First Car / Best Car - The Angry Carrot | Varyer

The Angry Carrot

My high school BFF Alaina, however, could afford a vintage Volkswagen—a Beetle, to be exact. I internalized my envy and hubris knowing it was a very “mainstream” model, which was the worst thing you could be in 2000 (when levels of quirk were on Bjork or GTFO).

When I was 16 I wanted a vintage Volkswagen so badly. Specifically, a Karmann Ghia. I lived in Arizona, so that sort of thing was unusually accessible if I could save the meager $2,500 or so from my part-time job at Schlotzky’s Deli. I could not.

My high school BFF Alaina, however, could afford a vintage Volkswagen—a Beetle, to be exact. I internalized my envy and hubris knowing it was a very “mainstream” model, which was the worst thing you could be in 2000 (when levels of quirk were on Bjork or GTFO).

What I could manage was about 500 bucks and a few hours spent trawling phoenix.craigslist.org.

Cars were an extension of the self back then, less of the practical, utilitarian vehicles that now carry us to our obligations and leisure with zero pretense. The market was abundant, but the funds were low and the stakes were high. Half of the students in my high school drove every day, so I had to stand out in the sea of Neons, Jettas, and Eclipses.

the funds were low and the stakes were high 🏁  the funds were low and the stakes were high 🏁 

If you're familiar with The Paradox of Choice, you're realizing I was probably (foolishly) happier then.

Back in those days I was a satisficer, not a maximizer, mostly because I was willing to take whatever I could get. So when I came across the listing for a Pontiac T1000 hatchback, used as an "art car in a vegan parade"—I knew I had found The One. In case the model doesn't ring a bell, basically, it was the poor man's Chevette. By the time I had lucked into the one I had found, it had been out of production for nearly fifteen years.

If you're familiar with The Paradox of Choice, you're realizing I was probably (foolishly) happier then.

Photo GM Authority

The listing described a daily beater that was in the kind of condition you'd expect for a car of that age that had been owned by two twenty-somethings. It then went on to describe what an incredible opportunity it'd be to own a real art car, used in a vegan parade in Flagstaff.

Sold. Done—had me at "art car."

I called the couple and asked to come see it, and boy, was it a piece of shit LOL.

Red and white American-flag stripes had been painted along the sides in house paint. The hood was the stanza, though I'm sure there weren't fifty stars on it. The blue of the stanza continued to the roof, where there was a giant white peace sign.

You might be asking yourself, "What does this have to do with a vegan parade?"

Well, each door had a cartoon carrot painted on it . . . but it was an angry one, with fangs and a very upsetting face. And on the back, above the license plate, were the words "THE ANGRY CARROT." So, that answers that.

Thanks to its hideous state and the slew of traditional old-car-problems it had (like the doors that had been replaced with doors from a car with a red interior, even though this one had a blue interior), I talked them down from $650 to $500, knowing this wreck would make me seem super quirky and interesting.

And it did—it also broke down often and got egged a lot. Its final resting place was a Taco Bell parking lot on Baseline Rd. after the hanger I had been using to keep the alternator from falling into the fan finally gave out.

RIP, Angry Carrot, you were the best.