Ghosts of Cars: Past, Present and Future

The 1955 Chevy Bel Air Bubble Top

In the quintessential holiday movie A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three ghosts: the ghost of Christmas past, present, and future. We thought it would be fun during this Christmas season to celebrate the car “ghosts” of our lifetimes, too. My husband, for example, drove a Nissan 4-door pickup in high school in West Texas. Now, he drives a vintage Range Rover. And his ghost of the future is the Range Rover Autobiography.


Cindy’s Ghost of Cars Past: The 2000 Saab 9-3 Convertible

Cindy, in Chicago, had a 2000 Saab 9-3 convertible when she was a teenager.

“God, I loved that car! Then my kids got to be 8 and 10 and started complaining about the tiny back seat,” Richards says. “I kept telling them that they would love the car once they turned 16 and got their licenses. They didn’t believe me, of course. So we sold the convertible and bought a Dodge Durango SUV.”

Sure enough, about a year after her son got his license he told his mother, “I wish we still had that convertible.”
“As soon as both of the kids are out of college and I can be SUV-free, I’m buying a teeny tiny convertible — a Smart Fortwo convertible or a Mini Cooper convertible!” Richards says.


Erica’s teen dream: A Red Jeep Grand Cherokee Photo: Popular Mechanics

When Erica Mueller was a young teen in Paris, Texas, she decided she wanted a Jeep Grand Cherokee; red, if she could find it

When she was 17, she had saved enough to buy a used car and got exactly what she was looking for: her red Jeep Grand Cherokee.

“I can still say that car was my favorite,” says Mueller. “It’s the only car I made a decision about ahead of time and saved like crazy for. After the Jeep (which leaked oil like nobody’s business) I had a two-door sporty Chevy Blazer. Then an Oldsmobile Alero sedan which I had till we got married and had our first kid, almost 10 years ago. Then we upgraded to a Dodge Durango which I still drive. It’s ancient and it’s missing a bumper now. It has 200k miles on it and we call it the Zombie Car. But it’s been the best thing we’ve ever driven. We’ve owned it longer than any other vehicle. We paid for it in full years ago and it continues to serve us. It has never needed anything more expensive than tires.”

Mueller says her future includes a Toyota Tundra TRD-Pro if she has her way: Quicksand color, crew cab. If her husband gets his way it will be a Nissan Titan Pro4X.


The Opel GT was Kim’s Ghost of Cars past. Photo: Creative Commons

Kim’s parents surprised her with an Opel GT for her 16th birthday

“I loved that silver bullet,” laughs Orlando. “But the people in my small Kentucky town did not. I thought it only appropriate that I drive at least 15 MPH over the speed limit at all times and pack it with as many friends as I could fit (the record was 7). Now I drive whatever is available in my driveway and yell at my kids for speeding (thanks HUM alert). My next car will be a mid-size pickup truck.

As a teenager, Shannon Entin dreamed of driving a Mercedes-Benz convertible

Her uncle had one, with vanity plates to match, and he drove young Entin around her small town with the top down when he visited.

“As the years have gone by, I find I’m less of a convertible girl and more of an SUV girl,” Entin says. “I now drive a Toyota 4Runner that I LOVE but it’s pretty bare-bones. My future car will be either a Jeep or a Toyota Tacoma. I want a rugged car, but I want the inside to be pretty and full of bells and whistles!”


Standing in my dream world!

As for me, I dreamed of a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air with a bubble top

Dad took me to a lot of classic car shows as a kid, and I fell in love early. In reality, I drove an indestructible ’77 Dodge Aspen in a nondescript brown. Now, I drive a Land Rover LR4, but I still dream about that ’55 Chevy. Maybe someday.

Writer. Car fanatic. Mom. Kristin is the co-owner of auto review site Drive Mode Show and a nationally-published writer... More about Kristin Shaw