First Car Stories: Row-Day-Oh

1994 Isuzu Rodeo 

I turned 16 when I was going into my Junior year of high school, a little later than my friends, and with much less cash than their summer jobs have yielded them. My two best friends have some pretty cool cars: One had bought a 1998 Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the other had just bought his uncle’s 2000 Mitsubishi Eclipse. The owner of the jeep, well his dad owned an auto body, so a sweet cherry flake over black base paint was sprayed on as soon as he got it. The Mitsubishi was a silver bullet, and it soon received 12” subs to give it the ultimate class of 2007 sound system.

My car? A 1994 Isuzu Rodeo, or “Row-Day-oh” as we affectionately called her. She was red everything. Red paint color, red dash, red seats, red on red on red. I can still imagine pushing in the heating controls like I just had the car 4 months ago, although it has been 17 years since I last saw her. I can still smell that car sometimes, mostly like a gas can spilled out in the back.  I can still hear her when I think about it. There had been a “Cherry Bomb” muffler added by my father, so that car would seem “cool.”

Looking back it wasn’t the cherry bomb that made her cool, it was the freedom of the road as a 16-year-old, the thought of having your whole life in front of you. Sure I may have wanted a new car, a cool car, but 4 wheels and a dream is all someone needs at that age. Besides, you can’t get in much trouble in a 1994 Isuzu, but we sure tried.  

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