Car Crush

Meda White

I had something very unusual happen to me last week: I got a new car and I wasn’t happy about it. Don’t get me wrong, I like my new car but I loved my old one. Why Ellie? Why did you have to approach a hundred thousand miles so soon?
I know many people push their babies way past 100k on the odometer but for peace of mind, since we have to travel four to six hours one way to visit our families, we agreed that I’d drive my vehicles for a hundred thousand miles.
After I lost Ellie to the evil car traders, I spent a lot of time wondering what made her so special compared to other cars I’ve owned? It might help to know my car history.

My first car was a 1980 Chevy Camaro, gray with red leather interior and a red pinstripe to match. I was seventeen years old and the year was 1992. I hated that car with a passion…until my best friend drove me to school in it. At the end of the day, all of the boys were in the parking lot admiring my wheels. Everyone wanted to drive it and ride in it. It was fast and the dual glasspack made it sound as tough as it looked.
It was a good car for a while, even after the a/c broke followed by the door handles. Playing the “Duke boys” is only fun for so long. But on the up side, I could listen to all of my dad’s old eight tracks as I cruised the back roads with both windows down.

I took my first paycheck from my first job out of college and went straight to the car dealer where I leased a Mazda 626, white with tan leather interior. I loved that car. It had air conditioning and a sunroof. I thought I was all that and a bag of chips. I kept the roads hot around Atlanta and to South Georgia and back. Amazingly, I didn’t exceed my mileage.
Of all my cars, my husband guessed the 626 would have been my favorite. I told him it was a lease. I wasn’t ready for a serious commitment when I got it so when the time came, it was easy to let it go. It was during my whirl with the 626 that I met my husband. He called it the RBC (Rich B**ch Car) because it had a whole herd inside.

 
When we set our wedding date, he traded his Nissan 240 for a Ford Explorer. I guess he was thinking “family car.” The funny thing was that when my Mazda lease was up, he decided I should drive the Explorer and he should get a pickup truck. It turned out he didn’t like the Explorer and neither did I. We called it the “Exploder” because of a tire blowout problem that occurred in the nineties.

My next ride was a Volkswagon Jetta, white with tan leather interior. I loved that car too, except for when I got stuck in traffic on the Bay Bridge. It was a five speed manual transmission with turbo. It would scoot. About five years into my relationship with the Jetta, it started having expensive problems. That was when I decided that the Whites wouldn’t drive German cars unless we hit the lotto (which we don’t play).

That’s when I met the love of my car life. Ellie was a Honda Element or “toaster on wheels” as my husband called her. She wasn’t fancy, no leather, no sunroof…but she fit me somehow. Practical, bare bones, no frills, plenty of head room and leg room—sounds like me, right? She carried me nearly a hundred thousand miles without any trouble at all. I was disappointed when I heard Honda quit making Elements. If it’s possible to have a kindred car, she was mine.
As I sat at the car dealership with my husband hammering out a deal for a new car, I cried unexpectedly. They asked me to clean my things out of Ellie and I almost told them to shove it. I watched them drive her away until I couldn’t see her anymore. I kept telling myself the tears were PMS but they weren’t. Ellie was an important part of my life for seven years. It was a sad goodbye.
I know I am very blessed to be able to have and drive a new car. The new one definitely rides more smoothly on the rough roads near where I live. I think the new one does everything but make the coffee so it’ll take me a while to figure it out. “Lottie” is growing on me and I hope she’ll be as faithful as Ellie was.

Have you ever had a love affair with a car?

18 Comments

  1. Yes, oh yes.

    My current car is a red Toyota. It has no hubcaps (and seriously they are plastic and fall off if you hit a pebble). It is reliable, gets great gas mileage and I have no power anything in it. (Except A/C). I love this car.

    It has 130,000 miles on it. We’re going to go out in flaming glory together. Probably in one of three instances: 1. Middle of the worst thunderstorm ever. 2. Middle of the hwy or downtown of whatever city on the hottest day of the year. 3. The same scenario on the coldest day of the year–when I decided to wear only sweats and t-shirt, because I was dropping something off.

    I fear I digressed. LOVE the pictures of those cars and the story!

