My velveteen rabbit – my ’89 Mitsubishi Colt: I traded it in. I was hoping to take it to the 20 year mark. And in this down-size decade, I was starting to feel a little competitive in keeping “down” with the Joneses. I eyed my neighbor’s old Honda thinking he would get a new car first – even though my car is still a few years older than the neighbor’s – I wanted to think they were the more indulgent, must-have shiny-and-new consumer. My old car was, somehow, my badge; my resistance to this image-conscious town and a genuine display of wanting what I have. I loved its clean, un-fussy line. One of the latest model Volvo’s looks nearly identical to my 19-year-old car. But I had already sunk some serious cash into it to maintain it and now the suspension was breaking my Colt into a spring horse and the clutch was losing conviction. I was advised that these further repairs would be costly and I was compromising my safety.

I was fixed on getting a used Honda Civic si 2003-2005 – still a hatchback; a form-factor I prefer. A dealer was asking 13.4k out the door for over 60k miles. I couldn’t do it. I eyed a used, hardtop Miata, numbers still didn’t stack up; and then I shopped for a used Mercedes C230 coupe, hatchback (gorgeous), but ultimately decided the engineering was too fussy, not as reliable as a Japanese car, and expensive to maintain. So I ramped up from there and decided to buy, reluctantly, a NEW (late year, on sale) Honda Civic. I cringed at how the Civic has become so over-sized. For preferring the utility of a hatchback, the new Civic is a form factor I don’t care for. After calling around I found the best deal on exactly what I wanted of this lesser evil and went to the dealership. I parked on the street right in front of a beautiful, used Mini. It was exquisite. It had a Baroque play of light with tonal changes grading from a black top to silver body to chrome accents. I checked in with the dealer I made an appointment with and test drove the Honda I inquired about all the while thinking about that Mini. “So how do you like it (the Civic)?, “Very nice – uh -huh – can I test drive the Mini?” He was accommodating and went and got the keys. I went over to the car and noticed it’s sunroof (yes!) and manual transmission (score!). John liked it too and my heart raced in confusion (still had a few issues with the Mini though like having to bench-press the clutch and gear shift and minimal sunroof cover; but it was a hatchback). Long story short, it was out of my budget (leather interior). So I got the Civic. And you know what? I love it! It is a larger car than what I’m accustomed to, but man is it sporty! I feel like I’m driving a GTO but I got the EX (had to get the “moon roof” and a decent sound system) so I feel like I’m driving a Lexus too. I love driving it!

So I traded in my old 1989 Mitsubishi Colt. Sometimes you have to let go of the “badge” and the sentiment and discover a new form factor isn’t so bad.

P.S. vote for Obama.