An Ode To Ms. Honda – My First Car

My First Car is a new series of stories from the members and friends of the Aceable team highlighting the fond memories of their first rides… even if those experiences weren’t exactly ideal at the time.

“My First Car” story involves some freedom and pillar-of-smoke entrances. Ahh, Ms. Honda. She was quite the car.

My name is Josh, and I’m a content writer at Aceable. If you’re an Acelet, you’ve probably read one of my “bridge diet sign” jokes in the Aceable course. Before I spent my days deciding which meme best compliments a stop sign lesson, I was a 16-year-old kid living in Sarasota, Florida who wanted to be the next Reggie Miller. And to become like Miller Time, you had to put in work at the local blacktop.

At first, that meant driving mom’s Dodge Caravan around. It had plenty of space to fit the squad and it was mobile; it took me places. The Caravan did not, however, earn me many cool points and was only available when not in use by my dear mother.

aceable my first car honda prelude josh hostetler
dang josh…. back at it again with the white van

Inspirational Side Note: Can I make an embarrassing confession for someone who creates drivers ed courses? I failed my driving test twice. I was a) so freaking nervous and b) that bulky Caravan wasn’t so easy to maneuver around cones. So if you fail your driving test, take heart. You too can pass your driving test, become a safe driver, and then create courses that help others become Aceable drivers.

Then came my first car, a ’91 Honda Prelude. Ms. Honda and I had a rollercoaster relationship, filled with the typical highs and lows of your first car relationship, but she did have some redeeming qualities. Her sunroof was perfect for pretending I was driving a bougie convertible and her radio gave access to the latest hits being played on Tampa’s “Wild FM” 98.7 (now 94.1). She drove low to the ground, which made me feel nimble and agile out on the road. Plus, she had a manual transmission, which meant I had got to learn how to drive stick. Luckily, I learned stick shift on those flat Florida roads, so the stalling out was at a minimum.

And she wasn’t a horrible-looking car.  I mean, she looks pretty good in this #tbt photo.

first car aceable josh hostetler
Ms. Honda and I keepin’ it ?

With Ms. Honda, I could pick up my friends and drive over to Colonial Oaks Park so we could hold down court. Or maybe we would go to Hollywood 20 to watch the latest blockbuster instead. The point is, that with Ms. Honda, I could go places and so could my friends. It was wonderfully liberating.

She wasn’t perfect though. Her front windshield showcased a poor attempt at a window tint job as the previous owner had either did it themselves or asked their “tint guy” for the “air bubble tint special.” A look out my windshield revealed a half sunny, half cloudy day.

There were other issues too. You might make the assumption that getting driven to school by your high school brother is a boastful experience for a middle school kid. This was not the case for my little brother. You see, pretty soon after getting her, the Prelude’s radiator get a big leak. The cost for fixing the radiator was close to the car’s actual Kelly Blue Book value, so that wasn’t happening. The broken radiator turned rides longer than ten minutes into smoke-filled finales. There’s nothing brag-worthy about being driven to school by your older brother when your parking lot entrance is accompanied by a pillar of smoke rushing out of your car’s hood. I guess you could say that our entrances were noteworthy, and by the end of the Prelude’s time in the Hostetler household, my arrivals were renown.

my first car josh hostetler
looks like the Hostetler boys made first period

Looking back, I have fond memories of my first car. She felt a little like independence, a little like growing up. She taught me not to tie my self-worth to my vehicle and the value of buying a car for its dependability, not for its looks. (I saved up and bought a dependable Nissan Altima sedan next).

I’m currently carless and get around Austin with my bicycle, so there are days (esp. the rainy and hot ones) that I miss Ms. Honda. Yes, I’d take back my first car, even with her bad smoking habit.