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For the Love of a Junker

Dear Tom and Ray,

Today I heard a story on NPR that can’t have escaped your notice. It was about a journalist with an irrational love for her old beater Volvo. She says in the story that her car became a subconscious symbol of her motherhood and was very dear to her heart. After years of driving her junker she realized how much she cared for her car and wondered if her automotive affection was shared by others or if she was a whacko!

As I’m sure you two would predict, she was flooded with stories of folks who love their cars. I myself have been in love with a car, my old '87 Toyota Corolla Wagon. It got me through high school, college and saved my life multiple times. When I finally bid it farewell my old car was heartbroken, and it threw a rod on its new owner within weeks in its grief.

For this journalist, her love for her Volvo was fairly rational: it reminded her of her journey of motherhood. However, being a Car Talk listener, I’m familiar with Tommy’s irrational love for old junker cars, notably his old Fiat. I’m wondering if you have rational explanation for loving your junk cars; what’s your excuse?!


Irv loves his Volvo too:

If you have spent a long time with a car or person, you tend to accept their idiosyncrasies and may like them more. Especially if either has been reliable ( dependable). Tommy is from a different world ! So I go back to “many people wear their cars like they wear their clothes”. Tommy IS an old " Fiat."

I’m a believer that the reason we like the things we like is firmly rooted in our experiences.

I love old ragtop roadsters probably because they remind me of my dad, who loved his, and of driving his roadster when I was younger.

I liked my old house as soon as I looked at it, and realized later it was probably because it was very much like the one I grew up in.

I enjoy discount stores, dollar stores, and fleamarkets, perhaps because my dad ran a discount store his whole life (and our house was right next to his store) and my mom enjoyed fleamarkets.

I enjoy designing and making things, especially from wood, probably because of the fond memories I have of sitting watching my grandfather (an MIT trained architect) work.