Jim’s Blog: First Car or Best Car?

My ’66 Caprice is ready to go whenever I want to use it. Trouble is, the realities of everyday life with a small kid, a job on the other side of town, and the finicky nature of a snarling carbureted big block limit how much I can use the car. So it sits in my garage, waiting for me to find time to spend on it.


I fired the car up last Monday to take it to World of Speed in Wilsonville for ACC’s new How-To feature — something you can read about in the November/December issue of ACC. As I warmed it up for the 15-minute freeway ride, I couldn’t help but note just how long it had been since I’d really used it as a car. Everything was right where I’d left it, from the radio to the stuff in the center console, but it was still like a time warp, rolling back 18 years to the day I bought it in October of 1997. 


In that time, it’s been a first car, a high school driver, my ride to college, and a weekly drag racer. I’ve had four motors and two transmissions in it. It survived a few relationships and a few moves, and was there when I got married and had a kid. These days you’re more likely to find a car seat in it than my race helmet, but it still smells, feels, and sounds the same as it always has.


I’ve had all kinds of reasons to sell it over those 18 years, but I didn’t. And even if I don’t use it much, it’s still probably the last thing I’d get rid of in a pinch. It may not be rare or particularly special as a collector car, but there’s history there that I find pretty valuable. It may not be the most usable car I’ve owned, but it’s the one that means the most to me.


That got me thinking — how many of you still have your first car? Was it your best car? Did you move it out for something better, and later, did you regret it? If you could have that first car back, would you want it? 


Share your thoughts in the comments below.