It’s well known that Texans love their cars and pickups; the bigger the better. I grew up longing for a first chance to sit behind the wheel of one of those powerful machines and experience the freedom it offered. I believed a car would open magical doors to new experiences for me. Simply put, I was right!
I grew up in a hard-working Chevy loving family. Every one or two years a new Bel-Air, Caprice, or Impala would show up in our driveway and the adventures would begin. The first thing those cars did for us was to carry us on a three week driving vacation. Believe me, drive we did! Most days of those three weeks we were on the road 300 to 500 miles each. All that we needed with us easily fit into the massive trunk of those cars. The roomy interior offered plenty of leg room, or in my case, room to stretch out on that comfy back seat while the smooth ride lulled me to sleep. Over the years those cars took us comfortably, safely, and reliably to 48 states, District of Columbia , Canada and Mexico .
A Chevy in some incarnation fills my memories of growing up in a small town while the world slowly chugged along. There was one that my sister drove onto the school football field so plenty of room was available for my herky-jerky stops and starts while learning to drive a standard shift transmission. A Chevy was my carriage to swimming lessons, to drive-in movies, to visit relatives, to shop, and for my first date.
As an adult I’ve owned several of those vehicles. I’d like to say they were all perfect, but they weren’t. Along the way, I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone and driven other car makes. Those have ranged from an out-and-out lemon to acceptable cars. Some ran well, some didn’t. Some were comfortable, some weren’t. In a few, safety was questionable at best.
In 2001 I bought a dealer demo Chevrolet Impala with 5,000 miles on it. Dealer demos get all types of drivers under the wheel, and often are pushed to mechanical extremes. Before buying, I gave that fact much thought and weighed it against the cars from my past experiences. That buy provided me with the best car I’ve ever owned.
This Impala has everything I need and love in a car. The seating is spacious and comfortable. The trunk is large enough to move tremendous amounts of whatever I need. The sound system is superb. The handling ease and turning ratio for a car its size is almost sports car tight. The engine and transmission have been all but minor problem free. Gas mileage, as to be expected in a large and powerful car, is acceptable, but not the best on the road. I gladly trade that fact though for all its other pluses. Most importantly, is the safety it offers. I feel secure in driving wherever I want and having my family ride safely within.