End of an Era

8.5 years ago, I was about to graduate from Wesleyan University with my bachelors degrees in physics. I was starting at IBM a month later, and it was now finally time to get a car. As I had never owned a car before, I asked my big brother (who worked at TI) for opinions. Toyota and Honda we top of his list. After doing a bunch of research on the internet, I decided that a new, 1998 Honda Civic LX Sedan was the most car I could afford, and the best investment for the money. It was the end of the model year for Honda, and they were running a special financing deal for new college graduates, so it turned out to be a pretty reasonable deal. 4 years ago I stopped having car payments, and used that money to pay off student loans, then save up for a down payment on the house.

I am still driving that car today, though today will be the last day I do drive it. While I know I shouldn’t be all that sentimental for something like a 9 yr old Civic, the fact that it’s given me 109,000 miles over 8.5 years, has driven all over new england, and the mid atlantic states, and required very little investment in it in the mean time (exhaust, tires, and just recently a ball joint), has made me a little nostalgic for the car already. That nostalgia is tempered by the fact that there is a little whine in the wheel base from time to time, and the engine is not nearly as smooth as it once was (especially in the cold). And that, after 8.5 years, I’m starting to actually have to spend some money on it for repairs.

Tonight at 5pm I’m picking up my new car…. a new 2007 Honda Civic EX Sedan with Nav System. It is probably the most boring car upgrade in the history of upgrades, but in 2006 Honda redesigned the Civic completely, gave it a new interior and exterior look, and a bigger engine. It’s still a good small commuting car (getting 30 / 40 mpg city / highway), with a better use of interior space, and lots of fun gadgets (like an AUX jack for the stereo, a Factory CD player that plays mp3s, and a slot behind the nav system to take CF cards full of mp3s.) At 40 mpg, my Civic will be doing nearly as well as Susan’s Prius (which gets highway of mid 40s after the new tires on it) for long trips, like those to Vermont and Delaware that we do a few times a year to visit family.

I’m not sure that I’ll keep this new car for 9 years or not, but it is exciting to finally be getting a new car after all these years.

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