We all have to start somewhere, and generally it is somewhere near the bottom. Take driving for instance. Not many of us were handed the keys to a brand-new Ferrari on our sixteenth birthday before even getting our driver's license. When we did finally get our first set of wheels, it was never anything impressive.
I started with a 1995 Geo Prizm. Or, a badge-engineered Toyota Corolla. Or, a worse version of the Toyota Corolla, if that was even possible. Power hardly came from a 1.6-liter 85 horsepower four-cylinder engine that would get the car to its top speed of 110 mph only on a hill. Not that I ever dared to try doing that, considering the whole car was as wobbly as a newborn giraffe. On the plus side, it got me to school every day and only failed to start once (until I sold it). It cost next to nothing to run and put up with more abuse than a UFC fighter could handle.
By the time I was a freshman in college, the old Geo had acquired too many dents and mismatched tires for my father to stand it any longer. He told me it was time to start looking for a new car.
And so the Craigslist-ing commenced. I spent hours searching for cars instead of studying. While searching I noticed something I didn't quite believe.
1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata M-Edition
1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata M-EditionEnlarge Photo
One of my favorite cars when I was a kid was the Mazda MX-5 Miata. I loved how small it was, the pop-up headlights and the simple styling. Then, years later, I drove one at work and was laughing like a madman the entire time. I had never felt a car respond to throttle and steering inputs the way that 2003 Miata did. While Craigslist-ing, I found that there was a Miata or two that fell into the price range my father had set.
And then a black one showed up down the street with $3,250 written on the window. After a ton of begging and a test drive it was sitting in our driveway with fresh thirty day tags on the back.
And so, a black 1994 Mazda MX-5 Miata became my college car.
Okay, okay, so it isn't the most practical car in the world. I can only have one passenger in the car at a time, which would be fine if they were always a female... but usually they aren't. Not only that, but there is hardly enough room in the trunk for a six-pack of Red Stripe.
And don't get me started on the amount of times people tell me it's a girl's car.
It isn't. Yes, the looks and lack of a roof do make it look like a girl's car, but get behind the wheel and the truth comes out at about 3,500 rpm. It is a driver's car, and one of the cheapest in the world at that. Plus, it is my dream car from when I was a kid. How many people can say at my age that they are driving their dream car?
I love my college car. I love it so much that for a video class I took last quarter I attempted to make a sort of TopGear style video about it.
Since I didn't put it in the video, I should mention that the music I used towards the beginning is a track called "Fools" by The Dodos.
A special thanks to Jon Roberto and all my friends who assisted me with all the camera work. Oh, and to my father who is really the true owner of this car.
What kind of car got you through college? Feel free to share any stories in the comments section.