What was your first car?

I was barely listening to the local news the other day when one line spoken by the television anchor caught my ear. The story was about buying a first car for your newly licensed teenager. The top ten new and used cars were highlighted on the screen and the newscaster stressed that safety, reliability, and price—not sleek design—should be the prime factors a parent should consider.

It was the closing sentence that made me look up.

“If your teen is excited about his new car, you’ve picked the wrong one.”

It made me think back to my first car. My grandfather’s old Pontiac Grand LeMans, circa 1972. It was huge. And ugly. And extremely unreliable.

But it was free. And that clinched the deal in my house. It didn’t matter, I was ecstatic. I had freedom.

One client of mine, in his published life story, recalled his first car this way:

Everybody, well nearly everybody, remembers their first car. Mine was a 1937 Ford Convertible—bought in late 1950 for $100.

Even with gas at 29 cents a gallon, running costs were high. To get across the Bay Bridge, consumption of radiator water was matched with consumption of engine oil.

Intended as a chick attractor, I failed. It became a detractor instead.

And still, my client claimed, “It did the job.”

We all make due with whatever car becomes our “first.” Regardless of its look, we smile, decades later, basking in our memory of its smell and feel.

Did it have a hole in the flooring? (My husband’s car did.) Did it reliably go in reverse? (Mine did not.)

If your first car left an impression, tell your readers about it when you write your life story.

And send a copy of your published text to the newscaster of your local news station.

All first cars are exciting in my book.