Let’s continue our journey in the Then N’ Now series with a discussion of cars. Anybody that has seen the “Velocity” channel knows that the cars of my era are now worth many times more than their original purchase price. Would I rather have a 1970s car or one made today? That is the topic for this post.
My first new car was a 1970 fastback Mustang. It was on the showroom floor of a Lafayette dealership just for me, or at least some soon to be Purdue graduate. I didn’t learn to drive until I was nineteen because there was nothing to drive if I had gotten my license earlier. Owning a brand-new car was a surreal experience. When the dealer told me that all I needed to get this orange beauty was my diploma and a to sign on the bottom line and it was mine. When I heard those words any logic that I might have had when I walked onto that showroom floor disappeared. That evening I called dad and proudly told him he didn’t have to pick me up that weekend as I now own a car of my own.
When I graduated on a Sunday I barely had enough money to put $3 worth of gas in the tank. That got me 10 gallons of gas and enough to get the hundred miles home and a little more. The following Monday I was ready for my first full-time job. I was a 23-year-old so of course I wanted everyone to know I had a muscle car so I was constantly challenging anyone who would take the dare to a race from every stoplight.
My car was up to my abuse for the first two years or so, then things began to break. The tires were worn out and the carburetor needed some serious work. By the end of the third year it had nearly 30,000 miles on it and seemed to be in the shop more than it was in front of my bachelor pad apartment. At 35,000 miles there were some seriously strange noises coming from the transmission, so I knew it was nearing the end of its life. Instead of fixing the transmission and putting on the third set of tires I traded in for a 1973 Chevy Laguna.
I will always remember my first car but would I want another one like it today?
I continued to trade in cars every three years for another twenty years.
I now own my eighth new car. It is a Chevy Sonic that I named Sasha- My sassy Sonic. My Mustang got about 8 miles-per-gallon but Sasha gets between 35 and 40 mpg. She now has about 50,000 miles on her, but she continues to run as well as the day I took her home eight years ago. Except for a new battery and a half-dozen oil changes she has given me NO problems.
Why would I want to go back to the days of gummed up carbs, sticking choke cables and frequent shop visits, and a 30,000-mile lifespan? Some old timers now pay $150,000 for the car I paid $3,000 for. If they want to try living out the Good Old Days more power to them, but I will stick with Sasha.