By on November 2, 2013
Photo Courtesy of

Photo Courtesy of

Today, my wacky morning DJ, right after he said democracy was a joke and called me “dude,” hit us with this fun fact: 39% of young people choose the same brand of car their parents drove. I’m not sure if that is impressive as the previous day’s fact, that 20 million pounds of candy corn are sold annually in the United States, but it made me think about my father’s preference in vehicles and whether or not I had followed suit. Despite the fact that my old man had pretty good taste in cars, the answer, oddly enough, is “no.”

Like the late, great Jean Sheppard once wrote about his own father, my father was an Oldsmobile man. Of course today Oldsmobile is as dead as the Huppmobile and unless I want to reach back into history and buy one on the used market, I’m never going to own the same brand of car my dad did. I have owned a few other GM cars over the years, a GMC Jimmy, my current Pontiac Torrent, a Geo Metro and a few well used Novas I found dead in people’s yards but, truth be told, I am not GM guy. I, for whatever reason, am a Mopar guy.

I’m not really sure why I settled on a Dodge Shadow back in early 1988. My buddy Rick had an old Dodge Charger for a while, but other than that I really had no experience with the brand and looking back there were some really great cars on the market for similar money. I could have had a Toyota Corolla Twin-Cam, a Honda CRX like my friend John bought, Nissan had two or three little coupes on the market including the Turbo 200SX and Chevrolet offered both the Baretta and the Z24 Cavalier as direct competitors to the little Dodge Turbos. For whatever reason, I passed them all by and went to my local Dodge shop.

Which would you choose?

Which would you choose?

My experience with the Dodge wasn’t entirely trouble free, but considering the amount of abuse I dished out the little car held up remarkably well. As a result I have always thought of myself as a “Dodge guy” and always shop their products when I am looking to purchase a new vehicle. The 300M I owned and my recent purchase of our new Town & Country have their roots in my positive, early experiences with the brand and I think that more Chrysler products will eventually follow.

But will my kids be Chrysler fans? Given all the recent mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, I‘m not sure it really matters. Eventually, they’ll have a chance to take the controls and decide whatever they like on their own, and my only hope is that they feel the same passion for cars and driving that I do. If they get that, then I’ll consider my job as one well done.

Let me ask though, how much does you parents’ brand loyalty or ownership experience play into your own brand affinity? Are you loyal to a single brand at all? A single country’s product? I’d like to hear about it.

Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

125 Comments on “Family Jewels: What Dribbled Down To You?...”

  • avatar

    Thankfully, not at all. My parents have very little brand loyalty and instead have personal loyalty. They buy cars from the franchise owner they’re closest to. For the past 10 years or so, that’s been Cadillac and Chevy. That’s meant Hummer H3, CTS, STS, XLR-V, Corvette, 2014 CTS, and an Equinox.

    My last 3 cars have been a G35, 06 GTO, and a Mustang. Yay for no brand loyalty.

  • avatar

    Sort of ;

    Pops had a ’54 VW Kombi greymarket in 1956 , an old ’37 Bently St. James Coupe and a 195? Mercedes 600 he ran out of oil while visiting hid girlfriend in Maine , the Mercedes was supposedly my Mother’s car….

    He also liked Peugeot’s in the 1960’s & 1970’s , although I worked in the Teboul Brothers Inde Peugeot Garage in the 1970’s , I never was overly enamored of those fine cars .

    I am a VW guy and now run old Mercedes Diesels but those have zip to do with Pop’s brief interludes with those brands.


  • avatar

    My mom has owned two Ford products (1984 Escort wagon, 1987 Lincoln Town Car), one Toyota product (1980s Toyota Tercel), one Mitsubishi product (1999 Mitsubishi Mirage), and two GM products (1998 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 2005 Chevrolet Classic) in my memory. This doesn’t count the cars she had when she was young.

    I’ve driven a 1987 Nova (Toyotas in Disguise) and a 1995 Buick Skylark so far. Guess I unintentionally ended up a GM loyalist.

  • avatar

    Sigh… nothing cool and nothing, although that did drive me to go out get a job work hard and save to get what I really wanted. So two Camaros, one Chevette, one Firebird, one olds h-body Starfire, and three Mustangs later.

    “ ”

    My folks always bought what they could conveniently afford with the requirement that it be American so no real brand loyalty outside of the Big 3.

    However my old man could spin a good yarn and he loved his T-5 Mach 1 and relished telling the tale of his exploits on the autobahn.

  • avatar
    Brian P

    Not really. Dad had Ramblers and AMC for a while, until a lemon got him changed over to Honda. I’ve had a couple Honda motorcycles, but no Honda cars.

    On the other hand, I got my dad switched over to VW … I bought one, he liked it, so he bought one.

  • avatar

    Since dad was a Chevrolet dealer, and with one exception (a Dodge Omni) did nothing but GM his entire life; brand loyalty was demanded in my family.

    Start with four Chevrolets, three (two inherited, one vintage) Buicks. Add in five Dodges, three Fords, two BMW’s (now out of consideration), and one each Scion, Porsche and Pontiac.

    If I’m going to credit myself with any kind of brand loyalty (which means what I’d automatically put on the list next time I’m car shopping) it’d probably be Dodge, Buick, Ford and Chevrolet – in that order. Cut out the fiscal reality factor and Porsche overrides all the above.

  • avatar

    I’m just gonna add one thing, my dad developed a lifelong hatred of Ford after he owned a 49 Mercury. My oldest brother has owned a few Fords over the years, a 72 Ford Ranger, a Bronco II and a 78 5.0 Capri, but the only Ford I have ever owned was our half-rotted Freestar.

    I’ve liked many of the recent Ford offerings, but I didn’t seriously shop them when we went looking for a Van a few months ago. About the only thing I might actually buy from them would be a Mustang but even that would have stiff competition from the Challenger, which I think is not as good a road burner as the ‘Stang but like that it is bigger. So, I end up at Dodge again and again…

    • 0 avatar

      My dad had Fords and Mercs over the years until the horrorible 62 and 64 Thunderbirds he had turned him off to Ford totally. Between the head gasket issues and the transmission problems, of both cars, and the electrical gremlins of the ’64, he had had enough, and bought a Cadillac.

      Between the memories of the lemon T-Birds, and Ford’s walk into the twilight zone, styling wise in the late 60’s that lasted about 40 years (Seriously, they seemed to be on drugs and made their vehicles ugly on purpose), I had no interest in a Ford product, with maybe a little bit in the Fox Mustangs, until the early 2000’s. I tend towards Mopars, but I avoided all the K-car variants except for an ’85 Caravan, which I didn’t like much at all. My car history:

      ’71 Cutlass- Wrecked.
      ’72 Cutlass- Traded in Nov ’74
      ’74 Roadrunner
      ’77 Power Wagon.
      ’79 Trans Am
      ’82 Blazer K-5
      ’85 Caravan
      ’88 S10 Blazer
      ’86 IROC-Z
      ’93 Grand Cherokee
      ’99 Grand Cherokee
      ’78 Z-28 (for 8 hours)
      ’00 Sierra 1500
      ’03 Ram 1500
      ’08 Charger R/T
      ’10 Challenger R/T

      Unless the next Camaro is a huge improvement, and the Mustang looks better than the pictures I’ve seen, I see myself driving a Challenger for a long long time.

  • avatar
    old fart

    Dad was a Chevy man for most of his life, and when I was ready to buy my first new car I found the Chevies (at least around here) were more expensive than the Oldsmobiles were , so all my brand new cars were Olds and used cars were GM products but my last car is a Ford (actually a Merc) because I wanted a pre-emission car and the GM’s were all rotted out or too expensive and knock on wood this Ford is reliable.

  • avatar

    My father was a die hard Mopar guy as was his, from Chrysler Airflows, the last BOF cars of the 50s, the uni-body Mopar muscle cars, K-cars, and finally all generations of Neons along with Jeeps from the 40s on up thrown in. A frugal Mopar commuter for day to day and a Jeep for the weekends. I grew up during the K car/Neon/XJ phase and while I own a 86 Aries for my personal nostalgia I own a 95 F250 PSD and I bleed Ford blue. The old man despised Ford after 1 experience in replacing a Valiant with an Escort for DD tasks in the early 80s and swore he would never stray from the Pentastar again.

  • avatar

    A ’57 Chevy two-door (lowest trim level , not a “hardtop”). V8 engine (don’t recall the displacement). Auto trams. Power nothing. Metal dash. Odd looking faded blue paint. AM radio. …Sweet!

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Not even a little bit. My folks bought whatever (either new or used) fit their needs and budget at the time. Ended up being domestic and Japanese, though my dad had a few Euro cars in his younger days.

  • avatar

    7 cars in my life, 6 unique makes. I guess I tend to look across the market and see what is the best for me at the time.

  • avatar

    It did initially for me.

    My dad has never owned anything that wasn’t an AMC or Chrysler product. My first car was a hand-me-down Chrysler LeBaron that he had bought for my brother. My first new car was a PT Cruiser, so I was keeping the Chrysler theme – but they also co-signed the loan and made the first year’s payments, so getting a car that they liked was useful.

    I had a ton of issues with the PT – the gauge cluster failed, the transmission controller failed, the air bag light would come on when it rained. My next vehicle was a Ford Ranger – based partly on the fact that i had an uncle who had B-series and a college roommate who had a Ranger, and both had good results. My older brother had owned an Expedition and an F-150 and liked them.

    But my current vehicle is a Nissan Pathfinder, a make nobody in my circle of family or friends has owned. i bought it mostly because it was one of the last truck-based mid-sized suv’s around.. and because both Nissan and the dealer put a ton of cash on the hood.

  • avatar

    We were a small town dual when I was young. Chrysler-Plymouth and AMC. I still have the last Hudson my Father bought – a 1953 Hornet with 32k – completely original, and a 1967 AMC Ambassador coupe, with the odometer reading of about 5k. These cars will be in our family at least through the generation of our children. You don’t take a car with the family lore of being “saved” for 46 years and monetize it in any substantial way, so the personal intrinsic value is, by far, higher. We have evolved into a “best buy” family, that purchases our wheels with overall operating costs in mind, with just a hint of performance in the background. While my photographer wife drives a Ranger today, there was a time when the surge of an operating Northstar Eldo (green, and named Kermit, of course) was worth the extra fuel cost. I believe the brand loyalty of previous generations is mostly gone, with the explosion of information being the driving force. Toyota and Honda are probably the current most likely generational “no questions” sellers, but as anecdotal evidence piles up showing the diminished benefits of a 50-100% price premium, the rest are gaining ground. The time of a family considering themselves “Ford” or “Chevrolet” or “Brand X” people has passed.

  • avatar

    True with me. Born in ’86, Dad had a new 535iS and Mom had a 760GLE Turbo-Intercooled wagon. Grandma had an ’85 325e stick. They traded cars every few years, had one of the first NA Miatas in Atlanta (Mariner Blue), several Jeeps, and a new 850 Turbo Wagon.

    Now I’ve had a string of BMWs, the 325e was willed to me, have a ’99 M3 (remember in ’98 when dad wouldn’t buy the M3 Sedan after the test drive), and daily a ’96 850R wagon that I fondly remember sitting in the Chris Volvo showroom when it was new.

    I drive my childhood, can’t help it.

  • avatar

    My dad didn’t have any particular brand loyalty. During my lifetime her purchased new a Studebaker, pickup, a Rambler, an original V-8 Mustang, a GMC pickup, two Mercedes 280s, two Travel-Alls and a RX-7. And that was just the new cars, used included three cars from 1911-1912 (an EMF, an Oakland and a Locomobile), countless T’s and A’s, an Essex, a Wills St. Clair, a Franklin boat tail, a ’32 Packard with a Duesenberg engine and a red ’55 Mercedes Gullwing. So basically my father thought me to embrace the quirky, the unique and the mechanically awesome. Small wonder then that my current stable consists of a Corvair, a Miata, a Solstice GXP and a Fiesta ST in addition to the Essex and the Franklin I inherited.

  • avatar

    Dad took into account GM’s aspirational ladder. He was a roofing contractor in a rural area. A Chevy might indicate he wasn’t good enough at his job to afford something better and a Buick might indicate that, in their eyes, he was overcharging his rural customers. By his reasoning, a Pontiac Catalina was the sweet spot. It didn’t hurt that his brother-in-law was a Pontiac/Cadillac dealer. Or maybe he just liked Pontiacs. I can tell you a Catalina with a 389 2bbl would on occasion tow 4000# on Model A axle home-built trailer. Thank God I never had to test the brakes very hard.
    While I did own one Pontiac, I have no loyalty at all – I’ve owned cars from eleven different brands.

  • avatar

    My Dad grew up primarily as a Chevy guy, he hot-rodded his ’57 chevy belair 2 dr, had another ’57 convertible he gave to his brother and I still remember sitting in the 2 dr pretending to drive it around 1974 or so. My mom had 67 Camaro RS before I was born and the only new vehicle my dad bought was a 1973 C10 truck (orange!) with the straight 6 in it that he still has in a lot somewhere with 240k hard miles on it.
    We primarily had GM stuff (77 cutlass, 69 impala, etc.) and briefly put them idle for a VW rabbit during the second gas crisis in the 70’s.

    Unfortunately (for GM anyway) there came a time in the late 80’s that the costs and ongoing repairs became too great….that trip back from New Orleans when the Cutlass died in middle-of-nowhere Mississippi pretty much spelled the end of GM purchases.
    There is now zero brand loyalty in our family (I never really had any) but early on I was predisposed to the Japanese brands after such a great experience with my beat to hell 86 CRX that just kept on going.

    My dad now does the insurance salvage auctions and runs a small low cost buy here/pay here as needed and he’ll buy just about anything people want but I honestly can’t recall much GM iron moving through his place unless in trade.

  • avatar

    Old David, I would love to talk to you about the Hudson for a story on our website if you have any interest in the idea. We like stories with long family histories and your father’s last Hudson is right up our alley. Feel free to contact me through our site.

  • avatar

    My father is and was an Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, and Pontiac man. Poor guy, two of his three favorite brands are dead and he’s only 59 years old. :-(

    First of his cars I can remember is a mid 70s Oldsmobile Cutlass coupe with a Olds 350 (although he owned a 396 SS Chevelle before that), Cutlass was replaced by a 1978 Monte Carlo, replaced by a 1982 Chevy Celebrity (eventually my first car), replaced by a 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham (V8 LOADED), 1992 Pontiac Bonneville, 2002 Chevy Blazer, and currently a 2008 Pontiac Torrent FWD but otherwise every option. He is an avowed used car buyer and all of those vehicles were 3 to 5 years old when purchased. The only true “GM piece of crap” was the Celebrity which to me was like the Millennium Falcon – Han Solo screaming “I thought I fixed that!”

    The Celebrity was my first car, the Cutlass was passed down as my second but when the Cutlass was stolen in Detroit in 2001, my first purchase with my own money was a 1997 Escort wagon (1st wife took in the divorce) and in 2006 I purchased a 2004 F150 Heritage. This summer I acquired my grandfathers 1967 Ford Mustang (died 1978 but my father was its caretaker until July). Ironically my Grandfather worked for GM but drove Fords his whole life.

    My automotive choices have made me more like him. I guess I’m a Ford/Lincoln/Mercury man at heart. My second wife’s family is hard core GM. The only brands that draw my attention right now are Ford, Lincoln, and interestingly enough Buick and Cadillac. I’m also a hard core used car buyer so who knows what will be purchased next?

    I will say that since the late 80s every Ford Mo Co company vehicle I’ve rode in or driven felt higher quality and better put together than the corresponding GM vehicle I’ve driven/ridden in. The only exception seems to be the GM BOF SUVs which are almost universally acknowledged as GMs best product. The only reason the old W-body Impala piques my interest is the “cheapest way to get your hands on 300 hp factor.”

    • 0 avatar

      “I thought I fixed that”! Best comment from a literate human today. I think everybody who read those words instantly identified with them. Thanks for the smile.

  • avatar

    My family always bought and drove American cars (except one brief stent with my dad and a old Diesel Mercedes. I was young, only memory I have of it was it breaking down).

    My dad liked vans and always have, and still does, a full-size Ford Van. His older 70’s Econoline was decked out liked they use to do back then. The newer one is of the conversion-type. He did briefly have a 89′ Dodge conversion van his father gave him. That one was probably the best.

    My mother always had Chevrolets. A 79′ Malibu, which I still have in close to mint condition, a 88′ Astro, 98′ Astro, and a 06′ Trailblazer.

    Me, I have a bit of everything. Some old Chevy’s, a old Jeep, a new Jeep, a new Ford. So I buy American cars, and like my parents, I tend to hold on the cars for a fairly long time.

  • avatar

    My dad was pretty much a Chevy guy: Corvair, Impala, custom van, Suburban, and Citation. I’ve never bought GM, and the one time I helped my mom buy a car I pushed for a Ford (tranny grenaded at 100k and a few years later it spontaneously combusted. Sorry Mom!)

    I do have a soft spot for 60s-70s Chevy trucks, but aside from that I’m GM-phobic…and the Grand Am I inherited hasn’t helped.

  • avatar
    jim brewer

    I drive a Ford pickup truck just like Dad, but I am an informed, objective consumer. Its strictly coincidence, honest.

    Dad was a “better mousetrap” buyer. To his mind buying the most popular models of anything meant that you settled for mediocrity.

    So he drove a Mercedes Ponton in the late 50’s when there was still a nazi stigma to the brand. If you saw another Mercedes on the road you would honk. Then he gravitated to Chrysler. the buzz back then was that Chrysler had superior engineering. After an unsatisfactory but very pretty 1965 Newport he switched to Ford. GM was out of the question because of its market dominance.

  • avatar

    The family influence went from son to father in my case. My parents had pretty utilitarian cars (slant six Dart, stovebolt 6 Biscayne, Volvo 245), but my first car was a 9 year old BMW Bavaria. After my father took a test drive and felt that smooth BMW hemi six power and 4 wheel independent suspension handling, he said his next car would be a BMW and as it turned out his next 4 cars were BMWs. My Bavaria also influenced my brother, uncle, college adviser, and several friends to buy BMWs.

  • avatar

    Trucks. Him Ford, me Chevy. Cars were for when you were forced to haul more than one passenger or when gas is too damn high.

    And Beechnut, da bot’ of us.

  • avatar

    Typical American family, here goes:
    1956 Chrysler Windsor in `fire-engine red` used, my fathers` first and favorite car.
    1957 Dodge Coronet sedan pink and black, bought new, my mothers`first car.
    1962 Olds Dynamic 88 wagon `the lemon` bought a year after my arrival, replaced the Windsor.
    1968 Pontiac Catalina wagon in Verdoro green, replaced the Olds.
    1963 Chev Impala sedan bought used replaced the Coronet.
    1973 Pontiac Grand Safari wagon light green with the fake wood on the side. Replaced the Catalina, after the valves went at 88,000 miles.
    1967 Chrysler Newport , replaced the Impala. Bought from an estate.
    1977 Pontiac Trans Am (I didn`t see this coming either. I was 16). My mother went to Vic Cox Motors intending to trade the Grand Safari for a Buick Skyhawk. The white T/A was sitting on the showroom floor and my father was late…I got to drive it occasionally.
    1980 Chevy Citation my Fathers first and only new car. Perhaps an abberation, it never had a problem.
    1966 Ford Mustang red with black roof, 289, 3 spd stick. I was driving my parents crazy about cars, so my father told me (intending to teach me a lesson)that I could buy any car I wanted, but all costs were on me. I was 14. He took me to a junkyard and for $325 the Mustang was mine. Did I mention the right side was torn apart as it had been totalled? I learned what I could do (quite a bit, surprisingly) and what I could not ( also quite a bit, not surprisingly). And I got the car running and learned that it is always smarter to buy a car `restored` rather than doing it yourself.
    1973 Toyota Celica tan and a 4spd (needed a 5th speed badly). ran like a clock.
    1983 Honda Accord hatchback. My first new car for gulp, $8,300. 40 mpg on the highway, tossable, fun to drive and could hold a surprising amount of junk. I often think of rescuing one of these.
    1990 Nissan Maxima marriage, first son arrive, Accord exits. Great car.
    1994 Mercury Sable wagon, green. Second son arrives, car pools, hockey practices. It was either this or a minivan. Superior design, garbage parts. Gasket failures (3.8 V-6) Transmission shifting problems, parts just coming off in your hand. If the Japanese had built it could have been one of the greats. 2004 Mazda 6 still have it, still the best.

  • avatar

    My father owned only Fords (except for a Fiat Topolino when he lived in Switzerland as a young man) and so have I. He had various English Fords (a Prefect and Consul 315) before moving to the U.S., where he purchased a 62 Falcon wagon, a 70 Fairlane 500 wagon, an 81 Escort wagon, an 87 Taurus sedan, and a 93 Taurus sedan (which I inherited when my mother died in 2001). He died in 1995. I have only had an 85 Escort, an 89 Crown Victoria, and a 2004 Crown Victoria (besides the 93 Taurus). Unless I can find a used Crown Vic or Grand Marquis with low miles, my next car will probably not be a Ford because I dislike the new European based models and dislike the high beltline of the new Taurus.

  • avatar

    My dad was a Ford guy early in life, with a Model A as his first car. That brand loyalty was passed down to him from his father, who started out with a Model T and owned a wide variety of Fords, until late in life he developed a thing for Studebaker.

    However, my dad became a German car guy when as a young Army officer he was stationed in Germany. He wanted a Porsche, but once he married my German mother, all he could afford was a VW Bug. After a few promotions, he was able to afford a Mercedes every few years for my mom and a series of Bugs for himself, until he bought the Toyota truck he drove until he retired. After a brief struggle with a Chevy S-10 pickup he bought from his neighbor (terrible vehicle), he bought what he called his final car, a long-bed Ford F-150, which he is still driving more than two decades later.

    I’ve clearly been influenced by my father’s taste. I like Ford, Porsche, and Japanese cars in general, and have an irrational dislike of Chrysler and GM products. I also don’t care for BMWs, which my father always hated due to the way people drove them in Germany when he was stationed there. I used to like VW, but a series of painful ownership experiences (Rabbit, Golf, Jetta) have made me gun shy.

    As to Mercedes, I love older ones, but I stopped liking their looks around the late 1980s. My mom still drives her 1982 300TD – I’m looking forward to inheriting that.

    Where I got my love for British cars, I have no clue…

  • avatar

    My dad owned a little bit of everything it seemed. When I was young we had a rather rusty 1972 Impala that was replaced by a 1980 Omni with a four-speed. My mom had never driven a manual, so that was interesting for a while! It got traded after a year for a 1982 Aries, a car that eight year old me thought suited our family but Dad hated, because it made funny noises to him. Fall 1984 he traded the Aries for our first new car, a 1985 Buick Skylark, the last of the X-cars. Other than the crappy Iron Duke 4 cylinder, it was a solid little car that got passed down to me, and stayed in our family for over eight years. My dad always liked Buicks and Oldsmobiles, though he owned very few of them. My teenage years saw for a couple of years a Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla and Nissan truck in our driveway, but soon they were replaced with Ford products. I think a lot of that had to do with my grandfather working for Ford, so we could get the A-Plan price.

    Today my garage has a Ford Escape and an Olds Alero sitting in it. When the Olds breathes it’s last, I admit that part of me would like a new Toyota to replace it, but then I stop and think about my Ford-loving family, the better deals I can get, and the fact that I live in the heart of UAW country, and would never hear the last of it!

    But at heart, I have always been an Olds guy!

  • avatar

    My dad has driven Chevy’s for over 30 years. His dad almost always had a Chevy pickup until 1996 when he got a Dodge Ram. After two Rams and a Town and Country, and two Pacificas he leased two Traverses before he died. My dad had a Chevette diesel, two S-10’s, a 98 Blazer LT, and now a 2006 Colorado crew cab. My mom had two Chrysler Concordes and is now on her second Volvo wagon and will probably be a Volvo driver for the rest of her life. I wish to aspire to my mom’s cars, but for now I have been a Chevy guy with a Lumina, then one of the Concordes, and for the last five years a 2005 Impala LS.

    That wasn’t intentional, but that’s what I got from Grandma. So for now I am following in the family’s footsteps.

  • avatar

    When I was young my dad had only domestic cars…partially out of what he felt was his patriotic duty as a Canadian and partly because he usually had a company car. When he left for a firm that did not offer a company car, I begged him to buy a Honda Accord (this was 1984). He said: “I can’t show up at [the firm’s name] in a HONDA!” We bought a Chevy Celebrity instead. I owe my car preferences to my uncles, who drove either muscle cars or small foreign sports cars.

  • avatar

    Grandpa drives exclusively German iron: a long chain of P-cars when he was younger and lately BMWs. Odd choice for a staunch Republican but that’s how it was. He taught my dad to have a healthy disdain for domestic cars, so Dad became a Toyota guy after going through a series of Volvos and VWs. I happen to like Hondas better but would still give consideration to any well made car that suited my needs and wants.

  • avatar

    My dad had used fords. A 54 and then a 58 Ford Ranch Wagon,both in refrigerator white, for a growing family. A funny thing happened then. At about 11 or 12 years of age I became fascinated with foreign cars, reading about them and talking about them with anyone who would listen. Apparently, I had an influence on my old man because his next car was a used SAAB 96 2-stroker. A used Peugeot 404, a new 1969 Toyota for my mom, and a used Peugeot 504 followed.
    Interesting and unique cars have always attracted me more than loyalty to one brand.

  • avatar

    My dad and his dad each had a string of Fords when they were younger. Grandpa started experimenting with other brands after he started having grandchildren and dads last car before giving up and driving motorbikes was a Honda. Moms dad had a lot of different cars, mostly Opels, before settling with Hondas in his 50’s, still drives a Jazz today. I’ve had a bunch of Fords because I’m a cheapskate, and the old rwd cars are usually fun to drive when they run, but sometimes I’m reasonable and buy Hondas (I’ve had a 2003 CRV for over two years now, never driven the same car that long before) I’ve tried a lot of different cars over the years, but very few are as cheap to run as old Fords,dependable like Hondas, horrible like Audis and BMW, comfortable as french cars, or can stand as much abuse as old Mazdas or Opels. American cars look and sound awesome…lets stop at that.

  • avatar

    I bought my first car, my second, my third and the two I have now. No help from my parents at all. In fact, I had to replace my mom’s Cougar XR7 1993 that I got t-boned in.

    I feel that if you have to WORK FOR SOMETHING you’ll appreciate it more. That’s why I’m a Fiscally Conservative REPUBLICAN and Proud of it.

    As for my family, all of them are brand loyal to FORD, LINCOLN and MERCURY. As a rebellious kid, I chose to take my money over to Mercedes and Chrysler. Sure my uncle will tell a joke about my SRT Jeep and how he would “roll it over”, I am quick to remind him how quickly Ford is slipping in reliability and how PATHETIC the “EGOboost” motors are compared to even the LAST generation of HEMI.

    Everytime one of em makes I Chrysler joke, I pull out a $100 bill and challenge them to a race. SUDDENLY it gets REAL QUIET.

  • avatar

    We never really had a car of our own as my dad always drove demos wherever he worked. When he was in new car sales, we would get a new car every 6k mi or so. Used cars, every third day there was something different in the driveway for me to enjoy. My dad was a Chrysler salesman for most of my life growing up. He would take me and my older brother to work on Saturdays in the 70s and I would get to sit in all of the ‘Cudas, Road Runners and Dusters. A pistol grip shifter appeared to be gigantic to my 7-year old self. I remember my brother and his best friend dropping a 440 into the shell of a ’70 Plum Crazy Challenger and running away when they fired it up with open headers.

    When the time came to purchase my first new car in the late 80s dad was working for a Pontiac/Buick/GMC dealer; this was the dealer that inspired the “Fargo” storyline of creating fake titles for conversion vans to embezzle money from GMAC. I test drove a T-Type Turbo Regal (stealth and fast) and a Formula 350 but decided to go with a Mustang GT as I just had to have a manual trans. I barely considered the Mopar offerings of the time, a Daytona/Laser/Sundance need not apply. I considered the Sundance Duster in ’93 (the dark green was sweet) but eventually continued my Ford allegiance and bought an Escort GT, then traded it for a Probe GT in ’96.

    Fast forward many years later, I traded my AWD G35 for a new Charger R/T last year. Sometimes when the weather is just right and I crack the windows, I can close my eyes and smell those old Mopars. Then I’m home again.

  • avatar

    Great article, Tom. Very enjoyable read, as always.

    It took me back to when I was in my teens, up to age 18, when I left home after graduating HS to join the Air Force.

    In my case, whatever dribbled down to me from my dad, or mom, I had to give back when I was done with it so my younger brothers could each enjoy their time with the dribbled-down vehicle.

    And they passed it back, and down, when they left home. Living in Huntington Beach, CA, the rust monster claimed most of the cars long before the drive-train wore out.

    Ironically, my two sisters, the youngest of the sibs, always got mom’s cars, and they were able to leave home with the cars, take them to college, and into their lives.

    No such luck with the five boy-sibs. We had to give each car back. By the time my youngest brother left home, the car he eventually got from this succession of dribbles was beyond economical repair.

    He was more of a motorcycle guy anyway and he spent four years of college at ASU, tooling around on an assortment of used motorcycles bought from upper class men. Yeah, he even took his dates out on his motorcycle.

    He often had more than one old motorcycle at a time but he had an Ariel 4-square he was very fond of that he kept running for several years. When it eventually died, he stepped up to a Honda CBX 6-cyl as his fave and kept it for many years, even after he eventually bought his first new car from the dealership where he worked his first job.

    Ahh, the memories you brought back with this article.

  • avatar

    I see a common theme here – Ford. I’m betting Henry never saw the modification movement coming, even though he started it all with that great flathead V8. The aftermarket is still cranking out parts. I believe even Zora A-D came up with a DOHC cylinder head design for this engine.

  • avatar

    My paternal grandparents were Buick people. Maternal grandparents bought anything.

    My Dad claims to hate GM. He goes truck shopping, buys a GM SUV, and complains for the first 2 years he owns it. When he finally trades it after 5 years, he sobs that he doesn’t want to get rid of “the best truck he’s ever had”. When it comes time to replace his business sedan, he skips gleefully to the Mercedes dealership, and pays whatever they demand for the best E-class on the lot (not AMG). After three years of prideful dictator-grade motoring, he declares that Mercedes has “lost it”, and he’s switching to BMW. Nope. He’s buying another overpriced E-Class.

    My mom won’t drive anything other than Volkswagen Audi Group, probably because my dad handles the money, and she’s blissfully ignorant of maintenance and repair costs. Beetles, A4s, Taureg, 911, Eos, and a few I’m forgetting. Genuinely random purchasing habits. My dad hates her cars so much he won’t even touch the keys.

    I love GM trucks and SUVs, but they are cumbersome in traffic and town. Chevrolet CUVs are mom-cars, and GMC never builds their cool concepts, though the new Acadia is solid. Anyway, I always end up buying Jeeps. Anything with the 4.0L straight-six. The Pentastar is tempting.

    When Christmas comes around, my mom steals my Jeep. I steal my dad’s GM. My brothers fight over my dad’s Mercedes. My sister steals my mom’s car. My dad cries that he’s stuck driving one of my brothers’ “crude” trucks (Tundra, Frontier). By the end of Christmas he vows to buy himself a pickup for his birthday (following month). Nope.

  • avatar

    My parents owned a pretty decent mix of GM and Ford awitha few chryslers. Never any foreign brands. With the exception of a ford flex, all of my cars were foreign brands. No brand loyalty. Ive had volvos, a Land Rover, nissans, mazdas and honda.

  • avatar

    My parents haven’t had many vehicles during my life. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a problem with driving old cars?

    They had a Buick Skyhawk when I was born, but the family got into a bad accident with it that resulted in some injuries. To replace it, my father bought an ’89 Caprice with the expectation that the larger car would be safer. He was probably the youngest person to buy a new Caprice that year. When my dad took off, he took the Chevrolet with him. He had it until at least 2001. Last I heard, he drove an Audi.

    My mother is small woman and preferred compacts so she hated driving the big Caprice. From that, in ’92 they added a Plymouth Voyager to the garage. She drove that until transmission woes had her replace it with a ’99 Windstar in 2003. The Ford van was a nightmare, and she replaced it with her current Toyota Matrix in 2009.

    My stepfather still drives the ’01 Tundra he had when he and my mother started dating. Before that he had a ’94 Toyota truck.

  • avatar

    I drive a Porsche, just like my Dad did.

    Funny thing, though: I never drove any of his Porsches. He lost interest in fast cars just about the time I got my driver’s license.

    Funny, that.

  • avatar

    If my parents have allegiance to anything, it’s Hyundai (they’re on their fourth currently). They even passed one of those (an ’03 Accent) down to me when they had no need for it anymore. I don’t quite share that allegiance (if I was buying a newer car, I’m not sure the Hyundai dealer would be my first stop), but it inadvertently lead to me driving my current Accent. Given that we’ve had decent luck with them, I recommended a used Accent to my then-fiancee (now wife), which ended up becoming my car.

    Now, between how that Accent has been for us, and my in-laws have had a few Hyundais and Kias that have treated them well, my wife is perfectly happy to go buy more Korean cars.

  • avatar

    …39% of young people choose the same brand of car their parents drove…

    Wow, I would have thought higher. This doesn’t bode well for the big selling brands of the last 20 to 30 years. Another way to look at this, 61% go with another brand (Euros and Koreans rejoice!).

    My father was a Ford engineer. My mother didn’t drive until I was a teen.

    My father had a bevy of American cars but as a product of the 70’s I wouldn’t say that is a big outlier.

