I don’t use my first car as a challenge question for authentication, so I think it’s safe to say it was a Renault Alliance. (Public Service Message: Never share your hint answers to remember a password.)

There’s my Renault in this old photograph. It’s parked behind a 1940 Chevrolet dad restored for mom as a surprise gift.

1940 Chevrolet, 1984 Renault Alliance

The Renault turned out to be a piece of garbage, but I was lured in by the simple lines, gray exterior, tan interior and no nonsense dashboard. The headliner eventually drooped into the main cabin and spray adhesive didn’t work so I pinned it up. I put in a radio with a cassette deck and strung the wires myself to the speakers in the trunk. Those went out intermittently.

Eventually more important pieces started to fail so I bought another Alliance from my friend’s sister for parts. It turned out to be the better ride so it eventually took over.

(It was also a stick shift, so way way more fun to drive.)

There was a leak of some sort somewhere in this one, so you had to crack the windows so the smell of exhaust didn’t overpower the occupants.

Even though these cars were less than ideal, I cared for them like a proud dad—making sure they were washed and vacuumed even if they didn’t run very well.

This has all been a long winded way of getting around to today’s photo: Another Car Wash.

Keen observers might realize this is not the VW Rabbit I used to drive (and spent a long time comparison shopping). I reluctantly let the ol’ Rabbit go and replaced it with a newer version that has a much bigger trunk last year. (It’s a station wagon.)

I figure this will be the last car where I row my own gears. The next one will likely be even more automated and drive me around. Maybe I won’t even own a car then, and simply invoke a ride by app when needed.

I hope they let us wash these rental cars of the future, for old time’s sake—and maybe a free ride.