New Car Smell

So I’ve been looking for a used car. Well, technically a pre-owned car as they’ve recently been renamed. I guess the renaming is supposed to make me feel better as everyone around me leverages themselves to the hilt with lease payments and new cars for zero down, zero interest, zero ability to pay it off…Plus, new cars are really cool and nice and neat and…well, new.

The thing is…pre-owned cars don’t have that new car smell. I presume half of my monthly payment goes to create that alluring smell. I’ve tried the “New Car Smell” air fresheners only to be disappointed. Recently, I discovered a smell even better. I found it on Craigslist, had it confirmed by a friend and fell in love (well, maybe really strong like). Along the way, I learned something profound.

I’ve owned a lot of cars I guess. My list of previous models includes a Datsun pickup, Mercury Cougar, Mazda 3, VW Passat, Dodge Caravan and a Nissan Pathfinder…Toyotas and Hondas of pretty much every model, bought new, leased and used through cash and loans and a sundry of arrangements that fall between the two. I even owned an Isuzu. What the heck happened to Isuzu anyway? Well, about six months ago, I found my dream car…an Infiniti G35. Fast, cool, luxury, fast, reliable and it was fast. I found a good deal at a local dealer with an elite warranty and off I drove.

A few months later with car payment in hand, I realized I didn’t like the car. It was too expensive, too nice, too cool and well, not too fast. I sold it a few weeks later on Autotrader (yes, although hard to admit, I did lose some money). The journey began again. The journey to find another lady to add the list of vehicular skeletons in my closet of driving history.

My foray into the world of online dating began…some were really nice looking but once I saw them in person they didn’t live up to their picture. Others just didn’t fit the description. I got to spend time with several in person. We talked. We went around the block. We enjoyed a short time together. Along the way I discovered the idiosyncrasies of different ages and models and configurations. More than once I committed myself only to be told I’d missed my chance. Several times I was outright denied. The car was sold. One evening, innocently browsing the web, I saw her. I made the call and we setup a time to meet.

She lived in Laguna Beach and had taken good care of herself. The right age, make and model for me, and the price was negotiable. But it was the smell that got me. So unique…so inviting…a mix of brilliant perfume, homemade chocolate chip cookies and a load of freshly clean laundry. The unique smell of a Mercedes Benz. Beyond the “new car smell” it carries a sense of familiarity and warmth.

After spending some time together, I new I had to commit or risk losing out on the possibilities of our future together. I signed the paperwork proclaiming our loyalty to the State of California, and it was official. Nerves turned into excitement as we drove off into the future together.

I’m still in the honeymoon phase. I feel safe around her. My kids absolutely love just being together. I still have fun introducing her to people. I’m committed to make this work. You see, even with our short history I already see little problems and issues. Sometimes there is an annoying sound from the rear…I think it’s the brakes. A wrinkle in the bumper, lack of musical interest and she doesn’t handle the way I would expect around corners. But, I’m committed to make this work. I know how hard it can be, I know their will be awkward moments, I know she’ll let me down. The question is how will I respond. Even as the excitement fades, I know that she’ll always have that distinct smell, giving me a unique sense being with her. No new car smell can ever compete with the warmth and familiarity of a 1991 Mercedes Benz 300E. No seriously, if you don’t believe me – I’ll introduce the two of you.


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