My car obsession

This morning a Dodge Durango popped it’s tire just to the side of me as I was driving into work. I saw it happen in my peripheral vision – a poof of smoke, the smell of burning rubber, and flaps of tire tread going pell-mell in a circle as the Durango tried to pull to the side of the road. “Ohhhhhhhhh! Ohhhhhhh!” I sighed in sympathy. That’s gotta ruin your day.

But the Durango made me think of when I bought my Subaru Outback Sport (a car I LOVED – excellent in the snow, just needed something a little bit bigger). This girl was trying to trade in her Durango to buy a new car and the conversation went something like this:

Car salesman: Let’s take a look and see how much you owe on your Durango to see what kind of a trade in we’re looking at. Hmmmm….uh oh, it looks like you are upside down in your car.

Not-too-bright girl: What does that mean?

Car salesman: It means you owe more on your car than it is worth.

NTB girl: Sooooo…how much money does it help me put towards a new car?

Car salesman: Nothing – it means you actually would owe more money on a new car you would buy.

NTB girl: But that’s impossible! I’ve had the car for almost two years and I’ve paid my car payment every time. I bought my car for $17,000 and I only owe $12,000 now. So I should have $5,000 to put towards a new car!

Car salesman: Nooooo, that’s not exactly how it works. Have you heard of depreciation?

NTB girl: I’ve appreciated the h@&* out of my car!

Car salesman (looking extremely ragged and frustrated at this point): Appreciating your car – taking care of it – is not the same thing. Your same car today sells for $9500 so you are actually in the hole $2500. So if I help you get a loan on a car today that costs $15,000, you would actually need a  loan for $17,500. Do you see how that works?

NTB girl (shaking her head and throwing her hands up): I – I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

I don’t know if Felicia Finances ever bought a car at that point but I got a kick out of watching the car salesman struggle to be courteous and give proper customer service to a girl who was beyond clueless. But reminiscing about my Outback Sport made me think about all the cars I’ve had over the years and I thought I’d share a brief  tribute.

buick.jpg First car: 1979 Buick Park Avenue – a behemoth of a car that I inherited from my uncle, who took ownership when my grandpa passed away. It was considered a luxury vehicle when it was bought – plush, velvety baby blue seats, all in bench style of course. We called it The Boat because it was so long and ridiculously huge. But it was quite popular at school. One reason was that it had an 8 track tape player. Yes folks, I was THE kid at high school with the 8 track tape player. Such a cool thing to have in the early 90’s, let me tell you. I’ll have to find a picture of it somewhere and post it because it truly was a beautiful thing. I drove it, my brother drove it, and after he nearly ruined it, my sister Natalie got to drive it for awhile. It was a family event to go around town in it’s plush interior!

jetta.jpg ’90 Volkswagen Jetta – First car I ever bought by myself. And subsequently the first time a car salesman ripped me off. But I loved that car, I truly did. It had a sunroof, nice stereo, and I loved how Volkswagens have Reverse in a weird position; you have to push the stick shift down and back to pop it into gear.

1994.jpg ’94 Nissan Pathfinder – This was a car I wanted to have ever since they put it into production. Mine was a steel blue with this monster Bose sound system that could rock your world. I bought it from a couple up in Ogden, so I thought it was stolen at first…just kidding! Ogden is much better these days, but back then…I only got rid of this car because I was traveling greater distances, working two jobs, and trying to finish my undergrad. Sigh, it just became too expensive. But I would buy it back in a heartbeat if I could. It was the car I brought my little boy home in from the hospital (I know, I know – it’s getting sappy).

sport.jpg ’99 Subaru Outback Sport – if you live in an area where it snows A LOT, get this car. The AWD on this baby was unreal and I could drive through drifts of 2 ft snow with ease. Yet this car just became a little pricey on the upkeep. And somebody ran into the side of it, left NO note, so I just thought I’d upgrade.

mazda.jpg ’04 Mazda6 – suh-weet! This is my car today and I love that it goes fast. Since I am usually driving anywhere between 650-800 miles a week, it’s important that I enjoy the experience of my car…and I do. It is so quiet and such a great vehicle that I plan on having it until I most likely run it into the ground.  Although I have to admit that I am eyeing the new Nissan Rogue that is just coming out…


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