    He had a puke green ’75 Chrysler Newport with a puke green vinyl interior that my mother says he bought blind stinking drunk. It was the one with the electronic ignition. Basically the car wouldn’t run if it rained or snowed. I grew up in Massachusetts – so the car spent a lot of time not running.

    He got a ’77 Caprice Classic wagon next – brown with faux woodie panels and a brown interior. That car I remember as being as reliable as the sunrise.

    My mother got a ’77 Caprice Classic sedan, two-tone blue, with blue interior. Turns out it had the full police package the way it was optioned. That car was in the shop once a year for the AC. It died a horrible death when my mother was run off the road and crashed into a New England stone fence. I was in the passenger seat and an orange VW Rabbit on a narrow rural road in Central Mass took their half of a blind turn driving like an a-hole out of the middle. My mother was a brand new driver and she handled the emergency in hind sight admirably. A head on collision at the speed he was going would have been horrific. Oh, and there we were in the middle of the woods and after stopping, took off without telling a soul or offering to render aid. I hope karma kicked their ass good.

    My mother than got an ’81 Caprice Classic, V6 two-tone silver and white. Beautiful car – worst piece of crap ever. It lived in the shop. Lived — in — the — shop.

    My stepfather had an ’83 Celica. Loved, loved, loved that car. God what a great car. Would love to find one today. I can’t remember that car having any major issues.

    My father got an ’84 Dodge Caravan. Yup. first year. It ate its transmission at 67 miles. You read that right. Turns out some bolts were installed with no nuts or some other nonsense and the whole tranny grenaded the first week he had it. Covered under warranty, and was very reliable after that. I have to say, I was not impressed with Chrysler products after my father’s two experiences.

    My stepfather got an ’86 Jeep Cherokee – also loved loved loved. Also can’t remember it having any big issues. It was red. I remember the ergonomics in it were TERRIBLE. It seems like every switch and vent was installed as an after-thought.

    My mother got an ’86 Nissan Maxima. I liked the car, and I don’t remember it having any “big” issues but I was never a huge fan. It sure was better than the God awful Caprice.

    Well, if you’ve read this far you’re probably going wait a minute – dad was a Ford engineer but there wasn’t a Ford in your driveway?!? Ya I know, kind of odd.

    My first car was a flood salvage recovery Ford EXP. A great first car but what a piece of crap. Never mind the flood damage issues that I had to self repair even after Linders had gone through it. Suspension issues, wouldn’t stay in alignment to save its life. The biggest redeeming quality was a massive cargo hatch and damn good fuel mileage.

    The next car was an ’87 Tempo GL Sport coupe. It was blue and dark gray, got a number of, “what is it,” questions actually. Only had it 17 months – a drunk idiot in a big old Chrysler ripped the back end off of it in a rear ending accident. Hit me so hard pushed the trunk to the back seat, and drove the car about 50 feet forward where it went over the curb, flattening two tires and into a phone pole. A friend drove out 40 miles with two Escort rims/tires and I limped it back home – with an unknown when we started cracked oil pan. Ya – it was a total loss.

    The next car was an ’89 Ford Probe. Put 186K miles on it and in that time beyond regular car did an alternator, a radiator, and the trip computer display (3X – grrrrrr). 186K miles today – no big deal. 186K miles in the 80’s on almost anything – damn. I know it went to at least 230K miles.

    So it is a long ass post I know – but I guess my father influenced me in my buying choices as I was buying Ford for the first 10 years I was driving. I’ve owned cars from Europe, Asia and America (surprise). Adored my Porsche 944S2 (but regular car was stunningly expensive) and the technical European car (Merkur xR4Ti) which was also a bit of a repair nightmare (the siren song of $4K rebate called my name). The ’93 Subbie I owned was a complete and total piece of crap. About as bad as the ’98 Pontiac Trans Sport Montana I bought more out of desperation (long story) than desire – but not quite as bad.

    My sister has a ’97 Camry with about a 1/4 million miles on it. Reliable as the sunrise. My mother has an ’03 Camry with about 60K miles on it – no where near as reliable as the sisters (this will surely be my mother’s last car).

    Today – if I would buy something Audi is high on the list (and the latest CR data moves them up a bit). But the Euro-makers seem to make everything an option – and when I spec out what I want, I cough a bit when I see the sticker price.

  • avatar

    My dad became a buick man about 20 years ago and still is to this day.

    I owned a buick once, I hated that car with a passion. I doubt I’ll ever buy new, but there are so many more interesting cars out there at a better price point. Buick is the absolute last on my list. Currently drive a ’97 Tbird and loving every second of it. Since I have a nice used Tahoe as a second vehicle, I’m thinking a labor of love such as a 1983 280ZX, a used GTI/TDI golf, or a 94/95 BMW 5 series will be in my future after the T-bird.

    Maybe I’m just oddly shaped or something, but every single GM product I’ve ever owned/driven, (20+ and counting) has had bad ergonomics and has not been fun to drive at all), my T-bird suffers from the same dilemma as the ’97 was cost cut to hell and the good seats were taken out for that year, but it’s still not as bad as the Tahoe’s torture chamber, and not even 1/10th as bad as the buick I had owned.

    I can’t respect a car manufacturer who can’t line up a steering wheel and pedals with the seat, properly adjust pedal relative height, and put a great seat (one you can sit in for 8+ hours on a road trip, all seats should come with adjustable thigh length support and a slight cutout at the lower back) in a car.

    I really want to test drive one of the new ecoboost 1.0 3 cylinder fiestas, the idea of a 120degree crank instead of the flat cranks used in 4 cylinders intrigues me.

  • avatar

    That was by far the best generation of cavalier, after that body style, the rounded style came out, which ruined the car. Having said that, my buddy, who’s dad worked at a dodge dealership, had a dodge spirit r/t from that era and the dodge spirit r/t was a freakin’ monster of a car that was years ahead of the ford/gm competition. It is by far the most under-appreciated car of the early 90s.

  • avatar

    It seems very little of my fathers taste comes to play, or my grandfather for that matter.

    My father used to love VW Boxer vehicles (had a Squareback and Bus), the diesels of the late 1970’s, and a Chevy Crew with a 454. For me? I like the idea of a Mazda6, 2, 3 or 5, an Alfa Romeo Giulia Bertone, Subaru Baja or BRZ, and a Ford Focus/Fiesta ST. But he’s not an enthusiast like I am, either. Heck, he missed out on a lot of the muscle car era thanks to being ship bound through The Vietnam War.

  • avatar

    I’m old enough and my Dad was old enough at my birth that aside from preferring trucks there’s almost no congruence in our vehicular lives.

    The entire world of auto manufacturing flipped several times during this span. If he could come back today he’d probably start shooting at the hideous metal carapaces running around out there, thinking the aliens had colonized us.

    In several ways, he’d be right.

  • avatar

    My dad was a Mopar guy, he influenced me, but I ended up influencing HIM in the end. We had a ’59 Plymouth Savoy, a ’64 Plymouth Belvedere, a ’68 Plymouth Sport Fury (that I picked out). The Sport Fury was my dribble down car when I first started driving. I still remember coming home from high school after I had had a minor fender-bender and slightly creased the driver’s side fender. I thought my dad was going to kill me, but he was totally cool about it. It was my mother who went TOTALLY BALLISTIC about it. Ah women! Important lesson learned there. After that, my dad had a succession of used Ford LTD’s that my uncle would sell him every two years when he bought a new one. Last one was a brown on brown LTD Landau that was a real land yacht. My first new car, in keeping with my early Mopar influence, was a Plymouth Turismo, it was such a piece of crap I traded it for a Toyota Corolla. Chevy Cavalier (replaced totaled Corolla), Cutlass Supreme, Chevy S-10, Cadillac Catera, and Pontiac Vibe AWD followed. Still driving Vibe, knock on wood, 212,000 miles. Dad’s last car, before he passed, was a VW Quantum which I bought for him when I was making decent money working for the VW/Audi ad agency. God, he LOVED that car! Gave it to my uncle when dad went on to that big car repair shop in the sky.

    • 0 avatar

      There is something about a son buying a dad a car that is really special. Jay Leno tells the story of how he bought his dad a Cadillac when he finally hit the big time and how his dad just relished it. I can only imagine what that must feel like. I’m sure your father’s love for that car was rooted in his pride over you.

      It’s a great story, thanks for sharing it.

      • 0 avatar

        Thomas, thank you for your kind comments. It never dawned on me to think my dad might have been proud of me. Dad wasn’t much for sharing his feelings. You brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. Thanks for a great thread topic.

      • 0 avatar

        A friend of mine’s 3 kids, who all collect old cars, cleaned out some of their collection, and with their uncle kicking in the sales tax, bought my friend a new Chrysler 300C. Black and loaded up with everything but a sun roof. He had a terrible 59th birthday (In the hospital with appendicitis and they took out his gall bladder too), and the kids wanted to make the 60th one a good one. The video of him getting it, and blubbering, was great. Everytime he has something good happen since then, I ask him if he blubbered about it. Gets him going every time!

      • 0 avatar

        ^This. I regret never having the ability to do this for my father while he was alive. I was 27 when he passed away at the all-to-young age of 56. I’ve read a few stories with a healthy dose of saddness where a son is able to buy his father a car. My dad nurtured my love (obsession??) of cars, taking me to car shows and letting me recite/identify every car on the road to him. Being only five years out of college, I was in no position to do so and cancer took him away from us quicker than we were able to cope with the diagnosis. Not being able to do this and not seeing my father render the first salute to his grandson (my father was a 26 year Army veteran and my son just was commissioned as a 2LT in the Air Force) are perhaps the two biggest “missed” moments…

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    The old man , the first 10 years or so of my life , always got low -level Ford sedans as company cars , the earliest ones IIRC bottom-of-the-barrel Mainlines in bland colors that he seldom drove except for work . My uncle was a Pontiac dealer , so that was always the brand for Mom’s cars . The earliest one I remember was a 1951 Streamliner coupe , followed by several wagons . Mom was never comfortable driving full-sized cars , and several accidents involving Mom or older sister wrecking them , and Daddy no longer getting company cars combined with the dawn of the Pontiac Tempest resulted in many years of us having one or more of these as family cars . After the uncle sold his dealership the other relatives , including the uncle bought Buicks , Caddys or other competitors but Daddy drove Pontiacs until his death . I never bought a Pontiac but inherited an aunt’s Le Mans Sport . Also inherited an uncle’s Park Avenue – horrible car . Also bought a couple of very used sixties Malibus , and a Saturn wagon , a sixties Falcon wagon , several VWs , several Toyotas . Inherited a Mercedes 300D when my wife died , currently drive a Scion xB . Daddy was actually pretty clueless about cars and usually bought whatever was left at the uncle’s dealership at the end of the model year , and my car purchases or inheritances have been strictly coincidental . My first choice in vehicles has always been small hatchbacks or wagons with a stickshift . For some reason Daddy always sneered at Chrysler products and maybe I did inherit that prejudice .

  • avatar

    My dad was a GM exec, so guess what we drove. I’ve owned all sorts of cars and trucks. I started out a GM guy for obvious reasons, but except for a couple of classic Cadillacs, I haven’t owned anything GM since the ’80s.

  • avatar

    My paternal grandfather drove nothing but Pontiacs. He went to church with the sales manager of the local dealer and every 4 or 5 years, he’d buy the demo the dealer principal’s wife drove the previous year, until he retired. His last one was a 1981 Bonneville he bought in ’82, and drove until he gave up driving in 2006.

    My parents have driven more GM vehicles than any other brand, but only 8 of the 25 they’ve had since I was born 46 years ago. They’ve also owned three Fords, two Chryslers, four Toyotas, two VWs, two Datsun/Nissans, a Mitsubishi, a BMW, a Rover, and a Sterling (they lived in the UK for five years and Germany for eight). Their current rides fit their demographic: a 2005 Buick LeSabre, and a 2008 Grand Marquis.

    I’ve had 2 GM, 3 Ford, 2 Toyota, 1 Mazda, and 1 old Mercedes Benz project car from hell. I also drove the Datsun on my parents’ list during high school. The only thing automotive that I’ve taken from my parents is that I’ve never bought a new car – only used.

    My wife drove a Mazda GLC in college, but has had 3 Hondas in the 20 years since. Her mom drove nothing but GM until she bought a CR-V five years ago. Her dad lives in downtown Chicago and hasn’t owned a car in years.

  • avatar

    my dad worked for detroit diesel allison and always had discounted chevrolets on the employee plan. once gm sold dda to penske corp it became a chrysler corp employee discount but he lost his gm retirement program and took a hit in benefits. needless to say i was no longer enamored with gm so when i went looking for my first new car the field was wide open to me. chrysler did not make a reliable small wagon at the time (colt) so i bought a civic wagon.

    all tolled firebird (used), horizon (used), civic wagon (new), passat wagon (new), flex (new) and passat sedan (new). when i look i cross shop many alternatives but i’ve never bought a chrysler on a family discount which i am entitled to because they dont have the best car for me.

  • avatar

    My mother drove Fords when I was growing up, and I suppose I’ve still got a slight preference for ’em, as American manufacturers go. I wouldn’t mind a stick-shift Contour like she had.

    But no, it was my grandmother’s choice in cars which influenced me most. She had a 240DL sedan (which I eventually inherited, though it was too rusty to put back on the road by then) and, a few cars later, a V70 Cross Country. Since then, I’ve had two other 244s, an 850 wagon (very similar to that XC, but far more basic – manual, non-turbo, FWD), a 740 Turbo wagon that I couldn’t pass up for $200, and a Saab 900S that was similarly impossible to resist.

    What do I figure my next car will be? Probably another old Volvo.

  • avatar

    My Dad plays this kind of thing close to the vest. If you ask him directly what he thinks of a car he’ll answer, but he doesn’t commit to a taste for any brand in particular and I guess he’s not a (insert maker name here) man. He buys pretty much what he likes at that point in time, taking into consideration many things, the financial being pretty big. As to Mom, well, we she drove what he gave her, how much of an imposition that was, or how much she influenced him I can’t say. Though I tend to think her opinion was taken into account.

    I remember all our cars from the age of 7 on. I even have some dim memories of cars previous to that. I vaguely remember a trip in a Beetle to the sea. I can also remember a VW Bus.

    From the time before I was born or remember, I recall him speaking of some interesting cars. He had a Renault Dauphine/Gordini, VW SP2, Chevy Opala, Karmann Ghia, and supposedly I was taken home from the hospital in a Puma.

    From age 7, when we lived in the US, he had a big Chevy station wagon every year as a company car. I remember riding in the back seat of those looking back at the traffic. During our 5 yrs in America, Mom drove a Nova. That was our private car.

    After that we lived in Colombia and as our private car, Mom drove a Fiat 131 Mirafiori. I loved that car and loved its rich Bordeaux color and the sounds its made. Dad drove a bunch of cars from the office pool, but I do remember often being in a yellow and an orange Chevy D20. Brazilian built.

    Later we moved back to Brazil and Dad had a string of VWs. Santanas and Mom had the SW version called Quantum in Brazil. After those they had another Chevy Astra SW, a Ford Escort XR3 (which Mom hated and Dad loved as that car had no power steering). Than a Fiat Uno. a Fiat Marea SW, a Nissan Maxima, a VW Golf, a Dodge Dakota then started the Renault phase that lasts until this day. It started caused he had been working at Renault, but after he left it continued. There have been a Scenic, a Clio and now a Sandero. He also has a Nissan Pathfinder that just sits. Over the last couple of years he also had some VWs as company cars and now drives a Fiat Stilo as a company car. The Stilo is now up for a change and the company has reduced the budget for his next company car. As he thinks the Stilo is better than any of the cars the allotted money would allow to buy, he is resisting changing it. According to him he doesn’t want to change as the car has never given any defects, is luxurious and strong. At about 75k miles, it’s getting up there for Brazilian standards.

    So if my father had a favorite brand I’d say he tended towards GM and VW 30 years ago, but now likes his Renaults and his Fiat. If it were up to him I think he’d like to try the new Citroën C4 Lounge sedan as his next company car. So I’d say lately he has gone French.

    Interestingly, when asked what his best car was, it’s a Ford. I don’t remember it but I was alive and it was when we lived in Spain. A Ford Cortina (I think). He also says the car that got away that he would have loved to have bought was a Ford Mondeo SW from the late 90s. Nowadays he says he also likes very much the Mitsubishi Lancer (very, very expensive in Brazil). So even though he’s had just one Ford or two in his life, he wishes he had gotten at least one. He also seems more open to Japanese cars though he has never expressed interest in a Honda or Toyota, or Hyundai for that matter.

    Does that affect me at all? Well, I’ve never been a VW or GM man. Nothing from VW has ever terribly interested me. As to GM, I never gave them a second look, but nowadays I’d say I’d be interested in at least two. The changeover from Opel to Daewoo has been beneficial to them. Japanese cars don’t interest me except for Nissan which has some cars I find intriguing. All I have had in my life have been 6 Fiats, 3 Fords and 2 Renaults. SO I’m more Fiat and Ford than Dad, about as much Renault, not all GM (up to now at least) or VW (not now and not for the foreseeable future). As to Asian brands, our tastes are similar it’d seem as of them all I’m vaguely interested in Nissan while Honda and Toyota or the Koreans don’t interest me and don’t interest him either.

    So yeah, something has rubbed off but not entirely. In the last 30 yrs I would say I have influenced him too as I had at least some input into the purchase of the Escort and Marea, but not a total influence either since if he had heeded me, he’d never have bought the Golf or the Astra.

    Sorry for the very long post.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Dad usually drove GM (Chevrolet) cars: 78 & 83 Malibu, 2x 81 Caprice and a 71-72 2dr Chevelle. Mixed in between there was a 75 Rangie, a Fiat 147, a FJ40, 2 Mopars (Dart GT) a Jeep Commando and 2 Beetles. Then there also was an AE82 Corolla, 1st gen Fiat Siena (still in the fleet) and a (post-facelift) Daewoo Racer. None of them in any particular order.

    I consider myself to be a GM & Mopar man, and have bought mostly GM derived cars: Isuzu, Holden, Saab. I drove a Peugeot-derived car as company car. No Chevs/Mopars so far.

    My son, funnily enough, is a Ford man. An he’s barely 4 yo. The 3 weeks old girl is yet to be seen.

    Open to try other stuff. On the to-do list there are Golf III, Mercs (W124 and 1st gen C-Class), E34, 9-5 & 9-3 conv, 91 Celica… a Jeep Patriot (for the wife), FG Falcon G6E (guess for who), a Rangie, a fridge and who knows what else.

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, how many kms does that Siena have now? Still going strong or on its last legs? Mom still likes it? Was that 147 Brazilian built? How did ya like the gearbox? Outside of that I always loved those cars!

      Venezuelans’ Chevy experience very different from Brazilians’. Here we got Opels and not American Chevies.

      I never had a Chrysler car either though I’d love one. From the Dart to the Challemger, passing through the Neon and PT Cruiser and 300, and Dakota and minivans, I always liked them. Call me a proto-Chrysler man!

      Congrats on the little girl!

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        Oi Marcelo,

        The Siena should be in the 350K kms range. Original motor/gearbox, 2 clutches. I would say it’s in its last legs, the tin worm is also starting to take its tool.

        The 147 was a Venezuela-assembled-Brazil-CKD affair. 4 speed. The bloody distributor gear was worn which made it a PITA, and those loved to rust. Overall not too bad car. I usually liked the 147 over the Spazio, although the later interior is better.

        I would like to own a Neon (the US audience will laugh, as usual), even if it’s a beater/couple of months affair. The Dart seems to be a worthy successor.

        “Congrats on the little girl!”

        Thanks :)

        • 0 avatar

          Hola amigo!

          Oh yeah, I had forgotten about the distributor! Another “charming little quirk’ I had forgotten about that car. As they said at the time, it was the only car afraid of a little water.

          Fortunately, I live in a part of Brazil that rust is not a problem. When I go to the beach, I just give it a very good wash and forget about it. In my region, due to all the iron ore mine and the suspended dust with a lot of metallic content, it’s the belts that like to go fast. Timing belts in Fiats are changed as a preventive piece of maintenance at 40k km, Renaults 60, the others I don’t remember cause I haven’t had them, but all are changed before 100k km. Better than rust though.

          As to the Neon, what can I say? Nuestros amigos del Norte have it too good…

          Good to hear from you.

  • avatar

    Actually, my father never owned a car. Born in 1904, he learned how to drive his employer’s Model T stakebed and borrowed it to take my mother out on dates in the 1920s, getting away from the chaperone. He almost bought a “T” used car, but it was long overdue for an engine rebuild and wouldn’t go up a hill. We got rides from neighbors or took a cab.

    My sister used her boyfriend’s ’49 Chevy, and by the time she broke up with him, had enough to buy a ’51 Crown Vic, then a ’57 Pontiac Chief, and finally a ’63 Rambler Classic that she left me when she got married. Since she didn’t bother with checking the oil, much less changing it, that aluminum block six lasted only 6 months before wiping out a main bearing at 60 mph.

    After that, I drove whatever her old mechanic, who sold used cars, had on the lot in my price range: a ’62 LeSabre, a ’65 Impala, and a ’68 Montego MX the mechanic had dropped a 351 into. My uncles kept talking up Chevys and were happy with the Impala, but my dad liked the Montego for the growl. That was my best car ever – I’m sorry I got rid of it.

    BTW – I’m not that old, my parents were in their 40’s when I was born, eight months after their second honeymoon, taken just before their 25th wedding anniversary. When I found that out as a teen, I was astounded they were still having sex at that age.

    • 0 avatar

      Mine were also in their 40s and I was similarly boggled when the significance of that hit me. “Oops” baby.

      But then, they were staunch Catholics so all 6 of us were pretty much oops babies. Or “what the hell, it’s gonna happen eventually” babies.

      Uncontrolled breeding used to be the norm, I guess.

    • 0 avatar

      FWIW, my father was 49 when I was born (I’m 51 this year). My mother was about 8 years younger than him, but it appears he didn’t know when to quit…

      • 0 avatar
        bill mcgee

        I’m 60, my father was 43 when I was born . Mom was 11 years younger . My younger sister and I were both ” accidents ” . However Mom’s father was 55 when she was born and my grandmother was 47 ( Mom was the youngest of 7 ).Because of this I had several great-grandfathers and several great-great grandfathers who fought in the Civil War ( all in the Confederate army , family was from the south). Even more unbelievable , one great-great grandfather actually fought in the Mexican revolution against Spain , in 1813 ! He was living in Mississippi at the time , which was still part of Spain , and ran off with the rebels because they promised to give volunteers 2 leagues ( 8000 acrea ) of land .

