The types of vehicles we drive speaks volumes about who we are as individuals. However, what determines the choice we make in our mode of transportation is directly related to the stage of life we happen to be in at the time. Let me explain.
The car that a young teenaged boy chooses as his first mode of transportation is dictated by a number of factors: who his friends are, where he lives (city, country, suburbs), etc. But the primary consideration is usually money. Purely and simply, he will buy the best car he can, based solely upon his available finances—or lack thereof. In my case, that was the princely sum of fifty dollars. Before you laugh, consider the fact that those same 1962 fifty dollars would be worth four hundred dollars today. Not exactly a fortune, but surely enough to purchase something drivable. What did they buy back then? Why, a 1950 Ford—with four new tires.
As I progressed through my twenties and thirties, a succession of reliable, but affordable vehicles occupied a place in my driveway. They included: a 1951 Chevy, two 1956 Chevrolets, a 1966 Corvair (unsafe at any speed), a 1960 VW (a minor setback in status), a 1970 VW Super Beetle (a step up), and a 1976 Dodge Club Cab pickup (a huge mistake). Are you noticing a pattern? All of these vehicles were practical choices. I’m a man.
Now, contrast that with some of the cars owned by my spouse: a ’65 VW, a 1970 Chevy Nova (orange with a cabriolet roof), a 1975
AMC Hornet (What is a Hornet?), a 1976 Plymouth Volaré (which came first, the car or the song?), a 1981 Volvo, a 1996 Audi 4000S, and a ’98 Honda Accord. See any pattern there? Of course! Those choices were made strictly based upon a color, the car’s silhouette, the texture of the seat fabric, the grille’s shape—or the day of the week. Explanation? There was none.
As we moved into our forties, fifties, and sixties, the choices we made were mostly dictated by necessity. Becky owned sedans, best suited to her occupations, first as a salesperson, and then as a teacher. I had a succession of pickup trucks, more in keeping with my main hobby: fly fishing.
For the past sixteen years, my ride has been a 1998 Ford Ranger. I bought it used in 2000, with 25,000 miles. Currently, it has 145,000 miles on it, but still looks and runs great. Becky’s last two cars have been Chevy Equinoxes, each one as comfortable and beautiful as a car can be. We’ve used them primarily for road trips and evening excursions to the movies or for shopping.
If we’re honest, most of us will admit that each vehicle we have owned has had a “back story” or “history” behind it. For instance, take my 1966 Corvair. I once made a caffeine-fueled, roundtrip dash, coast-to-coast in my ’66 Corvair—in a mere six-and-a-half DAYS. That feat, back in 1967, catapulted me to superstar status among my peers that many remember till this day. How about sharing a story or two about what makes your “car meter” vibrate, or a particular automotive experience you’ve had in your life? We’d love to hear it.