Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Girl and Her Car…


I heard an advertisement the other day for muscle cars.  The announcer made growling noises and interjected… “Betty….John…. Is this car calling your name?”  It took me back to my first car.  My father bought it for my older sister and me to share (fight over).  It was an old Mustang and the appeal for my father was that it was big and heavy.  We referred to it at the blue tank.  Boys thought it was cool, but the “muscleness” was lost on me.  I was just thrilled to have transportation.  Automatic transportation.  And the blue tank easily withstood my unfortunate tendency to back over mailboxes.  (3 if you’re interested).  I became disenchanted with the blue tank when it refused to start on cold mornings.  This became a defining issue for me and cars.


Fast forward to 1980 and my father bought me a NEW car!  Gasp!  Well, he paid for the first two years of it.  I would pay the second two.  A silver Oldsmobile Starfire… that started all the time.  Perfect!  Plus it helped that it was metallic SILVER. 

During the next several years, we lost my husband’s car to a run-in with a train (he wasn’t injured, but the car was totaled).  The Starfire saw us through early marriage and the births of two babies.  It wasn’t all that convenient to strap two young ones into their car seats from one of the two doors; and living at the beach without a garage really took a toll on the paint job.  The Starfire went from silver to tri-tone – silver, grey and rust, but we kept that baby for 10 years and sold it despite a sagging headliner and a rotting floorboard.


Then we were pretty much given a Chevrolet Caprice (green), which I hated.  On the good side, it started and the AC worked great, but when it rained outside the car, it also rained INSIDE the car.  Plus the electric windows didn’t work and we had just moved to an area with toll roads.  Did I mention it was GREEN?  I was so thankful when that car died.

chevrolet celebrity

Next, we bought a used ugly, boxy Chevrolet Celebrity, but it was beautiful to me because A.It started easily.  B. It was four-door, which was so much easier for putting my children into their car seats in the backseat. C. No rain INSIDE the car.  D. It was a pretty SILVER color.  This car was very dependable and I still have fond memories of it.


Then we moved onto a Dodge Intrepid.  Now THAT was a pretty car.  A compromise between sedan and sporty.  It started easily, was four-door and IT WAS RED!  It was a sad day when I wrecked it in a traffic circle after watching my kids march in a Christmas parade.  That’s when I learned that even though the insurance company might not total the car, the car might not ever be the same after a wreck. 

I leased a couple of cars after that, one of which was a luxurious (to me) Chrysler 300 M.  It was too big, but the leather seats and great sound system made up for it.  It didn’t hurt that the color of this car was CHAMPAGNE.

Are you seeing a trend here?  Dependability and color are very important.  I did a bunch of research on my most recent car purchase (4 years ago).  I wanted something sporty, yet somewhat practical, VERY dependable with decent gas mileage, and it, of course, it  needed to be a great color. I’m still very happy with my RED Toyota Solara despite the fact that there are some scratches on the bumper because I still have backing-up issues.  I’m not troubled by them.  My husband is that guy who parks his 8-year old car three miles away from any other car.  Me?  I like to go ahead and get a scratch on the car as soon as possible.  Get that first nick out of the way!


What about you?  Do you have any fond car memories?  Or nightmares?  How do you feel about scratches on your car?


GunDiva said...

I did a post very similar to this about a month ago - I just bought a 2010 Kia very first new-new car.

Until then, my cars had all been disposable ones that I drove until they died. My favorite was probably the Mighty Mav, an early 70's Ford Maverick, that was pretty much indestructable. I loved that car.

When I was looking for a new car, I didn't really care about anything other than the fact that it had to get as good as, or better, gas mileage than my 22 year old Honda Accord. I really, really love my new Soul.

car wash businessman said...

Quite a lot of cars & interesting experience shared, can't wait to hear you new upgrade.

Betina Krahn said...

