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April COTM

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April COTM
Chris Lucy
DTMAce’ 1994 Bright Aqua Metallic Beretta Z26

It’s a funny, if not lengthy story I suppose.  I own a Beretta Z26.
Let’s go back to 1994.  Pretty fresh out of ITT Tech.  Was working for this place making bombs.  No, seriously.  Government contractor, they made parts for bombs, detonators, you name it.

That April 1st was the day that started my quest.  You see I used to own a 1989 Cavalier RS.  It had aftermarket rims, headlight covers, 4 doors (ugh) and a 2.0 auto (bigger ugh).  But it was dependable.  3 more months and it was all mine.  It did look really nice though.  Had black interior, bright red.  I took care of it.
So my boss comes to me that afternoon, and tells me that my car got hit out on the street.  I started to laugh.  “Ok, you couldn’t come up with something better?”  So I played along.  Or so I thought.

It was completely totaled.   Long story, but a 70 something Monte Carlo slammed into the back of it.  I know this because the grill was laying there but there was no car.  LOL

The very next day, I started looking at cars.  I looked at the new Z24’s.  And threw up a little.  For a little bit I contemplated a V6 Camaro convertible!  It was nice, but it was a plain, underpowered car.  Then I saw it.
Two of them!  A gorgeous Dark Rose Metallic and the Bright Aqua Metallic Z26.  They had no bases on the lot, just those 2 cars.  They had only arrived that week!  I had never seen a Z26, but I knew what the Beretta was, having seen them before.  It got me thinking though.

You see I was considering a Z24, because I have had a couple of Cavaliers and drove a few of them too.  But I wanted a V6 and manual transmission.  Sadly, the new Cavaliers didn’t have a V6/stick anymore.  And the Beretta’s didn’t either, but being new and a Z26 which no one had seen, I figured why not?  lol
So I took the Aqua for a test drive.  Fell in love with this car immediately.  It had power, it felt solid, it handled SO good down the road. I was really impressed.  I got back to the dealership, plunked down couple hundred and said “I’ll be back tomorrow to get it, once I deal with the bank.  Don’t let it go out again till then.”  It had like 6 or 7 miles on it, and after my test drive it had 26 miles!   $17,200 dollars later, it was mine.

I have always enjoyed driving this car.  And drove it I did.  The 36k warranty was dead in about a year and a half.  Once it ended, I switched to synthetic oil, since at that time, GM did not warrant your engine if you used synthetics.  LOL

It has had its share of small benders.  First one was one of the worst.  Rear ended less than a month after I bought it, on the way to the same job that the last car was totaled in.  Sucked, but it got fixed! $4700 dollars’ worth of damage later.

I tore the original front bumper up on a raccoon.  Ripped the thing completely to hell.  That got replaced.  My fault for hitting him at nearly 75 though.
I had a bad habit of using a heavy foot with this car.  It was so easy to go fast in it!  I remember doing many STUPID things, have gotten a couple of tickets because I didn’t notice how fast I was going, stuff like that.  Loved to take it on crazy sharp hairpin turns, and really windy roads at faster-than-I-should-have-been-going speeds, you name it.

Next thing I knew, it was getting old.  Starting to develop problems.  Engine light (later to be found the EGR).  Small stuff.  Radiator, alternator, power steering rack.  I kept fixing things though.

Suddenly it had 200 thousand miles!  This was back around 2001 or so.  Yeah.  The car wasn’t even 10 years old, and already had over 200 thousand miles.  At this point, mileage slowed down on the car.  I was trying to save what was left.  But I still kept driving it.
Let’s go to 2004.

I moved to Michigan.  Drove the car up here, complete with a jingling A/C bearing.  Wow, was that noisy.  Ended up seizing that in the middle of the winter, had to tow the car home and replace the bearing.  After summer in 2005…   She sat.  And sat.  Mostly outside.  It was a sad time.  You see, I had just started a new computer shop, money was REALLY tight, so I didn’t have a lot to spare for things like two cars, parts, etc.  She needed new tires, and some other stuff.  That next fall of 2006, it finally got put into a storage barn.  I drove it there, disconnected and removed the battery, put a car cover over it, and left it there for 2 and a half years!
2008.  That summer was a good summer.  Decided I would go out and see if I could get it started and bring her home to work on it.  Took a tank of air, and a battery with me.  Aired up a couple of the tires that had gone flat, hooked the battery up.  It cranked like twice as long as it would normally and fired right over.  Yep.  After sitting for over 2 years in that barn, it ran like I parked it there not that long ago.

So took it home, cleaned her up.  Put new tires on it later that week.  Had 210k on it at this point.  Drove her for 3 months!  Then hit a deer while on the interstate at 70.  She was totaled.

I was devastated.  I thought it was done, and I would have to get it scrapped for sure.  But no!  You see my father worked as an auto repair mechanic.  He did frame, body, painting, etc.  Not much he didn’t do probably.  Well, he gets the bright idea to help me rebuild the car.  So, I agreed and started my search.  It led me to not one, but two Beretta websites!  Bnet and Bstuff.  Most of you know the rest, as my tale is quite winded in the forums.  Lol
So, we fixed it, repainted the entire car, and I tweaked its look a bit.  Deleted the side body moldings, converted the lights to LEDs, etc.  And drove it another 3 years.  Over 240k on the clock now.  Been to two Beretta events.  Has been an inspiration to some of you even.

Sadly, 2013 will be its final year.  Due to a multitude of issues, I will no longer be driving this car.  I used it up, got lots and lots of good times out of it.  But with the engine worn out, the transmission worn out, the lower floor pan mostly rotten, and the electrical issues, it’s hard to justify doing anything else to this car.  I have saved it more than once already.  It has served me well, and will always be my favorite car.  It will be immortalized here for as long as we have a community of Beretta enthusiasts as well, and you can’t ask for better than that.

Those that want to see more, visit the thread linked in my signature.
94′ Z26 Project95′ Base ProjectCustom LED Light Conversions!
Chosen Proposal Submission & Committee Member for Beretta Fest 2012 in Traverse City Michigan
Thanks for your time!