Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Humans of Downey - Efren


"My first car was a '65 Ford Mustang. I bought it in 1985. I was struggling back then. Our family was very poor back in Mexico. We barely had enough to keep ourselves fed. I had to find a lot of ways to earn money. I made things and sold them. I worked on other people's cars. I sold my bikes. I worked on people's yards. I took care of their dogs. All to get enough to buy my dream car. Also, I spent money only on absolute necessities like food. I wouldn't even buy myself a pair of shoes. That car cost me 30,000 pesos, which back then was about $1,500. The owner let me pay it off in 10 payments.

"The car was running, but very badly. The engine was very bad. It was putting out lots of black smoke and the transmission was slipping all the time. The paint was so-so, but it needed tires. But in my head I had a vision of how beautiful that car could look. So, the first thing I did was to pull the engine and transmission out because my father in Mexico was a mechanic. That was an advantage for me. After I pulled the engine and transmission, I sanded the paint off. It had ten layers of different colored paints: orange, yellow, white, green. All kinds, it was like a rainbow. Once I got it down to just metal, I painted it black cherry. That color lasted 15 years. The first girl I gave a ride in my new car is now my wife.

"Later, I moved to the United States, but I left the Mustang in Mexico. I missed it. I would say, 'I want my car back, I want it back.' The reason I wanted it back though was that I was going to give it to my oldest son. But in the beginning of his driving years, he didn't like the Mustang. He was more into the smaller Japanese cars. When his friends from high school came over, they would see the car in the garage and ask, 'Hey, whose car is that?' and he would answer, 'Oh, that's mine.' And then they would say, 'What are you doing with this little Toyota when you have this classic Mustang? Nobody has a car like that.' And he would say, 'Na, I don't like it.' Then about two years ago, I told him that if he didn't want the car I was going to sell it. I didn't want it in the garage anymore since no one was using it. It had a new engine, new tires. All it needed was a new paint job. Then one day he comes to me and says, 'Hey dad, I want to talk to you.' I thought it was about grades or girls. He said, 'You know what, I want my car.' I told him it wasn't his car anymore since he told me he didn't want it. 'No, no, I changed my mind. I've even saved my money to send it to get a paint job.' Now it's his.

"I have a great many memories in that car and now it's going to stay in the family."
~ Efren

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