Leanne, you're a girl after my own heart. Cars-- I LOVE em! Color plays a part in it for me, but horsepower and whiz-gizzies (options) are a big part of it, too. And these days, fuel economy. And handling. I do love a car that drives smooth and takes curves like a cat with all claws out. Did I mention I like to drive-- FAST?

some days I have a hankering for a four on the floor gear shift and the whine of revving the engine for that next gear. But mostly, I enjoy letting the automatic take care of that while I listen to music and snarl quietly at the idiot drivers sharing my morning commute!

My first car was a new 1970 Montego. White with a navy vinyl top and dark blue interior. A classic 302 V-8 and the thing ran like a. . . well, it ran truly fine. I drove it for 10 years and 140,000 miles then sold it to one of the psychologists I worked with-- who drove it like a bomb on I-40 each morning. Now I'm into comfort as well as performance. Air conditioned seats anybody?

krisgils33 said...

my first car was the brown bomber. I don't even remember what type it was (other than ugly brown). My dad paid $250 for it (way overpriced in my estimation!), but it got me where I needed to go for a couple of years, so that was a good thing!

Currently, I'm on my second mini-van. I swore up and down from the rooftops I would never, ever own a mini-van. But, seriously, what else does a soccer mom drive??????

Michele Benard said...

Ahh yes my first car was 1992 a 1979 brown honda accord my parents bought it and was only thinking cheap it last about a year before it sat inthe driveway broken down. my next car was 1994 a red ford escort this too my parents bought a little better then the first but I would notice if I hit a bump just right sparks flew under neath my hood. This car lasted through beauty school and a few months after when I had taken a job at a printing company waiting to take my cosmetoloy test one morning at 4a.m. on my way to work I stopped at a gasstation on my way out of town and when I got back in it woudn't startthe starter went out so I got lucky my day was driving by on his way to work and stopped (cell phones not to popular yet)mymom took me car shopping that day I had no business dealing with the car sharks but I ended up buying a Black 1992 eagle Talon super charge. I had this car all the way until 1998 after I got married I then got my first Brand New car a 1998 dark forest green ford mustang gt I loved this car and had it untill 2000 but after having a child what ever seat the car seat was behind you had to scoot the seat all the way forward so the car seat would fit and the stroller only went in a certain way in the trunk so we traded this in and got a 2000 black ford explorer xlt this was all the way untill 2005 when we got my car I have now a 2005 champagneish color ford explorer limited and it is under 50,000 miles on it. So that is my car facts history ha ha

Terry Odell said...

I loved my Dodge Dart with the pushbutton gears in the middle of the steering wheel. Hated when I got rear-ended and the car was declared toast. Took me a long time to figure out that pushing a button on the radio of our next car wasn't going to change gears.

I learned to drive on a Hillman Minx, with a 'reversed' gearshift because although they moved the steering wheel to the American side, they didn't change the way you shifted gears. Of course, I didn't know any different until I tried driving an American stick. (In those days, they were almost all column shifts, not 'on the floor')

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Cindy Gerard said...

Hey Leanne. Like you we had several used cars and several clunkers before 'new car' ever entered our vocabulary.
My fav? oh my: It was a 1996 Dodge Avenger. The very first model that was black and sleek and sexy with a spoiler on the back. Moon roof. Leather buckets with a floor shift. Super cool sound. That was the ONE and ONLY car that was ever bought with me, me, me in mind and my DH got it for me. I LOVED that car. Felt like one hot momma when I drove that low slung, prowling machine down the road. Ah ... the memories. Now it's hybrid all the way, baby :o) And - LOL - green :o)

Michele Hauf said...

Wow, Leanne, you've been through a lot of cars! But I cringed when you said you had to get that first scratch on it. Aggh!

I've never been much for cars. Could never find my car in a parking lot even after owning it for years (usually Taurus, because I like them curvy).

