My First Car

We all remember our first car, right? I sure do.

When I obtained my driver’s license at 16, there was a shared understanding with my parents about how it would work if also got my own car: It wouldn’t be new and I would be paying for it.

This is me (posing super awkwardly) with my first car, a 1989 Nissan Sentra. I paid $650 for it at an auction.

After looking at some cars for sale around the neighborhood, I decided to take a different approach. My uncle was an auctioneer and would regularly hold large car auctions. What if I tried my luck at one of those?

My dad and I traveled to Walla Walla for the auction. I remember feeling a little nervous when the two of us walked on my uncle’s property that morning. This was a large event with tons of cars and other items too. I didn’t really know all the ins and outs of participating in an auction, but luckily I had my dad with me.

We walked around the large lot and scouted out the cars. The two of us hopped in and out of the vehicles, trying to gauge if any of them had driving life remaining because here’s the thing: purchasing a car at an auction is a big gamble. When it comes to these cars at these types of auctions, you don’t get to test drive them, you don’t know their history, and you are oblivious to whether they will breakdown the moment you take one off the lot.

Once the auction started, we had our eyes on a few different cars. One of them happened to be a red 1989 Nissan Sentra. When my uncle arrived at this particular vehicle to auction it away, I remember he prefaced the bidding by saying that it was a “nice, clean little car.” To be honest, I don’t remember the bidding process in terms of whether we were in deep competition with anyone, but I do remember our winning bid–$650!

Knowing the risk I took, the first BIG test awaited us the next day…driving it the three hours from Walla Walla to Spokane. Would it even make it out of town, let alone all the way to our house in north Spokane? That maiden voyage proved to be a good omen. The 16-year-old car made the trek seamlessly and set the stage for the next two years.

I drove this car for more than two years and it never gave me any real problems. For my first car, I lucked out.

Not only did my little beater car drive faithfully throughout the remainder of my sophomore year, junior year, and senior year but it also lasted long enough for my brother to drive it after I went away to college. If you break down the daily price usage of the car based on how long we had it and what I paid for it, the cost equated to about 44 cents per day.

My Nissan was reliable transportation to/from school. We never had any major mechanical issues with it, snow didn’t cause it too many problems, and I always felt a sense of pride while behind the wheel. That pride was bolstered by the Best Buy stereo system I installed in it 😊.

Looking back, I never really longed for a bigger or better vehicle during those high school years. I was content with my Nissan Sentra as it provided everything that a first car should. Don’t Blink.

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