What automobile can you afford to buy and wanna drive?
“You are what you drive”, as they have often said.
I still remember my first automobile, I called it a ‘jalopy’ because it really was one, funny that I should call my car with that name. It lasted for over 5 years of usage. It was the only car I can afford at that time when I just got my first job and was not earning much yet and only had a learner’s driver permit. Then before my car was delivered, I got my driver’s license in a hurry. I didn’t pass my first driving test because the Ministry of Transport driving test officer got mad that I gave up my right of way at an intersection and gave way for a huge truck to go first before me. I argued with the officer that I didn’t want to be ‘dead’ right (if he got what I meant by being ‘dead’ right) and he got so mad. Really I could have had a collision if I didn’t do what I did and put my full brakes on before our vehicles would have collided. “So I gave up my right of way, big deal,” I shouted and for that outburst of mine unfortunately I didn’t pass the test. Next day I went for another drive test and I showed off my parallel parking expertise and good driving skills to the new Ministry of Transport driving test officer so he was impressed and passed me. I told him about my failing the first try but he said that I should have passed that test even if I gave up my right of way because I acted defensively but not according to the first officer. Then I got my driver’s license. My jalopy was delivered and it was a new American car; one year older model and a simple dark two-door Dodge Aspen automobile.
Later on, I got a great paying job and a much better car. Toyota cars were rare here at that point in time and in order to own one brand new Toyota car, you’ve got to order it at the Toyota car dealership and wait from 4 to 6 months for the delivery of your ordered brand new car shipped from Japan. I ordered a four-door sedan Toyota Camry LE, top of the line and my dream car with dark blue colour exterior paint and blue velour seats. It was a stick shift car not automatic but really called a gearshift car equipped with 5 gears and fully loaded with options; you name it, I got it and it lasted for over 10 years of usage. It was a very reliable car especially in the wintertime when everyone of my office mate’s cars won’t start because it was too cold at minus 20 degrees Centigrade, my Toyota would just purr…. away and start with no trouble as soon as I turned on the ignition key. I don’t know why I wanted a stick shift car not automatic, but I’ve hastily made that decision when I ordered the car so I had to live with it.
Toyota Camry LE
I got a couple of driving lessons on gearshift car on a very stormy and wintry day when the forecast was freezing rain. I called my driving instructor to cancel my appointment but he assured me that I can learn more with a challenging day like that. Sure why not and I was up for the challenge so I went on with my driving lesson anyway. On a hilly road I was starting to lose tire grip on the slippery road but he told me to pull my emergency brakes and I did so the car stopped sliding backwards. What to do next, I had no idea. Then my driving instructor told me to let go off the brakes and step on the clutch then press the gas pedal after I let go off the clutch on the 1st gear then on to next gear which I followed very carefully. Then from 1st to 2nd gear the car then just catapulted and brought me up the hill so fast before I can even say any prayer. Shoosshh, I almost fainted after that but I survived. After that harrowing wintry day experience, I knew then that I can now drive my new car easy on any given day and whatever the weather was, either stormy or not so good.
The day I picked up my brand new car, I was so excited that the garage door almost closed on top of my new car so I let my sibling out of car to step on the garage auto mechanism to go up again and she did, saved by the bell! And then I have driven that automobile for over 10 years due to my dealership’s unending superb service and it didn’t come cheap, mind you but it was worth every penny I’ve spent servicing my new car. There’s oil change every 6 months or every certain kms of mileage whichever comes first. Also brakes resurfacing or new brake pads if needed. There’s always the 24 point inspection included with a written report so I would know what is going on within my car’s mechanisms. These services you don’t get in any ordinary auto repair garage shops. The car had A/C but it broke down a day after my warranty expired, this time, I was out of luck, so I had to bear the heat during summertime with no A/C but my car’s heater still worked during wintertime.
Chevy Malibu (Photo Courtesy of Chevrolet USA)
Then after 10 long years it was time to buy a new car with air conditioning since our summer weather have become unbearably hot and humid. I went shopping for a car. This time, I’ll try a Chevy (Chevrolet) brand. I walked into an American automobile dealership’s showroom and fell in love with a Chevy Malibu. It was a light coloured car with Beige velour interior. I had saved enough down payment so I did not trade in my old car, instead I sold it to a mechanic so that my old car can find a home. It took me a while to part with it but I got another car now so I had to give it up and sold it. My Chevy Malibu was always mistaken for a Mercedes Benz and whenever that happens, I just shrug and laugh it off. “It’s a Chevy Malibu Classic not a Mercedes Benz”, I’d quipped and smiled a bit. It was really a nice car and very reliable, too. Now that I’ve decided to retire from the corporate world, I don’t need a car to get to work or drive around. If I want to go shopping, I’d just tag along with my family to shop or do get the groceries since everyone have their own car. Three or four cars for a family of 4 was too much so I gave up my car for good. Now, I’m just a happy passenger who can nap or read while they do the driving. Sometimes I become a backseat driver; once a driver, always a driver even at the backseat. Lol! I didn’t buy another Toyota Camry LE as my 3rd car because the price tag was over $40k and I got the Chevy Malibu for half that price and served me just as well as any great looking car like that Toyota Camry. I still miss my old Toyota Camry LE car but it has a good home now after I sold it to a car mechanic who has a repair garage shop and was looking for a standard stick shift Toyota car in the classified ads.
2013 Toyota Camry LE (Photo Courtesy of Toyota Canada)
If ever I get another chance to have a dream car, “THIS IS IT!” A brand new black 2013 Toyota Camry LE. WOW!!!! That would be a dream come true!