Mercury Bobcat, sister to the Ford Pinto
The Pinto was a perfect example of everything that was wrong with Detroit in the late 70's. Being twelve years old meant a lot of backseat time, and the Pinto was as enjoyable as a trip to the dentist. It was cheap, bargain basement cheap, apparently the designers believed that no one would actually ride in the back, that, or someone at the factory forget to install a lot of trim pieces.
Bobcat cockpit, more luxurious than the Pinto
The occasions where my father let me "drive" while sitting on his lap only highlighted the dreary cockpit. Somehow my dad had purchased this abomination, and I never understood why.
Toyota Celica (It's a 1978, not a 1981, but close enough)
The Celica was always the preferred method of transportation. The interior was trimmed in black, just like the Pinto, but here the materials and design communicated an attention to detail that the Ford lacked. Thought and regard for the passengers had guided the creation of the cockpit, and even a twleve year old kid could tell. The instrument cluster even contained a tachometer and a clock!
This is more like it
Riding in the Pinto always came with a dose of shame, the feeling that somehow my parents were duped into the acquisition, whereas the Celica was always a source of pride. That little car was the beginning, an introduction to he world of the automobile and the joys it can bring to life. I owe that car a lot.
Gone but not forgotten