We bought a new car. I really didn't want one. Our old one was fine with me, but it had over 260,000 miles on it and was beginning to show its age.
The problem with age, whether it is humans, animals, or cars, is that aging is costly. Our aging dogs are keeping the vet in business and the same was true of our mechanic. It seemed that every week I was taking the car in and saying, "we've got to stop meeting like this." But, just like any elderly person there was always another part that had to be replaced in our elderly car. We decided there were some things we could live with, like the driver's side door that no longer opened, but when we received the prognosis that the brakes required another $900 procedure, we decided to release it to automobile heaven.
So, we bought a new car, or a new used car I should say. We found a 2015 model used car with 5,500 miles . Eureka! The days are long gone when I feel the need to impress friends or neighbors with the latest new gadget or car, although that was not the case in my younger days. Like a lot of us when we were younger, the type of car that we drove was always very important. In fact, the first car I bought was the only other used car I have every owned. All the rest have been driven off of the dealer's showroom floor, new.
My first car was a Dodge Dart, gold with white leather interior and a push button transmission. I would never have picked out that car. My father found it for me shortly after I graduated college when I needed cheap transportation to my first real job. My father always had a fondness for Chrysler products. I don't know why. He was a quality control inspector for Ford for years, which might say something about the quality and reputation of Fords in those days. He found a good deal on a car that never gave me any problems, but, it was not the car of my dreams. It wasn't me.
I drove that Dart for a couple of years while I settled into having a steady paycheck and finally made my way to the Volkswagen dealer to buy my dream car, a yellow VW convertible. I loved that car, except in the snow. It got around great, but the top was not air tight. I would find myself chugging up steep, icy hills , passing other cars that were spinning out, all the time being surrounded by snow swirling throughout the interior.
That car was followed by another VW, a red Karmann Ghia convertible, one of the most fun cars I've ever owned. A guy I worked with convinced me that I needed to sell it to him and as a result, I ended up owning the first Toyota of three.
The Toyotas were followed by two Hondas and then a Saturn, which was followed by a Ford Ranger and then two Volvos, which were purchased not for aesthetics, but because they were safe and reliable cars. When you get older, safety and reliability become more important than whether or not your car makes a statement. The last two cars, the Volvos, were also the only automatic transmissions that I ever owned with the exception of that push button Dart.
Our new car is an automatic also, but it is not a concession to age. I still prefer to drive manual transmissions, but they are becoming impossible to find here in the U.S. Stick shifts are not only fun to drive, but safer than automatics. You can't be a lazy driver with a stick shift. You have to think ahead. Then there is the challenge of being able to idle at a stop sign on a hill without using the brake. Automatics don't offer the same opportunity.
Our little old Ford Ranger has a manual transmission and we will probably keep it until we die. It will keep running until then as it has no electronic parts. There is very little that can go wrong, unlike the cars manufactured today which purposely have computer obsolescence built into them.
Our new car has all of these electronic warning systems, for backing up or monitoring a blind spot. It has GPS and Wi-Fi, but these luxuries are little more than computers that can go bad at any time and where is the fun in that. The cars today may be as efficient as a cell phone, but they will never provide the thrill of driving down a deserted two lane highway in the middle of Western Kansas at 100 miles per hour with the top down.