You know those commercials when someone gives their loved on a car with a big red bow on top?
The Supra was my big red bow car.
Back in May 2004, my family was visiting for my birthday. Little did I know that my present would be my Grandma’s beloved 1991 Toyota Supra… with personalized plates saying DR TOT (inside joke!) from my little sis!
Grandma bought the car new on August 12, 1991 — in cash. No, that’s not a story — I just found the original sales receipt! Red, fast, and utterly cool, I loved that car from the start. When we were kids, we used to load up in the Supra (Kristi and I of course fighting over who got the front and who had to squeeze themselves into the miniscule backseat) and drive to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios… you name it, we went. My memories of summer vacations always include climbing into the Supra, trying not to burn my butt on the too-hot leather seats, acting as an extra set of eyes seeing around the terrible blind spots, and always thinking my grandma was not only the coolest grandma, but the grandma with the the most awesome car ever.
When I turned 16 and was (finally!!) old enough to drive, Grandma used to let me drive her around town in the Supra so she could do her errands. She used to say I was “driving Miss Daisy.” We’d go to the bank, to the store… nowhere special, but it always seemed awesome because I was with Grandma, and I was driving the awesome Supra.
With all this history, imagine my delight when, suddenly, the Supra became mine! Grandma has moved to Tahoe and needed four wheel drive, and I was the happy, happy recipient!
Ah — the Supra and I, we had some good times! I loved driving around with the top down in the summer, singing my little heart out, delighting in the power beneath my butt, the stares I got from people on the street (it was gorgeous and rare, you know!), the sun on my shoulders. I loved that car!
But, unfortunately, over time, the car started to show its age. Add that to the fact that I just couldn’t take care of it like Grandma did (weekly waxing? huh?!?), and the amazing expense of trying to maintain a discontinued sports car, and I just knew — the Supra had to go.
Of course, I knew this in, oh 2007. I tried to sell it, but no dice. I wanted to sell it again in 2008, but it looked so beautiful once it was waxed that I just couldn’t part with it. I knew the time was imminent in 2009 when I got stranded multiple times and had to get Aussie to rescue me.
But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t cry when, in 2010, I took you for one last drive…
…took off your DR TOT plates…
…and watched you drive away!
Supra, you are in for a great adventure… this I know. The 17-year-old kid who bought you STROKED you the entire time his dad and I talked business. He was wearing Supra shoes. He had already bought racing seats and new lights for you. He’ll drive you like you were meant to be driven. He’ll fix you up, puts your parts back in place, and soup up your engine. Unfortunately, he plans to paint you matte black, but we won’t tell Grandma that — you’ll always be Fire Engine red in our minds!
But Supra, please don’t forget us. Don’t forget the wiggling kids getting their butts burned by your interior. Don’t forget day trips to Disneyland and Knott’s. Don’t forget my beaming face when you became mine, or early morning trips to the gym when I had to scrape ice off your windshield, or your summer coaxing me around Tacoma to do research. Don’t forget St Louis, where I drove you through an entire winter with no heat, where my friend Alissa called you the “Super Car,” and my student Tre’von said I needed to wear a helmet and gloves to drive you. Don’t forget Seattle, where you maneuvered into tiny spots in Queen Anne and made me that much more appealing to a certain car-loving Aussie.
And whatever you do, don’t forget Grandma and me, who have loved you (and been made oh-so-much cooler by you) since Day 1!