But then I got MY car. First time I ever got a new car was four years ago - a Mini Cooper. It is red and curvy and I adore it, and I will drive it until it falls apart. And then I'll buy another Mini (if they're still making them curvy; new ones have lost their curves). And it has heated seats! That's something a MN girl really appreciates. A must have. Taking my guy in this week, actually, for a birthday present. Getting a decal on the hood. Can't wait!

Charlene Sands said...

Red is my color, Leanne! Love the look of your car! I waited for over 30 years to finally get the right car! Though my sis's first car was a shocking blue Camaro - imagine driving that to college every day, when NEW CARS were only for the rich and famous. Dad told her if she got straight A's she'd get a new car and she did.

Me? I got an ugly green Chevy Malibu, but it was new and my hubby and I drove away from the church on our wedding day with toilet paper streamers behind it. So I do have fond memories.

These days, it's my shining RED Lexus that I travel around in. I park way far away and protect that car like it's my 3rd child. We have bonded. And I'm not really a "car" person, but this car called me and I answered the call!

Great blog!!

Leanne said...

Gun Diva, thanks for joining in! My sister has an expression about driving a car until the tires fall off. I bet you know exactly what I'm saying. Don't you love that new car smell in your Kia Soul? And I'm just wondering what color is your Kia Soul?:)))

Helen Brenna said...

Wow, I realized as I read your post that I haven't had than many cars. Didn't get one until senior year of college and bought a brand new Dodge Colt - SILVER! She was my little engine that could.

Chevy Blazer after that - two doors are tough to get kids in and out of car seats. Then a van.

Black Toyota Highlander now and I love it! Will drive it until it's no longer dependable. It's all about dependability for me. Oh, and the ability to drive through snow and ice, given our nasty MN winters!

(btw, I have a problem with backing into things, too. Never get into bad accidents, but man can I do some damage in a parking lot!)

Leanne said...

Betina, that Montego sounds mouth-wateringly beautiful. Love your attitude toward cars. The power, the gizmos! My father always loved having a bunch of gadgety buttons and options. I think it made him feel kinda like he was getting a James Bond car. I'm with you on the AC seats. I don't have those, but I do have the heated ones. Sure don't need the heat now!!!

Leanne said...

Car wash B, If I'm lucky and don't back into anything, I'll keep this baby for another four to six years!:)

Leanne said...

Kris, I avoided both the minivan AND station wagon, but I only had two kids and they only played soccer for a couple seasons. If you're doing car pooling with someone else's kids, you gotta have a vehicle big enough for transporting all of them. At least you're not driving the brown bomb, right?:)

Leanne said...

Michele B, YOU have had some car adventures! Sparks coming out from under the hood? Yikes!lol Sounds like your next purchases went a lot better. Glad you had the experience of the Mustang, but I feel your pain. The two-door design does NOT go well with car seats and baby equipment!:)

Leanne said...

Terry! "Took me a long time to figure out that pushing a button on the radio of our next car wasn't going to change gears." Omigosh, I couldn't stop laughing when I read this! I can so picture you pushing and pushing those buttons and only getting music! lolol And learning with a "reversed gear shift"? Hey, you should be able to drive ANYTHING after that! Thanks! xo

Leanne said...

Cindy, I remember when you got that Dodge Avenger. You actually used to make a grrrrrowling noise when you described it to me! haha! And I know what you mean about selecting a car for you you you. Love it that your latest car is GREEN in both ways!:) xo

Leanne said...

Michele H, I would probably be very sad if I got a scratch on a cute little mini cooper. But the philosophy behind the scratch is that as soon as you leave the dealership parking lot with your new car, EVERYONE is out to get you. They cut you off. They park too close to you at the grocery store. As soon as you get that first scratch, they leave you alone.
Don't blame you for wanting another little mini cooper. THEY ARE ADORABLE!<3

Leanne said...

Charlene, I LOVE it that you got your Lexus! Don't you think when you have a car that you don't don't enjoy, or it gives you trouble, that you appreciate YOUR car that much more when you get it? I sure do. Love the wedding image of you and your hubby in your Green Chevy. That's too sweet. I remember you saying that you spent several hours with the Lexus instruction book to learn about the bells and whistles on your Lexus? Did you ever learn them all? Thanks for coming by, darlin'!:)

Leanne said...

