While digging through the attic the other day, I found a photograph that brought back a flood of memories. Old photos tend to do that. It was a picture of a 1980 Volkswagen Rabbit aka my first car. If you’re like me, just looking at an image like that transports you to another time and place. Also milestone moments associated with the vehicle – prom, first dates, friends’ houses, first job, sporting events, road trips. Oh, the road trips. And details like the fact that for some reason, I was always looking for a hubcap for that car. I’d be rolling along for awhile with three, finally purchase one to complete the set, only to have one go sailing down the median at 55 mph about a week later. Good times.
The Speedy Rabbit
But my Rabbit (“Speedy” – all first cars should have a name, right?) was the first car that almost wasn’t. In fact, another automobile was very close to being my original ride. My grandfather was in the car business and had spotted for me a sweet little MG Midget. The operative word here being “little” and the deciding factor for passing on this particular car as my training wheels came down to one thing – space.
Being one of the first of my friends to get a driver’s license – not based on my masterful skills behind the wheel, but on the fact that my birthday fell in September – I settled for a four-seater versus a two-seater. Thus taking into account the miles that would be spent cruising with a carload of friends. And so it was that the four-speed manual transmission Rabbit became my transportation for my formative driving years. Even with all of the flat-tire changes and oil poured into the engine, still, many good times.
A quick unofficial poll around the office brings similar results to my own as people reflect on their first experiences with cars. Statements about a light blue Ford Crown Victoria where “The air didn’t work, but the heat did.” Or a rusted-out Chevy Chevette with broken stereo knobs. A black five-speed Dodge Daytona, 1983 Fiat Uno, Suzuki Samurai, and a chocolate brown Mazda station wagon with a driver’s side door that regularly sounded an annoying alarm, indicating the door was ajar.
The point is, the first car is more than just something to get you around. It’s a rite of passage into a whole new world and a place for a lifetime of memories to be made. Oh sure, I’ve had other vehicles since then, but I will never forget that first car or all of the memories that went along with it.
And if you have any first car stories you’d like to share, please do so at our RoadLoans Facebook page. We’d love to hear them.