Baby You Can Drive My Car

Shopping is a major Christmas activity, right?  And what better thing to be shopping for than a car?

Not that my husband and I planned to make a new car our big Christmas gift to each other.  It’s just that we’ve been driving a 1994 Plymouth Voyager minivan for (yes, go ahead and count them) nearly 19 years.  The paint is peeling, the interior fabrics are disintegrating, but the car just keeps running. We’ve never had a major repair done on it, and it’s got nearly 180,000 miles on it now.  We drove that car when we moved from Atlanta to Chicago, from Chicago to California and again when we moved California to Florida. There are a lot of memories in that car.

But the windshield wipers stopped working two weeks ago. That was a $150 repair.  And they told us we could use new tires.  Well, there’s another $400-$600.  Heck, at this point, the trade-in value of the van is only about $600-$1,000, so investing in new tires just seems pointless.

Plus, by today’s standards, the van is a gas guzzler. It’s huge—I know I said minivan, but compared to SUV’s we’re considering, the van is a monster.  We don’t really need that much space. We just need enough room in an air-conditioned vehicle to evacuate us and our cats in the event of a hurricane.

But looking at cars this past few weeks has made me realize what a long-term relationship I’ve had with the Voyager.  Not very showy, but always reliable. Not demanding, but a comfort to drive. If I had to personify the car, the Voyager would be the Steadfast Tin Soldier.  Quietly serving, grateful for any appreciation.  Someone you come to love without even realizing it. The Voyager has been my hero for nearly two decades.

Which made me start thinking: if you had to cast your favorite book hero as a car, what kind of car would he be?

  • I’m thinking Rhett Butler would be a Ford F-150.  Lots of torque and power.
  • James Bond is and ever will be an Aston-Martin. Classic, sleek, mouth-watering.
  • Severus Snape would be a Prius. Stealthy and silent, you have no idea what’s going on underneath that hood.
What about you?  If the man of your dreams were a car, what kind of car would he be?     And, for a little extra fun, here’s a bit of Paul McCartney to brighten your day!

About Amy Atwell

Amy Atwell is a storyteller at heart. After fifteen years in professional theater, she turned from the stage to the page to write contemporary capers and historical tales that combine romance and adventure. Her books are available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. When not writing, she runs the online author communities WritingGIAM and Author E.M.S.
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16 Responses to Baby You Can Drive My Car

  1. Misty Evans says:

    Wow, Amy, you’re making me think this morning. I had a used Audi with 194,000 miles on it that I finally traded in a few years ago for a used Mitsubishi convertible. That car is completely the opposite of what my Audi was in the practicality/reliability arean, but also has over 100k miles. The day after I traded in the Audi, the dealer sold it at auction. He told me the car made it through the test drive at auction and then after the parts dealer bought it and went to drive it away, it quit. That car was my baby…and it hauled me and my kids everywhere for a lot of years. I hated to give it up, even for the sportier convertible.

    Some of my heroes have specific cars that fit their personalities as well as their jobs…Conrad has a Jeep, Michael drives a BMW, Ace, the poor guy, has to drive the company car which happens to be a hearse. Funny how cars say so much about ourselves and our characters!

    • Amy R says:

      Misty – I never would picture Conrad with a Jeep at first, but I could see him in a Red or Black. You are right on with Michael and Ace. And of course, Lawson and his fancy motorcycles. 🙂

    • Amy Atwell says:

      So glad your Audi was your reliable workhorse. My husband and I shared the Voyager for a few years, and then we decided to get a Miata. We’ve had that since 1999. I will weep the day I have to give that car up! I’m not sure which will go first: the transmission or my knees. It’s a long way down into that cockpit.

  2. Amy R says:

    It is funny that you are talking about buying a new car, as my husband and I are counting down the days when we can replace our 13 year old van for another one. We are hoping it will hold up another year. Maybe next Christmas that will be a present for me. I still have kids in elementary school and sports, so I think we will have to have another minivan for the equipment and carpooling, but would love to have a fancy sports car. Perhaps when the kids are grown I can get my wish. I like it when books talk about the cars their main characters drive. If the man of my dreams (my husband) were a car he would be two cars. The practical side being a fancy, sleek, Mercedes and a fun side which for him would be some “classic” camero or something. What type of a car would YOU be?

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Amy, congrats on the long-lived van, and I hope you find another one you love. I will miss all that extra cargo space, but we just don’t need it the way we once did. As for cars, I always fear I’m something a little out of date. You know, like a Pinto.

  3. Edie Ramer says:

    Amy, I just danced to the song and my cat came in, meowing, wanting to play, too. lol (Hey, it’s a tough job being a writer.) I was at a Paul McCartney and the Wings concert years ago, and that brought back memories.

    I don’t really pay too much attention to cars. My current hero is a videographer and has to lug around equipment, so I just say his SUV. That way I get to avoid being specific. A couple previous heroes of mine drove a pickup and a Jeep.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Glad the song made you happy, Edie. I had fun hunting YouTube for the video footage.

      Now you’ve got me thinking about what cars I put my characters in. I’ve used a Jaguar convertible (rented), a vintage Trans-Am (borrowed), a Jeep, a PT Cruiser (my comic villains), and a Prelude (my undercover cop). I’m sure there are more. So maybe all this car hunting can be written off as “research.” 😉

  4. Dale Mayer says:

    Hi Amy,

    You’re blessed to have had your van as long as you have. I get attached to my vehicles too. It might be a love-hate relationship though. I expect that everything around me works when I need it to. When it doesn’t…:(

    Like my cars, I like steady reliable men who know the value of a good day’s work, and a great night of play 🙂 Maybe that’s why a lot of my characters drive trucks!
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …It’s here! Garden of Sorrow is live!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Dale, yeah, I’m already mourning the van. But I will be satisfied to let it go with all good memories. I know the longer we hang onto it, the bigger the chance something will go really wrong with it. It’s just hard to believe that if the van were my child, I would be sending him off to college now!

  5. CateS says:

    Rent the model for a couple of days that you’re thinking about buying, unless you’ve previous knowledge/experience…
    My sister has a Prius… it’s so dang quiet.. she made nervous pulling into traffic, etc… because there’s no engine noise… she also forgot to turn it ‘off’ when we went into see a movie… luckily we’d confused the start time [2 cinemas on opposite sides of town] and ended up just leaving & coming back home..

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Cate, that’s an excellent notion about renting the car. The salespeople keep trying to talk us into all the bells and whistles. Honestly, our van has crank windows, no sun roof, the air-conditioning didn’t work half the time–so we just want something we can drive.

      And that is so funny about your sister’s Prius!! Even the salesgirl warned us that when she was first training at the dealership, she kept turning the Prius on and off because she couldn’t figure out whether it was running. LOL

  6. Liz Kreger says:

    I had a Pontiac Firebird when I was younger and I LOVED that car. Unfortunately I had to give it up when I lost my job way back when. 😥 From there I went to a Mustang and then a Sunbird which I had for nearly 11 years. Loved that car, too, but cracked it up (without injury to anyone). Right now I have a Grand Am that I love. The funny thing, every one of my cars have been bright red. Never got a speeding ticket, even though I drive like a bat outta hell.

    I picture all my characters in a sporty car … red, of course, although Simon in my WIP drives a black SUV. Hmm, perhaps I might want to switch that.

    Fun blog, Amy. Got my mind working late in the afternoon after a full day here at the dayjob.

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Liz, and here I never pictured you as a speed demon. Obviously, we need to get together. I’m also a super safe driver, (the one car accident I had led to the purchase of the van), but I love to drive my Miata. LUV IT. I call the car Zippi, and it is seriously fun to drive. I’m so lucky to live in Florida.

  7. Lori says:

    It must be the time to buy new cars! My husband just bought a new one. I thought the fact that my husband’s car had over 130,000 miles was a lot, but not compared to some of yours!

    • Amy Atwell says:

      Lori– one of the reasons we bought the Voyager was because my brother had owned a Dodge Caravan (same basic vehicle) for many years and had driven it for 190,000 miles. He said he really missed it. So we went and checked them out. It’s been a good purchase. We’re doing the whole Consumer Reports thing, too. Because we expect to have the car for a long time, we want something with a good rating.

      Congrats on the new car!!

  8. Cynthia Eden says:

    Have you watched Supernatural? That sleek, classic car that Dean Winchester drives? Oh, my goodness–that would be the car/hero for me! Maybe it’s because I can’t quite separate Dean and his car in my mind…

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