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Would You Buy Your First Car Back?

First Car Matt Ts Final
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First cars are like first loves. Many are good. A few are bad. Most just happen, and their meaning fades over time. Some connect with your soul and never leave. Often, they’re how we measure our subsequent experiences. Let’s do a little deep exploration into our own psyches and decide if we’d buy our first cars back.

I wish my first car was the Studebaker Avanti I’m posing next to above, but I can’t currently locate a photo of the creamy beige diesel 1978 Mercedes 300D sedan I actually owned.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The MB was owned by a woman who would swim with my German grandmother at the local pool. There was a small amount of rust under the car but, aesthetically, it was in pretty decent shape and had that delightful orange MB Tex interior. It looked a little something like this one from Mercedes Motoring:

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Photo: Mercedes Motoring

I loved automobiles at 16 so it wasn’t lost on me that this was actually quite the cool first car. It was slow, of course, but I question the logic of giving a 16-year-old a fast car anyway. I delighted in cruising around in it through my boring suburban town and I wish I’d learned to work on it before we ended up selling it to a Lufthansa mechanic who had three W123s.

Would I have it back? Of course! Not only are these cars actually worth money, it’s only aged better in the years since I graduated from high school. What about you? Would you have your first car back? Why? Why not?

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[Editor’s Note: I just want to say my first car was a 1968 VW Beetle the color of Wrigley’s gum, with those JC Whitney Navajo-pattern seat covers. I bought it with my own money saved from my job selling Apple IIs at the Byte Shop when I was 15, before I could drive. No one in my family could drive stick, so I got the guy my parents were accused of trying to murder later to drive to our house. That’s true, by the way. I learned how to drive stick on my way to work, and it was harrowing. A few months later some dummy didn’t yield for a turn at a light and crashed into me, and I pulled the engine and used it in the ’71 Super Beetle I got next. I’d buy it back, no question! – JT]

A few ground rules to this question:

  • We’ll assume the car is basically in running shape and in a condition that is indicative of how you owned it (i.e., if it was wrecked you can still buy the non-wrecked version of your car).
  • If you still own your first car or have purchased it back please tell us why.
  • “first” means the first car that was your car and not the family car.

Fire away.

 

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World24
World24
4 months ago

I would if I had the money to turn it into a drag truck. 2005-2011 Dakota’s have some suspension parts already discontinued that no one ever seems to make aftermarket. That was the case in 2018? when I looked up the parts that truck needed, of which at employee price was 6/7 thousand dollars for everything it needed (including a possible T-Case and front driveshaft).
Otherwise? Hell no, my Compass is already more then I need, and it gets better fuel economy while being actually tolerable in traffic.

Drew
Drew
4 months ago

1981 Chevy Citation…I shouldn’t want it back, and I really don’t…but if it were super cheap, it might be fun to really go to town with mods and such. It would need to be nearly free, though. I’d set it up for a Gambler run or something.
The weird rust-orange paint wasn’t my favorite at the time, but it’s definitely better than all the blacks, grays, and whites I see all over the place now.

Rollin Hand
Rollin Hand
4 months ago

87 Acura Integra LS, 2 door, autotragic in Champagne Beige.

I’ll say yes on the caveat that it would have to be in good shape: that is, not rotting out in various places and have a failing transmission. And I would need to still fit in it.

I am far more likely to buy a version of my second car, a 1985 300ZX NA with manual. It rotted too, but a good one could grab my eye and my wallet.

Generalky, I don’t want to revisit my old cars. I’d prefer to move forward.

Arul Venkatesh
Arul Venkatesh
4 months ago

I actually did buy my first car back, it was my father’s car which he bought new. It was a 2005 E55 AMG in designo graphite, was a pretty penny when new, but 13k at best when I sold it, and not much more when I got it as my first.

I sold it in 2017 to buy a Subaru STi(wanted a manual), regretted it, searched to no avail in 2018, found the car in 2020ish, bought it back after spending days calling around digging through the carfax.

The car was in great condition mechanically, but the electricals needed work. Fixed that all up, did some bolt-ons for 500whp, and got some Style IV SL65 wheels and PS4S on it. She sits amazingly now.

Why did I buy it back? It was the car that got me into cars as a kid, and I also grew up in it. I had a ton of emotional attachment to it, and selling it was something I really regretted, as I made so many memories in high school and growing up in that car.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
4 months ago

Yes. You bet.
1966 Mustang (in 1987). White with red interior, white wheel covers, straight six. I sold it a few months after I bought it because I was in college and my dad and I discovered the frame had rot and the leaf springs were close to separating from the car. I did not have the means, equipment, or parts to repair it. These days I assume I can order the frame from a restoration website. Even with a 6cyl engine, it was a ton of fun, and a head-turner.

