drive and had a lot more interior space that it would have seemed. It felt good to drive a stick shift again.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for Volkswagan New Beetle

Second shot of the Beetle the day I brought her home. I didn’t get to own an original Beetle back in the 1970’s and early 80’s, although I did get to drive them on occasion. This little car has a lot of the charm of the original models but with some much needed creature comforts included. Like Air Conditioning and a decent stereo.

Photo Collection
2000 VW New Beetle Photo of this fun little car right after bringing her home.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback

Synopsis:First Day Home for the 2009 Nissan Versa

We traded in the 2000 VW New Beetle for Winnie’s choice of new car. This was a car she had been looking at for several years, even before we left Mississippi. She wanted an economical and practical small car for her commuting. However, after the first year’s ownership Winnie insisted that I use it for commuting as it got better mileage than the Rodeo, and Winnie went back to commuting in the Rodeo.  This car met an untimely and sad end in a collision that totaled the car, but both Winnie and I walked away without a scratch.

Read the History (1223 Words)

2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
Purchased: – September 2009 from a local Nissan Dealer, about 26 miles on the odometer
– Totaled in a front end collision, March 2013
Features: – Cherry Red Hatchback with Black Interior
– 1.8L 4 cylinder Engine
– Four Speed Automatic Transmission
– Air Conditioning
– AM/FM Single CD Player
– Dual Electric Mirrors
– Cruise Control with Steering Wheel-mounted Controls
– Advanced Air Bag System
– ABS Braking
– Rear Window Washer and Wiper
– 60/40 Fold Down Split Rear Seats for Greater Cargo Capacity
Major Repairs: Nothing except routine maintenance. This was a rock solid reliable little car
Comments: A practical and reliable car that was also sharp-looking.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for the North American Nissan Versa

 

Photo Gallery
Winnie Showing Off Her New Car Winnie dressed for the occasion and showing off her new car, on the first day home.
Second Shot of the Proud Owner Second shot of the proud new owner showing off her first car.

 

2009 Nissan Versa Factory Brochure
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure This factory brochure is a first-class publication, with some really beautiful photographs.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Foldout The first of several foldout photographs in this brochure
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Foldout Two page spread of this car in motion. although it did get good mileage, class-wise it was rated as the lowest mileage of all compacts in it’s class.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Foldout Interior shot of the dash and steering wheel. This car had an attractive and practical dashboard layout.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Foldout Nissan seemed to like showing their car in motion.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Showing some of the body and engineering features. I can attest to the effectiveness of the air bag system.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Showing the three models and main options for each model.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Spec sheet for all options and features of the three models.
Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Showing the various color options. Nissan seems to do a great job of producing eye-catching colors.
Back Page of 2009 Nissan Versa Brochure Back page of the factory brochure showing all Nissan models sold in the North American market in 2009.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes


2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Four Door Sedan

2013 Nissan Versa

We purchased this car as a replacement for the 2009 Nissan Versa. This car was again Winnie’s choice, and quickly proved to be just as good a commuting car as the previous Nissan Versa. This was also the first car that Winnie added personalized license plates, choosing a number combination that was considered “auspicious.”

Read the History (432 Words) 

2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan
Purchased: – August 2013 from a local Nissan Dealer, 1732 miles on the odometer
Features: – Blue Four Door Sedan with Black Interior
– 1.6L 4 cylinder Engine
– Four Speed Automatic Transmission
– Air Conditioning
– AM/FM Single CD Player
– Bluetooth Hands-Free Phone System
– Dual Electric Mirrors
– Cruise Control with Steering Wheel-mounted Controls
– Advanced Air Bag System
– ABS Braking
– Rear Window Washer and Wiper
– 60/40 Fold Down Split Rear Seats for Greater Cargo Capacity
– Remote Trunk Release
Major Repairs: Nothing except routine maintenance. This was a rock solid reliable little car
Comments: A practical and reliable car that was also sharp-looking.
External Reference: Wikipedia Entry for the North American Nissan Versa

 

2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Factory Brochure Front Cover Front cover of the 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan factory brochure. This was another lovely brochure.
2013 Nissan Versa Factory Brochure  First foldout. This is a rather large brochure (number of pages) with good infomration and images on each page.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Second foldout of the car in motion.
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Closeup of the headlamps. Our particular model did not include fog lights, but I found it interesting that fog lamps came standard on the high-end model.
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  The navigation package was standard on the high-end model, not the model we had. Winnie did augment her car with her own GPS once she started doing long commutes.
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Nice instrument panel layout and gages.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan factory Brochure  Lots of trunk space for a small car.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Decent mileage, but actually not the best for it’s class.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Roomy interior, and the driver’s seat armrest was a nice feature.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Another photo of the car in motion.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Lots of customization options available.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Now getting into the spec sheets and options.
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  Lots of options for this car.
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure Interior colors
2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure Exterior colors. Nissan does manage to design sharp looking body colors that manage to not be garish like other Asian car manufacturers.
 2013 Nissan Versa Sedan Factory Brochure  And the back page.

