Home » Would You Buy Your First Car Back?

Would You Buy Your First Car Back?

First Car Matt Ts Final
ADVERTISEMENT

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:

86dd3b0675
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?

ADVERTISEMENT

[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.

 

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
172 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Sc00t3r
Sc00t3r
4 months ago

Late 1980s GM J-body. Hideous mauve interior. No power steering when turning left until it warmed up. Had to turn off the AC to have enough acceleration to pass on a 2 lane road. Nope… I think I’m just fine without it. : – )

Last edited 4 months ago by Sc00t3r
StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago

My first car was a 1960 Chevy El Camino that my Dad dragged home from behind a bowling alley.

It had rotted floorboards, rusted rear fenders, and the passenger front fender was curled up over the hood from the front tire exploding due to incorrect offset wheels up front.

Dad and I rebuilt it in our garage. We dropped in a parts store rebuilt 350, a Carter AFB carb, and I bolted a Hurst shifter to the Muncie, aluminum case 4-speed. We attacked the rust with a ton of Bondo. Neither of us knew how to weld, so we just covered it up. I learned to paint in the Triumph GT6+ my sister drove, so I laid down a decent coat of Corvette red. She looked pretty sweet, and we found a full set of factory hub caps at the local Hubcap City.

My HS graduation gift was getting the front end completely rebuilt by a couple of guys who ran an old-school alignment shop downtown.

I found a bench seat from a pickup and it fit great. I made my own door panels from gray naugahyde and carpet. Then I hit up the Crutchfield catalog and bought a tape deck some mids, tweeters, a pair of 12″ woofers, and an amp. I wired it all up with my buddy Tim, slapped in a Dokken tape, and hit the streets of Odessa, TX.

I loved that car. I had it for probably 4 years, and it ate clutches like no tomorrow. I eventually paid to have a Turbo 350 installed, but I always missed that 4-speed. Eventually, I traded it for one of my dream cars, a ’69 Lincoln Continental 4-door with the suicide doors.

Would I buy it back? Considering the hack job we did getting it on the road, no, I don’t think so. Would I buy a DIFFERENT one in decent shape? Oh yeah. I know SO MUCH more now and could do a much better job on it.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
4 months ago
Reply to  StillNotATony

I forgot one detail! Our brick house needed the eaves scraped and painted, so I offered to do it in exchange for a Grant GT steering wheel I had my eye on down at Western Auto. Mom could spot a sucker a mile away and jumped on that deal. Once I got it installed, the horn never worked right again.

My girlfriend at the time HATED that car, and it hated her right back. The starter needed replacing, but I was perpetually broke, so I kept a long screwdriver in the car and would jump it across the solenoid terminals. It usually started, but anytime SHE was in the car, I had to do that. One time, she reached down to open the kick panel vent to get some air moving in the car (no AC and in west Texas), and something pinched her finger and drew blood. I should have listened to that car. She turned out to be a serial cheater.

Ponloire
Ponloire
4 months ago

Still have it – grantedI’m not that old, and being a yuropean and whatnot I only bought it at 27 (a good 10 years after most commenters here it seems).
I do plan on keeping it as long as it runs though.

Ford Friday
Ford Friday
4 months ago

This is sort of an awkward discussion for me because I only owned my “first” car for two and a half hours before wrecking it. It was a 2002 Subaru Impreza Wagon. I can’t really say if I’d buy that back since I never even got used to it. I like to consider my first car is a 2004 Subaru Legacy with a 5 speed that I bought with 240,000 miles on it. I still own and daily drive it after 10 years (almost exactly to this day). The reason why I’ve never stopped driving it is because it’s just a great car. It’s been pretty damn reliable for the last 100,000 miles, when stuff does break it’s cheap and easy to fix myself. It’s a manual, so even though it’s not fast it’s still fun (it doesn’t have a turbo). It has just enough power to hold highway speeds up in the mountains if I beat the shit out of it, which do consistently and it just takes it. It has AWD which is important for me since I live in Colorado and go to the mountains a lot. The handling is pretty good and gets pretty decent fuel economy. It looks pretty good, at least to me. But also has some hail damage and bad paint, so I don’t really have to worry about scratches or dents. It’s just good.

Last edited 4 months ago by Ford Friday
LotLessMonster
LotLessMonster
4 months ago

Yup. 1961 RHD VW Beetle, white, from South Africa. Seized motor (LHS valve cover clip had been dislodged in a small collision) which I pulled as a 15yo reading Muir. My dad wanted the garage back, so we took out the passenger seat, put the motor there, and I drove it downhill to a garage who gave me $25 for it.

Iwannadrive637
Iwannadrive637
4 months ago

1970 Mustang Grande. Some kind of odd yellow/green color with a houndstooth vinyl roof, green interior, and a 302. Yes, in a flipping heartbeat.

PlatinumZJ
PlatinumZJ
4 months ago

1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. No need to buy it back, it’s in my garage. ^_^ But before it was officially mine, it was in my mom’s name, and she came very close to selling it at the urging of a nosy relative after Dad passed away. Yes, I was prepared to follow her to the dealership and buy it back. Fortunately, I was able to convince her that she didn’t need the money from a car sale (it’s a long story — the nosy relative had convinced Mom that she needed to sell everything she could since she couldn’t rely on Dad’s income anymore). She eventually transferred the title to me once I attained gainful employment.

Ixcaneco
Ixcaneco
4 months ago

You are all so young! First car year old ‘66 Mustang, 289 4-speed, glass pack mufflers and chrome reverse wheels $2000. Yeah I would take it back but wouldn’t pay what they go for now.

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
4 months ago

My first car that I bought and actually drove was an Audi 100 (I think you call it 5000). It was a white 87 or 88 with gray mouse fur seats and the 5 cylinder engine. The car was really nice to drive with lots of space,but I soon as it passed 300.000 km the fucking k jetronic stopped working so I just got sick of it. So overall a good car,but probably wouldn’t buy one again.

JerryLH3
JerryLH3
4 months ago

I mean, it would be the only one at Radwood, so yeah, let’s go. A 1992 Hyundai Excel hatchback. No power steering, no power windows, non-functioning A/C, and the most anemic engine I’ve ever had. It was terrible. In one year of ownership, I had to replace the starter, catalytic converter, a window regulator, and redrill a hole so the turn signal wouldn’t fall out. It eventually threw a rod and left me stranded on the interstate.

InWayOverMyHead
InWayOverMyHead
4 months ago

Absolutely. 1991 Plymouth Sundance America, 5-speed. Black Cherry over grey mouse fur. Great little car with too much power and braking for such a lightweight. It was the EFI version of the K-car 2.2 l-4. I sold it when I bought my Dad’s 1992 Audi Quattro Coupe, 5-speed in ’95. My wife and I were struck how much pep the Plymouth had in comparison (although that Audi was smooth as silk and you were going 85 without even knowing it). If I found a survivor in good condition, I would toss some $ at it.

Crisis
Crisis
4 months ago

Red 1976 Capri V6, 4 speed manual. Hell yeah, I’d buy that back in a heartbeat. It was a riot, and frankly much nicer than what most of my friends were driving.

Looking back on it now, I have no idea how I was able to buy a very decent 4 year old car when I was 16. After I sold it 5 years later to buy an engagement ring (still milking that 37 years later), it took me many, many years to again buy a car that new.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
4 months ago

Heck yeah — Mine was a 1983 F150 with the 300 straight six, 3-on-the-tree, manual steering, and fully manual (mechanical linkage, no hydraulic actuation) clutch. Complete simplicity everywhere, with roll-down windows, just heat/defrost and no A/C. No headliner, just the metal inner panel painted body color. AM radio. The “fancy” option was the rear window with sliding glass center panels.

And the previous owner had played the option list just a bit to get heavy-duty rear springs and an oversized clutch not normally found on F150s because it had been bought by a machine shop to haul heavy stuff around. Allegedly, the “secret code” to get those options was used by the Michigan DOT for some of their fleet trucks, and this one may have been tacked onto an order by a dealer that knew how to get things done…

The thing was an absolute beast for getting stuff done. Also nearly impossible for anybody but a farm kid to just jump into it and drive — if the column shifter didn’t confuse them, then the heavy clutch and steering scared them off.

I’m scared to think how much people would shell out on BAT today if one like it ever showed up for auction… 😀

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
4 months ago

So would I buy an AMC Javelin for the same $75 I bought it for in the same no rust just a dead battery? I need to consider this. Hell yeah!

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
4 months ago

I’ve said here a couple times that my first car was a MkII Ford Escort with the GS Rallye package.

I had big plans for that car, did a spray painting course at the local TAFE in my second-last year of highschool so I learn how could restore it and had dozens of lists of parts I wanted to get to make it properly quick.

That car taught me so much, and every weekend I used to drift it around our cattle yards in the paddock and try to get better every time.

It got written off and sent to the scrap metal recyclers shortly after I graduated. At the time I didn’t care that much as I had just bought my Valiant Charger.

I’d definitely have it back, and have entertained that idea more than a few times these past years. The price jump on Escorts has had me shy away.

R4ndyD4ndy
R4ndyD4ndy
4 months ago

The year was 2004. I had a freshly printed drivers license and $2500 stashed up in an empty shotgun shell box. Every wednesday for 3 months leading up to my 16th birthday I hopped on my pedal bike and rode to the gas station to pick up the tri-county merchanette, looking for the perfect 1st car.

I finally hit the jackpot, and I can remember the (extremely vague) ad like it was yesterday.

“1978 Jeep CJ7. 120,000 miles, runs and drives. $2000 OBO”

I could not get to the phone quick enough. 24 hours later I held the title to the most opposite-of-perfect-1st car ever made.

A once-red fiberglass body now faded to a pale pink, No top, no doors, no radio, no heater, a VERY tired 258 inline 6, and a set of dry rotted 33″ all terrains that were probably installed around the time I was born.

I will never forget the feeling of driving that raggedy old jeep down the road.

It taught me how to troubleshoot, it taught me how to weld, it taught me how to cuss, it taught me that you never trust a fuel gauge in a 26 year old AMC product, it taught me that you don’t drive an old Jeep, you just make steering corrections until you get to where you’re going, it taught me that things like “Safety” “Reliability” “Practicality” could easily be overlooked when you drive something that gives you butterflies just looking at it.

I would buy that old Jeep back in a heartbeat, in fact I’ve off and on tried to track it down a few times since.

Stephen Spencer
Stephen Spencer
4 months ago

Yes. Be forewarned, it’s a quirky choice.

A 1980 Pontiac Phoenix five-door (four-door with a hatchback) with, wait for it, a MANUAL transmission.

As a conversation-starter – I’d be the only person with one at car meetups, that’s for sure – it would be perfect. As I recall, it was fairly comfortable, but even though it had had the factory recalls done, under heavy braking it was unstable (I used to say that the rear end of the car wanted to come around and see what was in the way…) and, sadly, that was what led to its demise one rainy morning on the way to work.

ExAutoJourno
ExAutoJourno
4 months ago

My first was a tired 1959 Hillman Minx, in not-so-glorious two-tone Mouse Tan that I bought from my then-employer for $50. That was 1966, and it had sat for probably two years or so. A battery and air in the tires, and it made the trip home under its own power.

IIRC, all I ever did was rebuild the brake cylinders, change the oil maybe once, and install the floor shit from a wrecked Hillman Husky. The original column shift was left in place for a while; it was so sloppy that it made no difference.

I sold it to a neighbor for $75. He took it down to Earl Scheib who laid on a thick coat of Baby Blue, after which he gifted it to his girlfriend. Even so, they eventually got married.

Would I buy it back? You bet! Heck, I’d even pay $100 for it! It ran, reliably, and was kind of classy in an undefinable way. Like a very first girlfriend, you can’t help feeling nostalgic about that first trip down the road.

(To prove I’m not a total idiot, there are other cars from my Fabulous Automotive Collection I’d buy back first. Just as I would take some subsequent girlfriends back before Numero Uno. But that’s my answer to this specific question….)

Glutton for Piëch
Glutton for Piëch
4 months ago

W124 E320. Polar white over mushroom beige. so.

IN A FUCKING HEARTBEAT.

The damned thing didn’t even have a reverse gear by the time a kid driving a lifted Wrangler (driving alone, at night, without an adult, with a permit), tried to merge into me and totalled it out. Even at 20 years old, it HAD to go to a MB authorized body shop, and the paint alone was more than book value. It was a phenomenal car.. and it paid for my W8 wagon (which I still -and will always- have), so it still means something to me. If I were smart, I would’ve bought a W124 E500 I’d been lusting after and I could’ve bought a house with the appreciation, but I wanted something more modern. Live and never learn.

Brooks Fancher
Brooks Fancher
4 months ago

My very first car was a beat up old 1970 Torino with a ragged vinyl top that was a hand me down from my mother and I was not a fan of it.

The first that I bought was a brown 1981 Honda Civic in 1985 and I loved that car. It was a fun little three door hatchback with 5 speed with the 1500 engine. HP was only about 67, but it was fun to toss around corners. Too bad I totaled it in Hueytown in 1989.

Goof
Goof
4 months ago

1998 Ford F150 XL 2WD. XL is the super stripped fleet trim. Normal cab, bench seat, crank windows. Though it did have A/C.

Would I buy it back? No. I spent a chunk back then since I needed it to be dead reliable for work, and I sold it for $500 more than I bought it for, but I had no idea what I wanted then. It is far and away the biggest anomaly in all the vehicles I’ve owned. Nothing since has been more than 174” long or weighed more than 3250lbs, with the average actually being sub-3000.

Evan Mackay
Evan Mackay
4 months ago

1984 Saab 900 Turbo sedan

I did buy it back… sort of. My parents kept it after I bought a newer car and eventually, as old Saabs do, something went wrong and it went to the family mechanic. And there is stayed. For 12 years. I finally went and paid an eye-watering “bill” to get it back. My reasoning is I knew a lot of car people at that point who were spending more than was reasonable to chase facsimiles of their first car, so with mine still available why not pay [redacted] and tow it home. Six years back with it and I almost have it semi-running reliably #projectdumpsterfire

Last edited 4 months ago by Evan Mackay
Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
4 months ago

Absolutely. It was a Chevy K2500 that I got for $400 when it was only a few years old but had 250,000 hard miles as an old oil field work truck. It had the obligatory blood red interior that I absolutely loved and wish vehicles still had today. As much as I loved it then, I think I’d love it even more now. The Ford Ranger with the terrible 3.0L V6 that replaced it turned out to be the worst of the 40+ vehicles I’ve owned, and I think that only enhances the regret I have for selling the K2500.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
4 months ago

1993 Ford Festiva.

It cost my $450 and I sold it for $700.

The shifter throw was about as long as the wheel base, the steering wheel diameter larger than the road wheels, the engine had an external lubrication system and the ignition barrel had 2 wafers left in it because someone jammed a screw driver in it and tried to steal it from me.

I was glad he was there when I needed him, but there’s nothing about that car that makes me wish to bring it back into my life, not even for $450.

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
4 months ago

Yes. My 2004 Ford Ka 1.6 would be fantastic in the crowded city I live in now, and on the twisties to the beach.

172
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x