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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dear Top Gear UK {Part 2}

Dear Top Gear UK,

If you're actually reading this, consider me shocked.  We love your show.  If you missed out on Part 1 of this three-part series of bloggety-goodness, you should check it out here.  As I was saying, The H-G family is one big family of HUGE fans of Top Gear UK.  Though this letter is co-authored (by Maggie H-G and Brad H-G), you should know that I, Maggie, the girl of the H-G family, was inspired to write this series.  Not the dudes of our family, but the girl.  Brad, however, gets the credit for us watching the show (I took some convincing at first).

So, Top Gear UK, if you're reading this, know that you have some American fans across the pond that greatly enjoy your show.  I thought I might introduce the H-G family, by telling you a bit about us (beyond our "about us" typical biography) in terms of some of our vehicular history.  We hope you enjoy it!


This is Maggie's first car:

The Purple Car
(Maggie on the horn, brother Henry
on manual transmission, aka pushing)

Errr, wait.  This is Maggie's first real car, purchased by my mom in 2001 from a friend for $1500:

1984 Volvo 240 DL

The essence of this car can be explained by the hula girl dancer I lovingly placed on the dash, only to watch her age with time.

The Volvo's (Exposed) Hula Girl
No, scissors were not applied to her skirt - the plastic white "grass" slowly disintegrated until a mere breeze through the window would blow pieces of it away.  I couldn't bare the thought of plucking her from her perch, so there she stayed with her exposed spring, always smiling despite her misfortunes.

Other bonus features to this beauty of a car included:
  • Jeep headlight laying sideways in the headlamp case (courtesy of my dad - it was larger than the original Volvo headlight, but was on hand in the garage, so he made it work)
  • Jerry-rigged exhaust system (repaired at a mechanic's shop twice after exhaust would pour in through the backseat)
  • Duct tape upholstery upgrades
  • Yellow electrical wire connectors for pain-free locking and unlocking (to cover the exposed bolts on the door locks that had sheepishly cracked off with use)
  • Two new exterior door handles (two of the original handles snapped off at the base - and you should know, I'm not actually strong enough to rip off a door handle, but now I can say I've done it twice.)
She was a great car, despite the quirks and awkward repairs.  I felt safe (let's face it - she was a TANK), and with a crank-operated sunroof and electric windows, it was ahead of its mid-1980's time.  I even got to watch it turn over some pretty hefty mileage.

I sold it - or rather, my dad sold it for less than the value of the new tires put on it a few months prior to its sale and kept twenty dollars as commission - after another 4,000 miles were added to the odometer, but The Tank and I parted on good terms.


Even at a young age, Brad was a stud on wheels.

Who needs a shirt when you've got a tractor and shades?

Brad's first car was a Bronco uh... Blazer?  Either way, I know for certain it was white.  I'll let him give the overview:

Can't we make a first mistake twice? That's what I remember asking my parents. My older brother somehow managed to convince my parents that an ideal first car for a hormonal 16-year old boy was a Camaro Z28. Makes sense, right? Needless to say, they soon deemed this a "mistake," and declared that I would be unable to have a muscle-car for my first vehicle. I claimed my right to make my own mistakes rather than learn from others, but it was decided I would get something distinctly more practical.

Michigan weather, driving around siblings, hauling around soccer and guitar gear, avoiding a propensity to be driven like a maniac - a small 4WD SUV fit the bill.

1994 Chevy Blazer

Contrary to what Maggie seems to repeat, I did not have a Bronco. This 1994 Chevy Blazer was the treat. Coming in at a cool ten years more modern than Maggie's ride, it had luxury features such as leather seats and a CD player.

Requiring only a new fuel filter (you mean it's not good to let the tank run dry?) and a fair amount of Bondo and Rustoleum, it certainly got me from A to B. Still, it was no Z28.


This is the closest thing Quincy has to a car, besides the small plastic cars and trucks he plays with as toys, as he can actually ride it.

Gifted to Quincy from Grandma G. ("Gigi" to the grandkids), The Wooden Elephant is a pretty slick ride.

It gets great mileage and has low emissions, though the traction in the winter is less than ideal.  Also, safety is an issue as it requires a human safety belt to be worn at all times.


I hope this helps you know a bit more about your American Fan-base here at Life, Hyphenated.  Stay tuned for the third and final episode of the Top Gear UK Appreciation Series!

For all of our (tens of) readers out there: What was your first car?  Share below in the comments!

~M, B & Q

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