UD Student "Auto" Biography -- Ryan Shepard and his 1989 Toyota Camry

Ryan Shepherd
HST 344
Professor Heitmann
January 25, 20012

Autobiography My First Car
I was born in 1989 and ironically that is the same year my first car, a Toyota Camry was born for the first time. My uncle Bob spotted my car while driving down the road on his way to work. It was the summer of 2005 he’s driven down the same road many times and saw the same old, dull car sitting under a tree covered up by dirt and leaves. One day my uncle asked me to take a ride with him. He drove me down the road and pointed out the old car and asked, what do you think? I really didn’t know what to say. On a whim, my uncle and I drove down the long driveway of the home where the car sat. Honestly, I was feeling a little uneasy about being on a stranger’s property. Anyway, we knocked on the door and after a while, an older man came to door. He looked at us curiously; he probably thought we were trying to sell him a vacuum cleaner or something. My uncle introduced himself and asked him if the car sitting under the tree, at the end of his property belonged to him. He said yes, is there a problem? Uncle Bob told him that he had seen the car there for many years and was just wondering if it might be for sale. Now his look went from curious, to surprised and shocked. Needless to say he said “SURE!” He told us that he had owned the car since it was brand new. He drove it for six years and then passed it on to his son. His son drove it for almost two years until it had engine problems in 1998. The car had not run since that time which meant the car had been sitting under the tree not running for the past eight years.
Uncle Bob being a bit of a “gear head,” asked him some questions about the engine; we then went down to look under the hood. I had no clue what we were looking for but hey, I looked. Uncle Bob saw potential and I saw a car that had no mirrors, busted tail lights, flat tires, and an interior that appeared to be a garbage can for the last eight years and most importantly, didn’t run. The paperwork on the car said that it was black but I couldn’t tell, it just looked like color of dirt. Well as you can guess, my uncle bought the car for $200.00.
From towing the car to eventually getting the car to run it was a learning experience I’ll never forget. For the next year Uncle Bob and I worked on the car together. Working on the car was a labor of love in many ways. Uncle Bob and I got along, but never really had many common interests. The car became something that we both had in common. He loved working on cars and I wanted one to all my own. I learned how to rebuild an engine, work on brakes, replace a fuel pump, change belts, buff, wax and generally rebuild a car. Most of all, I learned how to build and nurture a relationship. We bumped our heads, cut our fingers, and brain stormed together. I learned that everything has potential. I’m still no “gear head,” but when we were finished working on my car, I felt like it was really mine. I’ll never forget the first time the engine turned over and it started. My car was “born again” and the purr of an engine was music to my ears. My car was awesome! No, it wasn’t brand new, but it was to me and that’s all that mattered. Now looking at my car, I saw all the blood sweat and tears that we poured into it. It was like the ugly duckling that turned into a beautiful swan. I loved that car.


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