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.