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What’s Your Car Story?

I spent the day with the folks from Ford today. My friend Michelle and I were lucky enough to zoom around the Los Angeles in a bright green Fiesta. The car handled cheerfully, and our day was fun.

Another day I’ll write specifically about Ford, but I wanted to know what your car story is.

I grew up in a car family. Los Angeles is home to the car culture, and my family embraced it. I was driving by age eleven, and my brother and I only liked vacations where we were allowed to get behind the wheel. By the time I graduated college I’d owned a Ford, two Hondas and a Mercury. My family had everything from classics (a ’57 vette, a ’67 speedster a Chevy Bel Air from gawd knows when…) to Jeeps. I’ve never enjoyed keeping a car longer than about a year, and if I had my druthers I’d be switching cars every week.

I love new technology and American cars are an awful lot of fun that way. I enjoy driving fast, but as a passenger I appreciate a leisurely pace.

Here’s the thing, from family vacations to births and weddings, cars have been part of my story. I loved Idaho as a kid, because we were allowed to drive there (well, not legally, but it sure was fun), as a teen I had a Bronco, which was like a party on wheels, and later a sedan. My senior year of college I got myself a little red convertible, and I had the time of my life in that car. We posed all over it in our wedding album. When I became a mother, the convertible went away, and the SUV came back into play, this time with an Explorer, followed by a Tahoe.

As the kids grow older I got back into a sedan, but this time a hybrid, because my daughter would like us all to leave a lighter footprint, please. And as I spent the day giggling and enjoying a nicely tuned automobile I realized that these cars tell our stories. My daughter’s story will include Ford giving to her favorite artists, my son’s story will always be driving a Porsche at 100 MPH with his father, but still feeling safe. There are many cars in between, too many to name, and each of them marks a moment in time.

Some people mark their milestones with the music they listen to. I mark mine with the cars I drive.

My kid’s first cars may or may not even be in production right now, but they will tell a story.


9 thoughts on “What’s Your Car Story?”

  1. I grew up with lots of cars too, but in Indiana the culture was a little different. My stories are about an old yellow bug whose floorboard was rotted through and you could see the ground moving below you when you were driving. Or the time my dad's Nova broke down for the thousandth time and we got out of the car, he took the plates off and we walked away never to return again. I have the biggest smile on my face remembering those cars. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  2. High School— Jeep Wrangler. White with tan zippable windows.
    College— Acura Integra. Cute, fast, black.
    Moving out to LA from Canada— Volkswagen Cabrio. Green with a tan top. Which was almost always down.
    Marriage and kids— Volvos. Sturdy, reliable.
    Birth of my second daughter— Volvo XC90 (she was actually born IN the car, but that's a whooole other story).
    Now— Volkswagen Touareg. Friendly and smart.

    I loved every one of those cars, and TOTALLY see my life in cars too.


  3. Great post. You're not alone, for sure. My life is summed up by the following:
    '71 (the year of my birth) Volkswagen Beetle (red)
    '81 Honda Civic Wagon (I was sensible in my early 20's)
    '84 Honda Accord Sedan
    '86 Volkswagen Vanagon (mommy-hood begins)
    '96 Honda Odyssey (the old wagon-style)
    '04 brand new Honda Odyssey minivan
    '00 Toyota 4Runner (divorce brings out the adventurer)

    Interesting idea — eras defined by our cars. Great post.

  4. my family loves cars. i don't anymore, but the rest of my family (sisters, parents) get a new car each year. the first car i drove was a black (and white) '54 chevy bel air, a year before i was legally allowed to drive. my dad had to help me turn the steering wheel at first. i had scrawny toothpick arms and, as you know, those cars are tanks that predate power steering. my grandfather still has that classic in his garage, though he no longer drives at 93. my father has a '55 chevy belair two-door hardtop convertible that he fully restored himself (just like he did with the '54). it's bright cherry red and he put a corvette engine in it, and over the years it has become a real symbol, an icon, to our family. my mom had a 60-something falcon until a couple years ago, and now she has an old VW bug. they always have one classic car each in addition to their main car.

    my first car was a 1979 ford pinto. mind you, i went to high school in the early 1990's. my grandfather liked to buy all his grandkids their first cars–and i don't think he paid more than a few hundred bucks for any of them. i'm sure you remember the deal with the ford pinto. one of my best friends was not allowed to be a passenger in my car, due to the fear of explosion should the pinto be hit from the rear. i don't know if the car was actually recalled and repaired. for all i know, it very well could've exploded in an accident. the pinto's previous owner was a town low-life of sorts–he bought beer for underage kids. he had long blond hair, like me. i'd get waves and honks all over town from people i didn't know–one time someone waved an empty beer case at me like it was a flag. it handled like a go-kart. actually, it pretty much WAS a go-kart.

    though i went through a VW phase, it's probably no coincidence that i currently drive a ford.

  5. Actually, a tiny bit similar with the Ford thing… very first car was a Ford Fairmont. She was lovingly named Bertha by all my friends. My parents(or I) didn't have a lot of money so she was bought for cash in the amount of $500 back in the late 80's. What mattered to me more than anything else was that this car was mine, only mine. I have many wonderful memories of that car.

  6. I grew up in the automobile business as well. I think that I worked as a title girl from the minute that I could pick up the phone and make calls. I can EASILY tell my life story, the ups and downs, my great loves and those that were fleeting through cars.

    Oh and the only way that I know how to give directions is… Take a right at the Ford dealer and go past 3 used car dealerships, when you get to the Acura store you’re almost there.

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