I’ve driven the same car for many years. I usually don’t get rid of a car until I absolutely have to. I joke that I will drive it until the wheels fall off. In a few cases that has laterally been the truth.

The first car I ever owned was a 1965 Mustang. I loved that car. It was royal blue in color and body wise, in great shape. It was originally a 260 with a three speed. The person I bought it from changed out the engine and transmission, putting in a 289 and a four speed. He did some creative mechanics to make the new engine fit because the stabilizer bars were in the trunk. The clutch was really weird. If felt like I was lifting the whole engine every time I shifted gears. I bought the car for $600, drive it for two years and sold it for $600. Mind you, it was the seventies. I loved that car even though on numerous occasions it left me stranded places. The one thing I kept from it was its name. Yes, I’m afraid I’m one of those people who name their cars.

My favorite books are J.R.R. Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’, so when it came to naming my car it seemed only fitting to name it Shadowfax after Gandalf’s horse. Every car I have ever own has been named Shadow.

Picture 083The current incarnation is a 1996 Honda Prelude. I bought him on March 19, 2000. It’s weird that I know the exact date, but since each car is the theoretical incarnation of a fictional horse, I make note of when our time together begins.

When I saw him it was literally love at first sight. I was in the market for a new car. I’d been driving a mini-van for a number of years as my sons were growing up and my youngest was turning eighteen so my van days were over. I figured I had done my penance. I wanted something sporty, and two doors. I was done chauffeuring people. I test drove a number of new and used cars at the various dealerships in my area. Someone mentioned that the new Prelude was a nice car so I went to the Honda dealer to check it out. When they brought me the 2000 Prelude to test drive, I saw him. They had taken him in trade only a few days earlier. He was black, shiny and had great lines. I knew right then and there, if he drove well and had low mileage, I was leaving with him. The rest is history.

Just so you don’t think I’m the only one whose crazy, the dealership has handled all Shadow’s repairs and maintenance. The car is known to them by name. I call up to let them know Shadow is coming in for his oil change and he is referred to as Shadow the entire time he is there.

Shadow is still in excellent condition. I love driving a stick shift. I know someday we will have to part, but I hope that is still many years away. In the meantime, I will enjoy traveling with my Shadow.

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Augustina Van Hoven

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