Buying a Car for the First Time?

1994 Dodge Viper 2_dr_rt_10_convertible-pic-502

Remember your first time?

Mine was the culmination of a lot of searching, a lot of saving and then a long journey to find what I wanted.

The effort, time and money finally paid off when I experienced one of the greatest first times a young adult could possibly dream of: I bought my first car.

Actually, my first car was a truck and exactly what I wanted in a first vehicle. I bought it just as summer began and looked forward to many long days and warm nights of newly purchased freedom.

With a new summer dawning, plenty of teens and young adults will be considering their first vehicle purchase. What should they look for?

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The War Pony: A Loyal First Car

1991 Ford Festiva

We called it the War Pony.

With a name like that, you might expect something like an old muscle car, but no, this was a 1987 Ford Festiva. A red one, just like every other older Festiva. This particular car was owned by my friend Wesley, who bought it as his first. Wesley is a Navajo native and, when I knew him, routinely drove his car from his job in Seattle to his home on the Navajo reservation.

Wesley worked as a Navajo language professor at the University of Washington and had over 250,000 miles on the old War Pony. Considering his commute, that was a source of worry for me. I routinely asked him if he’d ever get rid of it in favor of something newer since he was, after all, making a college salary. He refused, because the War Pony served him well, and he had no desire to get rid of it.

I lost touch with Wesley about 10 years ago. This weekend I heard from him out of the blue, and you can guess my first question:

“Are you still driving the War Pony?”

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Let’s Revisit Our First Cars

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

My son is torn up about what he wants as his first car. Part of him wants me to hold onto my old ’04 Jaguar X-Type so he can have it when he turns 16, freeing me up to go get the F-Type after which I’ve lusted.

The other part of him wants to get a Toyota FJ Cruiser as his first car, something he’s had an eye on for the last couple months and excitedly points out anytime he catches sight of one.

He’s genuinely concerned about this dilemma and doesn’t know which car to choose. The kicker here?

He’s 11.

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