Unfortunately for Detroit, I have been driving the same car for 15 years—a 1990 Honda Civic CRX SI, which I bought used in 1993. Before that I had a 1983 Ford Escort, which despite leaving me stranded on several occasions because it wouldn’t start, served me well until the passenger door fell off. I tied it shut with rope that looped around my seat, but I realized that my dating days were over unless I bought something better.
So during Christmas break of ’93 I scraped together all of my student funds and bought a sporty CRX for $7,500 (that averages to $500 per year so far). I probably should replace it, as a two-seat hatchback isn’t quite a family car—but that’s why we have a minivan.
There is also the issue of safety. I hadn’t heard of an SUV when I bought the car, but now there are times, as when I’m parked beside Gary Meador’s small village on wheels, that I am sitting below the bumper of the car next to me. And now that these SUV drivers have discovered cell phones, I nervously watch my rearview mirror every time I’m stopped for a left hand turn.
The thing is, the car just doesn’t break down. The body is starting to go—my Bondo jobs no longer look pretty and I squirted foam insulation into the doors to keep the winter salt from rusting out their bottoms—but the engine doesn’t use a drop of oil and it idles so quietly you’d think it was an electric car. And I get 36-40 miles to the gallon on the highway, without having to plug it in.
I also like the fact that I’m not showing up at churches to preach in some fancy car, though I do fear that some churches might take one look at what I drive and give me something extra from their benevolent fund.
Despite its rust, I’ve been pulled over twice recently by adolescent males asking me if I would sell them my car. So it still must have some value.
Here is my question: should I keep the car for running to work and speaking engagements, because it is paid for and gets such great gas mileage, or should I upgrade to something that might convey a better image to those who see me driving into the church parking lot?