Helen, love your little "Dodge Colt" engine that could.:) I'm with you on dependability. I have a nearly zero tolerance attitude about cars that aren't dependable. I've had to deal with that too often. Also can totally see why you need your vehicle to take the snow and ice well. Believe it or not, my Solara does pretty good in the snow. I found out during one of our EIGHTEEN INCH snows this past winter! On backing up, they're putting in new cameras and warning sounds for backing up. I'll take that option on my next one!:)

Michele Hauf said...

Leanne, I do have four dents on my doors from, as I like to refer to them, 'parking lot a**holes'. How dare people put a dent in another person's car and just leave? Don't they realize the expense? It kills me.

Kathleen Eagle said...

I fell in love with a car in the showroom once--metallic lavender with a moon roof. Off the top of my head I can't say what the make or model was. I bought it for the color and the moon roof. Luckily it was a good car. But I've never loved to drive, so I keep a car for a long time and usually end up with a few dents. I have back-up problems, too.

Oh! there's a squirrel outside my window carrying 3 acorns! They must be attached, maybe a 4th in his mouth, but I see 3. Where's my camera?

lois greiman said...

I long for a hybrid, or a Smart Car. Soooo cute and practical, but it's hard to pull a trailer with a vehicle the size of a thimble, so I'll probably always have a big honking gas guzzling truck too. Sigh.

sonya said...

I have had 5 cars.
First car I bought with my $$ was a pre-owned 1972 Camaro. Loved that car, but then I am a sports car girl.
Next, and my first new car was a 1984 four-door sedan. That was after I tried to knock myself out putting my baby's car seat in the back of my Camaro.
After that, was a 1990 mini van. Daughter was growing. Mini van was used to haul kids every where.
When Daughter started driving, the mini van was traded for a 1999 Camaro. I drove the Mom cars long enough, it was time for another sports car.
Kept the '99 until GM/Chevy announced the production stoppage of the Camaro. In 2002, bought a 35 year anniversary Camaro Z28. This is the car that I drive today. Love my car, Ziva. She may be 8 years old, but I still part in the back of the parking lots.

Leanne said...

Kathleen, totally get the appeal of metallic lavender and moonroof. I don't drive a lot either. But I'm still working on how that squirrel figured into

Leanne said...

Lois, the only way you could get away with something smaller is if you have two vehicles -- one for hauling horses, the other for hauling people.:)

Leanne said...

Sonya, you're a girl after my own heart. A true Camaro girl! Good for you. Now, I'm wondering... what color is your Ziva?:)

Anonymous said...

I used to go to car shows and drool over Ferraris until I bought my first car, a used VW Fox. It was definitely not a Ferrari but it got great gas mileage (35 hwy) and was no trouble (except for the engine dying once every year or so and I would have to leave the car where it was overnight so that it would run again in the morning). I kept that car for over 15 years until it wouldn't pass the new smog test. It was my very first car and I still think of it fondly (it lasted longer than two boyfriends).

Other cars that I remember fondly are the Infiniti I30 I had for a week (it was a bit too wide for my parking place but, man oh man, it was "like buttah") and the Toyota Camry that I traded the Infiniti in for. The Camry was totaled in a hwy collision, leaving me alive but very sad. Now I drive a Subaru station wagon with all wheel drive. It's way more zippy than my Saturn but the Saturn gets better gas mileage.

So, no really cool cars like your Mustang (although that Infiniti... *sigh*).


Cayla Maggio said...

It seems you’ve gone through different cars, Leanne. Well, I can’t blame you for that; if you think you’re not comfortable with what you drive, it’s fine to look for a replacement. But so far, I think the best car for me will always be a Dodge. Let the experience speak for itself.

Cayla Maggio