My first car was a blast. I absolutely lucked out when my parents struck gold on a car that should have been much more expensive than it was. It was an immaculate Mazda MX-6 LS with 78,000 miles and it ran like a champ. It looked pretty sweet for a 16 year old’s first car and I went on drives regularly for the pure enjoyment of the ride. I still love the rear end on these things. I remember going on a date and literally spending from 9 in the morning until 7 at night cleaning it meticulously until I went to pick up the girl. It didn’t work out, but damn the car looked good. (Listen here young bucks, there’s a life lesson: girls come and go, but cars are for life…OK, I’m just kidding. Sweetheart, don’t kill me.)
One of the saddest days of my adolescence was the day that car was totaled. I probably could have put another 80,000 miles on that car easily, but I never got to find out. Once all hope was lost, the search began for my first “next” car. I looked feverishly for another version of the exact same car, but they were very hard to find. My parents had a friend who worked for Chevy for many years who had a car they thought I would be interested in. Being friends, they were going to cut us a good deal. I got the usual rush you get when the idea of getting a new car becomes reality, and we went to see what would eventually become my worst nightmare.
At first, she looked like an absolute knockout. The paint was flawless, and there were even custom touches like blacked out tail lights and tinted windows. The interior was amazing with leather that looked new and no other flaws. I was hooked by the most important (at least to a 17 year old) part of the whole car: a ridiculous sound system. The guy who sold it to us knew how to get me too, as he told me to turn it to my favorite station and crank the volume. I remember it had one of those awesome flip-down lcd screens for the cd player with a remote. I think it was a Pioneer. In the back was 2 Rockford Fosgate 12 inch Punch Subs with the amp to match and a Sony amp to power the speakers. It sounded absolutely brilliant to me. They were the kind of subs that have extra value because they come with a free massage every time you drive. Boom boom.
We handed the dough to the man and I drove home in my baller-mobile feeling like Jermaine Dupri in the “Money Ain’t a Thing” video. All was well for a few months, and I was feeling like I may just have a way of attracting sweet cars to myself. I took out way more girls in this car than the one before, so my baller status had to be increasing. The downward spiral began the first time the heaviest door in human history closed on my leg. I think even Samson would have struggled with this thing. In fact I know he would have, because this car was Delilah. It was out to kill me. I lost more than my hair with this thing. I lost thousands of dollars and months of my life.
I guess at some point you’re going to want to know what kind of car I’m talking about, but I’ve been avoiding it like the plague. Mainly because now when I say the name of the car I go into convulsions and throw up. Well, almost. It was a cherry red 1997 Monte Carlo z34. (hurl) I actually went on KBB and looked up reviews of this car out of curiosity and was very surprised to find that many of the reviews were overwhelmingly positive, with some people giving it a 10/10. I’m sure they all regretted the reviews shortly after. I scrolled down about 10 reviews until I came across one that said “The worst car I have ever owned”. I feel you, brother. There was a strange sense of comfort that came from not being the only one to experience the devil that this car could be.
For starters, this is the heaviest car ever. I don’t care what anyone says, it is THE heaviest ever. It accelerated like a constipated polar bear. You knew that there was power available, as it put out a respectable 215 HP, but it didn’t matter at all because of it’s titanic-sized body. You could feel the heaviness constantly, which was a bit of a drag. The aforementioned doors made me look like a gentleman at times, but only because I opened the door for the ladies in fear that if they tried to treat it like a normal door it would take their leg clean off. That isn’t sarcasm either. I actually don’t mind heavy cars at all, as long as they are smooth and don’t drive like they’re in quicksand. This thing makes a Deville feel like a Smart car.
I know this sounds very “First world problems” of me, but this thing had one cup holder. ONE. Seriously one. In the whole car. How am I supposed to pick up a slushie for me and my girl, Chevy? They were trying to kill my romance game, I swear. The last girl I took out in that car was the love of my life, who happens to be my wife now. I’m glad the date went perfectly because that car had the potential to ruin any chance I had with a woman like that. Especially if one of those heavy doors broke her leg. In the car I purchased after the Monte Crappo, my wife and I built many memories on long drives that we will never forget. We loved that car so much we took photos of our last drive together in it before we sold it to move to California. I still have them. One of the photos features two beautiful slushies in the cup holders. Multiple. Two.Take that, Chevy.
The turn radius was awful. I used to park at the end of parking lots just so that I didn’t have to deal with it. The car was longer a Friday afternoon at the DMV. It was literally over a foot longer than my current car, which is a decent sized 4 door sedan. Combine that with the unbearable heaviness of the car and there was nothing agile about it. The steering was painfully unresponsive and lagged like you were playing a game online with dial-up.
With the longest hood length of all time, you would think this car had plenty of room underneath to be able to work on the motor. Wrong. It was one of the most cramped engine bays I’ve had. This sucked really bad when simple repairs came up, and they did constantly. We basically had to tear the whole engine apart just to put in the back three spark plugs. I’ve actually read reviews on this car where people had mechanics refuse to work on them. Luckily, I had a good family friend who worked for Chevy for 15 years and opened his own mechanic shop. His least favorite car to work on in his time there? The Monte Carlo. He had me “help” with all of the work that needed to be done on the car and only charged me for parts. Even still, I dumped thousands into that money pit. He would tell me every time I brought it in that he wished I would have called him before I bought it.
At least I had the sound system to distract me from the terrible driving experience…until one of my subs tore and started sounding like crap. Which isn’t Chevy’s fault, but it did take away the one positive feeling I had about the car and served as a reminder of how empty the experience was without that component. But hey, at least now that the sound system was out of commission I could fully enjoy the sound of my flesh cooking during one of the many spells where I didn’t have AC during the summer months in Missouri. Seriously, it went out like 3 times. (Side note: make sure when you are putting refrigerant in your car that it is screwed on tight. I never found the bottle after it shot off like a rocket through the neighborhood…oops. Thankfully, it landed deep into a field and not in someone’s window.) It’s hard to decide if that was my favorite moment with the car, or if it was the time my power steering went out and the car momentarily stalled while I was turning left at a gap between oncoming traffic. I may have cussed. That was the moment I knew for sure that this car was trying to ruin me. Another gem was the time the fuel pump went out after I had driven 4 hours to go see a girl I was interested in. It is super awesome when you drive that long to show your interest in a girl and then she has to drive you to your date. Not.
One time I ate a bunch of hot dogs and threw them up the next day. I couldn’t stomach the thought of eating a hot dog for about 7 years after that. Cool story, huh? Well imagine throwing up hot dogs every day. Eventually, that’s what it was like driving this car daily. Take all those days times my 7 year average for distaste and it looks like I will never own another Chevy again. Never. Some people may have Chevys that they own and love, and I tip my hat to you. Keep driving them; it means I don’t have to. All of this trouble only scratched the surface of all the pain this car caused me. So congratulations, Chevy. At least in my world, you get the vote for creating the worst car ever. I know my vote matters a lot to you.
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About the Author: Grant Braaten is Digital Marketing Manager of Pure Pursuit Automotive. Grant is proud to be from the greatest city in the world, Kansas City, MO. His general distaste for being a cog in the corporate system led to him to contribute to three KC startups before founding his own Non-Profit. He has the honor of being the first employee at Pure Pursuit’s nationwide headquarters…Learn more about Grant here: http://purepursuitauto.com/project/grant-braaten-digital-marketing-manager/