In a world of increasingly homogeneous motoring experiences, quirky car traits are harder to find. (Remember Saab's console-mounted ignition key?) But all car lovers have at least one thing that makes them love their cars all the more. What quirk gives your car its personality?

I have to go back to my first set of wheels, a 1973 Buick Century sedan (Kojak style), which I bought from the original owner, a frugal, elderly man who insisted his purchase be delivered with no creature comforts (but somehow checked the box labeled "350ci V8.") It had a three-speed manual, with a column shifter. (Yes, they still sold midsize sedans in the early '70s with three-on-the-tree.)

I loved how weird that thing was, despite it being a supreme pain in the ass. The linkage was so byzantine, it would fail randomly, freezing up in whatever gear it was in. Under the seat I kept a mason's hammer, which I'd use to free the mechanism. I'd crawl underneath โ€” most often at stoplights โ€” and bang on it, drowning out a cacophony of angry car horns, until it became unstuck (which required tedious trial and error).

Later I had a transmission guy install a Hurst stick โ€” it cost more than the $500 I'd paid for the car. After that it was more fun, but far less quirky.

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