Tuesday, August 12, 2008

a tribute to my student car

This fine specimen of a motor vehicle was mine for a good three years.

An unfortunate shape, - who thought this would be a good idea? - this 1984 Toyota Corolla Avante, [n] Uh-Von-Tay was the coupé of Corollas back in the 80s. And it’s now clocking in at almost 250 000 kilometres.

This car was designed to be sexy. You laugh; scoff – but somebody up at Toyota HQ thought so.

But do tell me what’s worse – the Corolla with the boot, or the Corolla with the business end?

It’s a tough call.

The ‘Avante’ was named as such, as it was quite clearly and appallingly avante-garde for its time.

For this vehicle has an ass the size of Kim Kardashian’s backside.

'Avante' means 'before.' A better name for this model, arguably, would be 'Aprés' or 'after.' As the derriere of the car certainly leaves a formidable after effect; always guaranteed a strong reaction.

The 80s was an era whereby it was beautiful to be ugly. And this very model was no exception. It was a daringly boundary-pushing quest to create a Toyota with more personality than Missy Elliot’s fanny pack, as I’m sure you would agree.

While most of my mates as students had Conquests and Corsa Lites (and the lucky few, Road Impalas); I got given to me, this piece of vehicular art.

Hell I was chuffed. It was my late grandmothers. A car with more behind than chutzpah. An automatic, so one could drive it after thirty 2-for-one shooters at Conti’s in Claremont, with no logistical footwork or gear-changing needed whatsoever.

Anything that tried to bump or crash into me, sublimed on impact. Turned from a solid to a gas quite instantaneously.

For the Avontay [the pronunciation is very important – it's not avante. It's Uh-Von-Tay...or die] is no ordinary car. Although it surges forward with achingly slow momentum, there is some considerable torque to its 1 600 engine.
It can quite easily crash through a brick wall unblinkingly, resurfacing almost completely unharmed, leaving flattened brick flotsam in its wake.

It's been tried.

For as its backside is large and spacious, its front side knows no boundaries. It’s a formidable machine that just keeps on going and going and going, like Toyota promises, and to everyone’s detriment, mind you.

My old Avontay, in other words, after all this vehicular rhetoric, is actually a fucking Superhero.

It’s been clamped on Upper Campus, its had 9 drunk people stuffed into it before, the ceiling is peeling off, and it got broken into countless times when we lived in digs in Mowbray, so it has seen around 6 radios in its lifetime.
It’s also been hotboxed at Rhodes Memorial, and I believe it’s missing a radiator.

I remember dropping The Dove off before one of our lectures, right next to Jammie Stairs, Cliff Richard blaring, doors open. If you're going to drive this baby, best you put on a Party Face. The girl just about died of embarrassment, refusing to unhide herself from under the dashboard.
She said it wasn’t the Cliff Richard at loud volume; it was my Avontay.

There’s no point selling The Avontay to a new owner. For 1), nobody would buy it. For 2), I might just be one of fifty people who still owns this car. It’s an heirloom. As Limp Bizkit says, it just keeps on rolling, baby. And Superheroes never die. It’s immortal and laughs in the face of age.
It's also useful for when I'm carless in Cape Town, of course.

I’m just pleased I don’t know many people in Cape Town anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t drive tank around with a balaclava over my face.

And my dog can sit in it and mess up the seats. I don't give a shit.

And sure, it’s not exactly aesthetically-pleasing, and it smells like res on a Saturday night. But hell, I love the old Avontay. This car has history, ok.

The lights only work on bright; it chows petrol and surges forward not unlike an army tank.

It’s heavy and the steering is so stiff, no amounts of pilates would ever beat this as an arm work-out. You do cardio just turning a corner. And when one has to do a twenty point turn just to get out of the parking lot, you feel as though you’ve steered a triathlon.

In fact, over the weekend, I had to reverse in the middle of a busy road to take a left turn in order to avoid taking out a postbox on the kerb. It was nice getting home to Ludwig – where I was overcompensating on the power steering.

You have the best ass evah, UhVonTay.
Keep on rolling baby, you know what time it is.

26 comments:

kyknoord said...

Don't forget it has another major advantage: Car voted least likely to be hijacked.

Peas on Toast said...

Kyk - I've never felt so safe in my life. Drive with all the windows open, leave it unlocked when I park, chill at traffic lighst without stressing about being smash and grabbed...

What a pleasure.

MsBehavn said...

Peas, I think that you could only feel safe in that car in Cape Town. Up here in Gauteng, people would be furiously hooting at you and trying to pick you up at traffic lights!

My student car (a red Mini Mk2) was smashed up one horrible rainy day directly in front of Roxy's Rhythm Bar in Melville. They towed my car away and I still had to work my shift. Sad, but true :(

Peas on Toast said...

