Inspiration: Ragtag Daily Prompt – Memory
My First Car
(A slant six engine will last forever!)
Fresh out of college in 1976, I was hot on a search for the perfect car.
My first car.
The budget: under $4000.
The dream: a shiny, new, reliable, 4-door ORANGE set of wheels (this was the ‘70s after all). It needed to hold all my stuff; which remarkably – back then – fit completely inside a car.
I found just what I wanted at a Plymouth dealership in Nanuet, NY one blistering June day.
A bright orange Volaré complete with its famous slant six engine, real vinyl seats and AM/FM radio. It practically had my name on it. And it was under budget.
I signed up for a “how to take care of your car” class. I learned how to change the air filter, spark plugs and fuses. I waxed it until it practically glowed, even in the dark. It was easy to locate in a parking lot.
My Volaré lasted 12 years and over 106,000 miles. It took me to my first hospital job. From the church to my wedding reception. To Chicago for my college roommate’s wedding. Home from the hospital with my newborn daughter safely secured in her first car seat.
I even won a free sunroof in a radio contest in 1986.
In 1988 it was time for a new car. The evils of rust were starting to win the battle. After I negotiated a fair price on a Corsica at the local Chevy dealership, the salesman mentioned that I could probably get $400 wholesale for my Volaré. He also mentioned the slant six engine.
The next day I returned to the dealership. Late afternoon, around 4pm. My son and 6 year old daughter came with me. She waited patiently in the showroom with a book. My 6-month-old son, balanced on my left hip, accompanied me to the car lot to meet with the salesman…
Who no longer thought $400 was fair.
He called for the sales manager to join us.
Sales Mgr: I’ll give you $100 towards the new car.
Me: It has a slant six engine. Those last forever! Please take it for a drive! I was told it’s worth $400.
The manager drove it around the lot.
Mgr: Okay, $200. Look at the mileage!
Me: Maybe I don’t need a new car after all. This one runs great. It even has a sunroof.
Manager walked around it again. Salesman stood behind him.
At this point my son was getting more and more squirmy. He looked straight at the manager. And blew really loud raspberries.
Me: See! We both know this is a great car!
The salesman and manager went inside to talk to The Senior Manager. They both came out and walked around the car again. Went back inside the showroom. My son and I followed.
The sales manager finally returned…to where I waited with 2 hungry and cranky children. He shook his head, looked at me…okay $400.
Me: You’ve got yourself a deal!
As I was signing the paperwork, I heard a voice call my name. It was the Senior Manager sitting behind his big elevated-on-a-riser desk. In the middle of the showroom. I looked in his direction…as he continued…
“Hey! Anytime you need a job, just call.”