What’s Your First Car Story?

1985 Ford Escort
I don't know. I think this 1985 Ford Escort has a certain "je ne sais quoi." Photo credit: Alden Jewell

One day, as I was whiling away the time on Facebook and on Twitter, I threw out a question like I often do. The question is usually something fun, something simple, and, more importantly, something I want to share the answer to as well.

What was your first car?

On any given day, the responses I might get would be sporadic: a handful on Twitter, maybe a dozen on Facebook. But this question and the answers that followed proved what I already thought was true: you always remember your first car.

The responses ranged in car make and model as well as age, color, and sentiment.

And I learned that not only do people remember their first car but they usually have a pretty good story to go along with it.

First car stories in one sentence or less

Some shared simple anecdotes with me:

“OMG… 1978 Plymouth Horizon. Green with white vinyl seats. No A/C and I lived in Tucson!”

1978 Plymouth Horizon

1978 Plymouth Horizon: it’s not green but you get the idea! Photo credit: Tony DiGirolamo

Ford Escort that was nicknamed the Beast and covered with bumper stickers on the back”

1985 Ford Escort

I don’t know. I think this 1985 Ford Escort has a certain “je ne sais quoi.” Photo credit: Alden Jewell

71 VW Beetle. It wasn’t red and it wasn’t orange. We called it the Tomato!”

1971 Vw Beetle

1971 VW Beetle. I can haz this car now?; Photo credit: Greg Gjerdingen

“A giant 2-tone Chevy truck. Two tone = red in front, white in back. Dad bought the truck with no truck bed. My uncle had a spare bed on his farm. It was super classy.”

Rusty Old Chevy S10

We couldn’t possibly find a photo to match that description but we thought this rusty old Chevy S10 might provide a nice visual.

First cars: A love story

For others, it was almost a rite of passage:

“I saved up $1500 and bought a ‘77 Chevy El Camino in 1988. It was a POS, but I loved it. Not my favorite, but 16yo boys with a pocket full of cash aren’t really known for their decision-making skills.”

1977 Chevy El Camino

I’m sure the 1977 Chevy El Camino appealed to a teenage boy but to this author, this might be one of the ugliest cars ever; Photo credit: By Mr.choppersOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0

1978 Pontiac LeMans. I was on my own in British Columbia and bought it at an auction for $100. (This was 1995, pre-kids) I was 3000 km from home, boyfriend had just cheated so I dumped him, and I was 21. I loved that hunk of junk!!”

1978 Pontiac Lemans

1978 Pontiac LeMans: I’m glad SOMEBODY loved it; Photo credit: Michael Gil

1986 Chevy Celebrity station wagon with a bench seat in front. His name was Humberto…After 2 transmission transplants, he became a donation to the kidney people in 2000.”

1986 Chevy Celebrity Station Wagon

He kind of looks like a Humberto, doesn’t he? 1986 Chevy Celebrity station wagon

Legendary first cars

And still, others had stories that legends are made of.

Melissa from Blog Clarity fondly recalls her first car:

“The first car I actually owned was a teal 1993 Honda Civic. I named it Kermie (for real). My dad bought it when I started college and it quickly became the cursed car.

1994 Honda Civic

Not teal like “Kermie” but still a very good year for the Honda Civic

Within a few weeks, we had a flood and my car was underwater up to the stick shift. I remember my brand-new Geology 101 book being waterlogged in the floorboard.

We got the car fixed but over the years it was broken into 3 times: the alarm would randomly go off, and once, during the POURING rain, the windows went up and down by themselves and wouldn’t stop. Yes, people stared.

Despite all that, I drove that car 10 years and have many good memories with it. “

Laura from Food Fun Family learned that some first cars are real gas guzzlers:

“I got my first car as a wedding present from my mom and dad (a really basic and unattractive Ford Tempo). I had been a poor college student living close to school for so many years that I hadn’t had a need for a vehicle of my own until I got married and moved farther away.

1994 Ford Tempo

Sometimes, it’s not the car that makes the story. It’s the STORY that makes the story. 1994 Ford Tempo

Here’s the embarrassing part: I had learned how to drive in Oregon, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas and then I’d spent the three years after high school without a car, so as a newlywed with my first car, I had never had to pump my own gas. And it terrified me. It was so terrifying that I avoided getting gas in the car except when my husband was also in the car.

I was planning on having him fill up the tank one day after I picked him up from work….but we didn’t make it that far. At a stop light, the Tempo took its last breath and died. I was horrified. This was in the days before cell phones, so we had to push the car out of the intersection, and then I waited with the car while my husband walked all the way back to work to call my grandpa, who lived nearby, to come and rescue us with a gas can.

After that, I didn’t have a problem with pumping gas. Being stuck on the side of the road with an empty tank was much scarier than the gas station ever was…”


What about my first car? That tale has already been told (and it’s here in case you missed it). Now it’s your turn. Tell us what made your first car so memorable. Because every car tells a story!


A self-proclaimed "chick who digs cars," Fadra has long been a fan of aesthetics over mechanics. When she's not... More about Fadra Nally