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We Are What We Drive: The Year's Most Interesting Cars
From the Wall Street Journal of Wed, 24 Dec 2014 00:15:27 EST

You can learn a lot about a person by examining an object they hold dear. Which raises a question: How do people end up with a passion for a specific automobile?

The full range of love affairs between drivers and cars is on display each week in the WSJ’s My Ride column, which profiles people who own interesting vehicles—most of them older automobiles. The column features online photo galleries that explore these machines and their owners’ passion for them.

Clearly, some choose their beloved cars for strictly economic reasons. Aleksandar Joksic—a pizza delivery man in Barrow, Alaska, where polar bears sometimes roam the streets and gas can cost $6 a gallon—chose a used 2009 Hyundai because of its fuel economy and reliability. Mr. Joksic appeared in My Ride in March, and his Hyundai is still running.

“It hasn’t had any problems,” he said via phone from Barrow, where it was minus-30 degrees. “It’s still pretty good, and runs every single day.”

Others profess a nostalgia for specific old cars that borders on the obsessive. “It’s a psychological phenomenon,” said Joe Bortz, an Illinois-based collector of vintage concept cars. “An old car is like a time machine. You get in the car, and you can experience a time warp to a time that feels better than the present.”

One theme that continues to surface in the column is love. An automobile can be an emblem not just of a passion for the car itself, but for another person.

Kathleen Seymour of Auburn, Calif., appeared in the column in September with her 1957 Chevrolet that was a gift from her husband. The license plate reads “57 4 KS,” a nod to her initials.

“Every time I look at the license plate, it warms my heart to know that he did this for me,” said Ms. Seymour. And her car is still running fine? “Oh yeah! Perfect.”

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