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What It's Like to Drive Your Dream Car

Mercedes-Benz
Life is short. Why drive a car you don’t really like, when the car of your dreams might be within your reach? We talked to several people about what it’s like to drive your dream car, and they shared their best advice.

When someone asks, “What is your dream car?” there’s no wrong answer.

Your dream car might be a Ford Ranger pickup like the one your uncle used to drive. It might be an adorable Fiat in mocha brown. Or it might be an orange Trans Am with a Screaming Chicken painted on the hood. Trends and taste have nothing to do with true car love.

(Keep in mind that when we’re talking about dream cars, we don’t mean fantasy cars. A fantasy car is like a celebrity crush; fun to imagine, but ain’t gonna happen. You might adore the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, but you know you’ll never drop $262,000 to own it.)

When you drive your dream car, it’s all about the behind-the-wheel feel.

You might like the look of a particular car, but if you don’t love driving it, it’s not going to work for you. Dream cars deserve to be driven, not kept in a garage gathering dust. Darryl H.’s dream car for 11 years was a black 1990 560SEL Mercedes-Benz. The 560SEL was a great-looking car, but for Darryl, it was all about the power and comfort behind the wheel. “Even with age, she always had a majestic smooth ride,” he says.

Dream cars can change.

Herbie_dream_carAnd that’s OK. “My dream car for a long time was a VW Beetle, pearl white with the number 53 on its hood. Yep, I wanted Herbie the Love Bug,” says Charles G. But by the time he was old enough to buy one, VW had changed the design — and the New Beetle just wasn’t the same. “When I test drove it, the dream was dead,” he says.

Then Charles saw the all-electric Nissan Leaf, and fell in love. “It looks more like a Beetle than the Beetle does now, and it comes in pearl white!” he says. He enjoys the “quiet, zippy ride” every day, he says. The car’s name, naturally, is Herbie.

You can find a dream car that works for your family.

2013_GMC_Terrain_DenaliIf you have children, safety has to come before style in the dream-car search. You don’t want to drive your kids around in a classic car without airbags or modern seatbelts, for instance. However, you don’t have to sacrifice what you really want in a car.

Kira J. bought a Chevy Malibu, even though she didn’t love it. “I just wanted out of the minivan and jumped on the sedan because I thought it made sense,” she says. Then she test-drove a 2013 GMC Terrain Denali, and voila — dream car. The Terrain is a “perfect little SUV” with room for everyone, she says, plus heated seats, a sunroof and an automatic lift gate. “It gets the same gas mileage as my Malibu did and it’s amazing,” she says.

Dream cars are often expensive to maintain.

Plymouth_ValiantPeople are often forced to get rid of their dream cars because they simply can’t afford repairs. Ailsa L. inherited a seabreeze-green 1969 Plymouth Valiant from her aunt. The aunt had lovingly kept the car in perfect shape, with only 21,000 miles on the odometer. “Not a lick of rust,” Ailsa says, “but slowly, over time, things began to go wrong mechanically and it became too much to keep her maintained. Eventually I could only get Rush Limbaugh on the radio, the air conditioning stopped working and her engine brackets broke.” If your dream car is a classic or luxury car, put aside cash for repairs in a special fund.

Once you buy your dream car, don’t let go.

VW_CabrioletWhen you talk to people about their dream cars, you hear over and over how much they regret giving them up. “I still cry when I realized the mistake of trading her,” Darryl says of his Mercedes. “I had so many great times with her and spent just about all I made to keep her on the road.”

Karen C., on the other hand, is still driving her dream car: a Volkswagen Cabrio convertible. “17 years and we are still together. Wind. Hair. All good,” she says. The lesson: Save up for repairs (see above), take good care of your car and keep it as long as you possibly can.

Insure your dream car to the max.

In 1995 a truck sideswiped Seabreeze, Ailsa’s Valiant. “The insurance company claimed it was totaled,” she says, “but I fought hard and managed to get $2,000 to get her repaired.” She was lucky — but you might not be. If you’re fortunate enough to drive your dream car, don’t skimp on insurance coverage. Get free auto insurance quotes on compare.com to find out which company will give you the best coverage for the lowest rates. Happy driving!

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