First Car Memories

This post is to pay homage to my dear first car, 1971 Volvo 144 S. They say that you will never forget your first girlfriend/boyfriend and I like to say the same about my first car.  I remember when I first got my power-wheels thinking how I'd be like my dad and getting to drive my own car. When I was growing up, I used to be my father's right hand man when it came down to auto repairs, car washes, you name it. I was always there to help out with his cars. It was 1997, when my father was working his second job at an elderly care facility, he had come across a sweet lady that was asking if anyone wanted to purchase her Volvo.  Like many people who go into an elderly care facility, they are unable to drive their car as they once did and she wanted to sell it to someone who would take great care of it. My father brought me to check out the classic Volvo over the weekend. I took one look at it and I fell in love with it. The Volvo wasn't in the best condition and we could tell that the few dents that she had were from being unable to judge some corners.  However, I didn't care, the sight of the four door light grey sedan was something that felt special to me at that moment.  Both my father and I loved it, so she offered us $700 and we took the deal. I remember I was so excited because he had told me that when I would finally be able to drive that it would be my car. volvo1 volvo4 Flash forward to 2004, when I was taking my driver's education class and preparing to take my driver's test, I had told my father that it was time to bring her back to life.  Of course, my father replied with, "Let's get your license first, then we can get it started." I knew it was going to take a while to get her started, since she had been sitting on our driveway from the time that we had gotten her from the previous owner, so I persisted.  My persistence finally wore down my father, and little by little we began to get the Volvo ready for the road. Couple months went by, I aced my driver's education class and was spending time getting ready for my driver's test.  After a few practices with the parallel parking, I took the test and knocked it out of the park. As silly as it might sound, I had gotten my driver's license and I felt like my dreams had come true.  As a 17-year-old kid, it was a big deal when I finally got my license. The days of asking your parents to drive you somewhere were over and the freedom of the open road had finally begun.volvo6 I remember taking pride in my vehicle because I had brought this car back to life.  It had taken months to bring the Volvo back to life.  I had told my dad that we needed to make sure that it's safe and that it would run smoothly.  We had started first by dropping the tank and getting it resealed. We then cleaned out the fuel lines, installed a new fuel pump, replaced the battery, put some oil in each cylinder, and put some fresh gas in the tank. The moment of truth was upon us and we were about to start her back up. Couple of pumps on the gas pedal and one pull of the choke for the carburetor, and she started right back up, the beast was ALIVE! With each month passing, we had done something new to the Volvo. My father had gotten on my case, because we could have bought a new vehicle at this rate instead of buying a used one. However, I was simply happy to have my own car and buying a brand new car was not an option as I was a broke high school student.  I had seen many of my high school classmates with brand new cars, the hand me down from their parents, but I was proud that this classic 1971 Volvo was mine and it was running great. To others they would make fun of me to no end and called it a piece of trash but I didn't care because it was my piece of trash.  Hate or love it, at the end of the day I was a very happy teenager and felt like I had gotten valuable experiences and priceless memories with my father. volvo2 volvo3 One of first memories of my Volvo was when I got a ticket for a loud exhaust.  Sounds pretty silly to me.  But the exhaust system of my Volvo was pretty shot and needed a new one.  I decided I wanted to enhance the sound and performance of the vehicle.  I had brought it to a custom exhaust shop in River Edge,  New Jersey.  I had really wanted to get a dual exhaust system since I wanted to make my Volvo fierce.  I dropped off my Volvo and they asked me how loud I wanted it.  I had persisted that I wanted it to be REAL LOUD! I got a little more than I bargained for.  To other people who might have sounded like I was running straight exhaust with no muffler, but I indeed did have muffler in my Volvo. When I got the car back, it was VERY LOUD! I was pretty astounded at how BADASS the car had sounded, that I didn't care how loud it was.  A couple of weeks after I had gotten it done, I had been driving near the George Washington Bridge and had been cruising around at night-time.  I was going up a hill and the exhaust sounded even louder than usual because it is revving higher to go up the hill.  A cop pulled me over and told me that my exhaust was WAY TOO LOUD. I told him that I had just gotten a new exhaust and the car had just gotten inspected.  He did not want to listen to word I said, he just kept telling me that it was too loud, and that if I wanted to fight it, I would have to bring it to court.  And BAM, I had gotten myself a $50 dollar fine. My father was not happy and told me that I should have just to put on the regular exhaust. I knew I would run the risk, but I didn't really think much about it.  I simply didn't care because I just wanted to enjoy my car and my creation. volvo7volvo5 Some other memories I know I will not forget is bringing my first girlfriend to many memorable dates together using this car.  Even though we are not together anymore, I will always remember dreaming about the days I would get the opportunity to be able to take someone else that I cared about to a nice restaurant, movie, or something we could share together in my vehicle.  I can remember one of the first times explaining in detail what made my car so special to me and why it didn't have air conditioning, a radio, and even power windows.  She appreciated me enough to enjoy this journey with this guy that loved his Volvo and didn't care what anyone else thought.  She knew that it was something special to me and that at the end of the day, it was a mode of transportation just like any other car.  My Volvo brought me closer to things in life that I couldn't have even imagined and that I am very grateful for.volvo10 As you can see the first vehicle is something that I will never forget.  Everyone has a special story or memory that they can share with others that shows the depth of their relationship that they have built with their first car. I feel as though your first vehicle is probably the vehicle where you go through the most personal growth.  I truly love the times that I have had with my Volvo and I still have her to this day.  I plan to restore her so that others can enjoy and wonder what the story behind this Volvo was.  She has never let me down mechanically and drives very well for something that is over 30 years old.  With all the technology and changes that we have to our current and upcoming car models, there is something that brings you back to more simpler and meaningful time when you drive an older vehicle.  From time to time, I enjoy bringing up stories that I have shared with her and I also enjoy bonding with others with their first car stories. I have shared with you some memories I had with my first car. So it's now its your turn.  I love hearing from other fellow car enthusiasts! What was your first car? What was a special memory you shared with your vehicle? Do you still have the vehicle to this day? Anything else you would like to add? Feel free to comment and share your story with me!

