Everyone has an “Igotta” car –you know, that car you just have to buy. For most people, the Igotta car would be something expensive or fancy – a Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, or even just a Mustang Boss – but my tastes are much more plebeian.
Back in 2008, my husband was in the market for a new car and I went along just because. We like Fords, so off we went to our usual dealership. After driving various models, he decided he liked the moderately-priced Ford Fusion the best, and the only decision left was “what color?”
Of course, no matter what car he decided on, he had to test drive that particular car before signing anything.
First he drove the silver 2008 Fusion –beautiful car, beautiful handling, beautiful interior. As we were traveling around the lot in the silver car and looking at the other colors, another customer pulled in front of us test-driving a red Fusion (Ford called the color, “Redfire”).
I don’t know exactly what happened, how, or why – but suddenly I just knew that I had to have that red Fusion! Maybe it was the double exhausts sportily wafting moisture clouds into the air, or maybe it was because the sparkly ruby red color reminded me of Dorothy’s slippers. I’ve never been hit with the “I gotta” feeling before or since, at least not with regard to cars.
Unfortunately, my husband saw that red car the same time I did. And unfortunately, there was an identical one still on the lot – so off we went for a test-drive in “my” red Fusion.
Have you ever had to trash talk about something that you secretly crave? The saleslady was highlighting the wonderful features of the vehicle, my husband was obviously loving it, and bystanders were oohing and aahing over the color. In fact, that year the 2008 Fusion in Redfire was featured on the cover of one of the national car magazines (I can’t recall which).
My heart sank when my husband told the saleslady he definitely wanted the car but was torn between the silver and the red. Oh no – the red is MINE! But I couldn’t say that.
Being the devious little devil that I am, I finally made an offhand comment that the silver was very distinguished looking, and I agreed the red was really “in your face” eyecatching – but didn’t he think red was kind of a sissy color?
Gotta love that male ego. He leased the silver Fusion. The very next day, I drove to the dealership and leased the red Fusion. Imagine my husband’s surprise when he came home and saw it in our driveway!
NOW I HAD MY IGOTTA CAR – BUT IT WAS A MISTAKE
No, the car wasn’t a mistake – it was a wonderful car. It was pretty, sporty, and peppy. The V6 engine made drives on the Thruway a breeze.
The mistake was that I am not geared for an “in your face” car. I felt conspicuous, and I worried every single time I had to park that beautiful car somewhere other than my own driveway. And somehow looking out over that sparkly red hood made me even more aggressive than usual – not a good thing. And that car was fast and smooth – I could cruise along thinking I was doing 65 mph or so and then notice the speedometer was at 100 mph!
THE CAR WAS APPARENTLY CURSED, AS SOME CARS ARE
I had the car less than a month when I was stopped, waiting for traffic to clear so I could make a left turn, and a 20-year-old young lady ran smack into the back of my car with enough force that her car actually went under my car and then bounced back. She swore she didn’t see my car (hello – bright, sparkly red?!).
When I got out and saw the front end of her smashed up vehicle (and her air bag deployed), I was afraid to look at my car – but *gasp* all my car had was a chipped tail pipe! One of the emergency personnel even commented that my car had held up so well that he was going to buy one for his son.
Not too long after I had that fixed, I got stuck in snow in the driveway of my office building during an unusually heavy snowfall. Co-workers helped push the car out, but in the process one of them slipped, grabbed onto the spoiler, and ripped it off the car.
I BEGAN TO HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT MY IMPULSE PURCHASE
It didn’t help that apparently the City police had a reason to look for a 2008 red Fusion. Many times I found a police car following me through the City streets – sometimes tailing me as soon as I left the office and following me all the way to the City line. A co-worker tried to calm my nerves by saying maybe it was just the normal patrol route.
Then one day someone abandoned a stolen vehicle near my office building. Police arrived, followed by a detective – in a red 2008 Fusion identical to mine! Aha! I suspect it was his personal vehicle, but in any event at least I now could deduce that the patrol car was probably following me because the officer mistook my vehicle for the detective’s vehicle.
The final straw, however, was when a local car dealership gave an identical red 2008 Fusion to a poor single mother in the City. Now, I’m not against charity, and maybe that family really needed a car. Maybe the woman was a saint who deserved a freebie. Or maybe the dealership just needed the publicity. But, I couldn’t help thinking that I worked my ass off to buy my car, and it just wasn’t fair.
