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Grand Rapids Press Asks “Tell Us About Your First Small Car”

I saw this article in the opinion section of the online Grand Rapids Press/ “Remember your first small car? Tell us why you loved it then and now” And it brought back a flood of memories of MY first small car, which was also my FIRST car…

It was a 1978 Datsun B210. It cost 1500 bucks back in 1986. It was school bus yellow, had no power steering or AC, got 700 miles to the gallon (when gas was 80 cents a gallon…DOH!) and…it…was…AWESOME!

78 Datsun B210/

That car got me everywhere. School, dates and trips up to the “big city” of Grand Rapids for Fred’s Pizza. There was only one time it didn’t start. After sitting in the Wings Stadium parking lot over night in -18 weather. But other than that, it was AWESOME!

My nickname in High School was Gopher. I worked at the Portage Putt-Putt Golf N Games, and when I started, I was a “Gopher”. You know, “go for this” and “go for that” So when I got my car, it was dubbed “The Gophmobile”, and had this stuffed Gopher hanging from the mirror.


When I was getting ready to graduate, my old boss at Putt Putt, Matt Jensen, suggested I write a graduation speech about my old trusted High School friend, My Car. We had open call for grad speeches, and mine was selected (because, there was NO CHANCE I was the Valedictorian!) Highlight of my 4 years at Portage Central.

So there’s my small car memory. My dad got me a 78 Ford Fairmont for a graduation present. It died the next year at school. Saw the old Datsun a year or so later after I got rid of it. Just wonder what became of it.

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