So, I paid off my car this week. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is a huge deal to me. I just wanted to share.
I was 20 when I bought my 2006 Volkswagen GTI. It was my affordable dream car. I wanted one from the time I started really learning about cars. And, thanks to my father’s searching and willingness to co-sign a loan, this car was mine. Well, after four years of monthly payments.
After I got the keys, I used to drive around Huntsville looking at other cars, asking myself what would I take over my GTI. Very rarely did I come across anything I would rather own. I would sit at red lights and wonder why anyone would buy anything else.
I suppose this is a love letter of sorts. I could go on about how my GTI is never boring to drive. I could talk about how, even eight years after it was produced, I still get comments, questions and stares. Maybe it’s because of the “Tornado Red” paint and the tartan interior.
But, if I’m honest, this car is everything I could want in a vehicle.
It’s relatively fast. It’s economical. It’s practical. It’s comfortable and quiet. But, more than anything, it never, ever gets old. As much as I love cars, driving can be a chore. But in the GTI, I never seem to mind.
Mine comes with the classic three-pedal setup. While not as fast as the dual-clutch transmission(the first GTI I drove was a fully loaded Fahrenheit edition with all the bells and whistles), the manual transmission has made me a better driver. You pay attention more when you have a manual. Plus, I’m not sure I would enjoy this car as much if I could be lazy and slide the shifter into drive when I’m driving to work. Though it might be fun to pretend to be Sebastian Vettel as a play with the paddle shifter.
I’m not going to go on about the engine or the way it drives. There are YouTube videos of Jeremy Clarkson flogging this car around the Top Gear test track that prove my point better than I could ever write it. It’s all been said a hundred times and more. All I know is that I still pull harder in a straight line than my friend’s FRS, and that’s enough for me(although the FRS would lose me if we ever came to a corner).
My point, beyond patting myself on the back for being a responsible adult and paying bills on time, is to find something you love and go after it. For me, it was a car. Not just any car, but a MKV GTI. If you have to spend any length of time in a vehicle, find something that’s not boring. It will make every trip just a little bit better.