Those cars worked pretty well, most of the time. When they didn't - it was a horrendous nightmare, at least for a super-self-conscious teenager. It's bad enough being seen out with your family under any circumstances when you hit 14, but being seen pushing your family car back up the road to your house (for the 8th time that week) is a whole different order of embarrassing.
I made a very firm decision to ONLY buy new cars, when I grew up. And for the first 13 or so years' of car ownership, I stuck to it. As a car approached its three year birthday, I'd offload it and buy a new one. They were never fancy. I'm not a big car person, so I didn't care so much for flash or big, I just wanted simple, reliable and new.
The plan worked flawlessly, until I got to Israel and our finances fell down a black hole. We bought a new car nine years' ago - and we've still got it. That by itself is actually an open miracle, as the car's been in at least one serious accident, and has endured innumerable other scrapes and minor bashes.
The car door creaks very loudly when you open it, a reminder of my serious car crash in Netivot, a couple of years' ago. The windscreen wipers also squeak, incessantly, so I ration their use to one swish every minute, unless it's seriously torrential rain. The beeping thingy that tells you that you left your lights on packed up 4 years' ago, which means we've had quite a few 'flat battery' episodes as a result.
All the internal lighting on the dashboard has died a death; I've replaced the tyres so many times I should get a set free soon; and in some senses, it's had so many parts replaced most of it may, technically, be less than three years old.
But the facts are still the facts: I'm driving an old banger.
My teenaged self would be horrified. My adult self is learning, yet again, that blessings can come in very strange packaging, sometimes. I never worry about my car getting scraped, bumped or scratched. I usually leave it open, daring someone to try to steal it without waking the whole neighbourhood up when they open the squeaky door.
I clean it once - for Pesach - and then it doesn't even cross my radar for another 12 months. My kids can let all sorts of things mould and decompose on the back seat, and (unless it really stinks) - I don't even notice. If I had a new car, I'd be far more anxious, cagey and critical of what was going on in and around it.
And wonders of wonders: it's still reliable. It's been in the garage far less than much newer, more expensive cars. My husband has a theory that the car has lasted so long, and so well, because it's visited more holy gravesites than most 4-wheeled pilgrims.
That said, it's still about 580 years old, in car years, and I'd like to give it an honourable retirement.
I've told G-d that I've got the message, and I no longer need to be hysterical about having an old car. That part of me got fixed, promised. I hope He believes me. My daughter has plans to go to high school somewhere near Eilat, and even for someone who's used to pushing their car back home, that's a longggg way back.