1981 Ford Escort
1988 Toyota Corolla, purchased used.
1983 Toyota Corolla, purchased for $350 when household needed second car. Had 167,000 miles on it.
1998 Ford Explorer. Purchased used, replaced ’83 Toyota, so it wasn’t really my car.
2001 VW Passat, still in service. Purchased to replace ’88 Corolla when electrical system failed. The Corolla could have been repaired, but I had learned 48 hours earlier the details of my confidential separation agreement from the Baltimore Sun. So I bought a new car for the first time in 15 years.
2011 VW Jetta.
Also drove an AMC Hornet, a used Audi (family cars) and an enormous Buick owned by my grandfather.
Best car of the lot? I’ll award a tie to the ’88 Corolla and the ’01 Passat. The Corolla had 112,000 miles on it when it was retired. The Passat, now almost 10, has fewer than 70,000 miles on it because I just don’t drive that much. (And a lot of those miles have mounted up since it went to live in New Orleans and is now driven chiefly by Mr. Lippman. The Jetta has less than 4,000 miles on it and it’s almost a year old.)
Novelists use cars all the time to create insight into character. Here’s mine: Doesn’t care about cars, drives them into the ground, likes to drive stick, prefers a nimble sedan over an SUV behemoth.)
What do your cars say about you?