Remembering your first car

This Corsica is similar to my first car. Photo from:

This weekend, I took a trip down memory lane.

My parents – the whole family, really – are searching for a first car for my 16-year-old sister. And since this is not “My Super Sweet 16,” it’s going to be a used car, and will probably be at least 10 years old.

I’m not going to get into my feelings about my sister’s protests that she can’t possibly drive the station-wagon that’s in perfect shape because “it’s ugly” – instead the whole process has reminded me of my first car.

It was around 2004, and the car was made in 1988. It cost me $91, which was to transfer the title and tags from my recently passed Uncle Joe to my parents. Its rearview mirror was also laying on the front seat and the back seat was covered in bird seeds (my uncle had a pet bird he took everywhere with him).

But I didn’t care – it was my ticket to freedom. Or at least, my ticket to being able to drive myself to work and school – the two places I frequented in those days.

I drove that car until it ground to a halt two years ago. Then I purchased my current ride, a Honda Accord, which is fancy enough to contain cupholders, something my Corsica didn’t feature.

What are your memories of your first car? How much did you – or your parents – pay for it? Did you have a lot of say in what you got to drive around?

About Ashley Wislock

Business reporter focusing on retail for the York Daily Record/Sunday News. In my spare time, I'm a social media, sports, reality TV and celebrity gossip junkie. Contact me at or 717-771-2029!
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2 Responses to Remembering your first car

  1. Jim Fahringer says:

    I remember my first car. I was actually 18 years old before I got my license. After getting my license, I drove my mother’s 1963 Chevy Belaire. Then it was time for me to buy my first car. I paid $50 for it and I bought it from my uncle. It was a 1955 Plymouth. I am not sure if anyone remembers the problems with those early Chrysler products but if there was any moisture in the air, the car wouldn’t start. If a cat urinated on my tires I wouldn’t be able able to start the car for a week! In those days I was an assistant scoutmaster. I remember taking some Boy Scouts to Camp Tuckahoe for the weekend and I barked along a stream. When it was time to bring the boys home on Sunday afternoon, my car would not start. I had to leave the car sit and the following Monday evening after the sun had shone on it all day long I was able to start it. I eventually carried two or three spray cans of ether with me. When my car wouldn’t start I would remove the distributor cap and spray the wires with ether. I would also spray the spark plugs with ether. I also remember that in those days many people used studded snow tires – you know those little bits of metal studs that were embedded into the tread of the tire to give you traction on snow and ice. Well, I needed some new tires and used some studded tires that we had at home. Instead of just having studded tires on the rear beacause it was a rear wheel drive vehicle, I also placed two studded tires on the front. I was then driving with four studded tires. Talk about rough driving — that was really bad and remember I didn’t have power steering. The car would shake when traveling more than 30 mph. There was another real scary problem with that car, sometimes it would suddenly accelerate on its own for no reason.

    Finally the day came for me to buy my forst new car. I traded in my old 1955 Plymouth for a 1973 Chevy Malibu. I bought it from the old Amon R. Smith Auto Company on Carlisle Avenue just beyond the fairgrounds. Boy was that a mistake. The purchase of that car turned me off on General Motors products for many years. That car did not have power steering either and it steered like an army tank. However the worst part about the car was that it leaked like sieve. You could never put your windows down during rain because the windows slanted out from the roof of the car and there was no rain gutter or guard to stop the water from dripping straight down from the roof of the car right onto you and your seat. The car leaked at various other places so much so that the two rear foot indentations on the floor between the drive shaft hump would fill with water. I remember one January thaw when it was raining heavily on a cold night, I picked up a hitchhiker along Route 462 just west of Hellam. I thought I was doing him a favor to get him out of the rain but it would have been better to just let him continue walking in the rain. Once he got into the car and we had travelled for several minutes, he said. “Mr., do you know you have a lot of water on the foor in your back seat!” I knew my car leaked but I didn’t know it leaked that much. I looked back and those footwells were almost full of four or five inches of water. The poor hitch hiker’s shoes and ankles were covered with cold water. During the winter months the water would freeze solid in the two floor foot wells between the drive shaft hump. I would have to go out to my car and lift out these two huge blocks of ice several times throughout the winter! In addition to leaks in the car, the body of that car rusted out out all over the place. I remember just before getting rid of that car the floor rusted out. As you drove you could see through the floor onto the road below the car. I was turned off by the poor body work of General Motors products because of this. Thank God that General Motors bodies really improve over the years. I hadn’t bought a General Motors product until September of this past year 2011. I am very happy with my 2004 Chevy Colorado four wheel drive truck. I owned the following cars since my first car, the 1955 Plymouth: 1973 Chevy Malibu, 1980 Chysler LeBaron, 1984 Dodge 600, 1992 Jeep Cherokee, 1999 Jeep Cherokee and finally the 2004 Chevy Colorado Truck. Out of all those cars, my favorite was the Chrysler Lebaron.

    • ashley wislock says:

      Thanks for sharing! Cars are definitely things people “bond” with – you always remember what you drove and what it meant to you.

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