BY CODY FACTEAU
Everyone remembers their first car. It's a rite of passage that deliberately separates childhood from the life of an adult. Ask anyone you know what their first car was and watch the way their eyes light up with a fondness of a simpler place and time. They know the year, make, model, color and special features that made it a milestone in their memories. I don't know where that line between youth and maturity lies in other cultures, but in America when you get your first car, you're all grown up.
Sometimes, a first car is something our parents are all done with and they just pass it on to us. Not that as a kid, we would complain about that. It's wheels after all and wheels mean ... Freedom! Quite often the retired auto represents our parents taste in vehicles, you know, uber safe with a thousand airbags and capable of speeds up to 50 mph with a backdraft. Typically 4 doors with lots of room for groceries and the dog. Nevertheless, we as teens gratefully accept the relic and strive to make it our own. We add colorful seat covers, sporty air fresheners and do our best to try and look cool amongst our friends with the hand-me-down old folks car. I did not fall into this category.
Sometimes, we luck out. I mean, really luck out. We have parents who can and will just go out and get us a really cool car. They realize that with that car they no longer have to play "Taxi Driver" to us and that it's well worth the money just to let us drive ourselves. It's usually a nice relatively new vehicle, under warranty for our parents piece of mind, and zippy enough to make us happy. I did not fall into this category.
Sometimes, we have to buy our own car. We have been working and saving since we were old enough to realize that getting a car was gonna take a lot of money and that it was more important than the instant gratification of that toy we had once wanted. And, the more money we have the better car we can buy. It can be newer, sportier and dare I say, faster. Often our parents have to approve the choice, so sometimes we split the difference and end up with a car that is just a little short of our initial goal of the latest Camaro, but we still end up with a great vehicle that we can say we paid for ourselves. I fall into this category.
I didn't get the Morgan that is one of my favorite cars of all time. I didn't get the '58 Corvette that would have been totally awesome and extremely over priced. I didn't get the Holden Maloo that would have been so unique and cool, yet hard to get here. And, I didn't get the only motorbike I ever wanted, the Ural, a story that will never be. Thanks to special parents with a flair for automobiles and a willingness to indulge my British dreams, I am proud to say my first car is a 2011 Mini Cooper S. It's British Racing Green, just big enough for me and a friend, turbo-charged to get me where I need to go in a fun fashion with the added bonus of a Steptronic shifter that gives me paddles on the wheel to make my cruise something worth remembering. After all, it's not the destination that's important, it's the journey! Pictured above you will see me picking up my new ride from Gary Sanborn at Maple Center Motors in St. Johnsbury.
Since this is my last column, I would like to say "Thanks" to all my loyal readers. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity to educate and entertain you with articles on all the unique aspects of our love affair with the automobile. If you enjoyed this column over the past three years, be sure to let the powers that be at The Caledonian-Record know. And now, I'll end this with a quote from Elwood and Jake, The Blues Brothers, "It's a 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark ... and we're wearing sunglasses." "Hit it!"
Cody Facteau is a 18-year old homeschooler from East Burke. He enjoys anything to do with cars, particularly the Classics. He loves Le Mans racing, his favorite TV shows are Gearz with Stacey David and Top Gear (BBC), and hobbies are Lego's and Xbox 360. Career goals? What else, cars!