What Was Your First Car Like?

In a recent speech to the auto industry, President Obama talked about the fact that his daughter Malia will be getting her learner’s permit soon. She might not be doing too much solo driving if her dad’s still in office, but she’ll have to practice somewhere…which of course begs the question, will she get a car?

(Cue flashback.)

It was the spring of 1996, and I was enrolled in high school about twenty minutes away from where I lived. The sooner I could drive, the sooner my parents could stop trekking two towns over every morning to drop me off.

So, I got a car. It was not new. It was from the 1980s. It was a shit brown Nissan Sentra, with one door panel that was a different shade, it barely ran well enough to get me to school and back, and I shared it with my older brother.

Honestly, I’m not sure that the car I own now is in much better condition. But I have fond memories of that Nissan, letting half of my class drive it because it was one of the few cars we had between us, digging it out of snow, and all the other wonderful things that go along with vehicle ownership.

What about you? What was your first car like?

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    • Jo

      Perhaps one day, I will get a driver’s license.
      Small steps.

      • Jinx

        Same. I’m 22 and still don’t have mine.

    • Dove

      1994 Nissan Pathfinder, in 2001. I could NOT have been more excited to get that car (which I only got thanks to my older brother’s delinquent payments and my parents’ having co-signed for it).

    • M

      I’m 26 and I still daily drive my first car. <3 His name is Hal [short for Harlan], and he is most excellent. He was my dad's car first and so I inherited him in stellar condition with almost exactly 100k on him, complete with built-in memories since I was eight. Plus he's also a pretty rockin' car in general: a '92 5-speed Lexus SC300 [the plusher version of the naturally aspirated Mark IV Supra; the manual transmission is pretty rare]. On his factory suspension his rear broke loose on turns ALL the time so I've learned well how to control oversteer, but he's much more planted since he got coilovers. He just turned 19 and cruised past 185k miles and he's still going strong. Depending on my work schedule I sometimes drive over 200 miles a day and he's never ever given me a real problem [a few things have been replaced, obviously, but he's never had a breakdown]. We take care of each other.

      I just bought my second vehicle ever [well sort of; a friend and I co-bought a 600hp Camaro a couple years ago but that was just to part out: it was no longer a car within a week, so I don't really count it]: a 2WD '89 Toyota Pickup, 5-speed with less than 140k, AND fuel-injected [SO EXCITED]. I got it dirt cheap because it didn't run [I was pretty sure I could fix that] and the owner was leaving the country in a couple days. Now he runs like a champ [though he's kind of in pieces because we're doing his timing chain, but he'll probably be back up tomorrow]. Sadly [for me] my boyfriend will be taking him with him to school out of state so I won't get to play with him too much for the next year and a half-ish when he graduates, but after that we'll probably argue all the time about who gets to drive him. Tentative name: Truckman McTruckles. Truck for short. Mister McTruckles in formal situations, Senor McTruckles when he's in college with the boy in Arizona, and perhaps Monsieur McTruckles if we ever take him up to French Canadia. He's only been running again for about a week but I'm already super-attached. Whee!

    • Giona
    • Eileen

      My sister named my first car Harold. I protested that I didn’t want my car to share a name with the Anglo-Saxon king whom William the Conqueror overthrew, but she didn’t listen.

    • Lea

      My first car was a 1999 Jeep Wrangler. I loved it to death :)

    • Lee
    • Rachel

      A 1991 Hyundai Accent. My mom and I shared it when I was in my first year of University and had to get back and forth to University and my summer internship about 1 hour away from home. It was my grandma’s old car she used for grocery shopping on Sundays. She upgraded and sold it to us for $10.

      The windshield wipers didn’t work for the longest time so I had to keep putting off my final road test for my full license because you know that would have been the day it rained that summer if I had just risked booking it. Finally a really nice man from my mom’s church came and fixed them with his son for free (we were broke).

      His name was Billy (the car, not the man).

    • Arnie

      I learnt to drive in a Mitsubishi L300, column shift, van. My parents still have it, and I do love it so.

      The first ever vehicle I actually bought and owned for myself was a blue (aside from the rust and duct tape) Honda Nifty50 scooter, which I still have and drive to this day. Yes, it’s older than me, it can’t go faster than 45kph without gravity helping, and frequently needs a jump start (not to mention the shitty brakes, loud noise, and frequent bouts of smoke), but I love it just the same, and it gets me where I need to go much faster than walking or public transport.

      And I bet you’re all jealous that it costs me $4 a tank.