Monday, November 14, 2011


NOTE:   NOT Toto.
    No, I don’t mean the rock group.  Although I do like Hold the Line.  It’s a catchy little tune with great guitar riffs which....uh, what’s that?  Toto sang that song?  Aw...crap.
    Well, Just What I Needed is okay, too.  If you’re a chick.
    Actually, this post is inspired by Dawn’s latest from Lighten Up! (NOTE:  As of this writing, it’s still her latest.  If it’s not, then you’ll just have to select “Older Post” to read it.  Geez, do I have to do everything?). 
    Dawn told us about the time she owned a Ford Ranger pickup truck.  You should check it out.  After you read this, though.  I don't want you to read Lighten Up! and never come back ("Golly, that Penwasser dude sucks!").
    It made me think of all the cars I’ve owned before (NOTE:  Willie Nelson's first choice for a song title.  Google it to get the joke).  Thinking that Dawn would care, I listed each one of them just in case someone showed up at her door, with a “Life of Al Penwasser” quiz in their hand. 
    Don’t laugh, it could happen.  Yeah, and Chaz Bono could model skinny jeans on QVC.  Okay, I get it.  Probably nobody cares what cars I’ve owned.
    Still, I thought my list of cars would stand on its own at Penwasser Place, the funniest thing this side of a prostate exam.  At first, I was concerned that I was “piling on” (aka “ripping off”) Dawn’s idea.  Then, I realized that, quite often, what we thought was original was actually inspired by something just as wonderful. 
    After all, we can thank an amusement park ride for Pirates of the Caribbean, the Civil War for Gone With the Wind, Goldie Hawn for Kate Hudson, and Happy Days for Joanie Loves Chachi.
    Okay, so maybe it doesn’t work out all the time.
    Anyway, I’ve listed them all here.   Dawn:  if you’d like to give this a pass since you’ve seen it before, I understand.  Seriously, though, if you’ve gotten this far, you may as well finish.  After all, I’ve included pictures (WARNING:  One of them is of me with my shirt off, so you may not want to eat just yet.  I’m just sayin’...).    
Looked much different upside-down
in a North Carolina ditch
1978 Chevy Monza:  I totaled it during an ill-advised post-midnight run to the Outer Banks.  Sadly, my Snoopy “Joe Cool” air freshener did not survive.

Because nothing screams the 70s like knee socks, cut-off shorts,
aviator sunglasses, blue sneakers, and a keffiyeh before it was
politically incorrect to wear one.
Oh, yeah.  The car's behind me.
NOTE:  Check out the chest and belly hair implants.

1980 Chevy Monza:  What do you mean it's the same kind of car? No way. It was a different shade of brown.  Mrs. Penwasser #1 (aka “Bug-Eyed Ugly Woman”) got it in the divorce settlement.  The engine blew up six months after we split up.  Karma (or should that be...CARma?  I know, I crack myself up).

This one really wasn't my fault, officer.
1983 Nissan Sentra:  Japanese.  Engine didn't blow up, but dinosaurs kept following me.  Since it had a manual transmission and I didn’t know how to drive a stick, it made the test drive an adventure.  Plus, it didn’t have air-conditioning and we lived in Virginia.  Didn’t really think that one through.

Hot blonde with blue eyes
and big boobs extra.
1984 Chevy Camaro:  Well, technically it wasn't mine.  It was my girlfriend's, but it was one of the things which attracted me to the woman who became Mrs. Penwasser II (the other two were her boobs).  Had to sell it when we moved to Maine.  Didn't like the snow.  Or the seafood (I know, that doesn't make any sense to me, either).

I think I'm the only idiot who bought a Ranger
without an extended cab.
1988 Ford Ranger!  Yep, I owned one, too.  Little man in a little truck.  Didn't have a back seat, though.  Which became a drag after Mrs. Penwasser and I reproduced.

My son hated the car so much he tried to eat it.
Or maybe I should have fed him that morning.
1991 Toyota Camry: Took it to Quebec. Sold it the next year.  I don't think the two were related.

