Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How the Firebird came home

Shortly after Sean and I started dating, it became apparent I shouldn’t get too attached to any car he drove down my driveway. Before he was 25 he’d owned four cars and didn’t show any sign of changing his car-swapping ways. In the four years we dated, he owned three cars. The car he loved the most was a fire engine red 1990 Pontiac Firebird.

Thankfully, he never owned this!
I was not initially a fan of the ‘Bird. When he discussed his next car purchase, I was appalled at the mention of the Firebird. All I could picture was the generation from the late 70’s with that unreal winged creature emblazoned across the hood. I was not going anywhere in that kind of car let me tell you.

But spring break of my junior year of college, when I was overseas on a school trip, he traded in the Chevy Beretta I loved for the shiny, new Firebird. And when I got back, his dad told me I was going to love the flaming bird on the hood.

I was speechless. All I could picture was my sweet boyfriend driving around Atlanta in some Smokey and the Bandit car. Y’all, this was before Facebook, before email, before texting, before I could instantly see what the car actually looked like. (I know, I know, how did we manage? My dorm actually had a pay phone in the hall. And now I feel old…) And even though Sean tried to assuage my fears by repeatedly assuring me the car most certainly did not have a bird on the hood, I had to wait until my next visit home from school to see for myself.

Needless to say, I was very relieved by all the shiny red paint with nary a bird in sight.

We had a great time in that car, but I knew that it wouldn’t be around long; he was not in the habit of keeping cars. He sold it to his dad a year later.

His dad drove it for years, and when he finally replaced it with a new Camaro, he gave the Firebird to his brother in Illinois. His children drove it for a while, but eventually the Firebird ended up in their barn, gathering dust.

Last spring, Chuck decided that car had been neglected long enough, and he had it shipped to Georgia. Over the last six months, he has transformed the rusting eyesore into the gleaming vision of sheet metal that now graces our driveway. And Amy couldn’t be happier even thought it will be a year before she can drive it by herself. But Michael can, and he’s had a blast driving Amy around in her car.

Michael’s first car is a red Pontiac. Amy’s first car is a red Pontiac. Rebecca’s convinced her first car needs to be a red Pontiac. She’s got her eye on a Solstice. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Before heading to Georgia

In Chuck's driveway - Michael checks it out on his visit home this summer.

In Chuck's garage - not a bad looking pair of GM products!

It was like his long-lost baby had come home; he couldn't stop polishing it.

Had to have a shot of all the cars.

Three generations of drivers who love that Firebird.