My First Car: 1991 GMC Jimmy


There are no surviving photos of Nichole's 1991 Jimmy, but this is close (

There are no surviving photos of Nichole’s 1991 Jimmy, but this is close (

My first car was a 1991 GMC Jimmy. It was black, faded, and old. This truck came into my life as I received my learner’s permit in 2001. The truck had been my mother’s, but as she’d upgraded recently to a Ford Explorer she’d bestowed the beater upon me. (It was probably for the best, as I wasn’t exactly the best driver to start out.)

Living in the mountains of New Hampshire, I had a time of it learning how to drive stick shift. My mother had insisted I learn how to drive both a manual and automatic transmission. I remember stalling the Jimmy out more than once on a rather steep slope — this, as I tried to switch between reverse and first gear while my mother freaked out in the passenger seat watching a car come up on us from behind. Eventually I picked up on it, managed to receive my license and was let loose on the roads. While I did my share of almost killing many transmissions, I’m thankful now, 12 years later, that she pushed me to learn how to operate both. It’s surprising to me how many people balk at driving a vehicle with a manual transmission. Let them get stuck in the snow, then!

Anyway, the cool thing about having a rather uncool large vehicle is that, even if it’s not the classiest ride around, you can still fit all your friends into it for trips to Dunkin Donuts… or the beach… or to the local supermarket to do donuts in the parking lot after closing time. The uncool thing about having a rather large vehicle as a teenager is that you’re then summoned to do more chores. Trips to the grocery store, the dump, collecting hay, feed store, the works. Still, no matter what I was doing, it was fun to tune the radio to the local modern rock station, turn it up loud, put the windows down, and scoot around town (while being sure to avoid moose and deer, of course).

Gas back when I had the Jimmy was still under one dollar. What I wouldn’t give to have the luxury of filling up for fifteen bucks. Even if all the cash you had was what you could find in the couch cushions and your friend’s piggy bank, you could still throw five or six gallons in and get around for a few days.

I don’t remember exactly how the Jimmy met its demise, but I do remember the car I finished out high school with was my lovely 1989 grey Saab 900 Turbo. Still, for the few years I had the Jimmy, it was a loyal taker-of-beatings and tolerator-of-frost-heaves-at-high-speeds. Thank you, Jimmy, whatever’s left of you.