Yep, it was cool to be me.
1992 Mazda MPV:  Had a rotary engine.  I think.  Or maybe not. Who the F knows?  Suffice to say I had now entered the "Mini-Van" stage.  Chicks no longer dug me (NOTE:  It’s a fiction I held that they ever did).

Screw the planet.  It had cruise control.
1998 Ford Explorer:  To make up for the fact that Mrs. Penwasser sold the Ranger while I was at sea, she bought me this cool vehicle.  Since it was an SUV, I guess I was now destroying the planet.  I started receiving hate mail from Al Gore.
How To Tell Who the Americans Were in Iceland:
Gas cans (aka: "bombs") on top of their cars.

2000 Nissan Quest:  Another Japanese car!  Another mini-van!  We took this one to Iceland.  It came back with us.  We got a dog, too (these two events aren't related, either).

It's still not paid for.  Be kind.
2005 Subaru Forester:  As the kids have gotten older, we've started to downscale our mini-van purchases.  This was our first used-car and we really like it.  But, the ghosts from the previous owners really creep us out when they want to drive.
Wait...are those boots under the right front tire??  Uh, oh.
2005 Dodge Dakota:  Little Man in a Bigger Truck.  No, I'm not compensating for anything.  Much.

The next two are my kids' cars.  Despite that, I still own them (the cars, not the kids).
The difference between this Sentra and my old Sentra?
It still runs and it has both headlights.

2003 Nissan Sentra:  The "ghetto sled", this car has well over a 100K miles on it.  But, it runs like a top.
That's what I'm talking about.
2000 Chevy Cavalier:  This also has well over a 100K miles on it.  It's an American car so you can guess how well this runs.

    Since I’m still relatively young (compared to the pyramids and Joan Rivers), I’m sure my car-buying days aren’t over.  I’m confident that, before everything is said and done (and I’m eating nothing but soft foods), I’ll be updating this list.
    Who knows?  We may have flying cars by then.
    I just hope there’s room for my new Snoopy “Joe Cool” air freshener.

   Epilogue:  I’d like to thank Dawn and the internet.  Without them, I wouldn’t have been inspired to bore you with the cars I’ve owned.  And I wouldn’t have known that the Cars also sang I Like the Nightlife, Baby.
You're welcome, Al!
Thanks for getting rid of that Explorer, too!


  1. That Camaro is slick! I'd probably be all over a lady with an 80s Camaro too (and boobs are cool also I guess).

  2. I've always believed a car is a reflection of its owner's personality. Very true in my case. My first was a 1969 GTO with a rebuilt 455. Yes. I helped rebuild it & broke 3 ring compressors in the process. Damn Craftsman tools!  Next came my 1978-1/2 (yes, and a half, it was rare) 280Z. I had to learn to drive a 5-speed & broke reverse gear 3 days after driving it off the lot. Thank God for extended warranties!  Then came my first & only mistake, a 1994 Nissan Maxima, but I had just had a baby so I needed a four door. After 12 months, I traded for a 1990 Ford Bronco. What can I say?  I liked OJ's rig. After that came a brand-spanking new, hot off the showroom floor Chevy Tahoe. Then I wanted to downsize so I bought my first BMW, a 1995 525i, followed by a 1999 530i. Now I have a 2004 330ci convertible which I refuse to ever sell. And since my hubby is a BMW technician, I don't have worry about it. Still, if I ever make any money with this writing gig, my dream is a BMW M6 convertible, just like my protagonist's!

  3. Yeah, Gone With the Wind was pretty lame. Seriously, when Rhett told Scarlet he didn't give a damn, I was in total agreement.
    I have never owned a mini van. I'm not cool like that.

  4. I've never been able to work out whether Kate Hudson has a wider mouth than her mother. In some pictures she does, in others she doesn't. I wish those ladies would fess up instead of teasing us all the time.

  5. What an excellent blog post man, you've certainly had a heck of a lot of driving experience over the years, that's quite a set of motors you've had the pleasure to drive!

