Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goodbye, first car. Thanks for the good times.

Last week I said goodbye to my first car -- my 2002 manly VW Jetta TDI.  It wasn't planned, but it turned out to be a blessing.

Angela and I were in Wichita Falls for the Spook'n'Spoke bicycle ride the day before.  Sunday morning we packed up the car to join our friends at church in Dallas.  It was the second night in a row with freezing temperatures.  Angela's parents said goodbye quickly before going back inside to the warmth of the house.  Since the Jetta has always had a difficult time starting on cold mornings, I knew we would be there for a few turns of the key.  After the third attempt, however, we thought we should use the smartphone to problem-solve.  As we're looking up a few websites, Angela noticed smoke rising from the edges of the hood.  I quickly stepped out and noticed an orange glow on the ground below the engine.  A quick look under confirmed that a fire was building.  I told Angela to get out and check for a fire extinguisher in her parents' place.  I then advised her dad to call 911.

By the time the fire department arrived, the car was finished.  I have a few pictures below.  Unfortunately, none of them show the three foot flames coming out of the sides of the hood.

I'm thankful for the Jetta.  It served me well for 10 years.  I'm also thankful for the people at Augustine Insurance in Dallas and Gene Litton's people in Wichita Falls, both Allstate people.  They turned my car into a sort of phoenix:  Rising from the ashes, a check appeared.  Finally, thanks to my parents for a great car.  It served me well for 169,000 miles.  Though I don't recommend VWs to others due to their cheap, plastic interiors, this one had a great engine and took me to LA and back many times.

Do you have any good stories about how you ended your relationship with your first car?  I'd love to see how you said goodbye.

Now for some pics.  (By the way, I hate Blogger when it comes to pictures.  Apologies.)


  1. My parents sold my first car to my grandparents, who bought it for somebody they knew. I had only driven that 1994 Ford Tempo GL for a year, but I was very sad to learn that their friend had totaled it less than a month later.

    My second car, a 1996 Ford Thunderbird, served me from March 2000 to June 2007, when it blew a head gasket. (I blogged about the day it died here: Here is the day I mercilessly sold it for $400:

    The more touching goodbye was when we finally sold my wife's first car, a 1998 Plymouth Breeze, aka "Peanut Butter." She drove that car from 2001 until 2007, then I drove it the next four years. I would have kept driving it, but we weren't sure it could make it back to Texas. We sold it to a construction worker who wasn't concerned that it was missing a door handle, that the horn didn't honk, and that he would need a screwdriver to turn the ignition. It just felt wrong to give up on Peanut Butter without giving him (yes, him) the chance to prove himself. (He was always more of a loyal old dog than a sleek and beautiful woman.)

    My thoughts go out to you, Peanut Butter. May your driving be ever smooth and creamy.

    Sorry about your car, Justin.

    1. Thanks, Jeremy. And I'm sorry about Peanut Butter. Cars can be a lot like pets as you alluded to. My car was on its way to joining the T-bird and Peanut Butter, too. Thanks for sharing the links.

  2. To make a long story dad put my first car on craigslist for $200 and got $250 for it- He was so excited and proud of himself!!!

    1. And how did that make you feel? For that price, it may have been my brother or dad who bought it.

  3. The important question....Did you save 'The Blue Tick'. He was a loyal traveling companion for many years.