When Are You Old Enough To Buy A Real Car?

Antique Car Dashboard

I wouldn’t have thought a post about a Fedora would make me write a post about being old enough to a buy a real car but it happened.

Funny thing is I started out thinking about my desire to buy a cool Borsalino and that you can blame on Casablanca, the movie that turned me on to Humphrey Bogart movies.

You can probably attribute some of this to my love for my grandfathers too. When I look at old pictures of them in the forties I love the ones with their hats. Sadly they got rid of them so none were passed down to me so all I have are baseball caps I have purchased and two Fedoras I picked up long ago.

This gets me to thinking about acquiring things that are timeless and well-made. At this point, I don’t mind spending more than I would have in the past, because it’ll be the last time I’ll buy.

There is much to be said for buying timeless and well-made. A while back I started doing that with my shoes and my feet have thanked me for it.

When I moved to Texas my parents came to visit me and I took them down to the Fort Worth Stockyards. Since it was just before my birthday mom decided I needed a cowboy hat so we walked into one of the shops there and bought a proper cowboy hat.

A good hat costs a couple of bucks but the folks said at 44 I deserved one that wasn’t just going to fall apart and so that is what I got.

The drive from here to there and there back again made me think about what I deserve and what I need too.


Cars are a funny thing. I have always loved them but I haven’t been someone who looked at them as being a status symbol. I have always told the kids that in many ways a car is just a simple, meaningless tool for getting from here to there.

But I have also said there is a difference and distinction that comes with certain vehicles. Sometimes that is based upon whether we have actually gotten our hands dirty working on the car.

When you do that, when you put your hands and your mind to work fixing, tinkering and adjusting something happens and changes take place. You place a different value on the car than you do when you just buy it.

Thing is that most modern cars aren’t really made to be worked on the way old cars were so you don’t see some of that happening like it used to.

The car I drove back and forth to Texas is now 14 years old. It is the car we bought before my son was born, the one that was purchased with the idea it would be the first family car.

There are lots of memories tied into it. It is not the first new car I purchased but it is not necessarily the car I wanted either.

When Are You Old Enough To Buy A Real Car?

When my son was about 10 months old or so I saw a convertible Mercedes and came damn close to buying it. It was a sea change in thought and action for me.

That is because up to that point I had been completely anti-German car and because I had never earned enough to consider buying a car like that.

But on that day money wasn’t the issue because my career had exploded and my pockets were full. The funny thing to me was that for the first time in my life I had enough to buy what I wanted but I discovered that it didn’t really matter because money wasn’t what held me back.

I didn’t buy it because it seemed impractical to own a car that the entire family couldn’t fit in at one time and I didn’t see the need to have three cars. And even though I thought it looked amazing when I tried to picture myself in it I thought I would look like I was driving my father’s car and I didn’t want that.

Time passed, things changed and the age of full pockets evaporated and the idea of driving something fancier dried up because there was no money for it.

But every now and then I wondered about buying something more.

The Influence of Texas

Texas changed many things including my feeling about cars. Some of it happened because a man who is just short of 45 needs a car that provides more support for his body.

I still enjoy taking road trips  but the wear and tear from old seats, road noise and just sitting for hours has caught up with me. And even though I think of myself as being 25 the reflection I see in the mirror makes it clear I am not.

At last I am old enough to drive a real car, whatever the hell that means.

Or maybe a better way to say it all is I have reached a place where I value craftsmanship in what I purchase, not just in vehicles but in everything and am at an age where I seek that out.

Many years ago my father told me when he dies I will get his tools. I told him I was willing to wait a long time to get them and he smiled.

But I don’t think until he had his heart attack that I really thought about what some of that meant to me. I want his tools because these are what he used to build and repair things with. These were the tools we used together when I was a kid and as an adult.

There is deep meaning in those.

And now I find myself thinking about roots and quality and how they interact. More on this in a post yet to be written.

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