Getting a car when you’re a teenager is a pretty common rite of passage. And when James Van Der Beek was 17, his car certainly had him standing out from the crowd — thanks to its very poor condition.
“With the money I had made doing theater, I purchased, for $800, a 1986, candy-apple-red Hyundai Excel,” the former “Dawson’s Creek” star recalls on this week’s episode of “When I Was 17,” which also features “Jersey Shore” star Snooki and N.E.R.D. frontman Pharrell Williams. Van Der Beek added that the car had “lots of miles on it.”
In the beat-up car, Van Der Beek definitely wasn’t earning any points with the ladies. “The car was basically a prophylactic on wheels,” he laughed. “We called it the stud mobile, because to ever get any action in that car, you had to have game like nobody’s business.”
While the car had quite a few flaws, one of its negatives turned into a positive. “It had its own anti-theft device, which was that in order to start it, you had to pump the gas vigorously and do that at least three times,” he explained. “When I would turn corners, I would put my foot on the clutch, and if I didn’t rev the gas … it would stall.”
Eventually, Van Der Beek had to say goodbye to his beloved Excel. “The car died a slow death,” he said. “And then, at one point, it got loud [and died].”
“When I Was 17″ — this week featuring Van Der Beek, Snooki and Pharrell Williams — airs Saturday at 11 a.m. on MTV.