Hotdoughnutsnow
Hotdoughnutsnow
4 months ago

My first family car was a 1970 VW Beetle with the auto-stick and a metal retractible sunroof. I would love to have that back, as well. Please. Thank you.

Last edited 4 months ago by Hotdoughnutsnow
3WiperB
3WiperB
4 months ago

Yep. ’72 Cutlass S 2-door. Red with white vinyl top and white vinyl interior. 350 V8 and the rally wheels, just like the shitbox showdown Cutlass’ rally wheels from today, except in red. The only things I would change would be having a 4 speed instead of the automatic, and bucket seats instead of the bench. Ah, the 70’s, where you could seat 6 people, all with belted positions, in 2 door car. The only car I owned with the GM crotch AC vent under the steering column. Yes, the AC still worked when I had the car in the late 1990’s, and it took 4.5 pounds of R12, so I didn’t want it to break. It got about 10 mpg no matter how I drove it.

Last edited 4 months ago by 3WiperB
David Smith
David Smith
4 months ago
Reply to  3WiperB

My second car purchased by me was the same car but with brown on brown and tan vinyl top. Nicknamed “The Shark”. Would like to own again. The first one was a late 70’s early 80’s (who cares when you know what it is) Dodge Omni.It was good enough at the time but hardly one I’d want to have again.

Edited to add that it was the car that taught me that you can get by with only third gear to get home when the transmission linkage breaks.

Last edited 4 months ago by David Smith
Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
4 months ago

1968 Dodge Charger R/T. Though barely five years old when I took possession of it, my Charger was already displaying significant rust issues. But what does that matter to a 16-year old? A 440 Magnum, 4-speed manual (heaviest clutch I ever experienced), Sure-Grip differential, front disc brakes, and combo clock/tachometer equipped my sled. It met an untimely end when I lost control on black ice and flipped it off of an overpass onto the highway below. This was years before the “Dukes of Hazzard.”Replaced it with a ‘69 Super Bee. Smaller motor (383) but much less rust. I’m content to let the Charger remain a memory, so, no, I would not buy it back.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
4 months ago

Nah. 1994 Saturn SC2. Color (blue-green) and equipment still tick a lot of boxes for how I’d have ordered it if I bought it new in 1994. If it was just the broken odometer, or the missing sunroof shade, or even the A/C that didn’t cool anything, fine.

The driver’s motorized belt would limp up just before the top of the door frame, so I had to unbuckle that too or just throw it over me. The clutch itself seemed fine but the pedal stuck and squeaked in the warm months so that made it trickier to learn to drive on. That could probably be rectified, but I had reason to believe it was flooded at some point in its life, like when hitting certain bumps would buck a burst of sand or sediment out from the air vents like it had been dislodged.

The person that then bought it, or whoever had it after them, dumped it in a field about 3 months after we got rid of it, as we found out when a cop showed up at our door trying to track down some owner of it (now that I think of it, maybe something else was in it too that I wasn’t told). That person never officially titled it in their name, but we had a bill of sale to prove we sold it, that was that.

A SC2, maybe, just not that particular car. I also realized any of the S-Series nostalgia I may have had was more for 2nd gens, since those were the S’s we had in the family when growing up.

My sister would probably take hers back, our late grandmother’s Saturn Astra. That was just getting too expensive to fix for its age and worth and likely wasn’t going to get better. When she decided it was time to move on and was getting it appraised, the driver’s door mirror lens literally fell off when the salesperson shut the door, almost as if to say “don’t look back.”

Vee
Vee
4 months ago

My A34 Maxima 3.5 SE? Hmmm… I mean… Well, but…

Nah.

I loved the VQ35DE it had in it, but that car was too big and too unbalanced to really do fun things in it. Plus I have never really had any need for a sedan. Besides, it was totaled by insurance after I hit a mud patch on a backroad and slid around so that I ended up going under a chain link fence backwards.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
4 months ago

My first car was a 2000 Chevy Cavalier circa 2006, black over grey, naturally. Her name was Elvira and I hung a flappy rubber bat from the rear view mirror. She came with a decent size dent in the right rear quarter and the local dealer sold her to my mom for $7000, which was definitely overpaying, imo. The deal was that I pay back half of this. I did not want this car since I was intending to move out of suburbia and into deepest, darkest central Denver within a year and a car would be unnecessary. I think I paid back roughly $2000 of my part (again, I did NOT agree to this deal, it was foisted upon me) before my mom ran away to Mexico with her then-fourth-husband. I had her for about a year, during which she was love tapped by a taxi on ice which lead to insurance buying me my 5th tattoo. She spent the spring mostly sitting on the curb before being sold for $2000 to my then boyfriend’s friend and that guy eventually put her in the junkyard.

