I was reading Jess’s post the other day about her very first car, and it got me thinking about my first car.

I turned 16 in 1998, and for my birthday my parents gave me my mom’s old car.  It was a 1992 four-door Dodge Spirit.  It was white and had no hi-tech features.  Everything was manual, from the mirrors to the windows to the locks. For some reason when my mom bought the car, she opted to not get anything but the basic radio installed.  There was no CD player, not even a tape deck.  I only had 5 radio presets.  When we went on car trips, my passenger would have to man the boom-box so we could play CDs.  We didn’t even run it through the car radio.  We just turned on the stereo and cranked up the volume so you could hear it over the noise of driving.

Dodge Spirit

It wasn’t a very cool car, but I loved it.  I named it Humbert, in honor of my obsession with the movie Lolita.  Humbert had a pretty dark blue interior, and I made sure to pimp him out to make him as awesome as possible.  On my dash, I had a hula chick who would rock out with me on my various journeys.  My rear view mirror was adorned with leis, as well as the headrests of my front 2 seats.  I bought some cute little beanie beach creatures (a tropical fish, a crab and a turtle), and they rode in front of my back windshield.  I was one of my first friends to drive, so naturally my car was the hangout ride for when we went cruising.  Gas was only $.85, so we would drive all over the place just for the hell of it.

Even though I tried to be a good owner, Humbert had some issues.  My sister was obsessed with playing ball in the driveway.  One time she and a friend batted a tennis ball into the garage, and it broke the driver’s side mirror.  We rigged it with a folded up index card that was rubber banded together and wedged in to hold the mirror in place.

One time, about 6 months into me driving, I managed to get poor Humbert stuck in the garage.  BTW, it was a two-car garage with one big door.  That shouldn’t have happened.  My dad had parked my car for me in the garage for some reason the night before, but he had pulled it in at a weird angle.  He did this to give people more room when walking through the garage.  Well, backing out is always kind of tricky when you are a new driver.  I was backing up, and realized that the car wasn’t pulling straight back.  I tried to correct it and ended up over correcting.  All of a sudden the car was scrapping along the side of the garage.  Poor Little S was out there with me trying to help me get unstuck.  Somehow I got Humbert almost completely sideways in the garage before I was able to back out.  It was special.

Humbert

Humbert2Please excuse my lack of drawing skills!

Poor Humbert seriously had no pick up, especially when the AC was on.  If I had to pull out in a high-traffic area, I had to push this button to turn off the AC.  Then there was a bit more pick up.

At one point I blew out the engine.  I don’t know how much of it was my fault because I’d only driven it for a few months when I started to notice this weird smoky, sweet smell.  The poor guy was out of commission for about a week getting repaired so I was stuck driving my mom’s eggplant-colored mini-van since I wasn’t allowed to drive the rental.  That was really embarrassing.

I drove Humbert until my freshman year of college until he was passed on to Little S and I got an Alero.  She continued to drive him until maybe her freshman year of college, until she got a new car from my parents.  Humbert was getting old and costly to maintain, so my family sold him to a single mom who had lost her car in an accident for a relatively low price.  I think we all cried a little when Humbert moved on to his new owner.  I wonder how long he stayed in use after he left my family…

Did you ever have a name for your car?  Did you love or hate your first ride?  And why?

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