Editor’s Note: Matt Brenner is a weekly contributor to TFLcar, sharing some of his best (and worst) car experiences.
I was so nervous when I got my first car.
Can you ever forget the first time you laid eyes on your first car? When you pulled those glimmering keys out of your gold-stitched Levi’s, slipped into the drivers’ seat and felt the fiery vibrations of the engine coming to life? It was like watching a California sunset. That first car I owned, a Ford Mustang, was visceral freedom. It was a bonding experience – maybe more. It’s one of those feelings you don’t easily forget.
And for all the many flaws my little pony had, I still remember that unbridled streak of excitement that shot down my spine the first time I saddled up! However, the Mustang I owned was far from the brooding steed you’re imagining.
It’s time to come clean. The car I owned was actually a urine colored, 1977 Mustang II. Yes, that Mustang II. It sported only four measly pistons, a slushy manual transmission and was about as quick as a drowsy snail. My mother named it “Stella”, for some reason that escapes me to this day.
It’s all part of the experience.
First cars today are as safe as a nun’s room key. My 17-year-old son’s car has a rearview camera, 657 air-bags, four-wheel disc brakes, and Ayrton Senna’s ghost in the back seat giving him pointers on how to hit the apex accurately. Not only is his car safe, but it also starts every day. He will probably never know the frozen nose-hole morning gamble of “will it start”. Predictably, it always does!
However, I feel like the current crop of young enthusiasts is missing something with these auspicious little carnival rides. They won’t have to short a cadaverous starter relay during a violent hailstorm. Or spray non-ozone friendly starting fluid into the throat of a carburetor while hand-operating a throttle as your buddy churns the motor. And they certainly will never have to fling the driver’s door open, and Flintstones-power their car backward while simultaneously popping the clutch. These things give you grit, and character. And scars — plenty of scars. They’re a right of passage, and fodder for you to reminisce about some 30 years later to folks like you.
Hopefully some of you out there still have experiences like these of your own to share. Let us know some of your best car moments!
We are all so lucky to have these firsts.
We never forget out firsts. Even today, although modern cars are safer and more reliable, they’re still our kids’ very first passages to teenage freedom. They’re tattooed into our soul somewhere between mom’s Christmas cookies, and that time you found $20 on the sidewalk. Ultimately, that first car experience is one of the blocks that build up to the sort of person we end up being. They probably also shape what sorts of cars we buy and build as adults. After all, I still love Mustangs.
My first car was a disrespected, sad little pony. But I loved her!
What was your very first car? Drop us a comment below and let us know some of your first and best experiences.