What Was Your First Car?

My brain is on overload with conference planning. Would you mind taking a break with me to chat about something lighter? Yesterday, I saw this picture of the vintage car we bought in France, it’s a (Renault 4L), and started thinking about all the different cars we’ve owned as a couple, and the ones I owned before I got married too.

My very first car was a Honda Civic Hatchback. I bought it for $500.

It was very old and fairly beat up, a sort of reddish-brown color, but it worked. It was a stick shift and the span between 2nd and 3rd gear was like 2 feet, I swear. : ) But after learning to drive stick on that car, I can drive pretty much anything. (Side note: In France, and throughout Europe, most cars — even rentals — are still manual. So it’s a skill worth learning if you ever plan to move across the pond.)

After that, I drove a bright yellow VW Bug for awhile, and my senior year of high school, I drove a pale yellow Dodge K-Car. I would park it out in front of the house, and leave the keys in it — in case someone needed to borrow it.

My freshman year of college, I drove a Ford Escort. I worked up in the mountains at Sundance Ski Resort (Robert Redford’s place), and that poor little Ford had the hardest time getting up the mountain. I would take the turn off up to the resort, and within a few minutes there would be a line of cars trailing behind me. I’d pull over, let them pass, start up the mountain, and sigh as the cars stretched out behind me again. Hah!

I’m pretty sure my next car was a Mitsubishi Precis. It was white. And we drove that same car as newlyweds too. After the Precis, we bought a blue Mazda Protegé.

And after the Mazda, we bought my favorite car we’ve ever owned. A 1983 Toyota Landcruiser. It was red. Gosh I loved that car. We took it with us when we moved to New York. Eventually, it broke down, and we couldn’t scrounge up the budget to fix it, so we sold it to a family from Pennsylvania.

80’s Landcruisers are still my favorite car. We don’t need one, but everyone time I seen one, I find myself on car app, seeing if there are any for sale nearby. Someday I hope we buy another one, just because it makes me happy. They are so dang beautiful.

I just counted and we’ve had 9 cars (and a vintage Vespa!) since the Landcruiser. But this “little” post is already getting long. So I’ll cut my report short. I do want to note that every single car I’ve listed so far was used. Like very, very used. In fact, I don’t think I’d ever visited a new car lot until years after we moved to New York.

Tell me about your car history. What was the first car you drove? Or the first car you bought? What car do you daydream about owning?

P.S. — Remember the gorgeous Vintage VW Bus we used in this Carwash video?

53 thoughts on “What Was Your First Car?”

  1. First time commenter and simply because I absolutely LOVED my first car. It was tiny and old and stinky, but it had personality. I named it Farley after a college professor, and I drove it back and forth between central TX and eastern TN at least a dozen times. It was a 1980 Dodge Colt, and it was gold. After my sister drove it for a few years, we donated it to NPR. I came across it in a parking lot some time afterwards and was so excited I (super introvert) spoke to the owner. He agreed it was a wonderful car. It was 20 years old by then.

  2. I love this – what a great run of cars you’ve had.
    My first car was a 1969 Morris Mini. Green with a white roof and bonnet (hood). I adored it and drove it for years! I paid $1100 of my own money for it before I even got my licence. I sold it 15 years later for $2000!!!
    It was zippy, cheap to run and mostly reliable (except in the heat and heavy rain). It also taught me to convert from miles to km as the speedo was in miles but we drive in km.
    It’s teeny size was perfect for a first driver negotiating reverse/parallel parking. When I met my husband, he could sit in the car and, with the window down, he could touch the ground! I managed to fit 6 people in there for a night out once – not so safe but mighty fun (and hilairious to see so many people climb out at our destination!).
    One day I left high school to the car park and my car was gone. I thought it had been stolen but some cheeky guys had lifted it and moved it!
    Great memories. Thank you for reminding me.

  3. First car was a ’92 Ford escort wagon. It died right about the time I graduated from college, and I needed a new car to get to work, so I bought the only new car I’ll ever buy…a Honda Civic.

    Sold it when we moved to New York. Bought a CRV when we moved to D.C. To have more room for kids. We just bought a second car–a Toyota Corolla. So I’ve only had four. I loved my first car the most.

  4. What a fun question! Definitely brings back memories. My first car was a two door Toyota Corolla Coup ( a 1976 I think ). My Dad found it for a good price and figured he would bring it home for me. The most memorable and mortifying thing about my car was that the two small back windows were tinted and had a crazy guy eating mushrooms with the words “It Must Be Magic” sandblasted on it. I couldn’t believe I had to drive a car with a drug reference on it (I was a very straight laced kid in high school ha!). It cracks me up just thinking of it now. Eventually I came to appreciate that I had a car and the freedom to drive and got over being embarrassed by those back windows.

    1. This is the most hilarious story ever! I just read it to my husband and teen kids. We died laughing. Your car must have been legendary. You know someone from your area is going to read this comment and think….I KNOW THAT CAR!!!

  5. I had to think about it for a second. My first was a cute and sporty, red, Honda Prelude. And then inexplicably my father sold it and replaced it with a maroon Saab and everyone said…What the heck is that???

  6. 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix. It was like driving an aircraft carrier: impossible to turn and nearly impervious to any kind of physical harm.

    I was born in 1981: my car was older than me when I drove it in high school. Can’t say that I loved it, but it was certainly character building.

  7. My first car was a 1978 Datsun 810 – light blue with a black plaid (yes, plaid!) interior. It was a stick shift and was persnickety about going into 1st sometimes. I remember sitting in the school parking lot trying and trying and trying to get it in gear!

    When I went away to college I sold it to my brother’s girlfriend who totaled it in short order. :(

    1. My first car was a silver 1982 Datsun 210 that my parents had bought new a few years before I was born (in ’84). By the time I learned to drive in 1999 it didn’t have heat or AC (in Austin, Texas!) and the radio only played AM stations. We called it the silver bullet because/in spite of the fact that it would max out at about 45 miles an hour so I couldn’t safely drive it on the highway. It didn’t have power steering and was only about the size of a small refrigerator, but man I loved that car.

      1. I’m pretty sure my Datsun had no A/C (I lived in Oklahoma so I feel your pain) and no radio. Before I got that car, I drove the family station wagon (’77 or ’78 light green Buick Century) that had an AM-only radio so we had an FM converter – classy.

  8. I’m 33 years old, and I have never owned a car. Because I’m legally blind and can’t drive. I wasn’t even allowed to take the driver’s ed. classes in high school because I was legally blind the, too.

    The closest I’ve gotten is having my name on the title of the Subaru Outback we bought four years ago. But I can’t tell you what year it is; numbers like that just don’t stick in my head. I can’t even tell you what my children weighed when they were born. Or how long they were.

    And sometimes I struggle with how old I am…

    And buses have stayed pretty much the same in design since I began riding them in 1998. And if we were having a chat about first cell phones, I could join in on that one… but I wouldn’t be able to remember model numbers or names or anything like that…

    Okay, I’ll stop now.

    1. Oh, WAIT! I DO have a car story! My husband owned a 92 Sundance while we were dating. It was turquoise, and I loved his car, all the way through our honeymoon (we went to Yellowstone).

      Until the paint started peeling in spots. So he went to a car parts store, but they didn’t have turquoise. They had dark blue. So our car had dark blue spots for awhile until my father-in-law volunteered to pay for a new paint job and to take us on a road trip through the Northwest while it was being painted.

      We took the car to the body paint shop he chose, but when we walked up to the front doors, it was dark inside. But the door was unlocked and there were people sitting behind the counters. The electricity had gone out on the block, but they were still open for business. The sales guy plunked a huge binder onto the counter and pointed at the non-functioning kiosk in the corner of the office where we would normally pick paint colors.

      I laughed and opened the binder. The swatches were organized by color, so I flipped to the oranges. But there wasn’t anything bright enough for what I was hoping for, so I flipped to the greens. I pointed to one green on the page and asked, “Have you ever had cars painted this color?”

      “Oh, yeah. We paint cars that color all the time.”

      “Okay, not that, then. How about this shade of green?”

      “There’s a fleet of trucks that are that shade of green.”

      “And not that one, either.” I pointed to a third shade of green. “How about this one?”

      “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a car that color.”

      “Great. We’ll take that one, then,” I said.

      I have to admit, it was a shock when we got back from our road trip. But we grew to love it. And brag about it. And eventually, the car under the paint couldn’t handle hills or long distances, and we were expecting our second child. So we donated that Kermit-green car to OPB because lo, and behold, we moved to the Northwest.

  9. My first car was a 1980 Volkswagen van. Talk about a learning experience. It was a manual that would stall out going around corners. I learned to pop a clutch in heavy traffic. It would backfire. When this happened, all the hoses in the engine would come off. I learned to put them back on. That car was a pain in the butt. However, I can drive anything now.

  10. My first vehicle was a hand-me-down from my father in 1991 right after my husband and I married. It was a white Ford Bronco II and we drove it from Maryland to Michigan. What a great vehicle to learn all the roads in Michigan! Thanks, Dad!

  11. My first car was a red 1984 Isuzu I-Mark. I named it Bud but everyone call it (and sometimes me) Joe Isuzu. It was a great little car until I wrecked it. I loved that car!

  12. I loved my first car- it was a Chevy one ton truck from the 70s (we lived in rural Wyoming). The thing was HUGE; I needed a padded seat to give me and extra inch to see over the dashboard better, and the odometer swung wildly if you did above fifty (said it was ninety one minute, then 45, then 80, then… you get the point). The stick shift stuck in winter, and I’d fought with it with both hands a time or two. My friend said it was a bit like riding a broken roller coast- you never knew what the ride would like.

    But, you know, my dad said, if I learned to drive it, I’ could learn to drive anything. And it seemed like stick shift forced the driver to pay more attention, so he was right. I also learned a lot about car maintenance in order to keep it running. It was a great feeling, being this bitty little high school girl in this big truck all the boys didn’t think I could handle (but could), but more importantly, learning how to drive a tricky car, and how to do car maintenance are the skills that really helped down the road.

  13. My first car was a blue 1983 Volvo (made the year after I was born!). I remember once after I first met my husband to-be, someone broke one of the windows to steal CDs and change from my car. My husband and I weren’t even dating yet, but he scooped all of the broken glass out of the car, and taped up the window for me. Obviously, he was a keeper!

    We recently had our third child and bought a mini van. I never thought I’d be a mini van mom, but with three kids in car seats it’s actually pretty wonderful!

    Gabrielle, I’m curious what you drive now, with so many kiddos to transport around! Would you mind sharing?

  14. My first car was also a Honda Civic Hatchback. An ’86 I think and it too was a stick shift with a long stick, and no power steering either. My brother and I shared it to drive to and from University.
    The first car my husband and I bought together, we bought brand new in 2006 and we still have it! (We’ve since expanded to a two car family so we’ve had others alongside it)

  15. Throwing my weight at the Ford Bronco II crowd! “Boris” was my first car, I had him in 2009 and his birth year was 1986. I bought him for $300 and sold him for $700!

    Next up was “Eddie” a maroon 2002 Mazda tribute that I was gifted from a family friend who couldn’t bear to sell it to a stranger. That car was my favorite colour, and I always thought it looked snazzier than it was. It got my through many, many roadtrips.

    Sadly Eddie had her last ride last spring, so we have a 2014 Toyota Rav4 named Ravioli. The better gas mileage is nice, but it just doesn’t have personality like my first two cars.

  16. I learned to drive in my dad’s tan-and-salmon colored ’95 F-150, and this was the first car I drove after I got my license.
    The driver’s side door had a massive dent from when a tornado came by the house and threw something into it. You had to lift up on the handle while you closed it in order to get it to latch. The truck had a tendency to slow down as I tried to go up a hill on the way home from work (I’m not sure if this was the truck’s fault or my fault for being a new, timid driver).

    After driving Dad’s old truck for a while, my grandmother bought me a car that I could take to college–a 2007 Honda Fit Sport, electric blue. OMG, I loved my little bright blue hatchback. That car served me so, so well during senior year of high school and all four years of college, but once we moved to the northern midwest for graduate school, I had to sell it because A) It didn’t really handle snow well… at all… B) Our oldest child’s baby seat pretty much took up the entire back seat! :D

    After a brief time driving my in-laws’ hand-me-down Jeep Cherokee, we bought a new Honda Odyssey.

    I’m now a happy minivan driver. I love my van… and I’m happy to be back in a Honda :)

  17. I’ve never owned my own car, but learned to drive with my dad’s dodge pick-up truck and my mom’s Ford Taurus X. When I was a junior in high school we had a “Snow Ball” in the middle of the winter. I was the only of my friends who had their license and it was a snowy night that included having to pick my friends up at their houses. Two of my friends lived out of town on back roads and one had a really steep driveway, so my parents agreed I could drive, but only if I took the truck. I remember we all thought it was quite funny as a bunch of girls in high heels and fancy dresses climbed into the truck and then got out at the school, but it got us there and back home safe and sound!

  18. I love this discussion!

    My first car was a 1986 Chrysler New Yorker that my dad bought from my neighbors for $500. It had been sitting out in the elements for quite awhile and they were ready to get rid of it. I LOVED that car. It “talked” to me. “The door is ajar.” “Please refuel.” We called it Vanilla Swirl after the Bonne Bell lip gloss my friends and I all used and loved. It went through over a quart of oil a week, frequently blew a gasket, had major engine issues, and left me stranded on numerous occasions. The seats were tan leather and bouncy. It was so comfortable to drive. Ha! And it could fit a bunch of people. It literally died the last time I drove it as I pulled into the driveway on the day before Thanksgiving 1999.

    Second car was a Mercury Sable (bought it from my dad) that was silver on the outside and maroon on the inside. I HATED that car. I totaled it, which was sad, but I was able to buy my next car with the insurance money.

    Third car was a Dodge Avenger. Super cute and little with two doors. It was low to the ground and I babied that car. I adored it. It was the nicest car I’d ever driven. Then I moved to NY and left it at my mom’s. We ended up selling it when we got married and bought an old Nissan Stanza from a cousin in NY. (Remember the Tighty Whitey??? It was the Carmona’s first then went to the Kelly’s?)

    That car had a poltergeist and would lock me in. Not fun once I was pregnant. Around that same time we inherited an old Toyota Celica from a friend. Both cars were in awful shape but had so much sentimental value. We donated them and bought our white Toyota Corolla in early 2004. We still have and love that car! (It was from the Bronx and a missionary car!)

    After my second was born we bought a VW Passat Wagon (my dream car at the time) off Craigslist. That’s still my daily driver though it’s showing its age. We call it Volksy.

    And to top it off, we also recently bought a beautiful 1990 red Miata (in primo condition, called Red Dwarf) and a 2002 British Racing Green Miata (called Bergie – short for BRG, the color). So we have four old cars and two drivers. Ha!!! I dream of a new car but I’m still not sure what I’d get that could ever be as much loved as our old cars. :)

    We will always have a thing for VWs. My husband’s first car was an orange 1973 VW. We bought a 1969 Bug to restore but it was ruined when the garage where it was being stored caught fire. It was sooooo sad! One day we’ll get a VW Thing.

  19. My first and only vehicles have always been Subarus. They are perfect both in the city (compat) and country (AWD all the time). My first Subaru was a blue 1986 sedan with an digital speedometer that didn’t work when it was cold outside. Now with a husband, dogs, and hockey player, we drive a Tribeca (Subaru’s 7 passenger SUV). I’m counting the days until I can get back into a manual Subaru hatchback, like the Crosstrek.

  20. Let’s see… the first car that was “mine” to drive was a 1986 Ford Taurus. It was technically my mom’s and when I went to college it stayed behind to become my brother’s car.

    The first car I owned all by myself was a Chevy Cavalier. The year escapes me. Definitely 80s. I bought it used from a school teacher in my hometown who’d had it for at least 10 years but it only had 20k miles on it. Can you imagine?! I put that much on it in a single year. It finally died on me in 1999…

    At which point I bought my first brand new car. I had friends in the car industry, so they helped me find a great deal on a 2000 Pontiac Grand Am. I had that car until 2006 when we sold it to buy a brand new Prius. By that point I had gotten married and our first baby was on the way and a 2 door sports car just wasn’t going to cut it. We still have the Prius, but it’s my husband’s car now as he drives 80 miles round trip each day for work. It has over 200k miles, has hit multiple deer (and a coyote), and is ready to be traded in. We’re looking at all electric vehicles for the replacement.

    My husband and I also bought a used 2000 Mitsubishi Monterro to replace an 80’s Monterro he had when we met. It was the adventure vehicle we took to go camping and off roading and such. We sold that to my niece in 2012 and bought a 2013 Kia Sorento when my husband changed jobs from our small town to the “big city” 40 miles away. The Kia is my day to day car now. We needed something with decent gas mileage (25+) that had room for at least 7 (we carpool to kid activities with friends and take the grandparents along to events too), and didn’t break the bank. And you can’t beat the warrantee on Kias!

    We also picked up a 2006 Toyota Tundra a few years ago after we finally admitted defeat on tent camping and bought a small travel trailer camper. It was only 16′ and could be pulled with our Sorento but we decided it wasn’t worth the strain to the engine. We were casually browsing with no intent to buy when some friends moved to Alaska and decided to sell their truck. They definitely gave us a friends and family discount. It may have 250,000 miles on it, but it was in near perfect condition. After many camping trips (and a larger camper) and two kids, it’s on it’s last legs now but we could probably still sell it for the same price!

    I come from a “buy new and drive forever” type family. My husband and his family are a “buy used, drive a few years, resell” type. It’s a precarious balance, but so far it’s worked out.

  21. A ’96 Plymouth Grand Voyager. It never belonged to me, I borrowed it from my parents, and I have to say it made me quite popular- I could haul my whole crew comfortably.
    I learned to drive stick on my parents’ ’96 Camry. Bless that car, it lasted 21 years until a distracted driver plowed into it while it was parked (and empty of passengers) in front of their house last summer. The family got together and had a small service of sorts on the day the tow truck came to take it away.
    Now I’m married w/ a toddler and we drive a ’12 Prius for most of our trips and a ’01 Saab 9-3. My wife grew up with a Saab-only family (they had FOUR when I met her) and I suspect we will need to keep one around forever, even though it spends more time in the shop in a single year than our Prius has in five.

  22. Oh this is a wonderful question, and I have SO enjoyed reading the responses!
    My first car was a 1989 Ford Probe Hatchback. My dad bought it for me for $1500 from a family in town. It had belonged to their oldest son, who happened to be an upperclassmen at the same high school I went to. When we went to test drive it, it had this giant subwoofer speaker that filled the hatch area. (We politely declined his offer to sell us the speaker as well). This car, unbeknownst to me had a bit of a rep, because the upperclassman was on the varsity hockey team for our high school and it had a name: “The (last name here)-mobile!” and for a while when I drove to school in it, any upperclassman jock who saw it shouted this. When they realized it had been sold to a very mousey girl who hung around in the art room after school, they quickly desisted. But it gave me the teensiest bit of street cred. The car itself had its other eccentricities, but it held so many memories. Eventually we sold it to another high schooler when I packed up for college (I went to a small school where I didn’t really need a car and parking costs were outrageous). But it meant a lot.

    The first car I ever bought myself was after my first year working at my first “real” job post-college. It was a 2001 Infiniti G20. I bought it in 2008, and the car had been owned by my mom’s piano teacher, who only drove it around town, so it had only 10,000 miles on it after all those years. I bought it for $10,000 and felt absolutely sick after I wrote such a large check. But I LOVED this car, and it carried me into so many adult milestones. I sobbed my little eyes out when we donated it a few months ago, but it was dying of “natural causes” related to it being 16 years old.
    Car stories are the best. I can’t wait to read the rest of the responses! :)

  23. My first car was a big ol’ 1976 Chevy pickup with a massive engine, big tires and a 4” lift kit. I got it at the end of my sophomore year after turning 16 and when we went back to school in the fall a few of the boys had put bigger lift kits in their trucks so a girl wouldn’t have the tallest truck in the parking lot. My dad built customs steel bumpers for it. He said it would take me getting hit by a semi to get hurt. It had a sno-camo rattle can paint job. It was actually pretty sneaky of my family to paint it that way because there was no hiding in that truck. Everyone in town knew it was mine and I couldn’t get away with anything. If I was wearing a skirt I had to look around to make sure no one was watching so I could hike it up high enough to climb in. It was a manual transmission (as was my next truck, an F-150 for better gas mileage while I drove to college) and I plan on teaching my sons to drive on a manual. Both my husband and I learned on stick shifts and it’s like riding a bike. You never forget.

    Now I have four little boys and a mini van. My teenage tomboy country girl self swore to never be that lame, but my goodness I sure love that van now!

  24. A Fiat 127, a four gear, having driven a five gear for training I wondered for about a week why “fifth”gear was so noisy. 160km/h an hour downhill to my boyfriend in Germany and 80km/h uphill.

  25. My first car was also a 1983 Honda Civic Hatchback that was redish/brown 5 speed stick shift. My high school friends had so many fun memories in ‘The Civ!’

    Two of my siblings have 90’s Land Cruisers models and still drive them. They even put in new leather upholstery. They get random unsolicited offers from car buffs asking if they would like to sell. I must admit I wish I had such a classic car, so I can see why you want another ‘old’ Land Cruiser one day.

  26. My first car was a 1969 baby blue VW Squareback with a terrible oil leak, and I LOVED it. I once accidentally drove all the way across town (with six friends crammed in) – with the emergency break still on. When I went to stop in front of my house, the breaks had burned out and we coasted riiiiiight down the street and (luckily!) into an open field.
    My second favorite car was a VERY VERY used Subaru Justy. It was completely rusted through in places on the floorboard, so you could see the street below. I was in my first post-college job as a very underpaid editor at my local weekly, and once had to drive the publisher to a fancy lunch in this car. The look on his face, realizing what the little people could afford to drive … I’m not sure he allowed his pants to touch the seat! But I adored it – it drove like a go-cart!
    My third favorite car was the very first brand new car I ever owned – which also happened to be the only car I’d ever owned that was made in the same decade in which I was living! It was a 2001 VW Golf, and I was THRILLED to experience power windows and power steering for very first time!
    I think cars bring up almost as many vivid, visceral memories as the question “did your parents have parties when you were growing up?”

    1. “Did your parents have parties when you were growing up?” Is a FABULOUS question! It instantly put my in my childhood bedroom, listening to that magic mix of music, murmured conversation and laughter coming from the living room. How glamorous growing up seemed!

      And my first car was a ‘66 Ford Mustang that I drove for seven years, taking road trips all over California and the southwest. My best friend and I felt like Thelma and Louise in that car, with the windows rolled down, driving across the desert. Such freedom!

  27. My first car…. “Old Gray”. My parents – 1969 Chev. Impala. Oh.. the memories. The engine would continue to run even when I would put it in park and “attempt” to turn it off. All my girlfriends – STILL laugh about it to this day. (We are now 57!) So of course, when we cruised up to the 7-11….. I would turn the engine off and coast into the parking lot…. trying to be so cool.

  28. Catherine Wood-Connolly

    1977 blue Honda Civic hatchback. I loved it. It had a choke that could really get the car started in cold weather. And it was light enough to push-start if the battery was dead. I bought it with my own money and I am very proud of that purchase. I was told not to drive it past 80km an hour for 1000km because it had a rebuilt engine (this was 1987). But i took it on the highway to visit my grandparents and it died 1/2 way to their house. A nice man pulled over and let me use his massive “car phone” to call my grandparents house and my dad came and got me. I was in the middle of the Alberta prairie. Such an experience.
    I remember it all like yesterday. So I had my car and my freedom for 2 weeks and then I had to get it fixed because of my own ignorance. This taught me to listen to what the mechanic says, and trust “adults” because they sort of knew more than my know-it-all self. Fun post – thanks!!

  29. 1979 Buick LaSabre. Maroon. Loaded. My dad bought from an elderly neighbor who could no longer drive. It was the nicest car our family ever owned and my parents gave it to me for my four-hour drive to college. It got me and all I owned from the University of North Dakota to Iowa for my first job. By taking the backseat out and putting a luggage rack on top, I could get enough inventory in it to sell at antique shows during weekends. (My second income and entertainment following a full week of corporate work.) It continued with me into wedded life with an Iowa boy. Who incidentally did some front-end damage to the LeSabre when he and a deer had a chance meeting on the highway. The LeSabre won. (Deer did not.) That plush-tank-of-a-car made it well over 200,000 miles. The Iowa boy and I made it too. We’ve been through several mini vans and raised two girls, one cat, and the smallest dog ever. It all started with a decked-out Buick LeSabre. Thanks to my Dad.

    1. This is so touching–that your parents gave you their nicest-ever car to take to college, and that you and the Iowa boy made it. What a sweet story, beautifully told.

  30. Oh my. My first car was a Ford Tempo. I remember an odd statistic that it was the ‘least stolen’ car at that time (1984 or so) which was in keeping with it’s utter and resolute boring nature. The engine would quit in the rain. fun memory!

  31. Living in NZ, I had the use of a mid blue coloured Morris Minor. The one with the strip down the front window. Model/year unsure. The indicators came out from up near the top of the side panel. One flew off in a storm into a ditch and I wasn’t going after it. So, my dear Dad converted it to indicator lights at the rear. He knew all about having a “Morrie” as he used to repair /service his own ,possibly in the early 1950’s. His brother would then hook up a horse float to the back, load up all their friends into the float and drive the 1/2 hour to the nearest beach. (Himitangi in Nth Island for any Kiwis) near Palmerston Nth. Their father was the local Country Cop-NZ Police Force, so say no more. The parties were legendary apparently. Cheers , now living in Newcastle, NSW and it’s Australia Day,26th Jan.

  32. It has cheered me to read all the war stories of people who, like me, drove around ancient tanks of cars while we were in high school/college. I also started out driving a car that was older than I was: a 1979 Ford Fairmont Station Wagon, dark green except where it had rusted (lots). Stick shift, no power steering, crank windows, no AC. My friends called it “The Beast”. It was the only new car my dad had ever bought in his life and it was my family’s only car until I was in college. I was so embarrassed of that car, but I suppose it was character-building! And I’m certainly glad I can drive stick. When my dad bought me a little used Ford Escort hatchback (don’t remember the year) to take to college my senior year, it felt like the lap of luxury. I drove that car until we were expecting our second child and two car seats were definitely not going to fit in the tiny back seat.

  33. My first car is also my present car! I got it when I was 38 (I am now 44) as my husband insisted that with three kids it would be useful for me to have a car. It is a small Citroen (don’t ask me the model!) and I have absolutely no interest in it at all. I prefer (and do) take the bus whenever possible. In fact, I couldn’t even tell you where it is parked at this precise moment. As for my dream car – not surprisingly, I don’t have one!

  34. My first car was a 1984 Dodge K-car :) I ‘bought’ it from my parents for $1 when it was already 10 years old and needed a new paint job. I chose what I thought was a deep teal color but what ended up being a very LOUD teal color. It was dubbed ‘The Teal-mobile’ and there wasn’t a soul in town who didn’t know my car!
    I wasn’t allowed a car my freshman year of college and my family jokingly sent me a photo of them about to get in the car with paper bags over their heads cause they were too embarrassed to drive the thing!!!
    It lasted me through college graduation when I had pretty much driven it into the ground. I tried to sell it but had no takers so drove it to a junk yard to scrap it for $25. Such a sad thing to drive away that day.
    I’ve had a VW Jetta, Nissan 3000Z, and an Acura TL since then, none of them remarkable. I think it’s that first car that always seems to have the most character…for your character building days!

  35. Never had a new car…….First car – you won’t believe it a pale blue Renault 4 – like your vintage car! drove it for about 9 months even to the Netherlands from East Lower Saxony in Germany, which was quite a haul for the little car. Unfortunately broke down, to expensive to repair. Then red Audi 80, very loud exhaust, loved it, because it was really comfortable. Got rid of it, as insurance was too expensive. Then beige Citroen 2CV, the upside-down-pram, or “Ente” (Duck) as it is called in Germany. Unfortunately crashed it into a small tree, after trying to bat away a wasp in the car, car did not survive……..
    Then a red VW Polo (Fox) , which was crashed into by the side “leg” of a building truck. Then a white Polo, which used to be a hire car and now for about 21 years a 2 door red Golf 2, which is now 27 years old and used to belong to my mother-in-law and before that a friend of hers. Its an automatic (I always had stick shift before) and has power steering etc.People with one child and a huge people carrier are always surprised how I fitted 2 Kids, 2 car seats and a pram/push chair etc. into it, but I did! Sadly it is getting on a bit now and I do not know how long it will survive…….

