A Midlife Crisis Story

I’ve always admired two seat sports cars so when I began looking for one during my first mid-life crisis I began by searching for Triumphs and MGs. I found a bright red Triumph TR-4 in not quite museum quality condition for about twice what I had planned to spend but went to look at it nonetheless. It was absolutely beautiful and I asked the owner if I could take it for a short drive. Did I mention this was during my mid-life crisis?

I had owned a 1963 TR-4 as a teen. It cost me a whopping $400, had faded blue paint and the convertible top barely kept the rain from pouring inside. That was a long time and weight ago. I was a skinny kid but when I tried to get in the red one for my test drive I realized I wasn’t that skinny kid any more. I couldn’t get my legs to contort enough to get them under the steering wheel and there was absolutely no way I could squeeze my 300+ pounds into the driver’s seat. Thanking the man, I got on my Harley and headed home.

A few days had past and I stopped by a Nissan dealership to take a friend who sold cars there to lunch. Upon return I hung around a bit and noticed a bright red Mazda Miata and told my friend I’d be interested in a car like that but no longer could fit in one. He said, “You’d be surprised at the room they have in them.”

On a whim I sat in the car and was surprised I could sit in the car. He brought me the keys and we went for a drive. The little car had over 70,000 miles on the odometer but everything seemed to work well and the fit and finish were pretty good for its age. After a bit of negotiations I had purchased the little car for $6,800.

I enjoyed driving the old Miata and a few months after I had bought it stopped at a Mazda dealership to look at new ones just for the heck of it. This was back in 2006 and those cars looked much larger and much more muscular in their design. With a hefty price tag averaging around $23,000 I started to drive away when a young man asked if I wanted to drive one. What could it hurt? The silver car with its black interior fit like a glove. We lowered the top and drove around the city and through the countryside. The car had an amazing amount of power and wasn’t anything like the little red one I had been driving.

When the sales manager had finished looking at my old Miata and presented me with an offer greater than what I had paid for it, I was flabbergasted. Of course he hadn’t reduced his sale price on the silver ’06 but it was a fair deal and I took it. Now I had spent nearly three times what I had planned to spend on my mid-life crisis.

Fall and winter passed and when spring came around I found myself in a neighboring town where yet another friend worked at a Chevrolet dealership. I scooted into the dealership’s parking lot in my silver sports car just to say hello. Jokingly I told him I was there to trade the Miata on a Corvette. He pointed to a used silver 2006 with only 2000 miles on the odometer and said, “Like that one?”

I told him I was just kidding and he told me to just take it for a drive, “Go to lunch in it. Just for the fun of it.”

Why not? I thought. I pressed the starter button and the 400 horses under the hood roared to life. I shifted the six-speed into first letting the clutch out slowly and felt the thunder below me tremble and move slowly forward. The black leather seats enveloped me. I pulled out of the parking lot and within seconds realized I was exceeding the posted speed limit. Slowing the vehicle I realized people in mini vans and mundane autos were looking at me and admiring the sleek contour of this high performance piece of machinery. They were envious. I smiled.

Upon return to the dealership, my friend asked if I had enjoyed the ride. I told him if my credit had been better I might have tried to buy the car but I was temporarily out of work and my only income was from some investments I had made in the past. Since I had paid cash for the Miata, he said if I wanted the car they would submit an application for financing just to see the resulting payment. I cringed to think I was possibly going to buy a $40,000 plus car.

Amazingly, my credit application was approved and for a mere $500 per month I could drive away in the Corvette. Right? Surely that wasn’t something I could afford to do. When I got home I parked and went inside to get a cold coke and sat on the front porch of my house looking at the beautiful Corvette parked in my driveway.

I enjoyed the Corvette for about a year but making payments on it and a diesel Dodge 2500 truck soon wore thin on my bank account. I traded both for a 2007 Dodge 1500 and eliminated both payments along with getting a new truck with the title in hand. But I will never forget the Corvette with its sleek design and powerful roar.

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