The Story of How I Had My Dream Car… and Lost It a Week Later
I’ve wanted a Honda S2000 for years. I’ve owned an Acura RSX since 2008, and always yearned for what the S2K had to offer. The FR layout, 6-speed transmission, 50/50 weight distribution; a true driver’s car. I don’t make much at my job. With the very little I had after rent, bills, and every once in a while treating the girlfriend, I was able to put a few dollars a month back into my savings. This was my “S2000 Fund.”
A few times a week, I would scour sites like AutoTrader and Craigslist, drooling over pre-owned S2Ks, noticing that as the miles went up and the cars got older, the value didn’t drop much. Yep, these things really hold their value, which was bad for me.
Until a few weeks ago, when I found a listing on Craigslist that spoke to me. A 2003 Berlina Black AP1 S2000 with 111,000 miles, with perfect interior/exterior, good top, new tires, upgraded Honda alarm system, and perfect running engine; for $11,000. I thought to myself: Could this be it? This might actually be obtainable. Sure, it was three hours away- but I didn’t care.
After the lengthy process of switching banks, applying and getting approved for my auto loan, driving six hours to look at the car first-person, making my down payment using the money from my “S2000 Fund,” and making the six-hour drive again to pick the car up, I finally had her. She was all mine!
Because I had managed to save up for a decent down payment, and thanks to my well-tended credit, I had my S2000 and monthly payments I could easily afford. I was going to have the car paid off in under two years. Even better, I told my girlfriend she could sell her time bomb Pontiac Grand Am and drive my RSX. She was ecstatic. She always loved my car, and now it was hers. For that first week she “felt like a boss” driving it to work.
Then, a week after I bought the car, the unthinkable happened.
I had taken my girlfriend to the doctor’s that morning, and we were on the way to the store for breakfast supplies. There’s this sweeping right turn at an intersection. The light forward was green, so I dropped it into second gear and coasted through the turn. About halfway through, I fed the car some gas, and that’s when it happened…
I had failed to notice a build-up of loose dirt/gravel on the edge of the road. When I tried to accelerate out of the turn, my rear tire started to spin, and the rear of the car slid to the left. I instinctively aimed the wheel to the left, pointing the tires in the direction I wanted to go. (This is where my ignorance to real-wheel-drive came into play.) Had I feathered the gas and kept the wheel pointed, I may have been able to save it. I may have run off the road, or even spun out, but that’s it. I let off the gas, and as soon as I did, the rear end swung around, the car found traction and immediately shot in the direction I had pointed… into the oncoming lane.
We slammed head-first into a ’98 Toyota 4Runner. Everyone always says “it happened so fast” and it’s true. One second my tires are screeching, the next I’m horizontal on the road, and then all I see is a blinding white flash, followed by smoke and the sound of two car horns blaring. I asked my girlfriend if she was alright, and all she said was “your car.” I repeated: “ARE YOU OKAY?” and she shook her head yes.
Not sure whether the smoke was from the airbags or the engine, I unbuckled our seat belts as fast as I could and said “Get out, get out. Now.” As we stepped out, the realization of what had happened hit me. The driver of the 4Runner stepped out. I asked if he was OK, and gave me no answer but a dirty look; a look I knowingly deserved.
We stood there in the road while the police did their job, waiting for the tow truck. I held onto my girlfriend, who could only cry into my chest saying “I’m so sorry baby.” “Your car.” “You loved that car.” I felt like crying for the first time in a while. I was in a state of nervousness, shock and disbelief.
The truth is… insurance will probably cover what I owed on the loan and if I’m lucky I’ll break even. But of course my insurance premiums will skyrocket. I had to “take back” my old RSX from my girlfriend, which broke my heart. The $2,000 down payment I spent ages saving is gone. The $750 in taxes is gone, and there’s one less mint S2000 on the road.
If you take anything from this story, let it be this: Always wear your seat belt, even if you’re just going to the store around the corner. Pay attention to the road conditions, no matter how nice of a day it may be, and know the limits of your car, no matter how good a driver you think you are.
What I feel now is a mix of shame and embarrassment for not being able to control my vehicle, regret at even going through all that work for nothing, and guilt for destroying a car that a lot of people would love to have owned; and I’m sorry.