OK, it wasn’t exactly like this. But you get the idea.

I remember holding that $2,200 dollars in my hand and thinking how I had never seen that much money before.

That’s a lot of money for a 16-year-old kid. Literally a lifetime of savings. I remember setting that money down and picking up those keys. My life would never be the same.

I just bought my first car.

It was a 1985 Toyota extra cab 4×4 with a 5-speed manual transmission—complete with faded black paint and rusty highlights. If you remember Marty McFly’s Toyota truck in Back to the Future, it was that exact same truck. It was originally sold in Canada, so it had “KPH” as the predominate gauge in the speedometer with “MPH” underneath it. It was the first thing I had ever driven, so I just figured that’s how all cars were.

I have driven some really nice cars—sports cars, exotics, trucks, and everything in between. For some reason, I can’t remember all the little details or quirks about those cars.

But I can remember everything about that truck.

I still know how many turns it took to manually wind up the windows. I remember getting out in the freezing snow and locking in those rusty Warn hubs. And I can still feel the shift knob in my hand as I learned to work a clutch for the first time (and the embarrassment I felt those first few times I stalled it).

I can also remember what a fantastic feeling it was the first time I went through a fast food drive-thru, or that first time I did big doughnuts in a snowy parking lot. I still think about my first date in that truck and how cool I felt being able to pick her up from her house and just go driving around (because we were kids and that’s what kids do). I don’t think she felt the same way I did about that truck, but I do recall her pointing to the bed and saying, “why is that so rusty?”

Those memories are etched into my brain. It may have been over 20 years ago, but I can still see it clearly. The girl, however—well, I can’t even remember her name! (I’m pretty sure it started with an ‘M’ though.)

I have owned 11 different cars since, but none have left that lasting impression—that sensation of being behind the wheel for the first time.

Sure, my first car could have been something different. And I would probably be talking about it rather than the rusty, trusty Toyota. But maybe it’s not about the car as much as the freedom of driving.

Many more cars may cross my path, but I will never forget my first.

Summit Racing invited you to share your first automotive love on its Instagram and Facebook page.

We’d still love to hear your stories on those page or in the comments section below.

We’ll share our favorites!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Author: Chris Boardman