The age of sixteen is a rite of passage for most Americans. It is the age that you can finally obtain your drivers license. The type of vehicle that you wind up driving can be a large source of angst for those out for the approval of their fellow students, virtually every high schooler in existence, as everybody is out to get the faster and snazziest car.
My first car was a hated thing. It was a 1983 Volkwagon Jetta that was the color of pumpkin. There was something wrong with the engine frame that caused the car to shake rattle and roll better than Elvis did. The defrost function didn’t work and on cold winter days I would drive the ridiculously short block to my school (because cool people didn’t walk) with my window open and my head stuck out the side so I could see where I was going.
I was quick to beg my dad to let me look at a different vehicle and soon I was shopping around for another Volkswagon- a Bug is what I wanted. Eventually I found a 1973 Super Beetle and I loved that car to death, despite her many many issues. Those issues included a leaky sun roof and a hole (caused by rust) in the floor of the back, carefully hidden beneath the floor mat.
This bug got me through high school and my first year of college. She was faithful to me despite one horribly embarassing accident (that my parents still give me grief about) and I loved her despite her lackluster effort at climbing hills. She earned the nickname of The Little Bugga That Could. I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…
I didn’t really have intentions of giving up Little Bugga, but my dad found a great deal on a 1985 Mazda RX-7 so I jumped into it. There was a reason it was a good deal. Ol’ Smokey was a great car in looks, but he gained his name from the smoke that would drift up from the engine after any drive that took longer than fifteen minutes. Poor guy went to so many shops and had so many repairs, but he never quite performed the way I think he wanted to.
He was in two accidents, neither my fault (as if anybody claims that they were at fault), and as a result, had matching dents over his headlights. He lasted only a short time, about a year, and made me wish I’d kept Little Bugga as I ended up doing a lot of walking.
The last car that was all mine was my Grand Am, also known as Grand Ma. She was brand new in 1995 and was given to my dad as a company car. When the company gave my dad a new vehicle, we bought her and sold her to my grandparents who then, in 2002, sold her back to me.
She was a good car, but required a lot of attention and, after one break-in, proved she wasn’t exceptionally secure. I brought her with me when I moved from the US to Canada, but rather than deal with trying to renew insurance and pay the many many fees involved with importing a vehicle, I sold her.
Since then, Derek and I have had two vehicles together, both of which we still own, but I haven’t had my OWN car. I’ve been thinking lately about buying something small and cheap to get me around, but I don’t know if I can justify the expense. There is something, though, to bonding with your vehicle and I’m beginning to feel like I’m missing out.