Here’s a belated #ThrowbackThursday look at my first car, a 1992 Chevrolet Beretta. This car and I had a strong love-hate relationship, as it had the most annoying habit of locking up the steering wheel as I was driving down the road. In fact, in the four years I owned this car, it was in the shop 49 TIMES for defects! (That doesn’t include regular maintenance visits.) In college, its quirks earned it a nickname among my friends: “The Green Lemon”.
The ironic thing is, I could’ve had a Jeep for my first vehicle. Two roadblocks stood between me and what would’ve been a Sand Beige 1992 Wrangler with a brown cloth and vinyl interior and automatic transmission. First, my mother was very concerned for my safety, and wanted me to have a reliable car for my planned 2,100-mile drive to college. (Oh, the irony!) Second, a visit with my folks to the Great Falls, Mont., Jeep dealership came to an abrupt end when my father saw the fuel economy numbers printed on the window sticker.
As I think about the cars I’ve owned — in addition to the Beretta, there was a 1996 Ford Ranger, a 1995 Buick Park Avenue and a 2004 Saturn Vue before Smokey — I can’t help but wonder how many of them I’d have purchased if my first vehicle had been different. Being the Jeep enthusiast I am, would I have ever tired of the YJ? I suspect I’d have driven it until the wheels fell off of it, but who knows?