What Did Your Dad Drive And How Did It Change Your Life?

Father's Day is Sunday, but before you dash to Sears for a lame tie, consider the cars your dad drove and the impact they had on your development. What did your dad drive, and how did it change your life?

My dad had some cheap and awesome beaters in his time. As a result, I grew up assuming that new cars were owned by the fabulously wealthy and then deposited into used-car dealerships for everyone else to drive. The first new car my parents purchased recalibrated my view of how the world worked. It was a black 1994 Ford Escort — the three-door hatchback "pony" model. For some reason, "pony" was Ford parlance for "lacking almost every basic feature." The car came with unpainted, Rubbermaid-gray bumpers, steel wheels, no radio, and no passenger-side mirror (at the time, it wasn't a legal requirement). We were so happy. It was a new car. New! It was treated so well that it lasted another eleven years in our care and took me to college.

Part of my job now involves a nice person dropping off a brand-new and exquisitely optioned car at my house on most Thursdays. Thanks to years of looking up to the lowest of Ford Escorts, I'm left with both an enthusiasm about how great a new car can be and a burned-in skepticism about what's necessary to make a car great.

How'd your paterfamilias impact your diligos automobilus?

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