This post is in response to the recent CNNMoney iReporter assignment: The Best Car I Ever Owned. The Ford Mustang was by far the most popular response to this nostalgic rallying cry, and who can argue with that? There’s really very little not to like about the pony car.
My choice is somewhat different. The best car I ever owned was also my first, the humble ’79 Toyota Corolla. If you’ve just choked on your mocha or dropped your lunch, I sincerely apologize. However, this car was a perfect fit at the time, so please allow me to explain.
It Counted As Transport
At first look you might think that being seen behind the wheel of the common Corolla would fail to impress and result in social isolation. Thankfully, this was not my experience. As a high school senior in Australia I was lucky to even have wheels of my own back in the late ’80s. While definitely not as cool as the bigger surfing sedans and wagons of my peers, it was better than walking.
I could honestly call it mine. My part-time job allowed me to pay $1,750 cash for it and amazingly I sold it for a $100 profit two years later. That’s what I love about the beater price-point; you just can’t do that on more expensive cars.
The thing I really liked about the corolla was its utility. The design of the rear doors allowed them to open so wide that I could fit a ton of cargo in Kermit. My family named it that because of the bright green paint. At that time I was playing in a working band and managed to squeeze a Marshall quad box and amplifier in the back row of seats. It was always reliable and the 1.3 liter engine gave the super-efficient fuel economy that every student needs in a car.
The Best Car I Never Owned
Despite all the upside of the corolla, I nearly passed this over for another that I had been dreaming about for years. My heart was set on the Ford Falcon XY GT. I was a major car-nut in my teens, no doubt heavily influenced by my Father who was a Ford dealership sales manager.
The Falcon was probably a cooler option, but not a smart one. I was caught up in the muscle-car renaissance, envisioning myself restoring a worn-out model to showroom condition by working late nights turning wrenches in my parent’s garage. It was to be my labor of love. Thankfully my parents helped me to see sense and subtly made me aware of my dearth of mechanical know-how and absentee slush-fund required to make this reality.
The XY GT is now a collector’s item. With an MSRP of just $5,300 in 1972, the high performance model now fetches in excess of $700,000 at auction.
What is the best car you have ever owned?