My first car was a 1976 Ford Granada which was the color of rust and gray primer paint. It's two door body was practically made of rust, compound putty and wood filler. I bought the car, a month before I turned eighteen, for 300 bucks. The lady who sold it to me told me it needed some work. I made sure I had some extra money to pay for a paint job but I knew I would need to do the sanding and repairing myself.
The first repairs I made to the body were to ensure it would pass state inspection. I patched all the holes in the driver side floor and made sure that the roof stopped leaking. I tore out the largest areas of rust on the exterior and filled them with mesh wire and putty and Spackle. I covered the front of the car in a coat of gray primer. As a joke, but also because I knew I was going to do more work on the car, I spray painted black bats on the doors to give it the Bat-mobile feel.
I drove the "Bat-mobile" around for a little while, fully intending to finish the work on the car, until I was in an accident. While cruising down Route 309 another car clipped my front bumper on the passenger side. There was no real damage except that my bumper stuck out about a foot and half on the driver's side. I knew the car would not pass inspection with the bumper jutting out so I stopped working on the car.
One day my dad asked why I stopped the work and I told him about the bumper. He laughed and told me to pull the car into the driveway, angle across the front yard and back up so that my car was perpendicular to the driveway with the drivers side facing the street. My dad then got into his station wagon, backed up the neighbor's driveway across the street, looked both ways and then gunned it. He crashed his car into my car. Right on the bumper, pushing it back about 18 inches and almost perfectly into place. I drove the Bat-mobile around for the rest of the summer, knowing I would complete the paint job before I drove it to the community college in the fall.
A couple of weeks later my passenger side window shattered. I stopped working on the body of the car because I needed to save up and buy a new window and window motor. I used a trash bag for a window for the rest of the fall and most of the winter. Most people at the community college ended up knowing me from my one window Bat-mobile. I was the kid who marched to the beat of his own drummer and people could not help but be curious. Soon I was more social than studious and I did not do well at school.
I decided I would have to get a job and I applied for a position at Prudential. I told myself if I got the job I would get my car painted. If I was going to be working in an office and acting professional I would have to get my car to look professional. I got the job. I drove the Bat-mobile to work everyday. I replaced the window with money from my first paycheck. People who pulled into the parking lot at the same time I did every day, recognized me as the kid with the Bat-mobile and they would call me Batman. They were curious and would ask questions. Most people appreciated that I was a different and that I "would actually drive around in a car like that". I liked the attention I was getting. People knew who I was.
I was doing really well in my position at Prudential and the department manager seemed to like me and was putting me on the fast track for promotions. One of the reasons he liked me was due to the fact that many people throughout the building were familiar with me. He could not quite put his finger on it but he liked my "networking". He liked that I "thought outside of the box". He did not realize that I did not network, people just talked about me and the car and when they could they would ask me about it. I did not think outside the box, I just did not care what others thought of me.
The department manager caught wind of the Bat-mobile and called me into his office in May of 89. He explained that although it did not matter to him what kind of car I drove, if I were to move up in the company I may have to travel and he asked me what type of impression would my car leave on clients. My answer was that I would introduce myself to clients as Bruce Wayne and I would tell them that I fight crime at night. He did not seem to get my joke and I then told him I planned on changing the car in the next month or so.
June of 89 Tim Burton's Batman hit the theaters. It was wildly successful. It was now cool to like Batman. In one weekend my car went from being a cool, hip, conversation piece to being a fad. In one weekend I went from being a free thinking, different, quirky, cool dude to a trend follower who was a little too infatuated with a movie. People stopped asking questions. They stopped looking at me like I was cool and started to look at me like I was weird.
I drove the Bat-mobile for a few more weeks when the engine seized. I don't think the car could handle that it was no longer cool.