I’ll bet we all remember the first car we bought. It’s a rite of passage, an icon of growing up into adulthood. The leap from borrowing the parents’ car to purchasing one’s own car brings freedom and responsibility. It’s time to leave childhood.
As a high school student, I didn’t have a car. I drove my mom’s car when I needed one. For my freshman year of college, I had a bicycle and lived on campus. When I moved off campus for my remaining college years, a car became a greater need.
My first car was a Dodge Omni. I bought it from my mom’s friend when I was 19 years old. Coyn was a large, quiet man who owned his own body shop. The Omni had been wrecked and Coyn now owned it. He had fixed the dents and painted it. Thinking that the car was too small for his lengthy body, I assumed he was going to resell it and asked how much it would cost for me to buy it. He said, “$1200.”
I said, “Sold!”
I withdrew $600 from my savings account and my boyfriend gifted me the rest. He had graduated from college and had steady income.
With money in hand, I arrived at Coyn’s shop. “I’m ready to buy the car,” I announced.
He went to his nearby house, located the title, and we completed the transaction.
If wasn’t until later that my mom told me that he hadn’t actually meant to sell me the car. He was going to keep it for himself, but when I showed up with the money, he didn’t tell me he hadn’t been serious about the price. He was a good, kind man and sold it to me anyway.
The car wasn’t attractive, but it was a wonderful car. It did great in the snow. It had good storage, enough for four college girls to pack all their gear and go to fencing tournaments.
After college, I got my teaching job and a regular salary. I thought of that former boyfriend who had given me the $600 and sent him a check, with some interest. I knew it was a gift freely given, but I could now repay the kindness. I sent off a check and soon received a reply. It turned out that he had decided to go to seminary and was now in need of money! The timing was perfect.
After many good years together, my poor car caught on fire, from an oil leak. Did you know you can use dirt to put out an engine fire? Being old, the car was declared a total loss. Letting it be towed off to the junk yard felt disloyal after all those years of service.
Like our first loves, our first cars have a special place in our hearts.
What was your first car?