The Often Misguided Romance Of Your First Car

The Often Misguided Romance Of Your First Car

I’ve written extensively about my first car and am about to do it again but for us car guys this is “your first”.

So all other cars will be judged against it and it’s usually the car you cut your teeth on mechanically and every other way.

My first car was my late dad’s 1986 Nissan 200 SX XE that he bought new and was handed down to me in the summer of 1993.

It was one of the “pocket rockets” of the day, a hatchback, 5 speed manual, fun little high revving four cylinder car that served as my dad’s midlife crisis vehicle.

Lots of great memories with him with that car, going to fly kites, going fishing (a lot), and just rolling on the open road.

Now I’m looking for a midlife crisis vehicle and since I share a lot of tastes with the old man I seek the same quick, little, fun driving car.

And I found one, briefly.

In Northern Ohio, a rare turbo 1984 Nissan 200 SX was for sale (pictured), only 36,000 miles, manual  5 speed transmission, “pop up” sunroof and from the pictures the car is in near mint condition.

It was at a Chevrolet dealership outside of Cleveland late last week and when I went to check on it again prior to publishing this blog it was gone.

My dad paid $ 16,000 brand new for his in May of 1986.

I have no idea the true value of the car since very few are left and those that are usually are in rough shape, hence why this was sold quickly.

I was flooded with emotions when I first saw this car for sale last week on the Car site.

I drove my dad’s 200SX for more than three years, my last year at Brother Rice High School and first few years at DePaul University.

Lots of wonderful memories from back then, I learned to commute in that car and how to navigate narrow, north side streets.

I went to my first jobs at Brother Rice and Montgomery Wards with that car.

And I got serious with my writing while I had that car, started to think about story ideas and formatting and all that good stuff while shifting gears.

I miss shifting gears, I’ve had another stick shift since (1996 Mazda 626 ES), but as they say “nothing is like your first”.

For us car guys older cars usually have some sort of emotional attachment, your dad had one, it was your first car (and both apply to this vehicle), or you always wanted the car and had a picture of it on your wall.

Obviously there’s nothing practical about this at all but that’s what makes cars like this fun. I recently bought an SUV and it serves many purposes and I love it but it’s our workhorse, hauling people and stuff.

You can cruise in it but it has a third row of seating, weighs 4,500 lbs. and though it moves, it’s not sporty and won’t remind you of days gone by.

Its why first cars are great, usually they don’t make sense, you work on it more than you drive it but you have the time of your life with it.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.


Filed under: Cars

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Charles W. Johnson

    I'm a lifelong writer (since I was 8 years old), and have been doing this blog in some form or fashion since 2004. I'm a DePaul University alum, class of 1999 and prior to that Brother Rice class of 1994. . And I appreciate you taking to the time to read what I have to say, feel free to email

  • Monthly Archives

  • Recent posts

  • Tags

  • Latest on ChicagoNow

  • Advertisement: