The Washington Post

Car love: parting with an old automobile

(Christoph Hitz)

On Sunday the magazine ran my essay of my own beloved Volvo, and more stories poured in. Here are five of the many I received. You love your cars. Let me know in the comments if you have more!


I take a lot of flak from my family for calling my 16-year-old Moonglow Camaro Z28 convertible Baby. My late husband gave her to me new in 1995 to drive around South Bethany Delaware where we had our large retirement home. I’ve had her all these years and worry over her when something goes wrong with her like she’s a child.

I’ve always done the detailing on my vehicles and I still do even though it takes longer these days. I know it’s silly as I have a beautiful Inferno Red Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited, fully loaded as well, but she’s just not the same as my Baby. I believe one is either a car person or not and I love beautiful fast cars and motorcycles and have always driven them despite the fact that I am now a 69-year-old great-grandmother of ten. Once in a while one of the teenage grandchildren will ask me for Baby and I have to tell them I’m being buried in her so I can drive her in heaven.


I was born in 1981 and went home from the hospital in my Dad's 1976 sedan, which I then drove all through high school and college. We have photos of me being placed in the car (nicknamed "The Tank") in my carseat at the hospital as well as next to it in my college cap and gown.

In 2005 I purchased my own 1998 Volvo (much to my father's embarrassment as it became the fifth Volvo in the family), which I am still driving and am madly in love with. None of our Volvos have left the family. The two oldest (the Tank and a '80s green station wagon) have made the move cross-country from home in Colorado to Western NY with my dad's crazy cousin who now owns them.

I can't even imagine how much money has gone into the cars to keep them running. I remember a time in high school when I was driving my tennis teammates around and my windshield wipers would not turn off and my manual roll-up window would continuously slowly fall open.


Thanks for a great read. I felt much the same way about my 1989 Saab. I kept it garaged for 2 years after it passed away from a cracked block.


When I graduated from high school in 1981, my father bought me my first car, a Honda CRX.  I loved the car when I first got it, but loved it even more as the years passed.  I moved to Charlottesville the week after I got the car.  The fondest memories of my 20's definitely  involved my car.  It was only a two seater, but we would pile everyone in it.

My first road trip was with a guy friend and we took off in  my CRX in the late evening and drove to Rehobeth. I remember I had an cassette player and we listened to UB40 and Bob Marley.  We ended up sleeping on the beach for two night and I was so exhausted coming back.  My friend and I got into an argument because I was so tired but I didn't want anyone driving my new car and my dad had told me to never let anyone drive it.

Then there was the time my boyfriend was spilled a whole container of baked beans in my car on the way to a picnic, and I got out of the car and started screaming at him. I didn't want any marks, stains, scratches or anything on the car.  My girlfriend still remembers that!  In 1986 I met my husband at UVA and got married the next year. I still love the pictures of us leaving the reception in my CRX and how it was decorated by his fraternity brothers.

Several years later and four kids, we had moved into the house we live in now.  Without my knowing, my husband had called MADD to pick up my beloved car. At this point the car was 18 years old, had some dents, needed some work, but by golly, it was still running.  It was a bit of an eyesore in our driveway though.  I got the call to confirm pickup and totally lost it.  What did he think getting rid of my baby!

 Needless to say, I cancelled the pickup.  It took about another  two years before I decided it probably should go.  And MADD was a great organization.  The day of the pickup had come and I couldn't help thinking I was making a mistake.  

I had my husband take pictures of me sitting in it and standing next to it.  I still have the license plates hanging in my garage.  I stood upstairs as the tow truck took the car away and cried my eyes out.  And was pretty much emotional the rest of the day.  I really felt as though it was a friend and my youth was gone.  It held so many memories of my first leaving home, my first love, my husband and crazy college times.

Well now, five kids later, my oldest one driving and another one getting ready to get her permit, I really wish I still had that car.  I told my oldest one, she could have been driving it.  I'm not sure if I really would have wanted to keep it for her or myself!  I think I know the answer.


My wife and I own a '93 850, purchased new 18+ years ago when our first child was born.  It replaced a red Porsche, at which time a nephew fumed, "If that's what happens when you get married and have kids, I'm never getting married!" The Volvo is about to cross 160,000 miles.  It was a lifesaver when our older son was 3 years old.  The car was broad-sided by another one going 35 through an intersection.  There was $7,000 worth of damage (in 1996), including a destroyed rear door that still opened and closed.  But, no injuries. We'll keep the Volvo until the wheels turn square or there's a repair I can't fix or that costs more than the car's worth, a lower number with every passing year.  The leather seats have tears that beg for repair.  I want to fix the seats but my younger son, 14, just says, "Dad, it's 18 years old.  And, it's part of the car's character."  And, whenever something breaks and I threaten, "This is it," my two sons just say, "You can fix it.  You can't sell the car." Three years ago, we replaced my wife's 20-year old red Honda Prelude.  She loved that car and it ran perfectly.  Rust was getting the best of it and the spare tire was about to fall through the trunk.  Safety prevailed and we concluded that it was time to upgrade to newer car with airbags and anti-lock brakes.  Since the Volvo already has those safety features, the prognosis for it remaining in our driveway for who-knows-how-long remains good.


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.