Plus, every time I drove through the section of the City where that family lived (which was every single day), I began to think people were looking at me like I was some kind of welfare scum driving around in a beautiful brand new car while the working poor were driving around in broken-down beaters. I don’t know if that single mother was, in fact, on welfare, and I don’t really care – I’m just relaying my thought process at a time when I was an especially not-nice person.
I had a 3-year lease on my 2008 Redfire Fusion, and I traded it in after 2 years and got myself a Ford Focus instead. I’m much more comfortable in the Focus – every car I’ve bought or leased since 2008 has been a Focus, and my next car will likely be a Focus. My drives through the City are quiet and inconspicuous, parking does not make me cringe, and I feel like just an average working-class lady – which is exactly right for me.
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Images by: Chelsea Flowers, and Mika Marttila, and Sarita Kolhatkar, and Laura Billings, respectively
Well, at least you can say you gave it the Fusion a try – you don’t have to drool over it anymore. I have a couple of friends that have Fusions and they love them – but none are red. You know how you could accidently end up at 100 mph? Well, that is apparently common for those driving sporty red cars and the police know it. Believe it or not, in my area, the insurance is actually higher. And sporty red cars also get more than their fair share of tickets. So, as much as you created a happy memory, it’s likely better as a memory than sitting in the driveway.
Great post CM!
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And sometimes I miss that sporty red car, but really, the way I normally drive, I’m better off with a car less likely to get me into trouble. Love your comment, Paul!
I love reading your posts 🙂 I especially love the honesty and admission about how you felt about the woman who one the identical set of wheels.
I can tell you that it’s a costly endeavor but if you don’t give in to that “gotta have” feeling sometimes, you end up condemned by it. I traded a flashy yellow roadster convertible that I’d owned for less than 6 months for an Audi TT that if been drooling over for years. It was a mistake! It was an awesome car but after tooling around in my convertible, I felt trapped in the new coupe. The TT also had tons of issues and I eventually swapped it for something else after a couple of months.
The whole thing was a mistake but the Audi TT had been my “gotta have” car for years and I just couldn’t shake the feeling.
Live and learn 🙂
I think we’ve all been there. My husband always wanted a Mustang. After his 2008 Fusion, he got a Mercury Milan, but then he traded the Milan in on a brand new Mustang. He loved the Mustang, but it was impractical for Buffalo, NY winters and since it was a coupe with a really uncomfortable back seat, we couldn’t easily use it for transporting dogs or extra people. He had his fun with the Mustang for a couple of years and then went back to a Fusion. Live and learn.
Ugh! “Consumed” not “condemned”….although that autocorrect word choice may actually be apropos 😉
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Actually “condemned” works, too (in context of the Igotta psychology), even though you didn’t mean to use that word.
Sorry I missed this when it was new, CM – musta been the packing and moving stuff that got in the way?
I’m still driving my Igotta car!
I was enthralled with the *idea* of a diesel Volkswagen, in 2006. (I got a mistaken delivery of a neighbor’s Car and Driver with a review and a sidebar about *Fred’s TDI Club*. Fell in love with the enthusiasm and friendliness there). I didn’t realize that all the raves on the website were about the previous incarnation of the beast! I’ve been essentially a beta-tester ever since…
It IS red too, but not quite “Arrest-Me Red” like your Fusion. (They call it Spice). I sure didn’t want a road-colored car (the kind that disappears into the landscape, yaknow?) like the gray one that I backed into on the test drive! LOL
Funny you would mention “road-colored” cars. I was once following my husband’s silver Fusion down the Thruway on a rainy day, and suddenly his car just disappeared in the mist. Scared the heck out of me.
Even school-bus yellow can pull off that trick in enough misty fog!
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Reblogged this on Cordelia's Mom, Still and commented:
After my last dark post, I thought something lighter was in order. Please enjoy this re-blog. BTW, my next car was another Ford Focus, which I had to turn in early because it had a bad transmission the dealer simply couldn’t fix. Now I’m one of those SUV drivers that everyone hates.
I always fancied a VM Polo because that was what I passed my test in.I never had one. I also fancied a Nissan Micra, but then they changed the shape. I DID get a skoda favorit estate, BIG MISTAKE. Favourite car has to be my Zastava Yugo 55a, followed by my Peugeot 206. The Hyundai I10 is OK, but Hubby misses his Zastava Yugo 45, followed by his lada.
