The car has become an essential part of daily life for all but the most hardcore urban dweller. More than just a means of getting around, the automobile has become a status symbol, mobile workplace, concert hall, and movie theater. For many, their car is an expression of their personality, either real or wishful projection. Men tend to have a special affinity for their cars. If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, than cars must be a boy’s.
Everyone has fond memories of their very their first car. Mine was an old Pontiac with a hood as big as a football field. I swear you could have fit twelve hormone-filled teenagers on the big bench seats in that thing. Most of my friends drove souped-up muscle cars. They spent most of their free time tuning and trying to squeeze a little more horsepower out of those massive V8s. I was never much of a gearhead as a teen, but I was too poor to pay a mechanic to properly fix that old wreck of mine, so I learned how to keep it running myself.
During the first gas crunch of the early ‘70s I couldn’t afford to fill the tank in that big old Pontiac and I sure couldn't afford one of those new little Japanese cars that got much better mileage, either. I bought an old VW with a blown engine from the scrapyard and a few weeks later found a matching engine to marry with it.
While my wife has always had a late model car to drive, I have driven old junkers. For the past twenty-some years I have been driving old Volvos. You can always pick up an old 240 for next to nothing, they seem to last forever and when they do require some attention, they are easy to work on. For a few years I was buying old Volvos, fixing them up while driving them, and then selling them for a profit when I’d found another project. My wife, being the smarter half of this partnership, said that if I was going to drive an old piece of junk, I ought to get something that was unique. It wasn’t long after that I found a 1970 Volvo 1800E rusting away in a field. I bought that hulk of a car for $600. That was eighteen years ago and I’m still driving it. Two years ago our younger son bought a 1968 Volvo 122S. I guess it runs in the family.
Ever since Henry Ford made automobiles affordable for everyone, the car has become part of our way of life. And part of our music as well.