My first car was pretty crappy. How about yours?
After getting my driver’s license at 17, I talked to my parents about finally getting a car. I don’t remember why I didn’t get my license at 16, but perhaps it was because I had such a spiffy bicycle the ladies loved. *Ring a ding a ling * was the sound of my bell every time I rode by a hot girl.
It always felt odd that I had to walk or ride my bike to school when other kids got to drive their new Ford Explorer SUVs, and VW Jettas. Even my parents drove an 8 year old car at the time. Oh well, I thought to myself. Perhaps one day.
THE HIDDEN GEM THAT WAS NOT A GEM
The day I got my driver’s license was one of the most memorable days. One, because I failed the written test the first time, and my mom wasn’t too happy. Two, because my parents took me to “Fresh Choice”, an all you can eat buffet restaurant to celebrate. I had dreams of rumbling in a 5.0 liter Mustang for my first car. Nothing sounds so beautiful. In fact, I actually test drove one of my classmates because he was selling it to buy an Acura NSX! “$9,000 and it’s yours Sam!” Yeah right. All I have is like $900 bucks, but I sure am glad I got to test drive!
My parents gave me a $2,000 budget, so I searched the Auto For Sale section of the papers gleefully to find my dream vehicle. Damn, even in those days $2,000 wasn’t too much money. There was no internet at the time mind you so all I could do was base my impression on some text in a paper. I finally stumbled upon one ad that just sung to me, “Excellent condition 1987 Nissan Sentra with only 135,000! Seller is running for District Supervisor. Only $1,699!” $1,699 was $500 cheaper than all the other comparables and I thought I had a deal.
We drove out to the aspiring District Supervisor’s shoddy apartment and took a look. What a junker! The car had a faded yellowish color, with a newly painted driver’s door, because obviously someone bashed into it. Even still, we took it for a ride, and I just loved it. We paid cash on the spot and drove it home.
With all the scrubbers and cleaning chemicals I bought from the auto store, I got to work detailing every single inch of my new baby. I even got one of those scented pine cone car fresheners to hang from my rear view mirror. It was a dream come true. My very first car to drive to school in!
Too bad only a month had past when * boom * my clutch broke down and my car no longer could shift gears and move. No wonder it was $500 cheaper than all the other cars in the paper.
I had to replace all of the CV boots as well. $1,100 later, the car was as good as new. Curses to you District Supervisor! Now I remember why I don’t trust politicians. It all started at age 17. I’m glad I started with a piece of crap, because nothing could have been worse!
Related: The 1/10th Rule For Car Buying Everyone Must Follow
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Updated for 2021 and beyond
Jenny Potter says
I appreciate your effort in writing such a detailed content. Your post covers each and every aspect or essential topics require for it. Love to read it. People are using old cars and spending money on the fixing and maintenance of the old junks car. If you’re in that condition, or maybe you have an old junk car, SUV, or truck that doesn’t run any longer.
Thanks for sharing
When I was 17 drove a 2013 vw passat
18 drove 2003 accord
19 2008 accord v6 exl and 2000 limited 4runner
Goal at 20 2008 silverado ext cab 4×4
Well my first was a 99 ford explorer 4×4 black i got it off my sister for 450.00 and that’s where the nightmare begun.It did not have a front grill and half the bumper was missing and it also had a big dent in the hood.That was all do to her husband hitting a deer and of course the fun did not stop there.Half of the rear panel was caved in all the way from top to bottom. The sun roof leaks and so does the back window.Spent 800 bucks buying new rotors and brake pads along with other things one rotor was so thin and rusted that it broke off in my hand .Spent 6 months fixing the body and a friend got me a different grill and bumper it was starting to shape up until the the ball joints went out had to get those replaced and new shocks. all of the tires was bad so i got them replaced.Let me see what’s next then going down the road heard and felt a jolt from the rear end and then the cruise control went out and then my abs light came on got those fixed finally.And now my uncle decided to repaint my hood with out my knowledge because the clear coat was coming up.Well that was a disaster he sanded the hood got primer and paint and he just got done shooting the paint his friend showed up.He decided to pick up shop mate that was full of dust to get it out of the way when he laid it back down he dropped it and it threw dust and dirt into the fan and it blew it all over the new paint.My uncle tried to fix it but got mad and left a HUGE pile of paint in the corner of the hood he flooded it.I am just wondering what’s next still have yet to enjoy it cause i am always working on it and sad to report that i still have it drives and shifts good but it has me gun shy as to what’s in store i have wayyyy more money into it then what it was worth
“I’m glad I started with a piece of junk because nothing could have been worse!” Sounds like my first job (which I still have). I have my first car and it’s amazing, albeit modest. Never breaks down.
I still can’t afford an NSX and it’s been discontinued since 2005! Envious of your friend!
Modern Tightwad says
My first car was a 1992 VW Jetta. If I hadn’t fought a cadillac and lost, I’d still drive it to this day; when I see a 90-92 Jetta driving down the street I get a little misty. One of the best things was there wasn’t a lot to break on them. Crank windows, crank sunroof, vacuum locks. A truly great car that I miss.
The Biz of Life says
Everyone needs to own a piece of junk as their first car so they can experience how they don’t live the rest of their lives.