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.


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.


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


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.)


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.)


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.


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?

20 thoughts on “A Serial Monogamist.

  1. Nice car! Yes it is impractical but it is fun and I completely understand. Because if I had the money (million dollars) to spend on a car I would buy a Porshe convertible. It is the only car I have ever dreamed of owning, completely impractical yes, but a girl can dream.

  2. My husband bought a 2005 Honda S2000 convertible brand new when we moved into our current home and had some money left over from the sale of our last house. He’d been waiting for years, but there were three kids, mortgage, etc., etc., and he never could convince himself to do it.

    I finally pushed him to just go get the damned thing and he LOVES it. He also says he will hand it down in his will. And so far, even with three kids, it has not been a problem. We ended up buying a used Jeep Grand Cherokee that has lots of miles on it for our oldest son and now I drive that because I gave said son my 2002 Ford Explorer with the provision that if we needed to fit five people in a car, we could borrow it from him.

    As long as you have one practical car that is reliable, you are totally entitled to one car that isn’t (practical – should be reliable!) I’d say you got a deal.

    Depressingly, we are not looking at my dream car now that I need a new one. Mine is a Volkswagon beetle convertible. Oh well. I’m probably looking at that Kia you were mentioning. *Sigh*

    Just a bit envious….

  3. Oh, wait…just read the article…C-A-R-S.

    Well you already know where I am. Don’t know much about them but the roof needs to be able to come off! I’m still waiting for a ride.

  4. Go for it! It looks extravagant but it doesn’t sound like it actually is. You have a (very, very, VERY) sensible car for the kids but you need to enjoy your grown up life too!

  5. My mom has a ’63 MG Midget and all I can say is that Mercedes is lovely. My husband and I have been enjoying the photos of all of the “high tech” gadgets that come with your “new” car. And really, you just need one sensible car. =) So does this mean Rachel gets something “new” too? Like a vintage Louis Vuitton handbag? =)

    1. I got a Flex – I think that’s my new thing for a while!! And I have to say – I love that the INSIDE of my car is just as fun as the OUTSIDE. I can’t say the same about his. ;)

  6. How fantastic! I had to give up my dream vehicle when I fell pregnant and it was devastating. Good on you, I hope you enjoy every moment of pure fun!

      1. 2001Ford V8 ute silver & so so sweet…however they have a completely unreasonable (ok perfectly reasonable & understandable) law against baby seats & children under the age of 12 being in a ute :-( I tell you its lucky I love this kid..but I will admit to crying the day my other ‘baby’ drove away.

        1. We don’t have Utes – I had to google it! The half-car/half-truck thing? We don’t have anything even remotely like that in the states, except for the Subaru Baja. Looks fun, though!

  7. Lol I just had to Google the Baja, we would call that a twin cab, utes are very popular here. One fine fine day I will buy another :-)

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