Posted by: Lori Schmidt Lutze | February 19, 2010

Toyota! Just Give Me a Pacer?

My recalled Toyota RAV4 has been fixed.  The dealership called and left a message that ‘the part’ was in.  I didn’t call right back because I thought it best to play hard to get.  Eventually Toyota and I made a date to meet and go about repairing her royal whiteness, my RAV4, and our relationship.  I can’t say I left feeling smitten.  I thought they’d wine and dine me.  Instead, I sat in a much too warm room watching the Olympics.  Not a great first date.  They did wash my car, however.  That’s always a bonus in the winter.  And they sent me home with a bag of Famous Amos cookies.  Those are good cookies.  Not as good as Scotcheroos, but they’re not bad.

This recent car situation reminded me of when Joyce drove this . . . 

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After great grandpa Nicky died, we received his 1956 Pontiac.  It didn’t have power steering and the steering wheel was enormous, like the steering wheel on a bus.  For a girl who’d just gotten her license it was a tough first drive.  But Joyce?  She could handle that ’56 Pontiac.  And that was back in the day when she wore more jewelry than Mr. T . . .

To quote Mr. T - "IMistah T Bling


Dexie shared a great little story with me about her BFF Pickles’ first set of wheels.  Pickles has a mom named Joyce, too.  Try as you might, you can’t be Dexie’s BFF–that spot is reserved only for Pickles.  The Pacer that Pickles drove (circa 1981) was a piece of shit–and that’s being quite generous with the description.  Listen to it in DexieJoyce’s own words:

Oh sure, at first it was totally exciting that Pickles had her own set of wheels for our senior year of high school.  We didn’t even care that it looked like a big bubble on four wheels.  That is until the temperature hit freezing, which in Wisconsin pre-global warming, was probably the end of September.  Anyhooooo, one fine chilly morning, we arrived at school and I grabbed the door handle to let myself out and – SNAP – off cracked the passenger side handle.  For a few days, Pickles had to let me out of the car, which was very gentlemanly of my best girlfriend!  That is until – SNAP – off went her door handle.  This left us with no choice but to roll down our car windows and crawl out.  Oh yes, you guessed it – SNAP – off went both window handles.  So we began unrolling our windows as if we were turning the lock on a big ol’ safe.  And we had to roll the windows up as far as we could from the outside of the car.  Good thing we had thin arms back then!  Oh well, at least it was an attractive car–NOT!  A few stoners at school suggested that we grow pot in the terrarium.  This might not have been a bad idea if we could have rolled the windows all the way up in the cold weather.  Coincidentally, Pickle’s husband also drove a Pacer in high school.  Fate?  You bet!  I understand he had the classy model–simulated wood grain paneling and handles intact.  I’m so glad Pickles married up!

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So, which car gets your vote?  The 2010 Toyota, the ’56 Pontiac, or the 1981 Pacer?  I’m thinking that the Pacer was an awful lot of fun–especially with Pickles and Dexie behind the wheel.  But the Pontiac and Joyce’s 14k gold?  It may be a toss up.



  1. In college my roommate had a Pacer (this was in the mid to late 80’s) and when we’d all go out and it was her turn to drive she dreaded it. That’s because we’d all press our faces up to the glass and make fish faces just to annoy her for a while! Good times, good times…

  2. OMG take me back to 1976. My dad bought a red pacer exactly like that one. We called it the “fishbowl” because everyone could see you a mile away. Like Toyota of recent the Pacer was always breaking down & needing servicing. It nickeled & dimed my dad to death!!!

  3. I have to go with the Pontiac. I love classic cars.

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