I was 18 years old and loved every ugly brown inch of my first car, a 1969 Dodge Dart . I also was terribly proud when I put my purple " Kenyon College " sticker on its bumper. The car never made it as far as Ohio, but it lives on in my memory.
I've been asking readers, via Facebook, to submit memories of their first car. Here is another submission in this reader-driven series, from Norwalk resident, Christine Klimek.
My first car was a white 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit . I bought it (with a little help from my parents) at age 17 for about $1,000. Its main selling point was that it had "only" 65,000 miles on it. At my price point, that made it a great catch.
Although it was "pre-owned," it had a new car smell. At least, it did to me - others suggested that the smell might just be old cigarette smoke. It had a light blue (some would say "washed out") interior. When I drove it, it made a clacking sound as if something (or some things) was (or were) loose. I didn't care, though. To me, that car represented the freedom to go where I wanted to go, when I wanted to go there. Of course, the only places I ever went were school, my after-school job at the Norwalk Library, McDonalds and the movies with my friends, but no matter.
One day, while driving around town the summer after freshman year of college, I noticed a little red light on the dashboard. I remember thinking, "Hmmm, wonder what THAT's all about!" And continued on my merry way.
I continued to drive the car around for the next few days. The red light was still on. I figured it probably wasn't a big deal. The car was still taking me from point A to B, and that's all that mattered.
One night after dinner, I casually mentioned the red light to my dad. He looked, shall we say, "Alarmed."
"What light is it?" He asked.
"I dunno. It's red. And it's a picture of something," I said.
He went out to the car, started it and let it idle for a minute or two. Now that I was out of the car and not driving it, I immediately noticed a funny smell coming from the engine.
He shut it off and got out of the car. "You realize that's the oil light," he said.
"Yeah. So I'm low on oil. I can go get some more tomorrow."
"Tomorrow?!!! You've probably already blown out the engine!"
A trip to the mechanic the next day confirmed that the engine was indeed blown, and that I was indeed very lucky to not have gotten stranded on the side of the road somewhere. That was the death knell for my 1979 Volkswagen Rabbit. It didn't die in vain, though - it taught me a lifelong lesson about the importance of the "low oil" light.
Keep your "My First Car" ideas coming. Please send me an email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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