  • avatar

    The first car I remember my dad having was a 65 Mustang. My mother hated it so he traded it for a brown Ford Pinto station wagon. I’m not too sure that constitutes brand loyalty.

    After the exploding Pinto stories of the ’70’s, he sold it an bought a ’57 Chevy truck, step side and primer grey. I saw a lot of northern Nevada in that truck. He sold that to a kid I went to high school with who destroyed it while driving drunk.

    Then it was two ’67 El Camino’s. One to drive and one for parts.

    My first car was a ’60 GMC truck that my prom date put her heal through the floor board.

    Then it was an ’84 Renault Alliance. Less said about that the better. Then came the ’81 Pontiac Sunbird, which I believe came primer gray from the factory. It had Nissan Pulsar hubcaps. Awesome.

    Then adulthood set in with the following:
    1.’85 Toyota 4X4 in bitchin red.
    2. ’88 Ford Festiva (Kia’s finest)
    3. ’02 Chevy Blazer ZR2 (One of Consumer Reports least safest vehicles)
    4. ’03 Ford Expedition (saved my life in a horrific accident)
    5. ’89 Ford Festiva (fully loaded this time!)
    6. ’05 Ford Focus
    7. ’04 Honda Pilot (wife’s car)

    And finally the ’05 Dodge Magnum (great for hauling the kids and their assorted crap)

    So I have to say I guess I’m somewhat of a Ford guy. The funny thing is my dad has a Subaru Outback now.

    What’s up with that?

  • avatar

    Dad was a GM guy when times were good used buicks or olds when time were tough chevy’s and I guess it passed to me , my first car given to me was 73 Buick electrica In 1984 and well I have pretty much owed foreign cars when not having company cars I tend to root for GM and w hen I need a car I will considered a GM , never a ford , car and god forbid a mopar even though dad liked the 300 m as his last car, instead I told him spend your money buy a caddy enjoy your last car, and he did until he died a year later.

  • avatar

    My family~s first car was the one I bought with my own money at age 15. I was influenced by HOT ROD mag. and the Ford flathead V-8 was king. So my first 3 car were Fords. Then the Chev V8 won me over and for the next umteen years it was all GM. Then came the the bailout and I have learned how the Detroit brass, the uaw, and even the workers that did the voteing have let greed bring down these giants. I have paid my dues. My next car will be Japanese.

  • avatar

    I had a much longer post, but my computer ate it…..

    My dad had brand loyalty in phases it seems:
    1950’s- Austin Healys. He had a bugeye Sprite and an odd ’55 convertible that he claims he bought new from the dealership with a front end very much like a Shelby Cobra and a 283 Chevrolet V8 with a manual transmission. Never seen another like it. Passed down to my brother.

    1960’s and early 70’s – GM muscle. ’63 or ’64 GTO TriPower. He hated it. Sold off. ’68 Camaro SS/RS 350 4 speed. Sold it in the 80’s, regreted doing so. ’72 Corvette. I inherited it. Will bring back to life when financially able to.

    Late 70’s-90’s – Lincolns. ’79 Mark VII, ’85 Town Car, ’91 Continental. All were good except for the Connie, it was so-so.

    He also had a thing for normal Fords and Nissans. He had a ’83 Nissan 720 pickup that is still running today with different owners, a ’88 Nissan Maxima that was probably our best all rounder. I still have this one. It was also my first car. He came close to buying a ’92 Maxima SE, he liked how fast it was, but it had too many miles for him and he walked. With Ford’s, he was issued an ’86 F250 that was refused to die, it was even hit hard by a backhoe. Didn’t faze it. We also had a ’97 T-Bird, great trouble free car. My dad also almost bought a ’69 Mustang fastback, too bad, it would have replaced the Camaro he sold off. He did help me buy my first car, a ’97 Ranger 4 cylinder too. We also had a ’86 Mazda RX7 that we loved, though we traded it for the Maxima when my brother was born.

    Conversely though, we had a ’99 Chrysler Concorde that was a total and utter piece of crap. So bad that it poisoned the well for Chrysler products in my family, my dad actually was tempted by the 300C Hemi when it first came out, but he couldn’t get over the Concorde and swore it off.

    So yeah I guess I do take after him a bit, I’m a Ford guy and I love performance and enthusiast Nissans. He didn’t understand my love of the Skyline GT-R though. He thought it was odd.

  • avatar

    I think my mother’s side of the family influenced me at first. When I get my license in the mid ’50s, I had four Hudsons. A great-uncle had a repair garage in a small town and favored Hudsons, and my grandfather had a Hudson much of his later life.

    After that, I swung to Buicks after Hudson was gone, and really liked those as well, but over the years have had about everything from every maker. One of my favorites was a ’67 Mercury Cougar XR-7 bought new — 3-speed stick on the floor and 289 with a four-barrel. I wish I had put that one away.

    My Dad was mostly a GM guy. He worked for GM for 18 years before going into the insurance game. My half-brother followed him into the factory. It still tickles me that, when he wants to buy a car or truck, he diligently shops every make, every model, studies all the info, asks my advice — and always buys another Chevy. :-)

  • avatar

    A ’47 Nash 600. Quite a car. My dad got this car because the after war waiting list for a Ford was too long. With a 3 speed and “Western” rear end, on the hills of PA it would go faster in 2nd than 3rd.

  • avatar

    Parental guidance is certainly an issue for young motor vehicle buyers. You have to learn to drive in something. My own father was a petroleum engineer who became interested in automobiles in the late 1920’s. He became a steady Mopar customer because he believed they were ‘better engineered’.

    History is not clear on this verdict, but no doubt the 1930’s Chrysler products were quite showy engineering-wise. To this day and all evidence to the contrary, I am still willing to give Mopar products the benefit of the doubt.

  • avatar

    Up until I was 11, my parents were firmly in the “New Mercury” and “Used Opel” camp. Then 1981 came around, and for the next 30 years they fell in line with Toyota, owning a different model (Corolla, Camry, Corolla) for 10 years each iteration. Mom broke down and went with a new Buick Verano last year, her first domestic vehicle bought new since 1976 (and she loves it, by the way). Can’t say that I followed along. My car ownership resume spans too many vehicles to mention. Save for two MkI MR2s I owned and a 1997 Tercel that was a shared asset (and the one that my 2LT Air Force son still drives with over 200k on it), I didn’t do much for Toyota’s sales. Ironcially, my biggest influence was the first ride I remember in our German landlord’s white BMW 2000. From that moment on, all I wanted was a 2002 (which I bought some years later). I ran through several used BMWs and did actuallty buy a Mercury Cougar (1992 model, if I recall) just to get that old “Montego” feeling as a tinge of nostalgia set in. That was one of the most horrendous cars I ever owned, and it didn’t last long in my driveway.
    These days, I tend to consider as heavily American-made as I can (I have my reasons). My complication is that the next vehicle I want, and have wanted for the better part of 15 years, is a Jeep Wrangler…owned by an Italian company…d’oh!

  • avatar

    I could have received a ’00 Kia Shuma from my mother, but had a ’77 Volvo 242 at the time. Never regretted to keep the old rusty Swede.

    My brand loyalty to brick Volvos goes deep and far, but since I have reproduced joyfully, it’s Japanese people movers that clutter my driveway.

  • avatar

    One thing I’ve never understood at all is “loyalty” towards a brand name.

    It’s one thing to go with what has served you well, if you have reason to believe it will continue to do so. Loyalty though, means that you’ll continue to pledge allegiance to brands or products after they’ve stopped providing service superior to an alternative. Loyalty has no place outside of interpersonal relationships, and even then it ain’t for everybody.

    Neither of my parents were “loyal” to brands- my mother liked various Japanese cars, because they were economical and never broke under her care. My father drove whatever the hell beater he liked, within the past 15 years this has been a 240z, a stripped Durango, a ’93 Passat, an Isuzu Trooper and who knows what else. Being “A Ford Man” or “A Dodge Man” or “A Buick Man” is completely foreign to me. Were I a “Dodge Man” and my Dodge gave me trouble, I’d get something else. And it would, because it’s a Dodge.

    • 0 avatar

      True comment. Though I have had 11 cars, they’ve come only from 3 brands. why? Yeah, because they offered me what I wanted at the time. Now, 6 of those 11 were Fiat. If I were to take a long hard look at the Fiat line today, I would (sadly) not buy a Fiat. I mean, I’d love a 500 or a Doblò, I could even think of a Linea (used, this I’d never buy rand new), but they’re too darn expensive and for the money I’m willing to part out, the competition offers better. However, loyalty means to me that, when I go car shopping, those favorite brands will have their chance, and, to be honest, I’d probably even overlook a peccadillo here and there. However, as it stands, and thinking of my next car purchase, a GM or even a Nissan could be possible. Oh! the horror!

  • avatar
    el scotto

    We always had Ford trucks for the family construction company and to use on the farm. Residue from that caused Grandpa to be an LTD man who went to Lincolns (Granny wanted one). Dad drove Grand Prix/Bonneville then morphed to Cadillac and now has a Suburban LTZ. Me? Mustang/MG/Prelude/Sirocco/BMW/BMW/Bravada/Trans Am/Ranger/Escape. My daughter learned to drive a stick on my mom’s miata. Mom wasn’t finished. I bought my daughter a Corolla to take to college. Daughter joined a sorority. Mom looked at the corolla and said that no sorority girl should drive that “thing”. Two weeks later mom bought my daughter a red Mustang GT convertible. I found out later that grandpa had bought mom a Ford convertible to take to college back in the day. Blue oval stories run through my family.

  • avatar

    Dad was a Ford man. When he emigrated to the US from Germany in the early 50’s he saved up enough money to buy a used Cadillac. It was a less than dependable car, so he traded it on a 1957 Fairlane 500 with a Thunderbird 312 V8. He loved that car, spoke about it until his passing. He had Fords (or Mercurys) for the rest of his life.

    With that, I started out as a Ford/Mercury man, my first car being a Ford and my first new car being a Mercury. Somewhere in the 80’s I fell in love with (FWD EEK)Mopars and then for the last 15-20 years a GM owner (Chevy, Pontiac or Olds). More than a few bad experiences with Ford products (and dealers) put me off of them.

    I find the 39% statistic rather interesting. I had no idea that kids would be *that* loyal to whatever their parents drove. I guess that my own experience should bear that out, as my adult daughters both drive GM products. But I imagined that the percentage would be lower, or maybe I had heard different statistics somewhere else that gave me that impression.

    Eventually we all carve our own path, whatever it may be.

  • avatar
    Clueless Economist

    My dad was a Dodge guy. I was too until my first Dodge (Omni 024). Based on that experience, I swore I would never own another one. 30 years later and I have never even considered buying another Dodge.

  • avatar

    I find the 39% statistic interesting, seems like if one has the same brand as their parents it’s more of a coincidence than anything else. The automakers have failed to maintain any sense of brand loyalty, not only with repeat business but inter-generational buyers. When every purchase becomes a contest open to all bidders, it makes it a tougher, more competitive way to do business. Maybe that’s better for the consumer in the long run (if you’re willing to do the research), but it’s definitely more work for all involved.

    • 0 avatar

      Your comment reminded me of the Cash for Clunkers debacle and how much it cost the US taxpayers.

      Since the topic is “What Dribbled Down To You?” I can’t help but feel regret that so many good, albeit non economical, vehicles were destroyed. Well, some of them were destroyed, others were parted out.

