I had the same car for 14 years.
I bought a 1994 Ford Aspire straight off the lot, brand new with 18 miles on it, and drove it until it got to about 120,000 miles. Cute, purple, easy to drive, great gas mileage, never had to worry which car in the parking lot was mine.
But I was going out with Nora, driving back and forth regularly with Ed the cat from Boston to Vermont, and I thought, "It'd be nice to have a car with air conditioning, a little stronger engine to be able to get over the hills of the ski areas easier..." Nothing I really NEEDED, you know, but it just became this little urge. And Nora said, several times, "You live responsibly, you've been responsible for many many years. You deserve to have a car that you enjoy."
I wasn't going to go berzerk. I didn't need the complete mid-life-crisis car, the Maserati Gran Tourismo ($118,000) or the Mercedes McLaren SLR (about $430,000) or even the Corvette Z06 ($76,000). Although if somebody offered me a Koenigsegg CCXR, I wouldn't turn them down.
|And neither would you. Even though the insurance is probably more than my salary...|
In the end, I settled on... a Honda Civic??? Really?
Well, yeah. Honda makes a version of the Civic called the Si (Sport injected), which has more motor and tighter suspension and better seats and a six-speed transmission and sticky low-profile tires. Around town, it's just a Civic, albeit one that's a little harsh over potholes. But get it out on the highway, or on the various back roads throughout Vermont, and it just turns into a different animal altogether. I have yet to find a situation in which I've asked a lot of it and it didn't just comply. Now. It feels like it was engineered by the Air Force.
I can't tell you how fast it'll go, since I don't live in Montana and thus have to at least pretend to comply with speed limits. (I do have a radar detector, a Christmas present from Nora a couple of years back, but I feel like a criminal just having it in the windshield. I know what to look for, though, so if a Porsche goes by me at 95 and HE's got a radar detector, I'll happily stick to his license plate for 40 or 50 miles...)
Anyway, in January 2009, I bought a 2007 Si coupe, used, with 14,400 miles on it. (The prior owner's wife had a baby, and he couldn't load the kid into the child seat in the back with a two-door car.) I put up about 40% and borrowed the other 60% on a 42-month loan, set up for automatic bank withdrawals on the 30th of each month. At some point, Wachovia Dealer Services sold my loan to Wells Fargo Dealer Services, but the amount remained the same.
A couple of weeks ago, I was doing my checkbook, and kind of on a whim, I said, "Y'know what? I'm just going to pay it off. There's only five months to go, what the hell." So I went online, and transferred the payment from my bank to Wells Fargo. And today, I got a letter from Wells Fargo releasing their lien, and assuring the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles that I have clear and unencumbered title.
|A 2007 Honda Civic Si, in Habañero Red Pearl. Just like ours.|
(Nora adds: we'll give it to Ed when he turns 16. And we'll get one of these:)
|Nissan 370Z Roadster. And NOT gray.|