In 1971, General Motors introduced the Chevrolet Vega.

In 1972, my father purchased a used one to drive back and forth to work. He should have asked why the original owner was getting rid of it so soon...

In 1975, he had to rebuild the engine (for the first time).

In 1978, I got my drivers license. Less than six months later, Dad and I were hit by a drunk driver in the Vega, which spun out and flipped up on its side in the ditch. Dad broke out a window so we could get out. He pushed the car back on its wheels, and after the police finished their business, we drove it home, where it sat forlornly for months. Dad finally had it repaired in the Auto Shop at the VocEd school where he was Vice Principal.

In 1979, we moved to Inman, SC and I was given the Vega for my first car. It burned one gallon of oil every two weeks by this point. I used this to my advantage, as a full-throttle exit left a rolling, greasy smoke cloud behind me - handy for winning those drag races home from high school, providing I managed to leave first.

Over Christmas break, 1979, I did my first solo engine-swap, and put the engine from our second Vega (which had been in separate accident) into my car. This engine had the magical "steel cylinder sleeves," which pretty much fixed the oil burning problem and made the Vega engine a right decent little powerplant.