  6. Penwasser! Thank God you wrote this, because Chaz Bono showed up at my door with a “Life of Al Penwasser” quiz in her/his/her? hand!
    Awesome, funny post. Hi-flippin'-larious. And thank you for pimpin' me so much! Because pimpin' ain't easy.

  7. So many rules, go here, come back, geez you hurt me head. I also just ate breakfast and had to see that pic...geez, needed more warning..haha...and Joanie loves Chachi, how I cringed at that.

  8. You have quite a memory! I remember the cars I've had, but not the years: VW Bug, VWconvertible, VWRabbit, Dodge Challenger, Mercury Grand Prix, Chevy Chevette, Plymouth Sundance, Dodge Colt, Nissan Pulsar, Dodge Omni, Then I have a blank memory until an Oldsmobile something or other, a Chevy Malibu, and now a Chevy Impala. (In some to those cases we owned two at a time--back around the Omni, I think.)

  9. What a funny post. Made me think of my trusty 1985 K car. It was in severe disrepair and in need of serious love--the perfect vehicle for a 16yr old newbie.

    Chest and belly hair implants? ROFL

  10. Very detailed list of all your cars. I don't have them memorized, will fail the test. So why would you buy a stick shift if you can't drive it? My hubs had an Explorer...they are cool. I thought of buying a Sentra at one time. Nice to know it's a good car. I drive a Honda. It runs like a know, takes a licking, keeps on ticking. :)

  11. I haven't had too many cars (only on my 4th) and still waiting to end the van stage and get a sweet ride. Hubby already has his -1961 TR3 convertible. First car I got to drive was my brother's used 1971 Chevelle - it was a flippin boat!

  12. @Sub-Radar: It was a cool blue ride with T-Tops. That baby could really get up and go. And the seats flipped all the way to the back (I was still in my 20s, after all). Except when we took it to the snows of Maine.
    @Nancy: So, I'm thinking I'm like my truck. Especially with that rust on my side. Go with your dreams! Mine is to make it all night without waking up to pee. It's a dream that I have.
    @Ruth: Scarlett was an annoying "Ashley, Ashley, Ashley" whiner. She did clean up real good, though. She even looked good in green drapes.
    @Gorilla: Why would having a big mouth matter because....ohhhhhhhhh.....I get it. Well, I don't normally get it. But, I'd like to.
    @Yeamie: I know. My God, they pile up like potato chips. I hope I have few more left to go before I assume room temperature, though.
    @Dawn: See? I knew the knowledge would come in handy. After I read my comment to your post, I thought I could squeeze in a post all on its own. Throw in a few pictures, an Al Gore reference, an obscure 80s band, and some barechested beefcake (or me) and-voila!-we have "Cars." Thanks!
    @Pat: Good thing I didn't include "Lather, Rinse, Repeat."
    @Eva: You had a Chevette. How cool to be you! I test drove a Chevette before I bought the Sentra. Thing is I drove it all weekend (put more than 300 miles on it) before I brought it back to the dealer and said, "No, thank you." Hee hee. Chevy suckers.
    @Amber: It was a painful process. They transplanted the plugs from my back. No, not really. I meant my hiney.
    @Laila: I have no idea how I remember all of them. Maybe it's a Rainman thing. I'd rather know how to count cards, though. I bought the stick shift for Mrs. Penwasser #1. The car was much cheaper ($5,300-yeah, no kidding) than an automatic and I figured I'd finally learn how to drive a standard. I did learn (obviously) and "won" it in a fierce custody battle. By the way....Sentras are OUTSTANDING cars (I'm not kidding-for a change).
    @laughingmom: Once you've gone'll never want another one. A couple months ago (while the truck was in the shop), I rented a MINI-VAN from Enterprise. It was all they had. Chicks weren't digging me. Actually, they never really did.

  13. I'm loving you and Dawn's banter.

    Did the Chevy Monza come equipped with chest hair? Cuz I'm kinda glad I never owned one.

