May 20, 2010
My auto-biography is about the family car I drove throughout high school until I bought my own car. This car was a 2002 Toyota Echo. I will never forget how well that car treated me nor the memories I had with it. The reason we had a third family car before I was able to drive was because my grandfather had recently purchased it a month before he passed away and the dealership wanted to buy it back for two thousand dollars less than they sold it to him. It was a great car for a new driver and had the remainder of the warranty. Needless to say it was a perfect car for me for a number of reasons. Primarily, it only has a 1.5L engine with 108 horsepower. If I would have been driving any other car with a bigger engine, I probably would have gotten a few speeding tickets. The amazing fuel economy of 35 city miles per gallon and 40 highway created one of my now favorite pastimes. Driving for fun with the windows down and the stereo turned up, all while achieving spectacular gas mileage.
Now, do not be fooled by that tiny, golf cart-like engine. The car weighs under 2500 pounds with two passengers, which meant it could get up and go in city traffic. Passing on a two lane highway took a little bit of timing and gall. I definitely drove that car as if it were a racecar, and not an econo-car. That Echo has been on four, three, two, and zero wheels before while I have been behind the wheel. I did my share of doughnuts in wet and snow covered parking lots and ramped it once. When most people ramp a car, they do it on a short hump normally over railroad tracks; however that was not the case for me. I launched that 2500 pounds of steel airborne off a thirty foot hill going 87 miles per hour. There could not have been a more perfect, smooth landing. This was the most reckless thing I did in that car, and I am happy to say my driving habits have substantially calmed down since then.
I used that car as a stress reliever if I was ever worked up about something. There is nothing better than cruising with the windows down going 55 miles per hour down a country road listening to your favorite tunes. My brother now drives that car and I do envy him from time to time, because of all of the times I had in it while I was an adolescent. I do worry from time to time that one day it will just fall apart on him for no reason; however it will probably have something to do with how I drove it.