What Car Did You Love?

By Chris Haak

Of course, Valentine’s Day is about showing the people you love how much you love them, not about cars or even websites about cars and the car business.  But that won’t stop us from considering which vehicles we truly love.  To keep the conversation on track, let’s focus only on vehicles that we’ve actually owned.  Which cars did you love, and what did you love about them?

I’ve owned about a dozen cars during my 20 years with a driver’s license (not counting the cars that I had the use of growing up as the son of a car dealer, which meant changing the car that I was driving – but not owning – a number of times ).  The car I loved the most was…

…my 2004 Honda Accord EX V6.  (Note: the photo to the left looks exactly like my car, but is not mine).  It was the first new car that I ever bought, and the first car that my wife and I bought together as a married couple.  It was equipped with everything but navigation (her choice, not mine).  It wasn’t a beautiful car (though I adored its Eternal Blue Pearl paint), but everything worked on it.  The Honda J30 3.0 liter V6 was smooth and sounded like a muffled race car when in the upper reaches of the tachometer, it always started right up, and got better fuel economy than some four cylinders I’ve driven lately.  The car’s orthopedically designed front seats provided the perfect mix of cushioning and support, and literally never left my legs or rear end fatigued, even after eight straight hours behind the wheel.  The car never had a mechanical problem and still looked great the day I traded it after five years.  It seems that I was smitten by Cadillac CTS lust and couldn’t pass up the deal that was being offered at the time.

Every month when I make the loan payment on the CTS that spends more time in the garage than it does on the road, I regret getting rid of the Honda.  That car, with about 75,000 miles, was probably only a third of the way through its useful life.  Since I’m reviewing press cars for Autosavant now, I drive just over 10,000 miles per year in my own car, so the Honda could have theoretically lasted me another 10 years.  Now it’s up to the Cadillac to remain a stalwart in my garage for the next decade.  That is, unless I get car lust – not love – again someday.

Not to ruin the occasion, but is there a car you owned that you specifically didn’t love, even hated?  My first car, a 1988 Pontiac Grand Am SE 2.0T automatic didn’t even last a year before the motor blew, which led to a giant hole in the block and a spray of oil on my back tires while driving.  (For aspiring drifters, that’s a great way to make a front wheel drive car oversteer!)

What do you say?  Any cars you loved, and why?  Have your say in the comments below.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Author: Chris Haak

Chris is Autosavant's Managing Editor. He has a lifelong love of everything automotive, having grown up as the son of a car dealer. A married father of two sons, Chris is also in the process of indoctrinating them into the world of cars and trucks.

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11 Comments

  1. I had a Fiat x 1/9. When it ran right, I loved it. Un-fortunately it never ran right without at least several hundred dollars worth of work. When I turned on the headlights the right headlight would bob up and down 50% of the time, and that was the least of it’s troubles. My favorite is the ZX3 i’m currently driving, could use more hp, and a sixth gear. But for 10.9k new with air it’s been bulletproof. I’ve had it to Buttonwillow and every canyon road in the LA-OC area and it’s a blast.

  2. I loved my first car (truck). It was a 1995 Red Ford Ranger single cab manual. I was 17 and had nothing better to spend my money on, so I put new wheels, grill, system, etc. into that thing. I even had the dark headlight covers that were “in” during the late 90s. I sometimes cleaned her 3 or 4 times a week during the summer. Met my now wife, graduated high school, and shared many other life events with that truck. Crazy thing is, I have moved cities and so has the truck. The current owner lives about 5 miles from me right now. I often thinking about knocking on the door and seeing what he would take for it.

  3. I bought a 1972 2002 Tii in 1976. Now that was a car. Taiga green, 4 speed, sunroof, 35K miles. It was a fairly quick car for the times until 4000rpm. Then it felt like another engine kicked in. Sold it in 1980 for more than I paid for it. Dumbest thing I ever did.

  4. I’ve only owned 2 vehicles (both trucks) in my 15 years of driving, but I’ve loved them both. Like Chris above, my first was a Ranger, 1997 regular cab 4-cylinder, manual XL. Absolutely stripped base model. No carpet, vinyl bench, no radio, no power steering. With only 112 hp it was dog-slow too (did get 30 MPG highway – pretty useless when gas was $1 per gallon). But I loved that thing. It was so earnest in its simplicity. They really don’t make basic vehicles like that any more. Being a teenager, I spent money on all sorts of stupid aftermarket stuff: 4″ lift and big wheels and tires that ruined the ride, second-hand bucket seats that have never felt right, performance upgrades that couldn’t turn that 4 banger into a V6. After 9 years and 150k trouble-free miles, I upgraded in 2006 to another Ranger, a 2002 FX4 SuperCab, because that was the truck I lusted after ever since it debuted. My requirements were black, manual transmission, and a manual transfer case. I love the 2002, but the ’97 holds a special place since it was my first “car.” Lucky for me, I didn’t have to sell that truck, as it now is being driven by my dad, so I can visit as often as I want and reminisce about those fun high school days.

  5. I love my 1974 BMW 2002. It’s the only car I’ve driven that I immediately felt at-one with. It is raw fun in the purest sense. Perfect balance, lots of pep, and absolutely controllable. The Ultimate Driving Machine!

  6. My 1971 Mustang Mach 1, Grabber Yellow, 351 Cleveland!!

    My first car and still have a love affair for it!!!

  7. Great stories so far. Thanks for sharing, everyone!

  8. My first car was a’54 MG-TF (back in ’67). It was so incredibly cool, with the separate, old fashioned fenders and ‘running boards,’ the side-curtains, and easy to raise convertible top. It always got looks, stares and attention wherever we wandered. At 17, it didn’t bother me at all that it left the factory without a heater or a radio. Since then I’ve driven much more reliable, dependable cars–but never anything cooler.

  9. I have always loved the Nissan 300ZX (1990-1996) I have owned 2 so far but I’m alway in the lookout for another one with less miles. Its a beautiful car with great power and feel. It is a little on the heavy side but nothing else feels like it. It was built ahead of its time with projection headlights, 4-wheel steering, heck even the Lamborghini bought the 300ZX’s headlights for its Diablo.

  10. My first car in 1987 was a ’72 El Camino with a 350 4-speed. I learned to drive a stick in this car. Talk about unforgiving!! It was very cool, and I loved the power it produced. It was a one of a kind at my high school so that helped with the popularity too. 🙂 I had it for a year but had to part with it because the body was starting to rot and I didn’t have the money/gumption to fix it. I sold it to a local motorhead who loved the car and assured me he’d restore it. About 9 months later I found my El Camino rotting in a field, stripped and forgotten. That was a sad day for me. To this day I still have dreams that I go out to my garage and find my El Camino that I forgot I owned sitting there waiting fro me. 20+ years and I still miss that car.

  11. lincoln town car was and still is the best car people now didn’t grow up with big cars sure glad i did new cars suck.

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