Color me an oddball. I have only owned four cars in my life, and only two have been new.
First came the ’66 Mustang my Dad bought me in the ‘70s. It was black with a red interior. I was constantly having the transmission rebuilt, but it was still more economical than buying a new car. I finally had air conditioning installed in the ‘80s when I quit teaching. When you teach school and have summers off, you can get away without AC. When I got my first office job and had to wear pantyhose to work in the summer, AC was a must. My Dad paid $600 for that car, and that’s what I got for it when I finally gave it up.
Next up was my red Honda Prelude, and there’s quite a story about that car. I had a friend who took lots of business trips and always parked at the airport. She came home from a trip and couldn’t find her car in the parking lot. The lot had no record that the car had ever been there, but after much back and forth, the car was declared stolen and she settled with the insurance company. A year or two later, she got a call that her car had been found—in an airport parking lot. Just as there are today, there were several lots at the airport, and I can only think that they didn’t compare records and she was confused as to which lot she’d parked in. She never, ever admitted she might have been confused.
The insurance company didn’t want anything from her; they just wanted her to know her car had been found. She knew my Mustang was on its last legs and worked out a deal for me to buy the lost car. I also drove that car until it dropped. I think what did it in was my driving it too far when it overheated one time. After that, it was never the same.
That prompted me to buy my first new car. I purchased a 1998 red Acura Integra. With me working at home for the last 17 years of my career, the car accumulated fewer than 110,000 miles. I saw no reason to get rid of it, though my husband worried about my safety in a small car, and one friend no longer wanted to accompany me on trips in it.
It still got 25 mpg around town and ran just fine. Did I occasionally wish I had a more modern radio or even a car with a bit less road noise? Sure. Did I want to spend $30 or $40K to get these little luxuries? Not hardly.
When I hit my 20-year anniversary with my little red car, I succumbed to the pressure to get a new, larger one. After a bit of research, I was happy to learn that the Honda CRV was the top 2018 SUV. I had to laugh at the salesperson who kept touting the resale value. I told him I intended to keep it for 20 years and had no worries about resale. I settled on one in Basque Red Pearl.
For the first few weeks, I had buyer’s remorse, feeling like I was driving a tank and wishing I’d gotten something smaller. My husband is such a trooper; he even offered to take it off my hands. I could tell he was a bit disappointed when I adjusted and decided I’d keep it—at least for the next 20 years or so.
Kathy is a Sandy Springs resident. Find her books, “Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch” and “The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday,” at the Enchanted Forest, Amy’s Hallmark at the Forum, and on Amazon. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/KathyManosPennAuthor/.