For my 12th birthday, my parents got me a DVD of The Fast and the Furious. I was enamored by the bright-green car that Paul Walker drove. So enamored that once I turned 16, I bought one for myself — a 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse. It was my dream car.
I considered many other cars, but to me, this one was the all-around best. A combination of things attracted me to the car. It was fun to drive. I liked its appearance. It was rare enough in the area where I lived that it was considered cool, but not so rare that fixing it would be outrageously expensive. It also had a backseat, albeit a small one, and the trunk was surprisingly spacious.
Although I spent way more than a high school student probably should spend, it was still fairly affordable. I paid cash.
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Buying My Dream Car
As you can see, I enjoyed my dream car. Everyone should enjoy their car. If you like something, you’ll take care of it. This also meant that I actually wanted to work on it when it had issues, which it did.
I once sucked water into the engine during a rainstorm. Another time, a girl licked the window and the door handle broke the same day. Maybe the car was really a transformer and that was its way of telling me it didn’t approve of her.
The Invincible Dream Car (Sort Of)
The car was great. True, the door handle did break. That took probably eight hours to research and replace. But I bought a used door handle on a forum from someone in North Carolina. (I hate buying new if used works.)
I did get water into the engine, but I got lucky and it wasn’t much. The water got sucked up through my air filter, which was about four inches off the ground to bring in cold air for the engine. I let the car sit for a few days, turned it on, and everything was fine.
I guess I did break the exhaust driving up a steep driveway once. Human error, though the exhaust was pretty rusty. I think I bought a new exhaust and put it on myself for less than $200.
So the car was reliable. No complaints, no exorbitant money spent, and no headaches.
I owned the car throughout high school and college. It lived with me in several cities. It went with me when I had an internship on an Air Force base.
But it was pretty heavily modified. It had an aftermarket stereo, subwoofer, speakers, air intake, exhaust, wheels, rear spoiler, front spoiler . . . It looked like a modified car from The Fast and the Furious. Although I still loved the Eclipse as a car, the modifications weren’t my style anymore. So I sold it about a year before college graduation. I knew I'd get another someday.
Finding the Next Car of My Dreams
I searched the internet nearly every day for the next year. I had a specific Eclipse in mind: It had to be a 1999 GS 10th Anniversary Edition. White with a tan leather interior. And it had to be a manual. It’s a pretty rare combination.
I finally found it only 400 miles away. So I drove down, negotiated the price, and drove the car home. I got it cheap because it needed a new head gasket. I replaced it, and the value of the car doubled. Well worth it.
I’ve been driving Eclipses for nearly 10 years now. I see myself owning this dream car — or at least an Eclipse of some sort — indefinitely. It’s such a great combination of fun and practicality. Kind of like peanut butter and jelly. The jelly is pretty much just sugar, but the peanut butter is actually fairly healthy. I think that’s important.
Should You Buy Your Dream Car? The Bottom Line
Find a car you enjoy — your dream car. Once you’re content with one that you love, it’s a great feeling. It’s like being in a good relationship. If you’re in one, you’re not tempted to hit on other people.
Once you have your car, make sure you're protected with auto insurance.
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