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  • Great post Daou. Your Volvo looks like a classic beauty with that red upholstery. My first car was a ’90 Saab 900 Turbo that I purchased for very cheap from my neighbor. I miss feeling the bumps in the road when driving it, but had to get rid of it after going through close to 300k miles.

    • Thanks brother! I can’t imagine you driving a Saab LOL 300k, jeebus I haven’t heard too many people get up there! Thanks for sharing and let’s do lunch soon!

  • Oh I loved this post! When I was 5, our family had a volvo JUST LIKE THIS ONE! It was a mint green color and we loved it when my dad brought home our “new car”. Eventually we grew out of it as our family ended up with 4 kids and my parents gave it to a needy family they knew. This post brought back so many memories in that car that didn’t have AC, yet seemed like such a cool car!

    • AWESOME Brandy! I remember seeing those mint green colored Volvos! That is really classic! It’s hard to keep a smaller car when you start having a bigger family! I’m glad you could relate to my post, makes me happy:) Thanks again for sharing and showing support!

  • My first car was a 1974 orange VW Beetle. We bought it from the neighbor and I had to pay my dad back for half of it and I was gifted the other halvess in quarters are part of Christmas and birthday gifts. Bobby was a fun car. He needed some work so I learned how to use bondo and do some amateur paintwork to spiff him up. He needed a brake line fixed and my dad made me do the repair. We also had to change the tires and this was also mandated that I do with Dad supervising, just so I would know how to if I was stuck.
    My boyfriend at the time, and now husband, also had a VW Beetle for his first car. While he has had about 20 or so by now, we do still own the 1961 ragtop that he proposed to me in and that drove us on our wedding day.
    Yes, we are major car enthusiasts, especially VWs. The wedding party was driven from the church to the reception by other classic VWs thanks to our friends at the Milwaukee Volkswagen Club.

