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Purple People Eater


Saturday was my 35th birthday, and I inevitably end up spending most birthdays reminiscing about days gone. Almost 20 years ago, my parents bought me my first car - a 1996 Ford Taurus LX. It technically wasn’t my first vehicle; that was the family's ‘89 Silverado diesel which I have mentioned previously. But the Taurus was a legend.

As with most people’s first cars, the Purple People Eater (our name for the hideous gunmetal-meets-grape color) had a storied history. It goes without saying that a Ford Taurus was not the epitome of cool at a high school packed with sports cars, import tuners, and lifted off-road beasts. In fact, it was the epitome of mundane, and I did everything I could think of to improve its street cred. I added fog lights to the front fascia that shorted out after a month of use. I installed a pair of 10-inch subwoofers in the trunk but never had a proper amplifier to actually hook them up. I installed a spoiler on the rear deck lid to try and eliminate that sad bubble-butt from the mid-‘90s. I even went so far as to tell people it was really an SHO sleeper with an LX badge. To my friends and peers, the Taurus was basically a minivan without sliding doors.

It sounds like I hated the car, or that I was spoiled and ungrateful, but believe me, that wasn’t the case. Pedestrian as it may have been, the People Eater saw its fair share of drag races. There is only so much an underpowered 3.0 liter V6 can accomplish, and only so much that a ‘96 Ford could withstand. If it weren’t for the Taurus and my need for speed, I never would have learned how to replace an alternator or a distributor cap, change oil and brakes, install a wiring harness, solder, or weld. Let’s be honest - people say that Ford stands for “Found On Road Dead” for a reason. The car was a turd, but it was mine, and I got 10 years of live and headaches out of it before it was totaled by an equally ratchet Isuzu Trooper.

The Taurus got me through high school and college. I drove it on my first real date. I escaped the cops, slept in it, drove it on countless road trips, hauled band equipment, and had countless other memories and adventures. Like my new friend with the Porsche 914 said, it isn’t always the coolest car, or the fastest, but the it’s the car that gets you into cars. That car opened a whole new world to me, and for that, I will always be grateful.

-Trey Fennell

  Coco #53 Black & Grey

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