My first car had racing stripes. Months after purchasing it, I found out what the long black lines on each side of the car were when a mechanic asked, “Do you want the chips on your racing stripes filled in?”
Someone had ordered the Plymouth early in 1968, then, when it arrived, rejected it for a bigger car. In the intervening months, no one else had wanted it. It wasn’t even dusted off anymore, like the flashier cars at the front of the lot. On that Novemeber day, at the end of the dealer year, the car sat there, looking forlorn, not racy.
It was compact, smaller than most on the road. It was even designated as a “compact,” a new term. Somehow, to me, the compact seemed sturdy, a dependable commuter car for getting me to my job. Most importantly, it was the right price. So, surrendering all thought of the low-slung British sports car I really wanted, I wrote out a check for a down payment, told the salesman not to cash the check until Monday, and drove off the lot in my very first car, a brand new Barracuda.
Read more in the latest issue of Our USA.