My Car’s as Old as Woody Allen

A few days ago, the “check engine” light came on in my car. Most people dread when this happens. Me? I’m secretly delighted.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my car, and don’t want anything to be wrong with it. But it’s also 11 years old now, which is like 77 in people years. Right? Isn’t that how it works? If my car did break down now, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. For one thing, I’m at a point where I could actually afford car payments again. I paid off the Santa Fe in 2008, and it’s been nice not having to come up with an extra $300+ a month, but I’m better off financially than I have been in years. Plus, this is the longest I’ve ever owned a car in my life. Before, every five years I’d trade in for something new. This time, I decided to be all smart and grown up and keep it for as long as I could. But I’ll admit, the allure of a new car is strong. I’ve driven SUVs for sixteen years now, and while they’re great all-purpose vehicles, it rarely snows around here, and I have never once gone off-roading for real. I have my heart set on something smaller and sexier. This is what I want:

Mini Cooper, maximum fun.
Mini Cooper, maximum fun.

I have wanted a Mini Cooper ever since the first Austin Powers movie came out, back in 1997. I thought it was groovy, baby, yeah! The perfect car for my late 60s/early 70s fascination. And then I saw The Italian Job, and there’s that fantastic scene where the Mini Coopers take to the streets of L.A., evading the bad guys. I thought that was the coolest thing ever. But the Hyundai was only a year old when that film came out, and I figured it would be a long time before I could reasonably hope to own a Mini myself.

Some people don’t understand my obsession. “It’s awfully small,” my mom said. Well, that’s sort of the point. I’ve been driving these midsize sport utility vehicles for a long time now. I want something fun and sporty but not too expensive, and the Mini Cooper fits the bill. I think it’s sexy, sleek, and stylish. I imagine zipping down Highway 101 along the Oregon coast, windows down, hugging the road and enjoying the wind in my hair and the salt air filling my lungs. The fact that it’s little is a plus. I’d be able to park anywhere! Plus, my kids are older now, and rarely ever ride with me. There’s no need for a big backseat or four doors. Besides, Tara wants to buy a pickup truck, so I figure if we do have someplace to go where we need more room or better traction, we’ll just take her vehicle.

Cars have changed a lot since the last time I bought one. My Santa Fe came with a cassette deck, for heaven’s sake. Nowadays you get options like built-in navigation and wireless connectivity. Welcome to the 21st century, huh?

Plus, if I could get it in orange…man. Dare to dream, Petruska.

This is not a bad thing!
This is not a bad thing!

But it’s a dream that is no longer out of reach. So, go ahead and come on, “check engine” light! Be the precursor to an expensive round of repairs that wouldn’t be worth investing in for a car that is eleven years old and is pushing 125,000 miles! I DARE YA!!!

I might even start leaving the thing unlocked with the keys in the ignition. You know, to maybe speed things along.

(Kidding, insurance company!!).

But if random space debris came crashing down to earth, and just happened to flatten the ol’ Hyundai, I wouldn’t be too terribly put out.

20 thoughts on “My Car’s as Old as Woody Allen

  1. Hey…I can put 4 wheels on a tin can for you!

    I kid, I kid!!

    I know how much you want one and I do hope your dream comes true. My car is pushing 8 years old this year and according to your math, it’s older than me right now. I haven’t even begun to think about what my next car would be. I love my car and I think I may just cry if I ever have to give it up.

    You may laugh a bit, but you see, I had this Chrysler Cordoba once…and I loved that car to.


    1. Ha-ha. I also looked at the Fiat, but wasn’t nearly as impressed. My uncle commented on the FB link that buying a car is an emotional decision more than anything else, and I can’t argue with that. Sometimes we become very attached to our vehicles. I loved my Saturn sports coupe with the pop-up headlights, even though it was teal. It was the only time in my life I would have people stop me and ask about my car, and it happened all the damn time. Alas, I got all responsible and traded it in for a sedan when we were expecting Rusty. I figure since I gave up a really cool car once upon a time in the name of adulthood and responsibility, I deserve to have a second chance with another fun car! Plus, a baby seat COULD fit in the back. I’m just sayin’….


    1. But when you think about it, they probably age similarly. A car that is 3 years old (by dog logic, 21) has lots of pep and vigor. A 10 y/o car (70 y/o poodle) may take time getting going and stutter and stop a lot.


  2. I used to own an Austin Mini for a short time in my late teens & I loved it! Lots of room inside & it felt like driving a bus (large windshield & almost flat steering wheel).


  3. I’ve wanted a Mini Cooper since I saw The Italian Job too! Although I have my Chevy (which was my Mom’s) and I have the Wrangler still (although it needs work done before I can get it inspected again!)………I’d love a NEW Wrangler though. Or a Mini Cooper. A convertible, of course. 🙂


    1. I’ve debated the whole convertible-or-not question myself. In the end, our notoriously rainy climate means a hard top just makes more sense. But going topless would be lots of fun on those rare days when I could enjoy it…


  4. Mark, even though I don’t have a car, if i did, I would LOVE a Mini Cooper!

    And I like small cars. In fact, when I did own a car, I always bought smaller cars because I feel like I can maneuver them easier on the road. Plus, there are GREAT on saving gas. I used to have a small car (Geo) and I could fill it up for $15.00 and drive for almost 10 days – and I drove around a lot.


  5. Mini Coopers are tha bomb! In my opinion at least. I’m not a big person on little cars, but there’s just something about mini’s that are just epically fun! Good car karma is being sent your way 🙂


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