A Serial Monogamist.

If you’re friends with Chris or I on Facebook or Twitter, you might have noticed that, a few days ago, he made an interesting, and perhaps impractical decision.  A decision that, although I did predict that it would happen a year ago, might make me feel a bit self-conscious about the conclusions of frivolosity that the general public could choose to draw about us.  So I told him that his decision must be explained to the world. 

Herein lies that explanation.


So I bought a car.

Not because it gets good gas mileage, or has high resale value, or comfortably fits my family, or has lots of high tech features.

No, I bought this car because, quite simply, I love it.

It is the only car I have ever loved. I flirted once with a Mazda MX-3 in high school, but I didn’t get serious enough to commit.

But since the first moment I saw it, I knew. I sat in one at a dealership 15 years ago. I took home the glossy book that came from the minimalist brochure rack in said dealership. I still have that book in mint condition, despite three moves, a marriage, and two kids.

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And I will always love this car – I intend to keep it forever. Even if the Malia Obama Administration of 2044 forces me to put an electric engine in it. Until I die and my children inherit it and promptly sell it for scrap.

If you want to know if you really love a car, give it the million dollar question test. That is, if I had a million bucks to spend on a car, what car would I buy?

If the answer is the car you drive, then you are in storybook love.

So what is it, you ask?

An R170 Mercedes Benz SLK. Silver. A retractable hardtop convertible. The last one of this particular style was made in 2004.

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In my case, a 2002 SLK32 AMG. Supercharged, intercooled, 342HP. Each engine hand-assembled by a single engineer. I could go on.

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I know.

It seems irresponsible, wasteful, flamboyant.

A Benz? Really? Is that necessary? Why would you drive a Mercedes? Or a 2-seater? You have 2 kids. A convertible? Its 200 degrees in Alabama 9 months out of the year.

We’ll refer to that as the ‘con’ list.

On the ‘pro’ side of things, here’s my thought process. Feel free to Johnny Cochran me in the comments.

  • You have to drive something. (That’s a good one, right? I should get 2 pros for that.)
  • It’s GREAT for grocery shopping.

SLK Grocery Shopping

  • My dream car has atrocious resale value. It depreciates like the popularity of last year’s American Idol 3rd runner-up. Didn’t come up with James Durbin, did you? In 10 years and 50k miles, this car depreciated by {cough} 75% of its original sticker price.

    (Sorry about that, original owner.)

So, in my defense, for the same very reasonable amount of jack, you could have your choice of the following vehicles:

  • 2012 Kia Rio, 0 miles,
  • 2007 Honda Odyssey, 112K miles,
  • 2008 Toyota Corolla, 53k miles,
  • or, my dream car, with 50k miles.

My dream car comes complete with vintage turn-of-the-millennium accessories, like:

Hidden Cassette Deck (remember the plastic-y smell of new tapes? My copy of Hysteria still has the new-tape-smell.)

Mercedes Tape Deck

Trunk-Mounted Cartridge Loading CD Changer (so fun to reload on a vacation gas stop.)

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Integrated Analog Flip Phone (that no current cell carrier will activate.)

Mercedes Flip Phone“Timeport” was an accurate brand name.

Actual Cigarette Lighter (try finding this in a new car when you need to burn one down.)

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And, although only one is old enough to ride offsite in it, it is actually fun for the kids.   When I took Ali for her first ride, she immediately told me, “Don’t go fast at all, okay Daddy?”  Five minutes later, she asked me, “Daddy, can you go a little bit fast?”  And Noah greets me as I pull in from work and tries to steer me down the driveway.

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So why now? I have been watching the national inventory on AutoTrader for a long time, and almost all of them are located far, far away. A few weeks ago, the perfect car popped up here in Birmingham, a local 1-owner. If I was ever going to do this, this was the one.

I know it looks silly. And seems reckless.  I’ll totally give you impractical, but what is love, if not silly, reckless, and impractical?