Have you ever missed a car you used to own?

Have you ever missed a car you owned after you sold it?

Matrix on the road

I miss my old blue Toyota Matrix. A lot. Above you see it shortly after I bought it, in 2009. The photo is from its first road trip, along the National Road in western Indiana.

I owned this car for nine years, the longest I’ve ever owned a car. I bought it used with about 90,000 miles on it, and I drove it another 90,000. By the time I sold it about a year and a half ago, it looked terrible. It had several scrapes and dents, and the front fascia had broken off. The paint had gone chalky, and had peeled off a large section of the hood and a little on the front bumper.


I bought a used Ford Focus in 2012 to be my primary car, but kept the Matrix. The Focus was terrific to drive, more fun than the Matrix by far. But I never bonded with it like I did this Matrix. I was always happy behind its wheel for reasons I can’t put my finger on.

Wagon Full of Sod

In the last couple years I owned the Matrix I used it like a work truck, hauling anything and everything in its capacious wayback. By the time I traded it in on my VW Passat, it looked every bit as used up as it was.

I was happy to get my new car, and it’s working out fine for me and my family. But every time I see a Matrix rolling on the road, I find myself hoping to see a for a For Sale sign in the window.

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35 responses to “Have you ever missed a car you used to own?”

  1. Stuart Templeton Avatar

    Yes indeed – I miss the old 1999 plate Vauxhall/Opel Vecta we had years ago. We bought it when it had 18,000 on the clock and did well over 100,000 miles on it and it drove like a dream. The last yearly MOT we had done on it brought up no issues – and then two weeks later it was written off in an accident – I was gutted.

    That Matrix is a cool looking car!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      We had the Opel Vectra here as the Saturn L. Happy you enjoyed yours! My Matrix was just an economy hatchback but it swallowed gobs of cargo.

      1. Stuart Templeton Avatar

        Sounds a bit like my i10 – you’d be amazed what I manage to get into the back of it.

  2. J P Avatar

    Oh my, yes. It is hard to count them. I have always tended to buy cars on emotion. Not always, and those exceptions were usually competent but were not loved then or overly missed now.

    I have been surprised at how I have come to love my Honda Fit. A 2007 we bought in late 2006, it is reaching that critical age where good cars morph into cheap heaps, but I think it has a lot of life left in it. Which is why I spend most of my energy on Monday cleaning and waxing it, pulling it back from the brink for another few months.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Everyone I know who ownes/ed an original Fit loved theirs!

      1. Dan James Avatar

        We have them over here, called a Honda Jazz. Thousands of them on the roads and they have a very good reputation. We had one for a few years and the tick plenty of boxes – small and nimble overall, but surprisingly spacious inside, and very good fuel ecomony, we got 45mpg all day long. Alas ours was written off after drifting off the road on a ridiculous icy morning a couple of years back. If you can get over the lack of street cred (most are driven by the retired generation), they’re a brilliant option.

  3. nostaligicitalian Avatar

    What I wouldn’t give to have the 1979 Caprice Classic I drove in high school!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      A large barge to be sure! Those were wildly popular though.

  4. Foreign Love Web Avatar

    I did not own these vehicles (but my parents did) which I miss driving indeed:

    2004 Chevrolet Trailblazer – I miss listening to music CDs, having plenty of space inside, relaxing, and having more room for my stuff
    1998 Nissan Altima – I also miss listening to music CDs, feeling comfortable, driving to places I would always go during my period at Thomas Nelson Community College

    Now, I have been driving my dad’s truck (? Silverado) since November 2018. It does not play CDs at all. It is nice to view and so. But, I do not feel the same about it as I do with the 2 vehicles I have mentioned above.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Our first cars often leave big imprints on us. My first two were a 1975 Ford Pinto and a 1989 Chevy Beretta and I love and miss them both.

  5. Dan Cluley Avatar
    Dan Cluley

    Yes, but…

    Every time I have gotten rid of a car I have felt bad at the time. However, for the most part I don’t really want any of them back.

    The ’77 LeSabre in High School was great but too thirsty even at $1.00 a gallon for gas.

    2 Aerostar minivans in College and after were ideal for road trips, but not what I need these days.

    The ’74 Dart was an interesting experiment, but taught me that I can’t keep up with 2 old cars at once, and that vintage economy cars are a little too Spartan for my liking.

    Most recent were ’95 & ’96 Olds 98s. Those are the ones I’d still like to have. Unfortunately rust has gotten to most of them these days, so I jumped ahead a decade and am back in another LeSabre.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve gotten rid of a few cars that I was not at all sad to see go. My Mercury Sable wagon and my Toyota Sienna minivan, especially. I’m sentimental but by the time I’m ready for a new car I’m very ready and not sad to see the old car go!

  6. DougD Avatar

    Yessir, my brother is still using a pair of Pontiac Vibes and loves them. One is AWD and quite handy during the winter as he is pastor in a rural church.

    We replaced both our 2001 Focus and 2007 Caravan in the past two years, and in both cases have not bonded as well with the replacement vehicles.

    I still occasionally miss my 1962 TR4, I never did get it on the road but unlike my teenage self I now have the means to do the job properly. Probably just as well though :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The VW I bought is a fine car. It has its quirks, and not all of them are endearing, but so it goes with every car I’ve owned. It’s just a very different kind of car than I’ve ever owned, and one I’m unlikely to ever truly bond with. I never had that teenage project car to bond with!

  7. JoHawkTheWriter Avatar

    I have only owned 4 cars. I really miss the Mustang I drove for 15 years. But I really love my current car an 05 Crossfire. I just had some work done on her so with some luck she will be around a few more years. The other two cars… meh.

