These are the first Jalopnik staff cars

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Photo: Lalita Chemello

Wagons were big in my family. I can’t tell you how many fun trips have been made in some sort of station wagon, always with a rear-facing seat. The wagon was also the car we could eat in, so A&W drive-ins were acceptable.

The wagon, pictured above, wasn’t the first car named after me, but it was the car I learned to drive in and drove to all my extracurricular activities that my dad just couldn’t keep up with . I would be the second living being to add a bump to its side, two days after getting my pink slip in Michigan after attempting a turn I was definitely not ready for. The first was a deer that decided to ram him.

Because I was tiny – not even a solid 100 pounds and just over five feet tall when I was allowed in – and the Caprice was so huge, I would have to be parked or stopped to roll down the passenger side window . The method was to lie back in the seat and awkwardly try to roll the window down without needing to unbuckle it. It worked sometimes.

She also had a cassette player, and by the time I got my license in 2004, CDs were all the rage. You better bet I had the cassette adapter so I could use my Sony Walkman, and possibly an iPod, to listen to all my favorite tunes.

The boat was a hit with my friends. It was great for tailgating, bringing your friends over, and carrying all of our band gear to the jazz band festival. We happened to fill up the speedometer on this trip and come across a Corvette.

It was a great car, even with my dad’s practice regiment having me slaloming cones back and forth while practicing various parking maneuvers, because this wagon is not your little Jetta wagon. No, it was the size of a D car.

His legacy ended the weekend before Christmas, while I was shopping for our Christmas party which was later that afternoon. A Chrysler Cirrus was in a Jeep’s blind spot, and when the Jeep passed, I pulled out, and that was the end of the Caprice. However, we had another Caprice, same year, but red in color with automatic windows, which would gain some of its parts before we parted ways.

I often think of her. RIP Big Blue.

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