Romanticizing cars is a seductive business. On the 1 hand, they’re mechanical devices for transportation. On the other, they’re objects of art and lust. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how they teach us from both sides of that equation. Take courage. Sometimes, a car teaches us to press a little harder on a track day - to keep the right foot planted - which is a pretty decent metaphor beyond the track. Another kind of courage is required to detach a brake pad from a rotor for the 1st time. I really need to do this correctly, given I’m going to need these brakes when I drive. I love that cars teach so well and so broadly.

And sometimes just buying a car is a teacher.

The question before me was this: Is it better to live for now or for the future?

Not long ago, I brought home a Panamera from Porsche of Chattanooga (my local Nashville dealer not having quite what I wanted). Picking it up thrust me back to June of 1983, when I bought my 1st Porsche, and indeed my 1st new car. I was 27 years old. The picture above is the only 1 I have of the car. The couple in the photo were, and are, friends. I sweated a long time deciding to buy that car.

In 1983 I was working in the music business. As the 80s were the glory days of that industry, I was doing pretty well; even so, 27 seemed pretty young (irresponsible?) to splash out on a new Porsche. I decided to ask my parents - both successful lawyers - for advice, half-hoping they’d talk me out of it. Mom and Dad were 61 in 1983, at just the point a conservative life financially would pay dividends (literally). To my astonishment, they both said - simultaneously, on separate phones - “Buy the car!” They both wished they had pleased themselves more while younger. Not that they’d lived like monks. But they both felt that waiting on life for a later date is often a fool’s game, and wished they had done less of it. Good advice, and I bought the car.


Here’s the Panamera. I think of my parents often when I drive it. And lean just a bit more in the direction of today.

How about you guys? What stuff has cars taught you about life?