Fresh off the boat, arriving in the US in July 2011, relocating my family from the safety of green lush Ireland, to the land of opportunities. Except, the opportunities will not present themselves too much when you do not have a famous credit score.
You can show payslips, bank account statements, utility bills, etc. but that does not mean you can buy anything over here. You need a solid credit score.
We were very lucky that my employer, who requested me to join the team in the US< and who paid for our relocation, gave us 90 days worth of car rental. That certainly made it a little easier to look for cars, although most dealers want cash upfront as we had no credit score.
Damn this credit score – how can you earn or present a credit score, with only 5 days in the country?
During some of our trips around the new neighborhood, I spotted a super cool car. Not just any car, but a classic, and to some even a classic American muscle car. It was love at first sight, and I paid the seller a visit.
He wanted $2K (2000) for this little wonder. I took it for a quick spin around the blocks and felt the power and coolness that suddenly filled my hands and arms. This was a boyhood dream. I could potentially own a piece of American history and an awesome looking muscle car.
In case you are wondering, it was a 1982 El Camino Conquista. It had less than 90K miles on the engine, and the engine was a massive V8 305 c.u. with 145 BHP, with rear-wheel pull. It was a monster on wheels.
Why a monster? Imagine a regular sedan having a baby with a pickup truck. The outcome is an odd-looking sedan with a flatbed instead of the second row of seats. It has little to no weight at the rear, and the V8 can easily shred tires.
So, I bought it and we developed a relationship similar to Christine (the movie), except the car did not suddenly drive off to kill people, and did not miraculously restore itself to its former glory.
It was NOT a family car as it only fitted three people on the bench seat. That did not prevent me from dropping the two older kids at the local school. I emitted more CO2 than all the cars combined when idling at the school drop-off line. It was comical when I was stuck between a Tesla and a Maseratti.
I drove this sucker all over the area, and it was very reliable. No problem starting, except it was very thirsty. It only went 8-10 miles per gallon, and only had a 10-gallon tank, so I became close friends with the local gas station owners, and helped him boost his business.
When on the highway, many people gave me smirks and laughed, until I pressed the accelerator and pulled away with shredding tires – while going 45mph. The El Camino had no problem keeping up with the fancy sports cars.
Many times I would get a police escort going the 3 miles from work to home. The local police explaining that not many people in this neighborhood drove those kinds of cars, so it was suspicious. They would follow me home and pulled away when I parked at the house.
It was not a reliable winter car. I had to load up 200 lbs of sandbags in the pickup bed, making sure there was enough weight on the back tires. If not, it would be doing donuts and skidding all over the road.
I had to sell after five years of great service. We had moved house with a much longer commute, and it was not cost-effective to tank every other day. And, we now live in an area with more snow and mountains, so getting around would require me to bring skies, shovels, and other emergency equipment, just in case I got stuck.
My oldest daughter was very disappoiinted when we parted ways with the Elco. She wanted it as her car for high school, which would have been so awesome.
I miss my old reliable El Camino. Unfortunately, this car is not meant for the North East and easily rust away because of the weather and salt used on the roads. It was in dire need of TLC, and I no longer had the time it disserved.
The El Camino has been in many movies and is an underestimated classic American muscle car. I want to get another one when I get older and then look after it better.