    What’s most funny to me is that of all the people in the world, I am easily one of the best qualified to drive the bug now. But, even with my shared history with my husband and all our VWs (the house is pretty much decorated in cars, too) he doesn’t really want me driving it … ever.

    • AWWWW I love your story Tiffany! I would love to see pictures! All of the VW people I have met, love their cars to death! I respect that so much! Thanks again for sharing and the support!

  • My first car that I bought with my own money was a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. My husband (boyfriend at the time) came to the dealership with me to buy it. I loved it! It was black. It moved to FL and HI with us after we got married. When I had my 2nd child, we, meaning my husband, decided it was time for a mini van. *tear So we sold it to a young military couple on base and bought a Dodge Caravan. I still get a little teary eyed when i see a Santa Fe driving down the road. Man I loved that car!

    • Great story Kimberly! I have a lot of respect for buying your own car with your own money! There is nothing like the feeling when you go and drive your own car off the dealership! Thank you so much for sharing and I appreciate the support!

  • My first car was a 1982 Subaru GLF – 5 speed. I *loved* that car. 🙂 Before I could get my license, my parents made me do all kinds of things that none of my friends had to do, like rotate the tires by myself. I’m grateful now, though, because there’s a lot about my cars that I’m not afraid of doing that some of my friends are still freaked out about. I miss that little car.

    • Awesome Cricket! Sounds like an sweet first car! Especially since it was a manual! I have a lot of respect for people that do their own work with their car instead of paying someone else to do it! It was great that they spent the time to teach you! Thank you so much for sharing and I appreciate the support! 🙂

  • Wow! Now I’m thinking about MY first car, it was a Pontiac Sunbird blue two door, lol! I LOVED it, but come to think of it I don’t think I have any photos of it. I enjoyed your story, especially how you spent the time, the ups and downs, working on it with your dad. Great memories it sounds like. My daughter actually just got her license and first car this summer, and there’s nothing quite like watching your own child drive away for the first time, knowing as a parent how nervous you are, but realizing that it’s a moment as a teenager they (obviously) won’t forget 🙂 Thanks for sharing, great story!

    • Wow Molly! Great first car! I am glad you enjoyed my story! Must have been so scary to see your daughter learning how to drive! I know how scared my parents were when I had first started driving! After I learned how to drive, I was the errand boy for everything LOL Thanks again for sharing and I appreciate the support!

  • I’ll never forget my first car and that was 22 years ago! My first car was a black 1976 Camaro. I was so excited that I could not wait for school to start.

    I did not pass my drivers test over the summer and had to wait until shortly after school started to take the test again. My parents did not want to have to take me to school and my mother was so confident in my driving ability that they allowed me to drive to school without my license.

    Well, first day of school we were all leaving for lunch. Guess what happened? I bumped the car in front of me. Hows that for the first day of school in my new car? Thankfully their wasn’t much damage and the kid was in auto shop and my dad just paid him for materials to buff the small scratch out.

    • Soooo jealous of you Chrystal! I love the old school Camaros! You must have been the cool person at school! Parents are always tough on their kids right when they get their license. I am sure they only wanted the best for you! I am glad the accident wasn’t anything serious! Thanks again for sharing and I appreciate the support!

  • Oh my gosh – who doesn’t remember their first car?!! I purchased mine for $500 bucks. It was my own money, I was 19 years old and I was esctatic!!

    The car was a 1990 Plymouth Voyager. It a dark rust red. The former owner was a painter and he used it a lot for work. So there were obvious paint stains in the back. But I didn’t care.

    A few months into car ownership, the starter stopped working. I would have to get under the car and bang the starter with a hammer to get her going. Imagine doing this is parking lots and gas stations. Fun times…but hey, I didn’t really care. All I wanted was the open road 🙂

    Great post! Brought back some good first car memories.

    • Really that is AWESOME Aimee! My second car was a 1990 Dodge Caravan, pretty much the same vehicle! I used to have to do the same thing whenever it got really cold, which was so weird! I know exactly what you mean! There are so many of those vans still on the road today. It’s amazing how they were built to last. Thanks again for sharing and I appreciate the support!

  • Oh wow this brings back some memories! lol. My first car was s Subaru Justy, a tiny little hatchback that didn’t have AC or speakers in the back! I hated that car so much yet loved it at the same time! I wish I could fill up my tank now for $8 like I used to with the subaru!

    • Wow Cindy! Those Subarus are great cars! It’s amazing to think how much gas prices have gone up! Must have been a great first car experience! Thanks again for sharing and stopping by! 🙂

  • Oh how I remember my first car… a 1980 Honda Civic. It was rust colored but not rusted, lol! I miss it to this day… even with all the issues it had.

    I just attended a Volvo Car show a few weeks ago in Lexington, MO and I can appreciate where your love for your first car comes from, especially a Volvo. It was awesome to get to spend some time with my 17 year old son checking out these cars. I think our favorite was the Volvo with the most recorded miles on a car…. EVER! If I remember correctly it was almost 2 million miles. That just goes to show you the quality of the Volvo!

    Thanks for the stroll down memory lane!

    • Great Lori! I am so jealous of you right now! I have been wanting to hit up a Volvo car show for sometime! Every time I want to go to one, it doesn’t seem to work out! As soon as I do, I will for sure post my experience! I know exactly which car you talking about with the most miles. He is in like every magazine in regards to Volvos! Those Honda Civics were built to last, great first car! Thanks again for sharing and stopping by!

  • This really takes me back. My first car was an Intrepid, which is not NEARLY as awesome as yours. When you’re in high school, the freedom of the open road is awesome enough… but man, I would’ve LOVED having a car that badass!

    – April

    • Thanks April! That must have been a big car as your first car! Yeah I totally agree with you, the freedom felt amazing! Thanks again for dropping by and sharing 🙂

  • What a great post, Daou! I love sentimental stories like this one, and how wonderful that you can preserve it forever right here at your blog. I received my first car on my 16th birthday (1998), about an hour before I would head to the DMV and FAIL my permit test. It was an incredibly sad drive home with my mom in the drivers seat, instead of me! My parents surprised me with a 1983 Chrysler Lebaron convertible that afternoon, and she was adorably decorated with a huge white bow, waiting for me in the driveway when I arrived home from school. She was a steal, and only lasted a few months before we sold her. The maintenance was too high to keep up. I then inherited my parents old Pontiac Bonneville, and after an unfortunate little fender bender, I drove her around for two years without a front grill. I have great memories with high school friends in that car. Thanks for sharing your story!

    Oh, and I ended up passing my permit test the next day, and eventually my drivers test on the first try with a 100% score 🙂

    • WOW great story April! I can’t imagine what that must have been like, I am glad you picked yourself up and passed the next day! You truly had some GREAT first(s) memories! I can understand it getting expensive keeping up with the older cars! Thanks again for the support and dropping by! 🙂

  • What an awesome story. I consider myself something of a car gal — love the Chevelle, personally — but I don’t have any epic “first car” story, sadly. Let’s see…my first car was a crappy Skylark (I think…that’s how bad it was LOL)…like a late ’80s model or so (and this was 2001)? I got it for $200 and all I really needed it for was driving to and from work and then once a week to go grocery shopping, so I didn’t put much wear and tear on it (I was too afraid it would break down and I wanted to get every dollar’s worth). It lasted roughly 4-5 months before it died, so that was pretty good for me. Then I upgraded to a ’93 Saturn that ran like a top and lasted for 6 years with only needing an alternator and brakes, I think. Oh man, I beat that car to death. When it stopped running, I had like 230K miles on it or so. Ahhhh…good times.

    P.S. I LOVE your Volvo. I would love to own an older car that has a history and real character to it, like yours. 🙂

    • LOL AWESOME Kristin! I remember those skylarks, I remember seeing a lot of them around growing up! You really can’t complain for 200 bucks! At least you got an experience out of it, if anything LOL Those Saturns were great too, I still see a ton of them around! Too bad they stopped making them! Thank you so much with sharing! I really do appreciate it 🙂

  • Great post, and what a cool car to have as your first. Love the clean lines of the interior and dash. My first was a 65 Mustang Notchback. Still kick myself for selling it.

    Glad to see the site is doing well…been seeing it pop up on Best blogs lists…so congrats!


    • Thanks so much Chris! I always appreciate the support from you! Man, you are so lucky to have such a classic car. I wish I was able to take a time machine and be able to live in a time when there were so many classics! I am trying to work on my blog when I have the time! It’s so hard though! Keep it up on your end as well! Thanks again for dropping by and showing support!

  • My first car was a 73 toyota carona. It was this faded yellow color and I wanted to pain the batman symbol on it, but I didn’t. It had a safety feature that if you did not buckle your seat belts, the car would not start. It was annoying. I wish I still had it though.

    • Wow great first car Jenn! I can totally picture your car right now! Toyota was even safety conscious back then LOL Thank you for dropping by and sharing!

  • My first car was a BMW 325i and I LOVED it! I drove one of my parents’ cars when I was in high school and college so it was never MINE. I took public transportation and worked for several years before I was able to purchase my car. It was white with tan interior, and I loved the sound it made when I pushed the driver’s side door lock down to lock all the doors! LOL! Funny what stands out to you. Thanks for sharing your “first car” story – that Volvo is super cool!

    • Wow thanks A Swirl Girl! Sounds like an awesome first car, I’m jealous! Those memories will always be your own! I am sure you pretended like it was your own 🙂 Thanks again for the support!

  • Great story Daou. I love how you put so much attention on getting your car ready for the road. And I am sure that the time spent with your dad doing so is something you will always look back on. Your first car looks great and I love the red interior. My first car was a Toyota Celica Hatchback. Man we had some great times with that car and I do quite miss it.

    • Thanks so much Pam! I know I get a little carried away sometimes with my cars! Sounds like an awesome first car! Thanks again for the support!

  • Very cool post! My first car was a 1996 red Mitsubishi Eclipse! I loved that car, and have many memories (good and bad) with her. Sadly our relationship came to an end when another driver turned in front of me…that was it, she was totaled 🙁 I came out okay though.

    • Wow Tatiana! Thank you for sharing! I was in love with the older Eclipse models! There were tons of them on the road! Thats a shame:( I hope you keep those memories close to you and make some new ones in your cars 🙂 Thanks again!

  • That’s a really testament to quality of Volvo’s. Whether we want to admit it or not, material possessions hold such an intrinsic value when they are tied to memories and periods in our life. I’m glad you had such a positive relationship with your first car.

  • What a fun post! I have fond memories of old Bessie, my first car — a 1981 Plymouth Horizon. She wasn’t the most reliable car, but she never broke down on the highway. And she could haul a TON of stuff for such a small car!

    Each car has its own personality and history… and fortunately, my current car (a Hyundai Elantra named Bluebird) is a pretty boring and reliable car; our adventures have been tame… and right now, that’s the way I like it!

    • Thanks so much Natasha! My second car was an old van I called her Betsey, kind of similar to your name LOL I am glad you can relate with me! Thanks for sharing!

  • Great post! I particularly love the pictures- red upholstery is awesome! The first car I really called “mine” (not my parent’s car that I borrowed) was a Pontiac Grand Am. It had a sunroof and I loved that thing so much. I’d probably still have it except that I had 2 babies and a 2-door car is very impractical when you have carseats.

    • Sounds awesome Rhonda! Thanks for stopping by and reading my post! Sharing is caring and I am sure you had some great memories with the Grand Am!

