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What was your first car?

Cars can be a unique extension of an individual's personality. But that's later in life. The first car tends to be what was handed down in the family or what you could afford as a young adult. Possibly a cool car when it had been new, you proudly drove it despite the many flaws the aging vehicle displayed. In short, the first car was likely a starting point but probably not the personality indicator that later vehicles would become.

Mom (suspiciously): "is that a sports car?"

John's first car

Purchased in 1986 while a university student, I was proud of my car. It was a 1978 Volkswagen Scirocco painted in gold, officially known as Pearl Metallic L94K. (The car in the photo is not mine but an exact duplicate.) My father helped me shop around where I grimaced at the many post-oil-crisis econoboxes languishing on the used car lots. Finally, at a VW dealer I spotted the Scirocco. This, I thought, was a car that a university student could drive and actually be proud of. When I ultimately took delivery of the car, my mom looked at it suspiciously and asked my dad, "is that a sports car?" as if that could be a deal breaker. No, I replied, it's obviously just a hatchback, hoping my mother wouldn't ask further. The Scirocco was, after all, the Volkswagen sports car of its day. Equipped with a 4-speed manual transmission and its horsepower rating barely scraping at 80, I happily drove it home and kept it through my college days.

"Ummm, thanks for the green bean."

Bernie's first car

We just called it the "Green Bean". I have no idea what it was. My dad said it was a Chevy Impala, 1960-something. A friend of the family gave it to me. To this day I don't know why but it was free. I kept the car for about a year, driving it to high school every day. My friend, Mary Beth, had a car of equal hideous color and we called it the "Soy Bean". To her credit, she knows what kind of car it was, a beige 1977 Pontiac Bonneville.

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