      To me, these cars could have been better used to dribble down to kids and grandkids, if they wanted them, instead of being taken off the roads.

      Hey, gas is cheap at any price. Cheaper than buying a new car.

      • 0 avatar

        Don’t even go there! I STILL own a clunker though government voucher was higher than KBB price. It hurts to think how many engines just like mine were killed. I admit I faint at the sight of spilled fluids.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree, it was utterly stupid to destroy those engines.

        • 0 avatar

          Elena, sorry, it was not my intent to open up old wounds.

          I wanted to highlight that the Far Left Liberal Democrat Green Weenie Agenda of which Obama is the standard bearer, wanted to take these gas guzzlers off the road and replace them with cars made by Government Motors.

          All this without their regard that they were destroying truly unique cars that would have been proudly driven by their new owners only on Sundays, with minimal impact to the gasoline usage in America, since these were not daily drivers.

          Not only did this cost the US tax payers tons of wasted money, which can all be added into the total cost of the handouts, bailouts and nationalization of the US auto makers, but took many perfectly good vehicles out of circulation, some of them even with exotic-class drive trains, like V12s, V8s, High Performance 6s, etc.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for your sensibility, cat! Regardless of how I feel it happened and I have to live with it (denial doesn’t work for everybody). Thing is I drive a V6 SOHC (Cologne) and that was a major percentage of the “clunkers” sacrificed in the name of fuel efficiency. 222K miles, same engine and gearbox and my truck still looks great and drives even better. I plan to keep it as long as I can (new aluminum three rows radiator installed to leave that clear). Knowing how reliable, enjoyable and cheap to own they can be I won’t let it go. Now add I got to pay for the massacre: single with no children, my tax refund is less than what I pay yearly in tolls. Know someone who traded a V12 Expedition Special Edition! She now drives a Corolla and loves how little gas she pumps into it. Last time it rained heavily she called asking me to go get her out (we are not friends). That’s the other thing: hate on trucks all you want, it’s OK, but don’t call me when you need one: Pay AAA, call a tow truck or hire a moving agency.

          • 0 avatar

            I hated to see ANY good vehicle, exotic or not, taken off the market. That puts pressure on the Used car market by decreasing supply and raising prices.

            It’s been said that the moneyed determine what exotics and much-sought-after classics actually make it into the secondary market.

            For those interested, this is what the people with money are buying:


            Maybe we’ll see a glut of these, with high mileage, hit eBay in a few years. Some of them are pretty darn good as a trophy cars for people living on a budget.

      • 0 avatar

        If the goal of c4c was to encourage fuel economy and “save” the environment, then it failed miserably on both counts.
        A lot of 4-cylinder rubbish didn’t qualify because 20-25 yrs ago the EPA said it got 20= mpg.
        So the 3.5 cylinder oil-burner Cavaliers stayed on the road though in the real world they got less than 20mpg and Grampa’s well-maintained, 40,000 mile Caprice died because it got the same 18mpg highway it got when new. The big boat polluted less overall than 3 smoky Cavaliers.

  • avatar

    Well Dad worked at FMCC and both grandfathers worked at Ford so yea most of my cars have been Fords. I did have a couple of Jeeps and a Spitfire though and I keep an open mind when it comes to a fun car to own.

  • avatar

    @highdesertcat, regarding what the richest are buying:
    Near my office there’s a Lambo and a Rolls. Both beautiful and unscathed but every time I see them in traffic I can’t help but think if I were to own those will only drive them on Jan 1 from 5 to 7 AM (empty streets here, don’t ask how I found out). Since I’m not afraid of high mileage I would not mind an F series (Raptor would be at the top of my list. I might be a truck person). And I only buy used: being a woman I can’t see why someone wants virginity or 0 miles.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve never had the money for exotics or true luxes like Rolls, old or new, but I don’t think gender has anything to do high mileage.

      My idea of luxury back in the 70s was my Toronado with that magnificent, slow turning, grunting and snorting brute 455 under the hood. Man! Watta Car!

      For years my wife drove her dad’s 1973 Suburban 2500 4X4 with a 454 under the hood, when showing mountain properties to prospective buyers for their real estate business. She commuted daily in a 1980 Chevette to get to work!

      That Suburban was OLD, it had HUGE high-mileage, don’t know how much because the speedo cable broke and was never replaced since the Garmin told her how fast she was going, but it was in excellent condition.

      I know, because I maintained that baby until recently when my wife’s dad retired it and bought a 2012 Suburban 4×4 (WHAT A DOG!)

      But you know what? Some illegal alien Mexican bought it from him and still uses it as their family’s daily driver, along with four kids and a wife and a couple of Chihuahuas along for the ride. I kid you not. See them weekly at Wal-Mart, the whole family, grocery shopping, along with the Chihuahuas in the shopping cart wearing Guide Dog jackets.

      Mileage doesn’t matter. What matters is how well something is maintained.

      That goes for humans too. I’m extremely high-mileage, but I’m also extremely well-maintained by my wife and family.

      With a little TLC old cars can still go a long way. We should not give up on them and we should save them from the crusher.

      I know that’s not what Obama and the ‘crats want, but we’ll find a way around them. No more C4C, ever! That was a mistake and a grave injustice to car lovers everywhere.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t agree more. I just ordered a new set of fuel injectors. Coworker said we can’t afford new injectors every 200 thousand miles (adapting something ex-husband said about 59 Fairlane I kept until 1994). Nothing is wrong YET but I rather install new ones while I can get them: I recently converted license lamps to LED and the old lenses are opaque (12 years old). There are none in stock and won’t be, I was told by Ford Parts. I can go to a junk yard or find something aftermarket to replace them. It’s not just the democrats: looks like manufacturers don’t want their own vehicles to last for too long. No one realizes how old my truck is but once they are told most ask me why I don’t get a newer one, then they said I missed a great opportunity with the C4C… It was my own money being offered to surrender a car I like! Then I get a blank stare and I can’t help thinking they vote while I don’t (I’m also an alien, a legal one, but lately it’s a subtle distinction). I better shut up before we get into the immigration issues, gun control, healthcare… will feel like a family gathering: someone will say we came here to talk about cars, not politics :)

        • 0 avatar

          It really depends on the owner how much effort, time and money they want to invest in keeping a vehicle going.

          My BFF recently had his ’93 S-10 ExtCab 4.3 2wd completely repainted, pin striping and all, when it isn’t even worth the cost of the paint. That repaint was after a new AC system set him back $1200.

          I asked him why he would do that? And he said the little truck still ran good and it was cheaper to keep ‘er.

          He also owns a 1989 Camry V6 that’s his grand daughter’s daily driver, and a 2012 Grand Cherokee his wife drives.

          There’s a lot to be said for PM (Preventive Maintenance), especially if you value your ride. Don’t throw away your old injectors. Clean them and keep them for spares.

          We usually dribble down our vehicles to our kids and grandkids, just like our parents did for us when we were kids.

          But sometimes we have to buy new for our grandkids, for the factory warranty, when long distance commutes are involved and reliability is crucial.

          Since America is made up of immigrants, there was a time when everyone in America was here legally. I’m not sure that’s the case any longer.

          My mom and dad both came from the old countries in Europe and became US citizens at the earliest opportunity, 5 years after arriving.

          My daughter-in-law, here illegally from Mexico, only became a US citizen when her husband, my son, became a Commissioned Officer in the US Army and needed a Crypto/Top Secret security clearance for his job. But the rest of her family never became US citizens, even after the amnesty.

          But those people, the illegal immigrants, will buy old vehicles we dump, restore them, drive them and dribble them down to their kids.

          Same story, told from a different perspective.

          • 0 avatar

            And life goes on doesn’t it HDC?

            …On a side note, I’d also like to add that it also depends on where you are. I mean, if I were out in the hinterland of Brazil, no amount of Toyota goodness would allow my hypothetical Hilux to purr like anew born kitten. Parts not withstanding, mechanics’ experience would play a pretty god role. In the above mentioned scenario, any old F1000 or Chevy D20 starts sounding like a dream.

            Just sayin’.

            God bless your old school good as gold soul HDC.

          • 0 avatar

            I came from Cuba in 2004, legally (though it took me 13 years)and instead of becoming a citizen in 2009 I never had the time (no vacations, 4 days off because I was too sick to go anywhere). I tinker with my truck many times at night, hence I buy parts and keep them in the garage waiting for a chance to install them. Discarding the old injectors? No way! I have a used ignition coil pack (installed a new one with new spark plugs/wires at 150K), the stock alternator (replaced for a heavy duty one) used corner lamps assembly (2, installed shiny brand new ones when somehow water got in), all the bulbs I took out when LEDs were installed and halogen lamps left after HID conversion) a cracked radio bezel, even old spark plugs and a serpentine belt… Back in Cuba there are no parts, so I learned to keep everything (unless it’s broken). I discarded 2 batteries and my old radiator (very small crack at the top, could have been repaired but not worth it). Having parts known good can be critical if I ever need to troubleshoot the vehicle. I’m not a mechanic, hence replacing parts is way to go if at some point I can’t tell what’s wrong. I have no kids and my paint still shines but I have a few dings (other people’s doors, my coworkers hitting the back with ladders and conduit) but I’m already thinking about getting it repainted. I just have to find someone I’m sure will do a good job, taking everything apart… Most fear old cars, the ones that do not… I fear them :)

          • 0 avatar

            Indeed, Marcelo, life does go on. As my priest once told me, “Life is a set of interconnecting circles. What goes around, comes around.”

            It seems that the same can be said for all old vehicles worth keeping. If they’re worth keeping, they’ll make the rounds.

            In my part of the USA, where rust is practically non-existent, old, old vehicles are kept on the road for a very long time by people who care enough about them to invest their time and money in them.

            With the help of junkyards and maybe some retro-fitting, the body of the vehicle may be old, but the guts could be a whole lot newer.

            Good to read you again, my friend.

            Elena, we just have to look at all the pre-Castro cars still on the road in Cuba today to see what people who care can do to keep old cars running. Sometimes necessity plays a large part too.

            In my case, back in the ’80s and ’90s I had my own four kids living with me, plus two of their cousins from Portugal and two of their cousins from Germany, not all at once, but over a period of ten years.

            They all needed wheels to get around and my hunting grounds for used cars were the nearby military bases where people put cars up for sale on what we affectionately called the Lemon Lot.

            I bought a lot of used cars, fixed them up with the help of Autozone, CarQuest, O’Reilly’s and Kragen, and I managed to keep them all running long enough for the kids to get an education, and then some.

            I got rid of all my 11 old cars that were parked on my property, after I bought my 2011 Tundra.

            I had no problem selling them locally, all of them to illegal aliens since New Mexico, Texas and Arizona are havens for illegals crossing the Southern border and then fanning out across the US, with the help of a newly acquired NM drivers license and bank account. Some even in my old cars.

            The place looks better now without all the cars and I have given up tooling and wrenching, but I still get called when someone I know needs an extra pair of hands to help put on running-boards or whatever.

            My BFF had his little truck repainted at a professional painting shop in this area. It wasn’t cheap but it was a really nice job. Cost varies by area, but here the job cost him $1600 (cash).

            The paint shop light-sanded all the surfaces that needed to be painted, except inside the doors, masked what needed masking, then washed the truck with solvent just prior to covering the truck surfaces with one coat of gray primer, which they baked in their spray booth for a hour or so.

