Todd C. Higdon: My Daytona is out there, somewhere
I am sure that it is out there, but the question remains, where?
Back in 1989, I received every teenager’s dream, my own car. My parents surprised me on my 18th birthday with a 1989 Dodge Daytona.
The surprise went as follows. After my father drove the car to my grandparents, who lived down the street, Dad drove back up to the house in Mom’s vehicle she had carefully placed. Shortly before the party ended, Dad came up with an excuse to go back down to my grandparents’ house to work on something. Within a matter of minutes, and with the rest of my family and friends gathered around the table, Mom handed me a small box. Inside the box, a set of keys. As I raised them, I showed the rest of my family and friends what the final present was. Heading out the door, I almost ran over Pop, my grandfather, explaining to me that there was something outside for me. I believe I even jumped over the chain link fence as I approached it.
And then there it was: A two-door, red exterior and gray interior Daytona, with a hatchback. It was literally a brand new car. Dad and Mom told me when they test-drove it, it only had 12 miles on the odometer.
So I then took it for a test drive, with my brother, Greg, my best friend, Steve Haas, and my high school girlfriend, Patty. To this day, I can still remember the feel, and the smell, of the new car sensation.
The car was for my birthday and also for graduating high school, venturing to Crowder College just a few short months afterward.
I took very good care of the car, including waxing and washing it. And did it last. Now take, for example, the amount of miles I put on it. For my college years, I drove back and forth from Newtonia to either Crowder College or Missouri Southern State University, five days a week. I also would pick up my girlfriend and even go on short trips with family and friends. All in all, in the seven years I had the car, I put on 175,000-plus miles. Not bad for a four-cylinder. On the maintenance side, it was pretty good. I had an extended warranty on it and to my knowledge; I only had to replace a fuel pump and a water pump, one of which was covered under the warranty.
When it was time to sell the car, it brought a tear to my eye. But trying to get a car seat in and out of the back seat was next to impossible. So I sold it in 1996, purchasing a new Grand Am.
Since then, I have told my family if they ever see a car similar to the Daytona, let me know, I might like to purchase it. That dream almost came true. About five years ago, I was traveling on West 7th Street, and noticed a Daytona. It was the same color, same interior, but the only problem was, it was a manual transmission. My Daytona was an automatic.
And if I can’t find the Daytona, then maybe I can find a Matchbox or a Hot Wheels replica or even a plastic model car to build.