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Saturday Musings - Your First Taste of Freedom

20180811_firstcar

This past week I’ve had the pleasure of watching as one of my daughters achieved a milestone that she will never forget. She’d been working incredibly hard in multiple jobs and had managed to save up enough money to buy her first car.

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There’s something really special about your first car. Yes, in your late teens it represents the single biggest purchase you may have made in your life up until that date, but your first car is a lot more than just an asset. It represents a sense of new found freedom and that you’re beginning to cut the parental strings.

“What time will you be home?” is answered somewhat like, “When the car brings me.”

I remember my first car, it was a Mazda 1200. Sounds really sporty until you realise the 1200 stands for the size of the engine in millilitres. For those of you that aren’t enlightened about the wonders of the metric system and how everything ends in zero then this is about 2.536 pints. A simpler way of understanding the engine size is to imagine a reasonable sized motorbike engine and then say to yourself, “That looks about right.”

My first car cost me $200 and came with air conditioning. Well, sort of anyway. The floor was so rusted out that you would get a beautiful rush of air that tickled your toes as you drove down the road. This was great in summer but in winter it was miserable until I squashed a few coke cans down to cover the holes.

The driver seat was bent way back and so being an enterprising young man I built it up with some blankets so that I didn’t feel like I was in a recliner lounge as I drove down the road.

Late one night I went to start the joy of my life and for some reason it didn’t turn over. Since I was doing an electronics degree I guessed it was a fuse, so I hunted around for a bit of metallic chocolate wrapping paper (yes, they used to be wrapped in aluminium) in the back seat. After twisting it into what looked a little like a fuse I shoved it into place and the engine started. Good times!

Your first car is the one that comes with a lot of character. For instance, indicating to go around a corner sounded like the Mazda was vomiting in the back seat. I would quite often have to fill up with oil and check the gas…..nothing like a blown head gasket. But the car never let me down…..until the end that is.

I thought it was about time to put it down when I had the unfortunate experience of coming to a corner and for some reason the little Mazda decided to floor itself. This meant that I was speeding up, rather than slowing down. In a Porsche or Ferrari this would have been fine but in my little car some quick thinking had to be applied.

I turned the engine off, applied the brake, glided around the corner and then turned it back on. Problem solved until I thought about the fact that if I kept on driving the love of my life that I wouldn’t be around much longer for the other love of my life waiting back home…..that’s Roselyn BTW.

Sadly, the day came for me to take the little buzz box to the wreckers. After getting paid $100 for the scrap metal price I walked away with a few tears in my eyes….it was like putting down a faithful dog or cat. I will always have the memories.

When I look at my daughters car it has none of the characteristics of my own. For instance, she has airbags, heated seats and a thing called cruise control. For my first car I thought cruise control was a brick leaning on the accelerator pedal. Regardless of all the new modern features I'm sure she'll create some great memories in it.

What was your first car like? Do you still remember that taste of freedom that you had when you first sat behind the wheel? I would love to hear about some of the funny stories I’m sure you’ve had in your first car.

Have a great weekend.
Michael

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Comments

Guest - Robin John Parnaby on 11 August 2018

Michael :
My first car was a Series one Land rover. It was not new,but had been really looked after by it's previous owner,Considering that at that time I lived in the Kimberley's (aka: Northern Western Australia),and sealed roads were thousands of kilometres away down south.It was perfect for the use that I needed it for.It was very ulitarion in it's operation.I was presented to me as an 18th birthday present,by my father.I drove it all over the outback,on camping trips etc....My father I think had an ulterior motive in giving it to me,I think.It meant that I did not get my hands on his latest model Landrover station wagon,it even had airconditioning,the wagon that is.No Toyota Landcruisers,or Nissan Patrols,back in those days.Eventually I think that he felt sorrt for my plight,because I was then given a Cessna 172,second hand,but I went balistic in joy.The ultimate back country magic carpet.

Michael : My first car was a Series one Land rover. It was not new,but had been really looked after by it's previous owner,Considering that at that time I lived in the Kimberley's (aka: Northern Western Australia),and sealed roads were thousands of kilometres away down south.It was perfect for the use that I needed it for.It was very ulitarion in it's operation.I was presented to me as an 18th birthday present,by my father.I drove it all over the outback,on camping trips etc....My father I think had an ulterior motive in giving it to me,I think.It meant that I did not get my hands on his latest model Landrover station wagon,it even had airconditioning,the wagon that is.No Toyota Landcruisers,or Nissan Patrols,back in those days.Eventually I think that he felt sorrt for my plight,because I was then given a Cessna 172,second hand,but I went balistic in joy.The ultimate back country magic carpet.
mgilmour on 12 August 2018

Now I am green with envy! A Cessna 172!!!

Now I am green with envy! A Cessna 172!!!
Rawgi on 12 August 2018

I would just love to have an old FJ40 about now. We didn't get any of those cars like you had in Australia. Interesting how we were limited to what was available and what they were worth. My first was about $75.00 US and I had to save to get it, but I was only 16 and working part time after school. That was a long time ago around 1969.

I would just love to have an old FJ40 about now. We didn't get any of those cars like you had in Australia. Interesting how we were limited to what was available and what they were worth. My first was about $75.00 US and I had to save to get it, but I was only 16 and working part time after school. That was a long time ago around 1969.
Rawgi on 11 August 2018
My First Car

I have had over 80+ cars and trucks , and motorcycles over the years, but my first was a 1954 Chevrolet 2 dr hardtop. Leaked oil everywhere, but ran like a top. It being the 70s I traded it for a 1955 Volkswagon bus and so began my experience owning many cars. I have had some nice ones and some real POS, but they all gave some good memories and you learn fast that it is like a pet and needs attention if you plan to get anywhere in one piece. First car with airbags, whats the world coming too, Lol? Airconditioning through holes in the floor, that beats 4/60,( 4 windows down at 60 miles per hour).

I have had over 80+ cars and trucks , and motorcycles over the years, but my first was a 1954 Chevrolet 2 dr hardtop. Leaked oil everywhere, but ran like a top. It being the 70s I traded it for a 1955 Volkswagon bus and so began my experience owning many cars. I have had some nice ones and some real POS, but they all gave some good memories and you learn fast that it is like a pet and needs attention if you plan to get anywhere in one piece. First car with airbags, whats the world coming too, Lol? Airconditioning through holes in the floor, that beats 4/60,( 4 windows down at 60 miles per hour).
mgilmour on 12 August 2018

I remember that type of air conditioning....always worked and was really economical LOL!

I remember that type of air conditioning....always worked and was really economical LOL!
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