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Story by Lois Grace

A friend of mine recently got a new car, a Lexus RS330 (or something, it's the SUV thing anyway). In order to make room for the new arrival - and to keep peace in the family - she is selling the car she said she would never part with: a 1995 Saab 900 Turbo Convertible. When she told me this news, I was shocked. She's not really a car person, but had a special attachment to this particular car. She got this "dream car" in 1995, for her birthday (I won't say which one, lest I date both of us) and for years has vowed she will never part with it. Now, if my friend had her way, she'd keep both the Saab and the new Lexus. But her husband, a practical-to-a-fault guy (who, if he wasn't such a great guy it'd be easy to hate him for his crazy ideas about older cars) insisted that if something was coming into the garage, something else had to leave. "After all", he said, "we are NOT going to start a Lois-type CAR FAMILY around here". Huh?

I say, why the heck not? This couple has two daughters. Did they get rid of the first kid when the second was born? I don't think so! They once had two dogs. Did they find the first a good home when they adopted the second? No! So why should it be any different with cars? I say, if you've got room for one old car, you've got room for 40. And, a car that is only 11 years old isn't truly OLD yet anyway. At least, not in my book.

Anybody who has read anything I've written in the past 20 years knows I have a major problem with selling cars. Even if the machine is unworthy of my devotion (perhaps the Ford Ranger pickup I felt sorry for, when we traded it in on a Dodge Dakota, is a good example of this), I always feel that regret when they leave. We sold my husband's 1969 Beetle many years ago - a move that he now says he regrets, to a point - and I still think about it. But the one that hit me hardest was not even a Volkswagen. When we sold my 1978 Saab I knew immediately that I was going to regret it. But, our parting was necessary if I was going to have the car I really wanted: the Gti. I hate to admit it, but yes, I have cried a few tears over a couple of them. I know it's silly, but when they become so much a part of your family it's hard to just treat them like a machine. That's why it's so difficult for me to understand my friend being able to part with the car she said would be with her forever.

Now, for some, if the car is not a VW it's an easy matter to move on to the next, new vehicle. And, for my friend (who has never been much of a car fanatic if the truth be told), buying a new car was fun! She'd get whatever struck her fancy at the moment and off she'd go, never looking back. Oh, how many times have I wished I could be more like her! But then again, I get a lot of enjoyment out of my attachment to my vehicles. When they break down (which is so rare I can't even remember the last time, thank goodness) it becomes another opportunity to learn something about them, instead of the giant inconvenient headache such things are to other people. When they need maintenance it feels good to make sure they get it. To me, they're like pets and such attention is preventive medicine. Of course, I realize that other people might not feel this way, and they also have other drains on their time and income. I do too. I just choose to treat my cars like members of the family.

Surprisingly, I think my friend is also feeling this way. She has now had the new Lexus for several months and yet the Saab is still in the garage. She says she "hasn't made any headway on selling it yet". Honestly? I hope it's because she's not trying too hard. She does love that car. No one should have to part with something they love. Not even for a husband. Sorry, Jim!

(Note: At the time I wrote this, the Saab was still in my friend's garage. I am sorry to report that she has now sold it, with the help of her daughter's boyfriend. I say, what does HE know about Saabs, but that's another story. Anyway, she took her time selling it and finally got an offer she could live with: the buyer met her price, and also took the car far, far away to somewhere where she won't ever have to see it again. And that is a good thing, in my opinion. I can't bear to relive the memories by having to see the car I sold with someone else behind the wheel. It's probably just me though.)


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