Dear sweet Elvira, you put up with hardcore stupid teenage girl abuse and we certainly did make some incredible memories, but I absolutely would never want you back. I didn’t want you in the first place.

Conrad Schille
Conrad Schille
4 months ago

My 1996 Geo Metro named Maggie with reflective blue racing stripes?

In a heartbeat.

Angrycat Meowmeow
Angrycat Meowmeow
4 months ago

My first? I totaled my 5spd 91 cavalier z24. Do not want.

My second? Today I probably couldn’t afford that E30 ’91 318i 5spd that I bought for $2k back then. It was clean as a whistle and would probably fetch good money today.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
4 months ago

Absolutely! A 1999 Hyundai Elantra station wagon with a 5 speed manual. That car was a hoot. My brother and I put on about 70k miles. Then I got bit by the mod bug. Did that car ever handle!

I’d buy the original car and then mod it exactly the same way again.

121gwats
121gwats
4 months ago

My 1986 Ford Escort can burn in hell.

VanGuy
VanGuy
4 months ago
Reply to  121gwats

Anything specific? I’m amused by the finality of your statement (not that I have any retort)

121gwats
121gwats
4 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

It overheated even after 4-5 thermostat swaps leaving me to rely on cranking the heater on high in 95f temps whenever I came to a stoplight.. No one wanted to ride with me in the summer. It left me stranded several times due to electrical gremlins. It had some of the dimmest headlights I’ve ever used due to the headlight lens being opaque 3″ plastic. It was gutless with the body lean of a land yacht on its best day. 65mph was its absolute max. It leaked from every seal imaginable.

All of this with only 86k miles, if you can believe it. That car spent more time in the shop than it ever did on the road. The guy I sold it to removed the hood to deal with overheating when he couldn’t figure it out. It was such a piece of shit. I sold it for an ’88 Mazda B2200 (Ford Ranger) which blew a head gasket after 2 weeks of ownership, so I was pretty fed up with Ford at that point.

My next car was an 89 Sentra coupe and was incredibly reliable.

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
4 months ago

In the condition mine was in? Hell no. It literally broke apart from rust. But a different basically rust-free stock Mk1 VW Scirocco? Absolutely.

Cool Dave
Cool Dave
4 months ago

1980 Ford Escort MkII, 4-door with the 1.6 and a 4-speed.

Absolutely would take it back, it wasn’t the fastest thing on the street but it was a riot for a new driver. I haven’t owned a car since that has had the same level of tactile feel and engagement.

The Schrat
The Schrat
4 months ago

1997 Subaru Legacy GT with a manual transmission, and no. It was a perfectly fine car, but not fine enough to be worth it. I like what I have now.

Don Harbidge
Don Harbidge
4 months ago

1965 VW Beetle. Absolutely, who could say no to 40 HP!

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
4 months ago

1969 Dodge Super Bee. 6 mpg on premium in 1974. $500 bucks in 1974 money.
Went to school out of state, came home and my old man had sold it to a friend.
Shit happens. But yes I have wanted another one every day since.

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
4 months ago

1987 Honda Civic CRX. Yes, in a heartbeat!

A. Barth
A. Barth
4 months ago

Without hesitation!

Orange 1972 Super Beetle with a tasty 1835, JC Whitney black carpet, and auto parts store grey seat covers.

I will have another. Possibly with better seats, but oh yes, I will have another.

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
4 months ago

Never sold my first car, an 82 Corolla.
Reason being that it is a good car and it still works. There’s no reason to sell it and I probably won’t get much money from selling anyway.

Racingtown
Racingtown
4 months ago

A 1992 Saturn SL2…yeah I’d buy it again. A few times a year a scan craigslist to see if any are left out there.

Paul B
Paul B
4 months ago

Hmmm, 1984 Buick Century. Rusted so badly that DT would have nightmares and many of my teen year “repairs”?

Hard pass.

But my 4th, a 1999 Chevy Tracker? You bet.

Arturia
Arturia
4 months ago

My first car was a 2001 automagic ford ranger with the 4 cylinder engine who’s previous life was a work truck for the local electric utility. Bone stock and lowest trim, no 4×4 for me.

Was it fun to thrash around and modify? Yes. Would I ever want to see it ever again? Not in a million years.

Last edited 4 months ago by Arturia
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