My first car was a 1964 VW Beetle that had been rather amateurishly hacked into a "Baja" dune buggy by some former owner. I used to see it sitting on a side street near our house and thought it was so cool, so when a "for sale" sign popped up in in it's window, I jumped at it. realistically, it was a beat-to-death wreck, and my father told me that it was a waste of money at $300 when we went to look at it together--but I just had to have it so I bought it...and promptly wound up putting $450 more into a new front end.
But it was mine, so I loved it in spite of it's faults. And I treated it nicer than I'd been treating my father's much more expensive cars to date, because this one...it was mine.
(Sorry about blowing the engine on your Skylark, Pop...and cracking up your Aries...and putting your Bonneville into that pond. But honestly, it wasn't until I got my own car I learned to appreciate and take care of automobiles.)
Anyway, this bug was my car, with it's white paint job that had been done by someone with a brush, and it's rabbit fur interior. (PETA folks, worry not...it was fake rabbit fur. Real rabbits aren't big enough to make a Bettle headliner out of.) It also sported a wicker pair of yellow fuzzy dice that just made the car complete.
It had a 4-speed transmission, but third gear never worked, so you just had to drive the RPM's up and jump from second to fourth. But it worked and it worked well considering.
Now the rest of the car...not so much. For one, none of the gauges had any glass on them, and one time, our neighbor's little
Eventually the 1600cc motor that was in the car gave out, so, being a dumbass kid with money, I bought a 2150cc racing engine and we installed that in the bug. Twin Webber carbs and an oil cooler that mounted on the roof reall gave it a bit more performance, to the point where it would beat much more expensive muscle cars off the line, which was funny because it looked like total hell but would lift it's front wheels off the ground on take-off. Man, I had that little deathtrap well up into the triple-digits speed-wise many times just running it up and down the highway late at light and it's a wonder that I'm still alive, because that thing was literally held together with baling wire and duct tape. And it had a straight-pipe exhaust with nothing but a spark arrestor on it so you could hear this car coming blocks away. Yeah, my parents' neighbors were loving me, let me tell you.
But that new engine was nothing but trouble, as it was really a racing engine, and keeping the carbs synced and doing the other fine-tuning needed to keep it running right got to be a pain, as did dealing with ice on the intake manifolds every time it got much below 50 degrees out. Still, it was my car and I loved it, no matter how many times it wound up getting towed to some garage, usually behind my father's car on the end of a tow rope with me sitting behind it's steering wheel to brake. (Hey, tow trucks cost money that I'd rather spend on Volkswagen bling!) I finally got rid of it after one demonstration of speed ended badly with the hood latches popping loose and the hood flying up and smashing my windshield, causing me to go off the road and mess up the front end again big time. So I sold it, basically as an engine with the remains of a dune buggy included.
And looking back, if just I'd taken the thousands of dollars that I put into that car for repairs, body work and flashy JC Whitney stuff and put it into the bank instead... sigh.
But it was mine, and I loved it.