    • Great Tess! Sounds like an interesting first car! At least you were probably getting good gas mileage! Thanks for sharing abs I appreciate the support! 🙂

  • I envy you! I don’t have my own car, neither did I get to drive one ever since. I badly want to have my own someday and though I’m far to buying my very first car, I am so excited to get my hands on those wheels.

  • Sounds like some great memories!
    My first car was a ’79 Ford Pinto. We didn’t work on it for several reasons; 1st – being a girl, I didn’t want to get dirty, 2nd – it wasn’t my dads forte, 3rd – even if it was his forte he worked too much

  • My first car was my father’s used Honda Accord. It was a stick shift and to this day I still miss that stick shift. It was such a simple but fabulous car. I miss it, too.

    Jennifer @ The Jenny Evolution

  • There is something about that first car that will always be remembered. And man what a car a Volvo is, those things run like the energizer bunny if taken care of. And what fun it must have been to work on that with you dad. You are right you got something those others teens didn’t, lots of memories and bonding time that will never fade.

  • Great writing and post. You have done a good job of engaging your readers. My first car was a yellow Ford Maverick. It was probably the poorest car in school, and being a girl I didn’t know much about caring for it and ended up in trouble a few times. But at that time of my life, I loved the freedom to have a car and was grateful to my grandmother for giving it to me.

    I think my memories of the car are really more about her – how she just love God and everyone in her life and how she just gave and gave.


    • Great April! I am very familiar with those Ford Mavericks! I am sure you remember quite well! Thanks so much from supporting and dropping by!

  • My first car was a 1995 Dodge Caravan that cost $900. Mind you, this was when I was in college in 2007 so it wasn’t a cool van. Ummm…the engine caught on fire. Bye bye car. Lol

  • Your car is awesome. My first car, on the other hand, was my grandmother’s cast-ff minivan, and it was never even officially mine. One of the door’s stopped opening, so I frequently climbed out the window. I put bumper stickers on it, “Don’t make me call my Marine” [my future husband]. Eventually, my brother-in-law acquired it and one day after work he went out and put his foot on the brakes–they went all the way to the floor. That was the end of that car.

  • My first car was a Saturn SL-1 (unless you count my mom’s white mini-van, which my friends dubbed “The Batmobile” because it was anything but), and I loved it. I rarely had problems with it, and I drove it for over 150,000 miles. The first weekend I had it, I piled 7 friends into it and had a fun night on the town. In retrospect, I’m glad the cops didn’t see us all crammed in!

  • I associate so many memories to past cars. My oldest car ever owned was a ’91 Olds. Cutlass Ciera that was on it’s last leg when I bought it (for $200), and I drove it with pride for several months even after it stopped going in reverse . . . Yep, did a lot of parking on the side of the street or somewhere where I could pull straight through with that one. 😀

  • My first car was my parents castoff 1984 Ford Escort. Super cool, I know. But I loved that car because it game me FREEDOM! I’ve loved driving ever since.

  • What a beauty! I am not a car person but that is one gorgeous car! My first car was a hand-me-down minivan. Not nearly as much of a classic but fun for driving all of my friends around! 🙂

  • What a great story! I can tell that you have very fond memories of this car. My first car was a 1989 Ford Probe. I loved it b/c I paid for it. A lot of things were not ideal about it but I have fond memories!

  • Wow! All through reading your post, I was hoping to learn that you “still have it”! I am not much of a car buff, but I do understand how it feels to buy a car that you are really connected to. I always get used cars, and it is always based on how I feel about them…and it always works for me!

  • LOL…I still do not own a first personal car. We share a family one but my hubby tells me funny stories about his first car all the time..He kind of still misses it even though we have long since owned many others in between.

  • What great stories you have! My first car was actually a truck. My favorite memories are using it with the high school band. I was in the pit (auxiliary percussion) and we had a lot of equipment to carry to the field for marching practice. Our director let us load it up in the bed of the truck and drive it to the practice field. Needless to say we had a lot more helpers when they got to ride too!

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