A petrol-head’s first car is something special indeed. It’s your first moments of absolute freedom, the feeling of possibilities, the ability to take off and go anywhere. Upon getting your first car, the world is your absolute oyster; just grab the keys and go.
My own first vehicle was a 2006 Toyota Corolla sedan. It wasn’t anything remotely sporting or fun-to-drive, but back then I couldn’t care less. I’ve been dreaming of driving ever since I reached my teens; 16 seems so incredibly far away when I found out early on that was the minimum age to attain a driver license. Some things don’t change: the wait to purchase a Porsche 911 next year have been at certain times excruciating.
I indeed may have gotten my license at 16, but the Toyota Corolla did no materialize until college, a generous gift from the parents. The reason we elected to buy the typical compact sedan was because insurance was going to be astronomical on anything fast, and I had zero income to support that. Nevertheless, I adored the Corolla; it was equipped with the five-speed manual, upon which I learned the intricacies of driving stick-shift, and thankfully the clutch was super forgiving.
Fast forward to post college, and I itched for something quicker on the feet. In came a 2013 Subaru WRX STI, bought with my own money this time, and the Corolla got bequeathed to my younger brother. He also cut his teeth in learning the manual gearbox with that car, and suffice it to say the clutch did not last much longer. I was glad the car stayed in the family, because in some distant future I had intentions of getting it back (no doubt my brother will upgrade at first opportunity), keep up on maintenance, and driving it from time to time for nostalgia.
Unfortunately that was not meant to be. A few weeks ago the Corolla’s notoriously weak C59 transmission completely shattered its third and fourth gear. My father was commuting on the car, so a reliable fix was needed very quickly. To fix the gearbox would cost roughly the same as the entire worth of the car, so instead we chose to lease a new Hyundai Tucson, and the Corolla got put out to the pasture.
A salesperson at the dealership my brother worked at bought the entire car for spare parts. Must be nice.
In an ideal world where I have a garage with proper space, I would’ve kept the Corolla and simply worked on it myself bit by bit. Being the first car I ever owned it was somewhat sad to see it disappear into the ether as a parts car for someone else’s revival project. Circumstances prevented me from being one of those car enthusiasts that kept their ur-auto in perpetuity because it was indeed something significant, even if the car in a vacuum, isn’t.
I think the next order of business after buying the 911 would be leasing a warehouse somewhere far and cheap; a place where I can work on cars at leisure. Hashtag goals.