Some people connect with cars in deep and lasting ways.

I wrote recently about the melancholy I felt after selling the 1968 Datsun roadster I’d owned for 25 years. I asked readers to share their own car stories and was overwhelmed by the response.

I’m talking literally hundreds of emails. Some people remember their favorite cars the way they remember a lost love — and they can be just as poetic about them.

Jean Jonnard used to own a bright yellow 1954 Ford Sunliner convertible. She first spotted the car on a dealer’s lot while driving to see “clients” as a New York probation officer.

“I loved that car,” she wrote.

But Jean wrote that when she was expecting her first child, “my dearly beloved convinced me that a convertible was not the kind of car you drove around in with a baby.”

She still pines for a yellow Ford Sunliner convertible.

“I have never seen one, even at car shows,” wrote Jean, who lives in McLean, Va., now. “Close, but never a match. . . . I remember that auto more fondly than any old boyfriends I had.”

In the mid-1990s, Brian McGuire of Takoma Park, Md., had a 1972 Dodge Charger.

“I loved that car, and every time I was out driving with my then-girlfriend and there would be another Charger driving along, we would both wave to each other,” Brian wrote. “My girlfriend would say, ‘Wow, you belong to a gang!’

“And it was almost like being in a gang because anytime I was in a parking lot and there was another guy who had a Mustang or Pontiac GTO, the first question was ‘Hey, what you got in that thing?’ ”

Wrote Brian: “I eventually had to sell it to get a van for hauling stuff around, more practical for my business. Oh, well.”

In the early 1980s, Mike Hirrel saw an ad for a 1958 Lincoln Premiere.

“When I was a boy growing up in Mississippi, the richest man in our neighborhood owned one,” Mike wrote. “His daughters, both very pretty and one my own age, just preened when they were riding around in that car.”

And so he bought it.

Mike loved driving that car around. But then he moved to Arlington, Va., where the massive automobile overflowed almost any parking space.

“Real estate, I came to understand, is more expensive in Arlington than in Mississippi,” wrote Mike. “I did become increasingly apprehensive about actually driving it. So I sold it, too. I think it found a good home in rural Virginia. I hope so.”

Tom Bauman of Apex, N.C., regrets parting with his 1950 Chevy pickup. He’d put a lot of work into the truck: installed a new gas tank; rewired the lights and signals; made wooden bed side-mounts.

“I tell myself I sold it because I retired before I was eligible for Social Security, and I figured we needed the money more than the truck,” he wrote. “However, deep inside I know that I really sold it because it wasn’t fun. It was hard to handle and I was afraid of what would happen if I drove it out of the neighborhood.”

In 1971, George Newman was a U.S. Army captain stationed in Vicenza, Italy — and the owner of a 1967 Lamborghini 350 GT.

“You ask, how could a young Army officer afford a Lamborghini?” wrote George. “The answer is that at that time, when the rich Italians traded in their exotic cars for a new one, there was virtually no middle class in Italy who could afford to pay for a used 12-cyclinder, six two-barrel Weber carburetor car, along with $6-a-gallon gasoline and a hefty road tax.”

But U.S. personnel in Italy did not have to pay road tax, and government-issued coupons cut the cost of fuel by at least two-thirds.

When his tour was over, George shipped the car to his new duty station at Fort Sill, Okla.

He had no garage, and hailstorms pounded the car’s aluminum body. Plus, the speed limit on the post was 25 mph.

“Lamborghinis don’t perform well when driven that slow,” wrote George, of Great Falls, Va.

The final straw? The OPEC oil embargo quadrupled the cost of gasoline. George and his new wife advertised the Lambo in Road & Track.

“With cash in our pocket we bought a four-cylinder Chevrolet Vega station wagon which has gone down in car history as one of the worst cars ever conceived in Detroit,” he wrote.

Jim Lerer has owned many cool old cars and motorbikes. He even had a Datsun roadster like mine.

“The way I get past missing my friends is to think of them as a book, and I’m just one chapter,” Jim wrote. “The pages of the roadster’s story have turned, and it’s now a new chapter.”

Helping Hand

Now is the perfect time to support three charities that help people who are experiencing homelessness in Washington. Friendship Place, Bread for the City and Miriam’s Kitchen are part of The Washington Post Helping Hand, our annual fundraising drive.

To learn about them — and contribute — visit

Twitter: @johnkelly

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