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2015 Jeep Cherokee “Latitude”
Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude

We purchased this to replace the 2004 Isuzu Rodeo during a “Black Friday” (day after Thanksgiving) car sale. This vehicle was my choice after almost a year of researching affordable options to replace the Rodeo. I wanted a minimum 3.2 LT engine for the towing power, and I really wanted a Four-Wheel or All-Wheel drive package as well. This sweet software-controlled vehicle nicely fit the bill. It was loaded with electronics and I joke about the Jeep being smarter than me. With any luck, this vehicle will get me well into retirement when I’ll have lots of time to enjoy my outdoor Jeep-needing activities.

Read the History (424 Words)

Jeep Cherokee 3.2 LT Latitude
 Purchased  November 2015 from a local dealer, 459 miles on the odometer.
 Features
  • White with tan cloth upholstery, black leather dash and steering wheel, black carpets
  • Auto Stop/Start
  • Backup camera and “Park Sense” warning system
  • Blind Spot Warning System
  • LCD touch-screen display for AM/FM/SIRUS radio, media, climate controls
  • LCD Instrument console with Vehicle Information System
  • UConnect 8.4AN/RA4 touch screen radio with 9-1-1 emergency assistance, roadside assistance, and support for apps
  • Blue Tooth option for cellphone calls, text messages, and media hookup
  • Media options include One SD Card input, One Audio Input, Two USB ports, Two 12VDC Power Ports
  • 3.2L Pentastar V6 engine, rated 22 City / 31 Highway mileage
  • 4 wheel drive with four drive train settings (Selec-Terrain traction control system)
  • 9 speed automatic transaxle transmission
  • Cruise Control
  • Power Windows and power tailgate lift
  • Power Sunroof
  • Power Controlled and Heated Side Mirrors
  • Fog lights as standard equipment
  • Auto-dimming Rear View Mirror
  • Power Door Locks
  • Remote Start and Remote Rear Tailgate Operator
  • Center storage console
  • Front and side airbags, rear collision protection in head rests
  • Power driver seat
  • Three Programmable Garage door opener controls
  • Electric Parking Brake
  • Alloy wheels
 Custom Options
  •  Class III Tow Hitch and Wiring Harness, Dealer Installed
  • Thule AeroBlade 7501/7502 Roof Rack Bars
Comments One very sharp looking Jeep, and the heaviest vehicle I’d owned
External Reference https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(KL)

Index

1977 Chevrolet LUV (Isuzu Luv Series Six) Pickup Truck
1979 MG Midget 1500
1980 Chevrolet Chevette 4 door Hatchback
1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck
1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta 1.6 Four Door Sedan
1978 Mercedes Benz 200D 4 Door Sedan
1991 Volvo 240 Sedan
2004 Isuzu Rodeo LS SUV
2000 Volkswagen New Beetle GL 2 Door Hatchback
2009 Nissan Versa 1.8S Hatchback
2013 Nissan Versa 1.6SV Sedan 

Final Thoughts and Table of Changes

Final Thought and History of Updates

I’m sure I’ll be owning additional cars in the future. There’s no way of knowing what they will be, how they will be powered, or how long I’ll own any given vehicle. But as long as I’m healthy enough to drive, I’ll have a set of wheels!

Updated: February 8, 2009 – Added scans of factory brochures for the 1977 Chevy Luv and 1979 MG Midget.
Updated: February 23, 2009 – Added scans of factory brochures for the 1988 Isuzu LS SpaceCab Pickup Truck.
Updated: January 20, 2014 – General editing as part of reloading into a new website.
Updated: February 16, 2014 – Added scans of factory brochures for the 1980 Chevrolet Chevette.
Updated: February 17, 2014 – Added scan of the magazine ad for the 1976 Alfa Romeo Alfetta.
Updated: March 13, 2014 – Added brochure scans for the 1978 Mercedes and 1991 Volvo, added chapter on the 2009 Nissan Versa, added first page index.
Updated: March 22, 2014 – Added chapter on the 2013 Nissan Versa including all brochure scans.
Updated: March 14, 2015 – Added additional photos of the 1988 Isuzu LS Pickup and 2004 Isuzu Rodeo
Updated: August 4, 2015 – Added additional history on the 2004 Rodeo, added cross-links between the histories of each car.
Updated: December 2015 – Added new entry on the 2015 Jeep Cherokee, updated the history of the 2004 Rodeo.  Added the index directory to each page for better cross-referencing.

Publications: The write-up and history of my 1979 MG Midget was picked up and re-published by  editor Karl Eirik Haug for the car magazine “Carl’s Cars” published in Norway in February 2010 .