  8. Andy Karlson Avatar
    Andy Karlson

    We’ve been very happy with our series of Pontiac Vibes. On the one hand, I wish they still made them; on the other, we’re at the upper limit of being able to fit all three kids in the back, so a minivan looms large in our future.

    I love the photo of the rolls of sod in the back! The carrying capacity of these cars is astonishing; my wife is a garden educator at a middle school and our Vibe has a dual life as a covered pickup truck.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s absolutely how I used my Matrix toward the end, as a small work van.

      These things really do carry an amazing amount of stuff! They’re like a portal into the fourth dimension. I moved a dining room table and six chairs in my previous Matrix. (I’ve owned two.)

  9. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I have two, my first car….a 1969 Camaro I had in high school. Man do I wish I had that car today! And a 2006 GMC Sierra extended cab pickup I sold in 2011. I lifted the GMC a bit and added some beefy tires and chrome wheels. It wasn’t a practical commuter vehicle and I got something more gas friendly. Miss that truck.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ll bet you miss that Camaro! What fun it would be to have one now. I can well imagine that a lifted truck isn’t practical for day to day driving.

  10. tbm3fan Avatar

    Discounting company cars that I used between 1972-77, of which there were four, I have actually owned 11 cars. I sold the 80 Civic due to engine issues after 6 years. The 86 Mazda reached the end of it’s life in 2006 at 375,000 miles. I do miss that car. The other 9 cars I still own to this day so I can’t really say I miss a car that I sold since I don’t really sell any. As you know that includes my first car, when 16 in 1969, the 1968 Mercury Cougar. I don’t see me selling any of these 9 cars in the next 20 years. More likely never buying a new car again in my life.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      9 cars! Holy cow!

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        My wife’s car was not in the count of 9…LOL

    2. Dan James Avatar

      Doesn’t it cost a fortune to insure, maintain and tax nine cars?? It’s expensive enough to just keep one on the road!

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        Five are under classic insurance for a total of $300/yr. Two older drivers are at $700/yr. One is non-op in the garage getting engine work. The two daily drivers are the most at $1700/yr because one is new and the other 15 years old. Registration in California runs to $1500/yr total. I do all the maintenance work on each and every car as evidenced on Curbside Classics. Upside is only one has a car payment, it will be over in another 3 years, and it will be the last car payment in my lifetime.

        1. Dan James Avatar

          I’ve recently had a few issues with my (certainly not classic) car and we (my wife and I) have been (re)considering whether we could cope with one car, not too. Not least of all because of the cost of having a car even if it never leaves your driveway. So reading about your collection was quite a contrast!

          You often read of classic car enthusiasts buying classic cars (my dad was quite a collector over his lifetime) but it’s unusual to hear of someone who accumulates classics simply by never selling any car he buys and waiting for it to become a classic, which if I’m understanding correctly is what you’ve done.

        2. tbm3fan Avatar

          Being a classic or collectible never figured into my thinking. Saved my first car because I just knew I would be talking about it when older. Obtained the Mustang because that was what I wanted when 16. The other three I bought simply because I liked them. Once I put my heart and soul into restoration then they will not be sold. Another car, 1991, was donated to me by a friend as he knew I loved that generation car. The last car acquired was my father’s last car after he passed away in February. With hardly any miles and being his last and one of few he ever bought I am mentally not prepared to let go of the car. So much of what I have boils down to happenstance for those seven.

  11. Kevin Avatar

    Wish I still had the ’84 Jeep CJ-7 that I had in high school. Prices on the original CJ series over the last few years have gone sky-high.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Those were still the AMC years, right? That would be a fun vehicle to still have, for sure.

      1. Kevin Avatar

        That’s right, switched over to Chrysler ownership in ’86 (right around the time the last of the CJ series rolled off the line).

  12. Dan James Avatar

    Not sure I’ve ever missed a car, but I did have a soft spot for a 1992 Honda CRX I had around 2006. It had the full electric roof, which in action looked somewhere between James Bond and Thunderbirds. Incredible engine – a 1.6VTi – that was both very quick and managed close to 50mpg. Oh it handled like a roller skate too.

    Being a two seater, practicality became an issue with kids so it was replaced by a far more functional and less fun VW Polo…

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      If I ever owned a ’92 CRX, I’d still miss it too.

      We all have to drive the less-fun cars eventually. Mine was a giant Toyota minivan.


      1. Dan James Avatar

        Actually I really like these kind of cars! We have a VW Touran, which is seven seats and still quite small overall (but big inside) but we did look at the larger nine seat Sharan which is similar in size to your old Toyota. I love the vantage point and comfort of these cars, even if the street cred is low and it screams “family taxi”!

        Goodness that Sable is an ugly car, I don’t think I could have brought myself to even sit in it, ha ha!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          My minivan sure was useful for the family, but I drove it alone 80% of the time and that was just a waste! I wish I could have afforded a fun small commuter car to bomb around in, and save the van for family trips.

          The Sable was an acquired taste, to be sure. I liked driving it, it had lots of power.

  13. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I had a ’70s Volvo 240 wagon that I bought very used in the mid ’90s. It was already tired in appearance, with around 1/4 million kilometers on the clock, and the fuel pump would whine on a hot day with less than a quarter tank of gas. It was a second car, to be used when utility and space was important, not for going to church…..somehow that old thing just fitted like an old pair of shoes. It was reliable, and over the next ten years I put about another 1/4 million on it, until eventually it seemed wise to give it to my mechanic for spare parts. Never did change the fuel pump….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Those 240s were great. So hard to kill! I always wanted one as a wagon.

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