I did throw up over a brand new 18 miles on the clock black BMW though. Oops, but it was payback, sort of!
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My husband would drool over a Peugeot. Did you own the BMW? What happened?
Ha, no, it was my boss’s. He’d only just collected it from the garage and was allowed to have it a day early as the New Reg for that year occured on a Saturday. I’d been sent home, but before I got to my car, felt queasy, so backtracked to the office. The loo was at the back of the building so I went through the yard, and sadly didn’t quite make it. It needed a complete respray apparently. As for my revenge, a few weeks or so before, he’d drenched me in the road going through a puddle in his old car and found it hysterically funny. He who laughs loudest? I’ve had a thing about black BMWs ever since, and my little Yugo would beat them from a standing start every time.
I bought my Peugeot new in Jan 2005 and got an absolute bargain. I had her for 10 years but sold her last year as we didn’t need two cars anymore and even though she had low mileage (38,000), there was some serious servicing and maintenance coming up, so we got her through the MOT and I actually sold her for just under half what I’d paid for her. As I said, I got a bargain at the time.
Ha, ha – I love the image of someone puking on a BMW.
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My immediate boss (who cleared up after me) found it funny as the car belonged to one of the senior guys at the company who wasn’t exactly one of the easiest people to work for!
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We have had many red cars. My husband red 1994 Mustang convertible. Our red van. Our current red Jeep Patriot. Dark red isn’t as much of a police target as fire engine red. NEVER by a bright red sports car. You might as well paint a bullseye on it.
Garry strong favors bright cars. He had a hot orange Dodge Challenger convertible for more than 20 years and his current personal vehicle is bright yellow. He doesn’t care what anyone says about it. If he likes it, he drives it. He’s very vain, but not an egotist, if that makes any sense.
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I was a little disappointed when I bought my SUV that all they seemed to have was gray, black, and silver. There was one somewhat hideous blue. Not too many manufacturers are making “pretty” cars these days. Usually, I just stick with some shade of silver.
I’ve never met you and Garry, of course, but for some reason I can picture him in a brightly colored sports car!
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Those Fusions sure are a beautiful thing, CM. I think I’d feel conspicuous, like you. Proof? My Chevy Cruze on the heels of two straight Hyundai Elentras.
I hear you. The Cruze and the Elantra are both good cars. I only went for the SUV my last time out because I wanted to stay with Ford and I was nervous about the fact that the 2014 Focus had the same transmission as the 2012 Focus (the one I turned in extremely early because of the stuttering and stalling). But now that I’m driving the Escape, I find it very comfy for me. I like sitting up high, and the Escape maneuvers just as well as the Focus did. I did test-drive the 2014 Fusion, but the driver’s seat wasn’t comfortable for me, and I felt it was just a wee bit bigger than I needed for driving in city traffic.
Just Hi, CM! got another giggle about this post, today. Thanks!
Thanks, Karen. Always glad to make someone’s day a little lighter!
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That white gold is pretty 🙂
And now, for this post:
That gotta feeling is unstoppable, no one can blame you. But see, maybe you had a lot of things to discover and learn about yourself that you wouldn’t otherwise, had you taken a different car, in a different color.
The Focus is an attractive car, my husband was a big fan of them for quite some time. Several of our friends have one. The red is definitely snazzy.
I very often admire cars in brilliant shades of red, but I am not a red car driver, I’m just not.
My dream car is probably a Volvo. White. Older model, like late 80’s. Maybe even a wagon. So I relate to your (generally) plebeian tastes. If someone gave me a metropol blue Porsche Roadster, I’d drive it now and again, but I’d never spend the money on it, no matter how much money I had.
I drove Focuses for years, until I got one of them after they changed the transmission (2012, I believe?). I couldn’t wait to get rid of that car because it stalled at every single stop sign and light (no, it was not a stop-start like they have now). After that I went to the Escape, and find I like the Escape even more. I love sitting up high, I like having the cargo area. and the all-wheel drive with the higher tires makes for a very good ride in the winter.
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Oh, good. You can’t beat safety in the snows!
The Mister’s car has ECO drive, so it turns off when he’s on the brake for a certain count. When he lifts his foot from the brake, the car turns back on. Makes it great for his long and tiresome commute.
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