What was the biggest automotive story during my senior year in high school?
There were plenty – ranging from the economy, immediate frustration with the Reagan Administration to Valley Girls. Los Angeles reveled in the aftermath of Fernando Valenzuela and the 1981 World Champion Dodgers. What made this story special was that it took a stocky left-handed pitcher from rural Mexico to captivate a city with all races coming together at Chavez Ravine.
Let us not forget, this was the Los Angeles that dazzled in the shine of Showtime – the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, one particular story captured the most headlines in the automotive world during the course of 1981-82 school year. When people talked about automobiles, many conversations came up – either positive or dismissive. Yet, you could not ignore it – the commercials were all over and the vehicles were selling. He appeared in a good chunk of his company's spots – with a manifesto on his lips: "If you could find a better car, buy it!"
I am talking about Lee Iacocca and Chrysler's K-Car comeback.
Thirty years ago…a lot happened.
The list can go on forever, but I will concentrate on the most important thing overall: Graduating high school. As I realize today that I am indeed on the latter side of my forties, remembering every moment of that year seems a bit difficult these days.
Thankfully, there's Google. Not for what I exactly did in 1982 – but, rather, the trivial parts of that year.
At the onset of graduation, I ended up the responsibility of car ownership. The 1972 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan of my mother's was in my care. I was free to do what I please with it – replace tires, fuel up daily, baby the car when it overheated…and so forth.
By that time, I truly grasped the idea of the automobile and its inner workings. At least it was getting there. Sports, cars and music filled my time in-between studies and various plots to go somewhere else. Girls? Well…you probably know where that went by now.
As a public service to the Reseda High School Class of 1982, I offer this little glimpse at our senior year through the windshield of the automobile industry.