I've always liked cars. Cars have a timeless quality to them that we can all relate to. We all remember our first car, our favorite car, and our least favorite car. We remember that car that took us across the country and the first car we bought.
My first car was a dark green '96 Saturn SC1. It was a two-door coupe and while not a sports car exactly, it sort of looked like one. I used to joke with my friend Chris that it was a sports car because it had a 'Performance' button and when we would race, I'd push it for that little bit extra. He drove an early rustic red '90s Mercury Topaz, one where you could remove the key while you drove. It scared the living crap out of me. But we had fun in those cars.
I blasted classic rock from my speakers and loved that I could ditch the school bus for a car of my own as a high school upperclassman. I drove that car down to school at EIU and it got me around where I needed to go. I had little problem with it, and I will always treasure my time driving it on the open country roads down there.
My favorite car is the one I have now. My 2018 Dodge Challenger GT is a car that I hope to hold onto for some time. I only put fifteen thousand miles on it since then and am more than glad that I got the all-wheel drive model. It holds better in the snow than any of my previous cars and when there's dry pavement it can get up and go in a hurry.
My '05 Ford Taurus was the car from hell. It broke down at least once every six months, and I'll never forget how the transmission went out as I was driving to work one day. I did all I could do from driving backwards.
My dad and I have bonded over cars since I was a boy. We built model cars together and went to the Auto Show. We'd frequent classic car shows and pick out the models that were our favorites. We'd even watch car shows on TV from time to time. Certain cars, like the Trans Am, I wish they would bring back. But I guess certain models need to stay retired for now. The Trans below is one of my favorites. That one appeared at a show in Chicago Ridge, Ill. a few years back and only had a few miles on it.
The very first car that I drove in was a late 80s or early 90s Thunderbird. I can't remember the exact year. But I remember that I was 15 and I didn't have my driver's permit yet because a friend of the family took me out to the cemetery and said, "I'm going to teach you how to drive." I'll also never forget that because my parents used to own that very same car and my dad would pick me up and put me in the driver's seat to let me play with the steering wheel. So the first car that I got into the driving seat with is also the first car I drove. How about that?
As a little side story, I always wanted a Jeep Wrangler. Always wanted one. So, I rented a hard top one when I went on trip to Denver one year and upon visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, I couldn't figure out how to roll down the window. I successfully held up the line in back of me because I didn't know how to roll down the window. The booth attendant directed me that I needed to open the door on the Wrangler instead. "Yeah, we get that a lot," she said. Know your cars, especially if you rent them. It makes for a funny story though. I sat in a soft-top Wrangler on another trip headed to Michigan and that time, one of the soft top windows completely blew off onto the shoulder of the highway. We pulled over, picked it up and taped it on with masking tape at a nearby gas station. It flapped in the wind in the cold air all the way there. If I ever get a Wrangler, I'll never get a soft top.
Anyway, I hope to have my Challenger a long time so that even as the world changes and becomes even more crazy and fast-paced, I can look back at that time-capsule of a car and see that some things never change.
This was the Mustang I owned for a brief period in 2014. I loved that car too.