Feature image above is of my last car to own in Nashville until the day before I left for Costa Rica, a tiny Toyota Yaris 2-Door Hatchback. I loved it! I haven’t had a car since. I sold it cheap at the wholesale price to a young, married youth minister in Nashville.
Here’s photos of the 11 cars that I owned plus the Mission-owned truck that was “mine” for three years in The Gambia.
Pass cursor over image to see caption or click image to see larger. They are in the chronological order that I had them.
Getting Started with Dad’s Help
I was a poor student working my way through college. In my senior year 1961-62. I was called to pastor a small church in Chidester, AR, about 40 miles from Ouachita College. I needed a car to get there. Dad helped me get one or he probably picked it out because it was sharper looking than I would have expected or probably chosen myself, a turquoise and white ’55 Bel Air Chevrolet. I just wanted transportation but loved having a cool car and drove it until the middle of the second semester when it broke down and had to be replaced. Dad again came to the rescue and helped me get the second car, maybe the “cutest” of all, a little red and white Metropolitan, a small British Nash Rambler. I drove it until the wreck in 1963 in Texas and loved it too. Both were old, used cars with problems and didn’t cost much initially and Dad helped with the purchase of both. I was on my own after that.
Cheap and Practical My Goal
From then on with maybe one exception (the Le Mans), I chose “plain,” practical cars that were not sporty and did not cost much. I wanted transportation I could afford and depend on. Finishing school and then doing my job, being a minister and helping people was my motivation. I never made much money and was not trying to impress anyone with my car. And even though the Pontiac Le Mans was my most sporty car ever, it was not expensive and had a good engine for pulling the camping trailer which was a priority at that time! 🙂
And I think by then I was maybe getting over-confident or proud of my successful ministries and maybe felt I finally deserved a nice car. Plus people in the Hillcrest Church encouraged me to get a better car and were not going to let their sons go with me to Glorieta and California in my old Rambler American. So, I did it! And kept it a long time, nearly 20 years, the longest of any car. Also note that under this “Cheap and Practical” heading that was my biggest motivation for not having a car when I moved to Costa Rica. Cars are very expensive here because of high import taxes and driving here can be dangerous which was a concern in my older years. So walking and taxis for local excursions plus buses & planes for longer trips became very practical and cheaper for me, as well as probably safer.
A Two-Car Family
Ginger brought her VW Bug into the marriage which I ended up driving more than her until the mid-to-late 80’s when I totaled it one morning delivering newspapers as a second job. She never forgave me. I replaced it with the VW Van which she didn’t like to drive, so I drove it and she drove my Le Mans until we got the Ford Pinto that she drove more than me but we got rid of it because of many problems and dangers. I don’t remember what she drove after that, probably one of the Toyotas, but I’m pretty sure we always had two cars, even when I rode the bus to work. The 80’s are a blur now.
Preferred White and Ended up with Black!
My “logical” thinking was that white would reflect the sun and keep the car cooler and was also more visible to other drivers. Thus my first two Toyotas were white. I drove a green pickup the whole 3-years in The Gambia (mission-owned) and thus wanted one when I returned. The best-rated low-priced pickup was the Toyota Tacoma and the only color in my price range and requirements was black. Well, I got used to it and decided I liked black, hot or not! Then when I totaled it in 2008 I was out of the photo business and just wanted an affordable transportation again and after research decided the best value was the Toyota Yaris and I still love it. (Thought about getting another one in Costa Rica.) The only one they had in the style I wanted was black again! 🙂 Thus I was in a black automobile until Costa Rica carless. And I kind of liked the quiet sophistication of a black car, especially when it is waxed and shiny!
So Maybe They Do Tell a Story
In one quirky sort of way they tell a lot about how I lived and what my priorities were, both starting off as a young adult and ending life in my senior years. Cars are an interesting picture of it all. And if cars could talk, each one could tell a lot of stories I’m sure. And maybe I will try to tell some of the individual car stories here later. There are several! And the bus stories for Costa Rica too! 🙂
I have used photos of my actual car where I could find one. The following I could not find a photo of and used images found on the internet that are the same color and make as the one I had: The ’55 Chevy (finally found one below), Ford Pinto, VW Van, Toyota Tercel and Toyota Corolla. Yeah, It is hard to believe I had that many cars without photographing!