When I was in high school, my parents agreed that the family chauffeuring, which included three paper routes, would go a lot more smoothly if I had a car. Used, of course, but no problem.
Two cars were in the running, both selling for $400:
The Car I Wanted
The Car I Ended Up With
- The Jaguar was for sale by the owner; the Chevy was on the used car lot at a dealer. My parents thought the dealer option was a more reputable way to buy a car.
- The Jaguar was a foreign car and we were basically a “General Motors Family.” Plus, the Jag had a manual transmission and the Chevy had an automatic transmission. (I learned to drive on cars with a manual transmission.) Automatic transmissions screamed middle class as opposed to screaming hot rod.
- I never got a chance to tell the guy selling the Jaguar to drive like a grandma while showing us the car. No, he had to wind it all the way out in every gear. It was fast and loud and not the kind of sedate car my folks wanted me to be driving.
- As it turned out, the Chevy had a lot of problems with it (used more oil than gas, wouldn’t always start (especially in North Florida’s “cold” weather), had one window that wouldn’t roll up, etc. We only kept the car several years before all of us were fed up with it. I’m sure the Jag was perfect and that I’d still be driving it today.
- Using my experience: tell your folks you’ll go get something and for them not to worry about it. If they’re helping pay for it, agree upon a price and stick to it (to prove they can trust you).
My wife is amused that if this subject comes up, I’m still as ticked off about it now as I was at the time.
P.S. I’ve used that Chevy as one of the “bad characters” in my stories, aptly named “The Green Smoker.”