I was cleaning out my armoire when I ran across the key for the first car I ever loved. It wasn't my first car, mind you. I parked that '85 Buick Electra wagon in a cedar tree not one month after passing my driving test.
The car that made me love to drive was a 1985 Honda Prelude. I was the third owner and it already had over 200,000 miles on the odometer. I added many thousand more before it died on Hancock Street just as I finished parking one vernal afternoon in 2002. The '85s used some one-off dual carburetor jobbie, so there was no fixing it.
Even though it was nearly as old as me, that Prelude had tight suspension and steering that made me aware of the road. It wasn't a supercar, but it was quick. Putting my friends in the back seats was pretty close to abuse, but the driver's seat was comfortable on long trips with all important controls in easy reach.
And it was the first car to don the proud PLOAF license plates. Those plates were strange enough around campus that I even overheard a classmate talking about them. I had a very Seinfeld-esque “You’re the Ploaf guy!” moment when I revealed it was my car.
For a brief time after graduation I considered getting another one but practicality won. I still miss the ol' beast, but PLOAF has graced both ends of my Jetta for ten years.