MsBehavn - A red mini? Oh babe what an amazing little car! Fuckers! And they made you work?

Yeah and the UhVonTay wouldn't survive up here. For one, it doesn't go fast. Anything over 100 km/h leaves it rattling and convulsing uncontrollably, and 2) it would be butted off the road.

Lisa said...

babe, i kow another avontay owner - my dad's 65 year old seka-tary! 9also pronounced just -so!
i think it's a hella hot car myself...and i am, as you know, a lover of all tings vehicular.
you do have this advantage - you could...ahem..get busy in the back eat of that without having to remove soe limbs, unlike my teeny tiny student car...it's somewhat spacious, non?
x
HPF

Peas on Toast said...

Oh my God, of course! I remember you telling me that actually HPF - what a beeeyoot!

Yes, so much space - I remember getting it on in this very car on Upper Campus once. All was going fine until the security bust us with his torch. Killjoy.

;)

Charmskool said...

Ah yes the Avontay - my best friend and my kid brother both bought bronze ones. Ewp...I used to pretend I didn't know them as I hopped into my (then) ultra cool VW Golf with sunroof. Actually yours looks like most Cape Town cars - no one would give it a second glance but now it's a popular car for being stolen - spare parts ya know? Everything keeps goin' rite Toyota!!

Peas on Toast said...

Charm - Oh my God, the bronze ones are the tits! I think bronze was the chosen colour...a nice bronzed ass you know? ;)

The Home Economics teacher at school had one. So very jsoosj really.

And you're right, I don't get stared at as much as I would if I were in Joburg. The UhVonTay stays safely tucked away in Kapenschtadt for a reason I say!

Mini said...

It almost looks like a GHOSTBUSTER vehicle.

"Sumthing strange in the neighbourhood.Who you gonna call? Peasbusters!"

Peas on Toast said...

Mini - hahah. I actually want to get it up here somehow, pick up all my mates who drive Class A cars and head out to the strip in Parkhurst for a night out where everyone they know can see them.

It's just getting it up here. Driving would take weeks and it WILL break down in the middle of the Karoo. Guaranteed.

Mini said...

Screw the mates who drive class A cars.I have them too( some of them given by daddy).Fortunately(Maybe unfortunately) I aint one of them.

Remember one thing, one day I will drive a Ferrari!(with a kleinkop)>And you too if you wana.lol:)

Peas on Toast said...

Mini - yeah I'm not sure if I can class Ludwig (a New Beetle?) as an A Class car myself. Perhaps a B and a Half? Is that allowed? ;)

The Divine Miss M said...

Dude I'm jealous.

Way jealous.

My first car was an old style Mazda 323 called Fredwina.

I love Fredwina.

The parents have kept her too so when I go home on holidays I get to drive her and it is just like old times.

Peas on Toast said...

Miss M - ah yes the classic old 323! My boyfriend had one of them, also just keep going and going!

LOVE the name Fredwina. Now that's a classic!

Revolving Credit said...

All it needs are roofracks with a surfboard attached and you're sorted!

Ches said...

Were the brake-lights always on like that? Or just the one?

The Divine Miss M said...

Did you name your car?

Fredwina is the one and only car I will ever name. She has a special place in my heart!

Peas on Toast said...

Rev - dude, TOTALLY.

Ches - it was parked, but your guess is as good as mine. The lights don't work like..ordinary car lights do.

Miss M - nope, he was just Thee AVonTay. However I had an Uno called Bruno after that, and now mein kleinen liebschen, Ludwig. Ze German Volkswagen.

po said...

My grandparents had 2 mazda 323'S. They ruled. They kept on getting stolen, but my grandfather rigged a secret immobiliser that no one could figure out. Legend.

What I want to know is, who would steal such a car, and why?

Peas on Toast said...

Po - ah the secret immobilisers. The AhVonTay has one too...not to mention a friggen Gorilla Lock.

Oh and its carkey? Works in any other Toyota from the 80s too. Without the secret immobiliser the car would've ended up in Athlone years ago :)

So Mazda 323s were quite the hot car eh?

po said...

Apparently so ;)

My grandparents used to find it abandoned all over Westville after failed removal attempts.

Peas on Toast said...

Po - with parts removed I'm sure!

po said...

Surprisingly not.

They just wanted a sexy car. In beige.

Peas on Toast said...

pO - IN BEIGE. Now that's fuckin' sexy. :) These beiges and bronzes are getting me all..tingly-in-my-loins like :)

Kelly said...

LOL my car has just turned 2 years old.. and has some stories and moments to tell just in two years... your blog is amazing keep it real...

:D

Peas on Toast said...

Hi Kelly! Thanks my dear!

Ah yes, I tend to get attached to cars helluva easily. Two years=tons of stories, agreed! Ludwig I've had for three, and when he has to go, I'll be very sad :(