Cars You've Never Heard Of

I have this thing for obscure cars. Not rare cars, just the ones that have fallen through the cracks of moto-history. Because of their relationship with and the events surrounding Chrysler during the 1980's, Mitsubishi had some excellent cars that people never noticed.

In 1978 Chyrsler started importing the Plymouth Sapporo and the Dodge Challenger, the cars that would eventually lead to the Eclipse. It was a contemporary of the Toyota Celica of the time. It's not much to look at, really, although it got some style improvements later on. Is it all that special? Not really, but it appeals to me for some reason. It's an underdog, and I wouldn't mind owning one. Anyone out there got one for sale?

Mitsubishi also took on the Toyota Supra and Nissan 300ZX with it's Starion, with a Dodge and Plymouth version named Conquest. These cars fared better popularity wise, but are still somewhat obscure. I love the angular styling, probably the best out there. Ford and GM need to take lessons on how to do the angular style bit from Mitsu, the Focus and Aztek need the help.

The last car we'll look at was a replacement for the Sapporo/Challenger, but Chrysler did not import any. Mitsubishi brought it here, where it was known as the Cordia, truly an obscure car. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen one. There was also a 4-Door version called the Tredia. The styling is rather bland, but the car performed reasonably well, and it was the next step towards the excellent Eclipse/Talon/Laser models.

We'll finish this off with a link to a true rarity, the Toyota Celica Sunchaser. And let me know if you have a Sapporo/Challenger for sale, I'm interested!

Crashing Sucks

I have crashed three times. Each one sucked, but I did learn something from the experiences. My first crash was the most stupid. I was coming home from work. The apartment complex I lived in loved speedbumps. It had also finished raining a few minutes ago. I was not paying attention.

This cute woman was getting out of her car, and my eyes were on her instead of ahead. I didn't notice the speedbump until I was right on it. I grabbed the brakes and locked the front wheel, never a good thing. That causes the bike to tip towards the ground, si I let off the brakes, but it was too late. The front wheel hit the speedbump and down I went. There was no real damage except to my pride, which was mightily bruised. My Kawasaki is not a large bike, that is until you try to lift it back off the pavement. I don't even know if the cutie noticed me going down, but another neighbor did, and helped me get the bike upright. Lesson for the day...

Pay attention to what you're doind, shithead!

The next in my glorious collection of crashes occured in Ohio. I was visiting family for a week and decided the bike needed some interstate exercise. The trip up there was a journey in itself, something I'll detail later. I was leaving my Father's house and about to get on Route 8 in Cuyahoga Falls. The on-ramp was just after a bridge I had to go under, which is where the crash occured. Again, it had stopped raining a few hours ago. I had delayed my departure to give the roads some time to dry. I didn't want a repeat of my first crash. Unfortunately, I still had much to learn. The drains for the bridge were still dumping a small amount of water on the road, which I did not notice until I was right on it. Again I locked the front brake, again I released it. This time there was no speedbump to mess things up. The bike righted itself, but I forgot what momentum was. It started leaning over the other way, and down I went. This time my stupidity did injure me. One of the footpegs nabbed me in the calf. Later in the day it hurt so much I couldn't walk. I was supposed to return home the next day, but ended up staying in Ohio instead and leaving the day after. Lesson for the day....

Expect the unexpected!

The third an most recent crash was the worst. I was in Georgia with the Tennessee Motorcycle Riders, having the time of my life. We had been burning down twisty mountain roads the day before, having a blast. Then rain entered the picture that night while we slept. I hate the rain when I'm riding, can you tell? It was cold that morning, damn cold. When we stopped at Hardee's for some breakfast it looked like a small tribe of Eskimos had invaded the restaurant. I was wearing almost everything I brought along to stay warm. We quickly got out of town and headed for the twisties. Remember that rain I mentioned? It had washed some sand across the road we were on. Right in the middle of the corner. The first couple of riders passed it without incident. Not me, it took me down quick. This was the first time I had crashed at any kind of speed, and the experiance was quite surreal. Time slowed to a crawl as I let the bike go on it's merry way and put my hands down as I slipped across the pavement. I don't remember how far I slid, but the bike was a good 30 feet away from me by the time I stopped.

Just before the trip I had installed some engine guards, new mirrors and new brake and shift levers. The engine guards did their job, one of the new mirrors was scratcehd to hell, and the brake lever snapped in two. There was not a scratch on me.

Let me put it another way, I was fine, my riding equipment was not. I had two pairs of jeans on, the outer one had a 3 inch hole in the knee, the inner one held. My $100 winter gloves had worn through on the palms, but the asphalt hadn't gotten through all the insulation. My wonderful Shoei helmet had a dime sized chip in it where it met the road and some scratches, while my Aerostitch Darien jacket had a small hole in one sleeve. About $750 worth of equipment needed to be reaired or replaced. Lesson for the day.....

Safety equipment can be expensive, but you better have it on when you need it because you don't get a chance to put it on mid-crash!

Crashing sucks, but is inevitable. What really sucks is crashing and learning nothing from the experience. I cringe every time I see someone riding in a t-shirt and shorts.

More Than I Hoped For

I've had the Probe for almost two days now. It's better than I thought it would be. For $600.00 it was a steal. Here's what's needed to be repaired or replaced...

CV Joints (Knew that before I bought it)

Driver side sun visor (some foam has disintegrated)

Windshield wiper unit (has a short in it, don't always shut off)

Driver side door speaker (doesn't work)

Radio (lights work except station display)

Power antenna (does not function)

Passenger side rear marker light (out)

Backup indicator lights (both out)

Minor body damage (small dent on front bumper, driver side headlight, passenger side rear fender)

New paint job (faded)

Rear tires (need replaced)

Brakes (rotors need turned)

Mechanically she's great, not a problem found. I can't find any rust. Handling is superb for a base model. She's just a wonderful car.

My ego, of course, has shot up several levels. No, I'm not going to be drag racing any Corvettes, she's not that fast, but the acceleration is good enough for me right now. All she really needs is a five-speed manual transmission.
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