Staff Member: Rob Kenner

"I bought the Gran Torino Elite from an ad in the Baltimore Sun the summer before I went to Chicago for my second year of college. I was going to be living off campus and I needed a ride to get back and forth. It was all very sensible, I assured my parents.

"I paid $700 for it and then spent another $1,500 at the shop to make it drivable. It had a bad habit of dying for no reason in the middle of the Dan Ryan, one of the most dangerous highways in the world, and the only way to get it to started again was be to stomp on the accelerator while piloting this hunk of Detroit iron (with no power steering after the engine died) toward the breakdown lane. If the stomping worked, the engine would roar back to life with a loud backfire. If not, you were fucked. This car burned so much oil I had to keep a case in the trunk. I knew it was time to put more oil in when the exhaust was no longer blue. But I loved the car, especially the sound system and the fly-ass white seats and the opera windows in back."