My Car History: Reilly Brennan

By Seyth Miersma

May 17, 2011


1986 Toyota Corolla LE: Bought off an exec at Federal Mogul for all $2000 that I had saved since my first holy communion.


1987 Volkswagen Jetta GL: White with black houndstooth interior and black plastic moldings. I modded it a bit with some Neuspeed parts and a Techtonics exhaust. My favorite car.


1981 Volkswagen Rabbit diesel: Bought for a few hundred dollars and stored in my friend Andy's mom's garage. It never ran. We drank beers in it and pretended we were on a rally somewhere.


1986 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce: Bought in Florida from a retiree with a vanity plate on it. My dad and I flew down to Palm Beach with $6000 in cash in my underwear. Trouble free (honest).


1986 Volvo 240 wagon (245): Silver, manual, blue vinyl seats. Incredibly solid—like you read about. I miss this car. During a photoshoot before I sold it to my friends, I had a dozen skateboarders in Ann Arbor olly on, over, and off of it, terribly damaging its bodywork.


1977 Ford F100: Bottle green, rusty, barely ran. Bought for $500 and kept in my friends’ backyard along with #7-9.


1977 Honda Civic CVCC: White, adorable, reliable, and I’m really glad I owned it. (1974 Model shown here.)


1986 Chrysler New Yorker: Purchased from an Ann Arbor lesbian (the best kind) and never ran. Sat in the street until it was towed. No idea why I bought it. (1988 model shown—yes we know it has different headlights.)


1986 Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport: Bought for $500 and run hard for about six months. One day Seyth (yes, Winding Road editor) and I were trying to drive it fast in reverse and I lost control and hit a tree. It caught on fire, the cops came, and I paid a towing bill higher than the price of the car.


1989 Range Rover County SWB: Bought in Vermont on eBay Motors and driven back to Michigan in the worst snowstorm of 2001. Engine was trouble free and I loved the brown/brown/brown colorway. Lots of broken interior bits and pieces, though, and had an interior fire (!) before I bought it for $2000.


1995 Nissan Pathfinder: I finally bought a car built in the 90s. 4000 bucks, crimson red, reliable, and one of my favorite SUVs of all time. Still miss this thing.


2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee: First year of the WK. I had been a GC fan boy for so long and this was the first new car I ever bought. Leased it for $249 per month because my friend worked at Chrysler. 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee: The same exact car, just black. Love this era of GC despite the fact that nobody else seemed to think highly of it.


2009 Subaru Forester: Really my wife’s car. White, relatively boring, but I still liked something about it. I wouldn’t buy another from this generation, though. At least it had an automatic and not the CVT.


2009 Honda Fit Sport: Now that we're in San Francisco, the allure of 40 mpg on regular gas and a small parking footprint was too hard to resist. I went for my favorite small car from the brand that I feel makes the best small cars.

1986 1987 1981 1986 1986 1977 1977 1986 1986 1989 1995 2005 2009 2009

In addition to being the former Editor of Winding Road, Reilly Brennan is the Co-Founder of upcoming automotive hotspot, Carmagnum. (Expect to see a fully functional Carmagnum site in the near future.) Brennan also happens to be the owner of a deep and interesting personal car history—making him the perfect subject for the next installment in our series.

Though new (or new-ish) vehicles have colored Reilly’s recent years, the first dozen cars on the list show little pattern save an abiding love of any four-wheeled conveyance. 1980’s Euro-classics mix with $500 hilarious heaps in a history that might look familiar to any of us who’ve purchased cars just to screw around with them. For the record, we love brown Range Rovers, too. 

Have a look at Reilly’s list above, and make sure to click through to see earlier installments of My Car History.

+ My Car History: John Voelcker
+ My Car History: Aaron Bragman