The 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme sedan, in lovely avocado green. I didn't learn to drive until I was 29 years old, and this car is the reason.
When I was growing up, I had a friend named Mark. Actually, his name was Marco. He lived around the corner, and he was a real Italian, born in 'the old country". His family moved here when he was very little, and we went to school together. They owned the Cutlass.
When I was about 12, Mark's family decided to move back to Italy. They tried to sell the Oldsmobile, but they had no luck. In the end, they wound up giving it to my parents. It was our second car. I remember my mom and dad arguing over who had to drive it, they both were embarrassed of it. This was in 1988.
The car was a big ugly gas guzzler, and pretty rusty too. The air conditioner was busted and the seats were vinyl, so in the summer we would drive around with bed sheets over the cushions. Classy.
Two months before I became old enough for a learners permit, my parents sold the Cutlass. I refused to drive for the next 14 years. Whenever my parents asked why, I would say "you sold the Cutlass. That was supposed to be my car. Now until I can afford a diesel Mercedes, I don't really see the point." I can be real stubborn when I feel like it. In fact, if my wife had never become pregnant, I still wouldn't know how to drive. It's only fun if you can do it in style.
I'm not bitter, though. If they gave me that car back then, I might not have been forced to take a job accessible by subway, which means I might never have met my wife, which means my lovely children might not have existed. I still don't have the diesel, but I can't complain.
It all happens for a reason.
But damn, I could have built that beast into one hell of a muscle car (sigh).