Why Are Cars So Important?

The following is one of the first articles I ever wrote. I also happen to think it is one of the best, maybe the punctuation is a bit rough but the message and theme of the article is something I haven’t been able to recreate since. I hope you like it!

Here’s a link to the original article.

Why are cars so important? Recently my car was hit by an old lady and subsequently written off. I had been thinking about selling my car for a long time, I said I needed to sell it many times over the past year and a half of owning it and every time I have found an excuse not to sell it. This time however, is different. This time I have to say goodbye to the best car I’ve owned and the best car I have ever driven. I feel like I am saying goodbye to my oldest friend…which got me thinking, why do I care so much? It’s an inanimate object, a bunch of metal and plastic arranged in such a way that allows traveling easier. Why would I hesitate over something that has cost me nothing but money and contributed to ruining the environment all to save me walking a bit? It’s because it’s not just a bunch of metal and plastic, it’s not just a money pit that allows me to be lazy, it’s much, much more than that, and here’s why…My first car was a 1991 Toyota Corolla, it had 279,000 k’s on it, smelled like sweaty old man, the headlights and handbrake didn’t work, it was very, very fuel thirsty, the clutch was squeaky, it was rusty, it had no power whatsoever, the suspension in the rear was soggy, the doors didn’t lock, it had no air-con and the drivers seat had to be propped up using a skateboard wedged against the rear passenger seat. Nevertheless, I loved it, it was mine, my first car, my first bit of independence and freedom, I could do whatever I wanted with it and as long as there was a road to it, there wasn’t a place I couldn’t go.Naturally I went to Maccas.After driving for a few weeks it quickly occurred to me (through the wisdom of unsuccessful handbrake turns) that I wanted something more from my car, something faster, nicer, newer, better handling, more fuel efficient and something that didn’t ram a skateboard into my lower back every time I went over a leaf. So I sold it, I felt like I sold a part of myself and spent about an hour hugging, literally hugging the car before selling it, but I knew it was for the best. Why did I care about such a piece of crap? If my iPhone started failing that badly today I’d chuck it out, get a new one and never think about it again, I use my iPhone more, I paid more for my iPhone and my iPhone pretty much holds my whole life in it. Yet I wouldn’t give a damn about it.

I then got myself a 1994 Toyota Camry, thinking that it was safe, comfy, had a bigger 2.2L fuel injected engine and had lots of little creature comforts the Corolla didn’t. Surely it was a winner right? Wrong. It was bouncy and floppy, it had no character or class and was as boring and stylish as a pair of Velcro sandals. So I sold it, that one I didn’t care about as much, or at all really. So I bought myself a 1996 Toyota Corolla, thinking I would love it as much as my first car but it would be better in just about every respect, again I was wrong. But only after I tried adding a few things to it to make it feel like my own (unsuccessfully changing my boredom) did I give up and sell it. That car I was more upset about than the Camry, but less than the first Corolla. I then decided that I needed a car that was big like the Camry, drove well, had lots of space for things like a mountain bike, tent, bed and all that crazy adventure crap, and also something that was safe and had a relatively nice drive and decent sized engine. That was when I bought a 2000 Subaru Outback, the worst car I have ever owned. It was big, handled like a boat and although comfy, used about $130 a week in petrol, which was nuts. So I sold it and honestly didn’t even blink.

I spent weeks with my $3000 I made from the Outback sale looking for a car, scouring the internet for any sign of hope that a car existed out there for me, a car I would be proud to own and a car that when I parked it, I would stare at it for as long as I could while walking away from it. This is when my fascination with “sports” cars began. Now don’t get me wrong, since I was a kid I have always loved cars. I watched Top Gear, Initial D and all the Fast and Furious movies, drooling over every single car that I saw, I loved all types of motorsport from drifting to rallying, it always got me interested and held my attention, which is rare. I was always interested in cars but never really considered the idea of buying a car based purely on looks, performance or potential. All I thought was that I should get a car which is reliable and drives well. After looking around for ages and finding nothing, I gave up searching for particular models and started searching for just specifications, I typed into Gumtree, eBay and other sites these exact requirements just to see what I could get.

< 200,000 k’s
Registered/able to be registered
Engine no larger than 2.0L
$3000 MaximumGumtree showed nothing, eBay showed nothing, Cars Guide showed nothing. It wasn’t looking good. After nearly giving up I decided to have one last go and typed those words into the Car Sales search bar. One car came up. A 1997 Purple Honda Integra. My new car.

I instantly fell in love with it, it was sleek, sexy, fun, exciting and awesome all at the same time, I shot up from my chair and ran to show my mum, I sent a photo of the car to my friends on Facebook saying that it was going to be mine even before I’d called the guy and made sure it was available, I was 20 years old and so excited and I will never forget that feeling. I will never forget the first time I fully understood why cars are so important. It sounds pretty lame but that was the only time I got butterflies in my stomach over an inanimate object. I ended up buying the car and out of my 4 years of driving and out of 5 cars I have owned, it’s the only car I have never really wanted to sell. The car drove amazingly, it had a sun roof and everything worked perfectly. It was fuel efficient and I genuinely couldn’t take my eyes off it when I was walking away.Back to my original point, here’s why I feel like I am saying goodbye to my best friend, it’s quite simple really – It’s because I am. This car has been there when so many things have happened. It was the first car I ever clipped an apex of a corner in, the first car I had when I met my girlfriend, the first car I ever hit the red line in and the first car I ever actually pushed my skills as a driver in.This car made me realize just how much I truly love cars, now my ears jump up when I hear the roar of a motor nearby, now I get all jittery when I see a shiny paint job or carbon fiber bonnet. All I think about now is getting to the track days and beating my personal best. Since owning this car, I have learned so much about cars, to the point where I could probably tell you what model a car is just by looking at the rear quarter panel. My purple Integra literally changed the way I see things. And it’s going to be incredibly hard to see it go.

I know what you’re probably thinking, it’s just an Integra, they aren’t anything special, not insanely fast or even rare at all. Which is all true, but the point I’m trying to make is that the reason cars are so important is because anyone who has a car, no matter the brand or top speed, has a best friend. Your car will go anywhere with you, do anything with you, it will take you anywhere and carry you on its back the entire way, if you decided to drive your car off a cliff tomorrow it would follow you to the bitter end and never question you. You can load your car up with all the possessions you can fit in it and leave everything behind and never look back and your car wouldn’t even flinch. And I think there is something very special about that bond. Especially if the car you have is a car you chose yourself, but even if you didn’t choose it, I promise you if you spend enough time with it, you will grow to love it, even if it is a piece of crap that costs you a lot of money. These days cars are getting harder and harder to own, petrol prices are insane, electric cars are expensive and lame and barely anyone can afford to buy a new car outright. Which is sad, the joy a car can bring is like nothing else, what else can do the things a car can do? What else can make you forget all your problems just by putting your foot down or opening a sunroof? I can’t think of anything. Since owning my Integra I have decided to quit my job running my own skate business to focus on chasing a career in Automotive Journalism. It’s amazing how something so simple can make you realize what you want to do with your life. If you have read all of this and are wondering why I bothered writing about something like this, it’s simply because I want people to know why I think cars are so important, why I’m going to take forever finding the right car for me again and why you should all take a little more pride in the car you’re driving, because at the end of the day your car is essentially a visual representation of your personality and the best, most caring friend you will ever have.
Think about it.
Goodbye my little Integra, I can never thank you enough for pointing me in the right direction.
– L

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