            The following day the painters put on two light coats of the original white paint and baked it.

            The day after that the painters put four layers of clearcoat over the white paint and baked it.

            It looks great, all shiny, but the trim still looks old and peeled, as does the rubber.

            GM OEM paint jobs usually start to peel and flake after 5 years in the desert environment and his ’93 showed more OEM primer than OEM paint.

            So this new paint job was a nice change in appearance. Finding a pro with an airtight paint booth is the way to go IMO.

          • 0 avatar

            Thanks for the info, HDC (I can’t reply to the message I’m referring to, sorry). That’s how I want mine painted and theoretically is what all body shops do but I seldom like what I see. I’m no painter and I know, it’s not like changing parts: it’s art. Far from the artistic kind I won’t try my hand at it (though I know where I can rent a booth). My Fairlane in Cuba got the engine rebuilt twice while I owned it and needed a new clutch (my first car, not Ford’s fault, believe me). Until it left my hands all but the carb was original but many of those vehicles you see in Cuba received diesel engines. I had to pop the hood open many times for Canadians and Germans who refused to believe it was the original engine. I can still rely on the expertise of my fellow Cubans: I live in Miami and a trip to Hialeah is all it might take, but during business hours… Washed and waxed still looks impressive, I know about the damage but it’s not obvious yet, so I keep putting it off until I find a really good painter or the time to go searching for one. I have ugly grey plastic trim too: if you can “treat” it (carefully!!!) with a blow torch it can improve a lot. Takes some practice, I tried with a piece I replaced after a moron rear ended me: bumper left intact but the trim next to it got damaged since his hood ended under my bumper. A heat gun will do but takes longer. I’ve been told you can prime and paint the trim to match body color but I’m afraid it will peel off sooner than later. If your friend wants to restore his he can buy the cheapest piece, replace it and try with the old one. I can only talk about the plastic Ford uses and most likely they all come from the same place, but just in case they’re different. Better safe than sorry.

      • 0 avatar

        Can’t agree more. I just ordered a new set of fuel injectors. Coworker said we can’t afford new injectors every 200 thousand miles (adapting something ex-husband said about 59 Fairlane I kept until 1994). Nothing is wrong YET but I rather install new ones while I can get them: I recently converted license lamps to LED and the old lenses are opaque (12 years old). There are none in stock and won’t be, I was told by Ford. I can go to a junk yard or find something aftermarket to replace them. Looks like manufacturers don’t want their own vehicles to last for too long. No one realizes how old my truck is but once they are told most ask me why I don’t get a newer one. They were praising the truck two minutes ago before learning year/mileage and now I need a new one? Most of them vote… I’ll stop right there.

  • avatar

    I started with my parents hand-me-down 1976 Chevrolet Malibu Classic sedan, after 8 years I moved up to a 1986 Pontiac 6000-STE that I bought off one of dad’s friends. Owned it not quite 3 years and sold it for a big loss due to lots of deferred maintenance and mid ’80s GM quality. That Pontiac is the newest GM product I’ve owned.

    I bought a 1995 Ford Explorer XLT 2wd from my brother-in-law who was the original owner. I still have that Explorer as my daily driver 12 years later, and an additional 220,000 miles on top of the original 100,000 on it when I got it. I then bought a 2000 Ford Contour because the price was too cheap to pass up, sold it a year later for a handsome profit.

    Now I have the 95 Explorer and a 1977 Chevelle just like my first car.. well I had two 77s but one I couldn’t title, and it was a parts car with no redeeming value due to a non-existent floor.

    All have been 4 door cars, the majority of them have been RWD, and none have had less than 125hp.

  • avatar

    My father told me “never buy a Ford” circa 1971. We had a 66 Ford Custom 500 that would routinely flood due to malfunction of the (cutting edge at the time) automatic choke. My mom’s 70 Maverick wouldn’t start after a heavy rain. There have been no Fords in the Family since.

  • avatar

    Dad was a Mopar man. Not due to enthusiasm for Chrysler products, but due to hard economics: back in the day, in the fifties through the seventies, used full-size Chryslers depreciated fast, so a 2-3 year old Newport or DeSoto was very cost-effective. He’d hold them for five years or so and repeat the process. Then, following a disastrous ’72 Polara, Dad had had enough and bought a brand-new ’78 Caprice, followed by a near-new ’82 Caprice, then – sadly – his last car, a used ’87 Buick Electra T-Type that he bought a year or so before his untimely demise.

    As for me – the only intersection between his car tastes and mine concerns that ’78 Caprice, which I bought from him in ’82. I was recently married and my wife wanted us to have a respectable car.

    That ’78 was, without doubt, the worst car I ever had, the only one that left me stranded on multiple occasions.

    Since then, I had 2 Audis (lovely cars that required too many cash transfusions); A beautiful Acura TL that I’ve owned for 15 years and seems to improve daily; and my gorgeous Miata. My wife has had a Volvo, a Subaru, and a Hyundai – all excellent in their own ways.

    I’ve inherited a lot of good things (non-monetary, of course!) from my dad… automotive loyalty is not among them.

  • avatar

    Parents bought a 1975 VW Rabbit. Orange. That pretty well set the course for my future vehicle purchases…usually small hatchbacks and currently a MK4 Golf.

    During the Rabbit’s 6 year life, it sat next to a a 1970 Plymouth Fury 3, and then some GM company cars my dad got every two years. We finally sold the Rabbit for parts (as the body was completely rusted out) to another Rabbit owner.

    Another small classic they had was a Renault 8. Fantastic little car with rear engine. They got more quality mileage out of that car than the Rabbit. However, the body rusted out also.

  • avatar
    Dave W

    The last American car my dad owned was a Studebaker, followed by Lloyd, DKW, SAAB, Subaru, Toyota, SAAB. My mom had Oldsmobile, Ford, Mercury, then Ford Station wagons (my brother totaled the first Ford wagon when he and friends “borrowed” it one night). Once we started driving she went Subaru, Honda, Honda, Toyota. My older brothers first car was a Fiat, followed by nothing but SAABs. My older sister has mostly had Dodges and Hondas. My younger sister has had Hyundais and Hondas. I’ve had Citroen, SAAB, Honda, Ford, Toyota, Hyundai, Ford.

    I guess I’ve most closely followed my Dads wheel tracks, in that I get what best fits my needs when I’m in the market. We all have his habit of driving cars into the ground. My older brother is the odd man out in that apparently so impressed by 3 people learning to drive in my dads 96, with no damage to the clutch, and less then impressed by his Fiat has been stuck on SAABs are the best cars ever since. I don’t know what he does now.

  • avatar

    My parents start off with a brand, swear by it, then switch over to something else after being burned.

    This has included VW, Honda, GMC (which they currently drive).

    Most of my vehicles have been Toyota trucks.

    …so… hell knows.

  • avatar

    I’d venture to say that 39% stat has to do with young people who received a hand-me-down early, when most impressionable, AND had a favorable experience with the brand.

    I grew up with 80s American cars, but by the 90s and early 2000s it was Japanese metal, with my first car being a hand-me-down Nissan (which I paid my dad for).

    Got me started on Nissan, and now at 30 I own (or have owned) 3 cars bought new from them. If a brand can get a hold of you early enough for right reasons or wrong, good or bad, you’ll develop a perception that will likely be with you for much of your car buying life. Cars aren’t everyday purchases – you stick with what you know and what’s been good to you – even if other brands are just as good or better.

    I strayed twice from Nissan, with a Jeep and a Mercedes – and never again. Whether it made sense or not, I wanted back in a Nissan or Infiniti.

  • avatar

    I guess my nickname says it all…I stumbled onto this site and after lurking about reading the GREAT articles/posts etc by writers such as Mr.Kruetzer/Murilee M./& others, etc. today’s article got me to register so I could comment. My dad, IIRC started w/ Fords,a ’49 or ’50. His first new car was a 1955 Ford Fairlane Town Sedan, the showroom display. I still remember the shock I felt as a kid, seeing a truck crash into the side of it while I was playing in the yard! Then with five kids, a new house etc. he settled into a series of used cars, a 1955 Plymouth Cranbrook, a 1960 Dodge Matador (I still remember how it would throw you back into the seat when punched!), a 1962 Dodge Dart 440 Hardtop Sedan (which trickled down to me as my first), when it was replaced by a fully loaded spanking new 1972 Chrys1er New Yorker Brougham. Interestingly enough, along the way after, he veered into a Toyota Corolla, a Honda Accord, a Mercedes, and finally, his current ride a Chrysler 300! Needless to say, I was heavily Mopar influenced by the time I started driving; although I currently am fond of ANY car marque that provides what I want/need. My “carstory” is as follows:

    1962 Dodge Dart 440 Hardtop Sedan (still in family)
    1970 Dodge Charger (First car bought with my $$, totalled in 1978)
    1965 Chevelle Malibu (Inherited from Grandma-sold)
    1974 Dodge Challenger (Still own, 69k original miles)
    1969 Dodge Sportsman A-100 Window Van (still own)
    1966 Plymouth Sport Fury (still own)
    1973 Dodge Challenger 340 (Rescued from a junkyard-still own)
    1983 Ford Escort (Totalled)
    1982 Ford Escort (bought to recycle drive train from ’83) Sold
    1986 Ford Escort (Replaced ’83)Sold
    1989 Honda Accord LXi (Still own, 215K+
    1983 Chevrolet Silverado P/U (still own)
    2007 Honda Fit Sport (T-boned by H&R driver 2011)
    2012 Honda Fit Sport, current daily driver

    All of the 4 cylinder cars were/are manuals, all of the Escorts (2 of which were Station wagons!) were initially bought to repair and flip; the ’62 was trickled down to my brother, who passed it along to a sister, whose son owns it now (awaiting restoration). I could go on about each vehicle’s unique story….I really love ALL old cars from the mid 50’s up, be they foreign or domestic, regardless of brand. I’ve come to the (sensible but painful) conclusion that it is time for me to downsize….If only I could win the lottery!!..but then, I’d just buy even more cars!! :-)
    Oh, I almost forgot?!, I also currently own the 70 Charger in my avatar. It is the replacement for my first car…sometimes, you can go home again!! :-)

  • avatar

    Oh, I forgot, I also currently own the 70 Charger in my avatar. It is the replacement for my first car…sometimes, you can go home again!! :-)

  • avatar

    Both of my parents worked for GM and drove GM products. I never owned a Chevy.

  • avatar

    I came from a solidly GM family. They had a few Pontiacs in the ’60s then settled into Buicks in the ’70s with an Oldsmobile here and a Chevrolet there in the ’80s, before switching to Ford for minivans and trucks in the ’90s.

    Me, I drove mostly Buicks until I test drove a ’97 Volvo 850.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Art Vandelay: I’d say that’s Sammy before he joined Van Halen. I like Sammy Hagar. I like Van Halen. But...
  • Mike Beranek: One of the joys of my life was when my teenager got into Rush. Totally surprising, and through no...
  • Mike Beranek: I’m just surprised that a 58 yo puts himself in the Boomer range. Only 4 years older than me, but...
  • Daniel J: Good review. This is my issue with these 8 and 10 speed transmissions. Everyone knocks Mazda on their 6...
  • Daniel J: Our CX-5 is 95 percent of my Mazda 6. Our roads are getting so bad, and the 19 inch wheels on my Mazda 6,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber