I am contemplating purchasing a new car. I am not sure why. I suppose I am just caught up in the idea of a new car. There's nothing wrong with my car, an `06 Buick Lucerne CXL. It has low mileage, hasn't caused me any problems, runs great, and is very comfortable. But still...
It might be the car ads on TV. It might be that this is the time of year that just precedes the delivery of the next year's models when the "deals" hit. Or it might simply be a transient insanity. One never knows. Today, while getting the oil changed in the aforementioned Buick, I looked at a Lincoln MKZ. I admit, I was impressed. I have never been a Ford fan but I was still impressed. Especially with the air conditioned seats. That may sound odd but you have to remember I live in Florida.
My history with cars started at age 16. That is, my ownership relationship began then. I was interested in cars before that, being your average teenage boy in the late 50's and early 60's. This was a time where you could tinker with your car. They didn't have computers controlling them. They didn't have elaborate emissions control systems. Most didn't have automatic transmissions. AC was an after-market sale for most non-luxury cars, installed by a dealer or a third party retailer and there were incredibly few of these.
Getting a car (used, of course, in my family's caste) as a teenager meant getting a hobby, an avocation, a monumental money-sucking albatross. All of your spare cash went to keep the car running. But it was also the key to freedom. It meant you could really go out on dates without relying on a friend or the use of the family beater. It could easily make you quite popular.
On the other hand, it could leave you constantly broke. It was like having a drug habit. You were always looking for money to put gas in it, to get something repaired, or to enhance it in some way. And so little satisfaction in return.
My first car was a `52 Studebaker Champion. In a truly ugly green. It looked like a car that went in both directions at once.
Now, this isn't my car but the color is correct if you imagine it unwashed or waxed for a few years. And picture the right front passenger door held shut by heavy wire wrapped around the door post. The front seat was ragged with the cotton batting sticking out through the ripped cheap cloth covering. One had to be careful when smoking in this car because the stray ember or dropped cigarette could result in the interior smoldering until enough rain came through the always open passenger window to put it out.
But it was mine. It cost a total of $80 paid over time to a future brother-in-law who had it sitting in his backyard for months. The engine leaked oil, about a quart a week, but was otherwise sound. I eventually found the leaky gasket. The car was an education. I learned to tune it, to repair most minor problems, replace the brake pads, and replace and adjust the clutch.
It was a love-hate relationship. I loved it because it gave me the freedom every teen boy pines for. I hated it because it was ugly and impressed no one, especially no members of the opposite sex.
Sometimes I really miss that car.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago