May Sheila Rest In Peace. This is the last known picture of one of our beloved Datsun 210’s. Yes, you heard me correct….ONE of our Datsun 210’s. Our family had the fortune of owning two of them, at the same time. Because Adam, Shannon, and I were all in high school and driving at the same time, my parents honored us with both cars. Between the three of us, we still had to share, but hey, we took what we could get. Sharing two cars was definitely better than just having one.
I totally agree with my parents’ decision of giving us pieces-of-junk to drive. (Not that they drove anything nicer) As you can tell from the picture above, these cars took a good beating. (I don’t know why any parent would give their amateur driving child a new car.) For the life of me, I cannot recall how we even knew the difference between the two cars; they were like identical twins. They were the same make and model, the same exterior color, the same interior color, and the same piece of junk. In the beginning, I guess the only way we knew the difference was by the liscence plate. However, after breaking the cars in, it must have been much easier to tell the difference. I personally crashed one of the cars. After my fender bender, we always knew the difference. No one wanted to drive the Datsun without the grill.
The Datsun that I crashed never got her grill back. The only reason that I know that I didn’t crash Sheila is from the picture above (notice Sheila still has her front grill). The Datsun I crashed was never forunate to have a name, like Shiela. Adam named Sheila years after we were in high school. He bought her from my parents for $2. Sheila was a great car. I can remember taking her on a trip from Provo, Utah to Carlsbad, California and back (aproximately 1200 miles round trip). Sheila had no heater, and the weather was below zero in Utah. We almost froze to death, all cuddled up under quilts. We were like Mormon pioneers. We were so happy when we reached Happy Valley (Las Vegas) where it finally started to warm up.
Another side note about Sheila is that she had no defrosting component. So, not only did we freeze to death when driving in her, we also, had a special way of clearing the windows for driving vision. Adam kept a towel and a credit card in the front seat of the car at all times. He would stop every ten miles or so and perform the ritual of scraping the left side of the window down and then wiping it thoroughly. On this one particular long trip, it became the shotgun passenger’s responsibility. This way we wouldn’t have to stop. It becasme a real talent to scrape the window without obstructing the driver’s vision.
The other Datsun with no name, never took any long distance trips that I can think of. Although, I am sure that the car was involved with many other fun times: Like the time we stole 12 pairs of shoes from the bowling alley, only to have my dad find them in the back of the car the next day. We had to drive back to the bowling alley after church and give them back with an apology.
The most memorable time that I spent with the Datsun-with-no-name was when I was a Senior in High School. I had this boyfriend, Matt Jewell. He was a freshman, and I sure did take a lot of slack for dating him, but I was very immature for my age and he was so FINE! One night, Matt and I were driving down the coast. Of course, I was driving, since he was only 15. (Hey, I was barely 17)
So, we’ve already established that the Datsun was a piece of junk. It had a tail light out and the registration wasn’t up to date. The one other fun thing about the car is that it had wires hanging down from the steering wheel. Someone had broken the key off in the ignition and my dad solved the problem by showing us each how to start the car by hotwiring it. Well, it was all fun and games to us and our friends. But, on this particular night, when I was trying to impress my goodlooking boyfriend, my car was not a reason to be proud. When the policeman pulled me over for a fix-it ticket and a registration warning, I could have died on the spot. The worst part of all was when he asked me about the wires. I must have looked like a deer caught in the headlights while trying to explain to him that we really did own the car.
I don’t know what happened to the Datsun-with-no-name, but it assuredly sat out in front of our house in a non-working state for at least a year. Sheila finally met her demise when Adam left her on the side of the road. She just gave up her will to live and my brother was too poor to do anything about it. Eventually, the city compounded her. She was probably so relieved to sit in a junkyard. Hey, a junkyard is Disneyland to a car that spent the last leg of its life being driven by us. And, at least Sheila could go out in glory instead of collecting dust in our yard like her identical twin with no name.