    My last car was a Ford Festiva. Have you seen those little things? This guy, trying to impress, told me it was so tiny he could lift it off the ground. And he did. Never saw his chest hairs though.


  14. You kinda flip-flop back to Nissan.... My last 4 cars were Nissans. I like the coffee in the dealership waiting room. But seriously, I never, NEVER have a problem with them and when I'm done with them my granddaughter gets them and she never has a problem. I like your car list.

  15. I must admit that since we went German (with our cars not our nationality - although Mrs B has been goose-stepping around the living room recently) I can’t see us going for anything else.

    You and Dawn have inspired me and one day (when I have finished writing about all the other crap in my life) I might have to steal...sorry borrow or should that be recycle this idea....

    Incidentally sorry about the pavement pizza I left (feel free to feed it to your son, he looks like he will eat anything ), I honestly thought that 4 hours would be enough clearance between my lunch and your half naked body....apparently not.... On the bright side, Mrs B is always looking for new ways for me to lose weight.

    Day one of the Half naked Penwasser diet...

    Lost most of lunch and not hungry so going well

    If ever sausage appears on the menu I’m out of here...

  16. thats an impresive resumee i must say haha, i have yet to get my first car

  17. @Robyn: Neither Monza had air conditioning, let alone chest hair. Once again, I owned them in Virginia. Yeah, WTF was I thinking? As far as me lifting a car from the ground: Festiva up-Al's testicles down.
    @Manzanita: My 1983 Sentra was great and my son really likes his 2003 car. And never underestimate the power of good coffee! Of the cars I've owned, the worst one (besides the '78 Monza's inability to remain airborne while sailing for a ditch) is my Dodge Dakota. I have had the "Check Engine" light go on twice (it only has about 67K miles on it). This has resulted in about $4,000 worth of repairs. Last Dodge (or American made) car I'll ever own.
    @BL: Ja, ve like das Germans. Yu vil buy zis car und you vil like it. If not, there vil be making mit der beatinks.
    I know what you mean. I lose weight every time I see myself naked. That's why I shower in the dark.

  18. @Tony: They're like potato chips. Once you put gas into one, you gotta have another. No, wait, that doesn't make any frikkin' sense. Let's put it this way: having a car helps you avoid bus people.

  19. owning a crazy amount of cars like a true american!

    then again, I'm only 22 and have owned I on the same route? only time will tell...

  20. Not a big car fan.. though I do like The Cars. They brought out a new album this year.

    Useless fact for you.


  21. I'd totally forgotten about the Monza! I think it went the way of the K-car. I haven't owned any of these cars, but I think you've inspired me here to do a post of my own on the subject. Of course the draft will probably languish in my dashboard like all the others...
    good post!

  22. Um, yeah, I had a Ford Ranger, too. We drove that puppy into the ground. My son proceeded to purchase a '93 4X4 Ranger. Drove that around, sold it, then it got sold again by that person, who then sold it again. Guess who owns it now? My son. He just bought it back from the last purchaser. It still rocks!

    I own so many cars it's not worth listing. I will say I own a '93 Exploder with over 180K on it. LOVE THAT TRUCK!

    OMG! A Monza!!! Are any still around!? What a collector car that would be!

  23. I really liked my Ranger. But, it had a tough time getting out of first gear (gee, sounds like me in the morning). Basically, you had to be rolling to shift it. So, when I was coming to a stop, I had to put it in 1st and keep the clutch engaged. Still...I really liked it. No real complaining on my part, though, when she sold it and got me the Explorer. I haven't seen a Monza in God knows how many years. I'm sure there are some still around. Hey, if I'm still kicking, I'm sure a Monza is, somewhere.

  24. You don't void any warranties by replacing your own hids and you save money purchasing an HID kit over inflated dealer or mechanic replacement.

  25. Oh yeah! The 70's wouldn't be like it without the screaming knee socks. Hahahaha. LOL at the dinosaurs following your Nissan Sentra. Dude, this sure is a wicked funny post. This made my day!