  36. I have a great story about my first car. I was almost 18 when I got my license and by that point my mom was ready to end her stint as chauffeur and unbeknownst to me bought me a 10-year-old Pontiac Grand Prix, two-toned gray and maroon. To reveal this wonder to me, she asked me to go out to our garage and bring in a watermelon from the extra fridge out there and lo and behold there she sat! In my adolescent utter oblivion I almost went inside and almost said something along the lines of, “who’s piece of junk is that in our garage?!” But, something held me in check and I simply queried about it innocently. Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to keep my tongue in check as I promptly changed my attitude about that “piece of junk” the moment it became my piece of junk! Thanks, Mom, for starting me out on a good foot!

  37. We have a red 1984 Toyota Landcruiser FJ60 and we love it. We have two little kids and love to take drives in the Landcruiser. It’s the greatest car! Although we have a Prius for most of our around town driving (which is minimal since we live in the city), we take out the Landcruiser at least once a week. We constantly get looks and one day a man in a brand new Porsche SUV told me that my car was cooler than his. Ha! He was absolutely right! We talk about getting the car re-done, but with only 30,000 original miles it seems to make more sense to keep it how it is.

  38. Such a fun topic, I love reading everyone’s responses! My first car was a teal ’94 Dodge Shadow. Then about a year or two into college I bought my stepmom’s ’95 Honda Civic. It was white, and after a while I thought I’d get it painted silver. HUGE mistake. The paint peeled in places and after several years definitely didn’t look very good. Still, I drove it the longest of any of my cars: throughout grad school, my first post-grad apartment, buying my first house, and didn’t donate it until I’d had to replace the exhaust system multiple times. After that I bought my first ever NEW new car: a Mazda 3 with manual transmission. After that was a Toyota Rav4 (since we’d had our first baby and the car seat didn’t fit in the Mazda very well), and just about 6 months ago we got a Subaru Outback.

    I just realized, though, my car inventory wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the car in which I learned to drive a stick shift: my then-boyfriend’s (now husband’s) 1993 Mitsubishi Eclipse. No power steering! Between being nervous about stalling and the muscle required to turn the wheel when stopped, parallel parking in that car worked up quite a sweat :)

  39. I failed my drivers tests as a teen and let life happen and we lived in cities. So I did not get my license till I was 30 with three kids.
    So my first car was (and still is) a grey 2012 Honda Oydssey with a DVD player. Her name is Lady Jane and she is perfect for what we need.

  40. This post got me thinking so much, I wrote about it in my newsletter this week! Check it out:

    I saw this post on first cars recently and it brought me back to a dark time after I graduated college and fulfilled all parent’s dreams by moving in with my charismatic, older boyfriend. We settled into a charming semi-finished basement apartment, and while my beau waited tables at The Cheesecake Factory by day and drank 12-packs of beer by night, I landed an illustrious job as a paid intern. Neither of us owned a car, so we cashed in the last of my savings and purchased a used Toyota, because “You can never go wrong with a Camry!” Within weeks, the engine was smoking and a mechanic ruled it unsalvageable. Things were getting grim. Several months later, 20 pounds heavier and testing the depths of my self-esteem, I visited my grandparents for a birthday dinner. I don’t know if my grandfather took pity or simply hoped I would drive as far away from my boyfriend as possible; either way, he floored me with a box containing the keys to his aging BMW. I burst into tears – it was the kindest gesture and an immediate boost to my confidence. I felt a sudden sense of freedom as if driving a better car meant I was allowed to have a better life. In short order, I found a full-time position, rented my own apartment, and gave my boyfriend his walking papers. It was an inevitable conclusion, but I honestly don’t know how quickly it would have happened without that car. Every once in a while, I’ll spot an old 325is on the road and all I can think is, “Drive like hell, sister.”


  41. My first car was an old Renault! Seems like nobody else has ever even heard of them–what a memory rush to see this. It was bright lime green, the exact color of chewed Extra spearmint gum, which made me easy to find in a small town. “Everyone knows that car belongs to my daughter”, my dad told me, “so you better be good.” I was about as good as an eldest-daughter good-girl with newly-minted driving privileges ever is. :)

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