    1. Thanks, MV. I passed you in your little red Toyota when you were in the B. I waved but y’all didn’t see me and Ellie bumpin’ along down the torn up interstate. It’s a good thing you didn’t have hubcaps b/c they would fall off on that stretch of road for sure. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I loved the Camaro too, Meda. That thing would haul booty and it helped that the boys liked it too. The boys also liked Grandma’s Fury III, which we would hide in so that no one could see us. I’ve had a sentimental attachment to each of my cars; even the white Chevrolet that I “inherited” from Grandma once she became too old to drive it. When it broke down in Panama City Beach and Kevin Wood had to come and pick me and it up, I cried a little as I watched it being loaded on the back of that tow truck. Today, I got my early midlife crisis car: a black Porsche Boxster convertible, which I have name “Bridget” after Bridget Jones. I have a feeling I will have the wild hair like she did after the convertible ride with Daniel Cleaver on their mini-break holiday. lol. I’m sure I will be just as fond of Bridget as I have been of the others. Let the good times roll.

    1. You are gonna be one hot mama in Bridget. I thought about mentioning the in-between cars but there were too many. When the Camaro broke once, I hijacked mom’s Riviera and kept it a long time.

      Congratulations on your new car. I can wait for you to take me for a ride–then we’ll both be like… “Suddenly feel like screen goddess…in manner of Grace Kelly. Though perhaps ever so slightly less elegant under pressure.”

  3. My first car was a used 1955 little green Rambler; Gertie was clean as a whistle, grey leather interior 30,000 miles. She was sweet, carried me and my friends so many miles riding around the Dairy Queen and Hardees, popular hang outs back in the day. My next car was a 1966 Voltzwagon bug white with red interior. It was the first year the blinker switch was put on the steering column. I actually got stopped because I forgot where the switch was and failed to dim my lights at a police car. When he found out where the switch was, he scratched his head, said well I’ll be Damn and walked off. My very favorite car was a 1967 super sports Chevy Cheville, it was red with a black vinyl top. It had red leather interior, four in the floor. I called Rosie, after Rosie the Riveriter, because I thought she was tough. She was fast and I loved fast. I had a lot of nightmares after those but wonderful memories with all my cars. Seems they rub off on you just like people.

    1. Ooh, I like all those cars, especially the Chevelle. I bet Rosie was sweet with a lot of muscle. *Insert image of the Wooderson fist pump from Dazed & Confused.* People make a lot of memories in their cars so it’s no wonder they stick with you, huh? Thanks for sharing.

  4. So did I miss it or are you not going to tell us what you got? Oh and by the way, you met Sis already. She was parked in your driveway a while back. Yep, my favorite car is my F-150!

    1. It’s gorgeous, Ali. My sister has a black Mercedes coupe that is really nice and is for sale I think. Thanks for sharing.

      Carla, you can butt in anytime.

    2. Lol. Since I live on a farm, I don’t see that in my future. But it’s my car-boyfriend right now.

      And Carla is ALWAYS welcome to chime in!!!!

      I like my Enclave but it’s a big for my parking abilities!

  5. My first car was a 1966 LeMans. You can see a picture of what it looked at here (an old blog of mine) http://carlaswafford.blogspot.com/2011/11/100-miles-hour.html

    Meda, when you said you hated the Camaro, I went WHAT! GUYS WOULD LOVE IT! And we were all about the guys then (and now, I guess since we write romances. HA!)

    I haven’t given in to driving a SUV yet – The only one I like is the Toyota FJ Cruiser. Don’t know why, but I love the bright blue and yellow ones. LOL!

    This is one of my favorite subjects especially when it comes to what our heroes drive. Really, no VW’s for them. Please.

    1. I bet you had some good times in that LeMans, Carla. I grew to love that Camaro and now muscle cars really do it for me, especially the classics. It’s true that our fictional heroes have to have nice rides. Most of mine are Southern boys who drive big trucks and Harleys on occasion. Yeah, come on! Thanks for sharing.

  6. I can’t blame you for being attached to your car. Seven years is a very long time, and not all cars are still in good shape after that long. I suddenly remember my first car and proud to say that I’m still using it now. It’s a 2006 Ford Freestyle. Nothing fancy about it, but for me the most important thing is it can take my whole family of six and has plenty of cargo space. Anyway, ‘Lottie’ is a pretty name for a car. I hope she stays longer than 7 years as ‘Ellie’ did for you. → Ava Harness @ EliteToyota.com

    1. Thanks, Ava. I’m hoping this one will last me a while too. If I move closer to my family, it definitely will. Some friends got a Freestyle when they started having kids and six of us have ridden quite comfortably in it. I hope yours keeps trucking for a long while. Best wishes and thanks for stopping by.

  7. Since you need additional space for your family, getting a new car is a good choice, though I know how hard it is to let go of your old car. When you’re really happy with what you have now, it’s really hard to give them up. You’d want to maintain it regularly to prevent any damage. Anyway, enjoy your new car, Meda! 🙂

    Ashely @ Infinitiofannarbor.com

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