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98 BMW M Roadster (II)
98 BMW M Roadster (I)
98 Infinity I30t
88 Toyota MR2-S
86 Toyota MR2
81 Toyota Celica
79 Datsun, (II)
79 Datsun,(I)
The Beginnings

July 29, 2006

1998, My First Brand-new Car: 1998 Infiniti I30t

This is a story that in many ways should not have happened. Even today I still don't know exactly how I ended buying this car that was beyond me in many respects.

With $5000 in cash from the sale of my MR2, I originally had my sights set on an economy car, like a used Honda Civic Hatchback or even a CRX. But things would take a turn for the worse

In Honduras I always had expert counseling available in the form of a friend working as a mechanic, who inspected my prospective used-car purchases before I took the plunge. While no foolproof guarantee, I felt confident enough. Being new in a country, I relied on the only people I knew as to how to proceed. Unfortunately they were in the habit of buying new. Left to my own devices and receiving only negative input regarding the dangers of buying used (which reinforced the apprehensions I already had), I convinced myself that I needed I brand new car and that was the beginning of my troubles.

Now, I needed financing; something very difficult to obtain for a newcomer. Here in the US I had no credit history. I tried in vain to get financing even for a car whose price would have made my 5,000 cash reserve a sizeable down payment. My new boss recommended me with a friend of his who owned a dealership. You guessed it right, an Infiniti dealership. I did not like these cars on the account that all their models portrayed the image of a married old guy and I wanted a speed-lover bachelor's car. Finally, when my personal efforts to obtain credit for a mid 10K car failed, I decided that the Infiniti did not looked that bad after all. In Spanish we had a say: "No tener otro palo en que ahorcarse". Nobody would give me credit except them. As a matter of fact, Infiniti Financial Services did not approve me a loan; the dealer enrolled me in a credit union that did it. And this is how I ended with a car that was the complete opposite of what my tastes are.

Now, I don't want to give you the impression that I hated the car. I liked the luxurious interior, the chrome appointments on the exterior, the sound system and its 5 spoke wheels. I tried to get the sportiest feel possible and that is why I choose the touring model. In other words, since my lack of credit tied me to choose among the selections of that dealership I tried to make the best possible election. Of course, it was one of my greatest mistakes I ever made... Financially that is. My 5,000 cash reserve was consumed almost in its entirety by taxes and fees, I ended with 60 months of very high car payments, an exorbitant insurance premium and, to make matters worse, I was not even driving the car of my dreams.

However it was a whole new experience for me: A brand-new car. I got to choose the color, optional equipment (very little since the touring model included almost everything), and that particular odor that emanates from the leather. During the break-in period a tried to be very gentle. Once I gave it its first routine maintenance I started to push the envelope. I quickly learned that a 190 HP V6 could be at a disadvantage to a 145 HP I-4 Supercharged unit. Horse power alone does not tell the whole story. And you should forget about cornering. I mean, not the levels that you would normally get from a sports car.

The experiences I had on this car were nothing of the sort of adrenaline rushing acceleration or heart pumping windy road driving, but ones of touring. I traveled the state, from Los Angeles to Lake Tahoe. I made frequent trips to Santa Cruz and Monterey. Although the car was not a sports one, I did enjoyed high speed rushes whenever it was safe to do it. US highways offer more opportunity for sustained high speeds and I took advantage of it as I saw it fit. However I never surpassed the 125mph record I established in Honduras.

Infiniti knows how to build reliable cars. I never had to make anything other than regular maintenance. All performed at the dealer, of course. To sum it all, I enjoyed the car for what it was: A wonderful and luxurious commuter.

My automotive life sprung back to life one day of November of 2001, when I traded the commuter for the racer...

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