For most of us, having dream cars dates back to an age we can barely remember. No matter from what country or region, they probably all had a few things in common: insane horsepower figures, six-figure price tags, low production runs and incredibly desirable shapes. As we age, the autos we fantasize about seem to move from million-dollar exotics to sports cars we could potentially afford. For some, that means the dream becomes reality.
Yours truly had such a story unfold. Ever seen the Porsche ad where a school boy visits a showroom after a 911 drives past? If you haven’t, take a moment to watch the clip below. Beyond being one of our favorite car advertisements of all-time, it conveys perfectly what we all felt at that age. Cars had taken hold of our lives, and it was only a matter of time until our pride and joy was sitting in the driveway.
Of course, what we visualize at that point isn’t always realistic. At the age of 13, I was convinced the 350Z (newly released at that time) was only a few years away. I had friends who felt exactly the same way about GT350 Mustangs and Camaro SS. Compared to the $300,000+ exotics we kept as posters on our bedroom walls, mid-$30k’s was downright affordable. Fast forward a few years and how quickly we realize that isn’t the case.
However, the dream hardly dies there. Instead of a performance thoroughbred, the first set of wheels tends to be whatever is cheap, nearby and readily available. Those cars can become legendary in their own right. They have virtually nothing in common with the vehicles we drool over. It’s thanks to that fact that we’re willing to take them anywhere, any distance and without hesitation. In all likelihood, some of our best memories growing up took place in cars we never aspired to own but will not soon forget.
Through high school and college, we save as much as possible, spend a (not so small) fortune on education and work our way towards graduation. Either towards the end of that time or at some point after, a life changing event occurs: a job offer arrives. With that offer, and the salary it contains, the dream of purchasing a true performance car is no longer for the middle of Algebra II. It quickly becomes a reality, and before we have time to blink, the keys are in our hands.
For your writer, those keys belonged to a Subaru BRZ. I genuinely cannot recall my first drive home in that car. I had never driven a manual transmission before, so the mixture of nerves, excitement, concentration and adrenaline all came together at the same time. I remember cranking up Bryan Adam’s “Summer of ’69” in honor of my Dad, but otherwise it’s all a bit of a blur. What isn’t so obscure is the sheer feeling of unbridled joy. After 22 years of wondering what owning a dream car would be like, it had happened. Faster than I could have possible imagined.
Odds are, many of us have had that same experience of owning the first dream car. Startling to this day is how quickly it happens. We spend decades falling asleep to thoughts of those moments. Yet, when they occur, they go by so quickly it’s hard to believe. As we drive them every day, those cars may lose some of their luster, eventually replaced by faster, more expensive and harder to obtain machines. However, the feeling we had getting the keys for the first time will always remain.
Though down the road we may struggle to recall every car we’ve ever owned, that first dream ride will hold a place perhaps no other auto can fill in our hearts. They’re forever the realization of a dream. The confirmation that all we had read, dreamt, sketched and written about wasn’t as good as we thought it would be, but endlessly better. The knowledge that no matter what age our driver’s license states, part of us will always be 22, driving our first metal love, music blaring and open road ahead. And, above all, knowing what it’s like to have the ultimate dream come true.