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Globe writer giving away beloved car for free, but it has to go to a good home

Today may be your lucky day.

You see, I'm finally saying goodbye to my 1999 Toyota Camry XLE V-6. This model usually goes for between $1,600 and $2,800. But I'm not interested in money. I'm one of those car people who develop affection for their automobiles. We associate our cars with fond memories and feel a sense of gratitude for the service they've given and the places they've taken us.

In photos: Toyota Camry being given away for free

I'm looking for a kindred spirit, someone who will care for the Camry and keep it running for another 100,000 kilometres. That means a car lover who is a) good at fixing up cars b) related to someone who's good at fixing up cars c) romantically involved with someone who's good at fixing up cars or d) willing to give money to someone who's good at fixing cars. That person can't fix it and flip. Whoever I give the Camry to should be looking for a committed relationship.

Saying farewell can be tough. On a cold January morning in 1995, I sold my beloved 1982 Volkswagen Rabbit for scrap. I still regret it. I've decided that won't happen to the Camry.

We have a history and I intend to honour it. It was purchased in 2004 to replace the 1990 Dodge Spirit I'd inherited. We needed something better and, frankly, something less depressingly downtrodden. We'd just had a new baby and no one wants to drive his kid around in a beat-up Dodge Spirit that screams Ironweed.

Contributor Andrew Clark is giving away his 1999 Toyota Camry for free. He wants it to go to a good home so we are having a contest to pick a winner. We'll have more details on how to apply tomorrow

Posted by Globe Drive on Wednesday, June 3, 2015

The Camry was fun, but soon became obsolete. A large, even more unhip automobile was required to match the size of the growing family. Enter the Dodge Grand Caravan ("the anti-Porsche"). Somehow the Camry (which we'd paid off) became our "cool" ride and our kids took to calling it the "sports car," probably because it was smaller than the minivan and because they knew nothing about cars. Yet, to be fair, the Camry was the car you chose when you were sans enfants, or at least in possession of only one. It was the car used when doing grown-up errands or going out for "date night" dinners.

Since 2013, however, we've used it less and less. It's easier to get around the city by bike and public transit (or so I'm told). But just because you aren't using a car as much doesn't mean you don't have to keep it up. There are the tune-ups, environmental tests and other sundry expenses and they've finally become too much. In April, after a tire went flat simply as a result of being parked, I knew it was time to set the "sports car" free.

Like a loyal pet, my Camry needs a good home. I hate the notion of it going to someone who won't treat it the way it deserves. Think of it as a "rescue car." Some will find this sentiment disturbing. It's a machine, they'll say – you might as well get misty-eyed over a table lamp.

To which I reply: "Fine. Don't take my free car."

1999 Toyota Camry XLE V-6

Colour: Black

Mileage: 198,000 kilometres

Features:

Still has four doors
Has rust mark in the shape of Australia on front passenger door
No iPod hook-up – hope you kept your CDs
Broken key in trunk lock
Small dent on right side
1990s-style ash tray

Needs: New tires, catalytic converters and probably a lot of other stuff

Price: Free. Car is not certified

CONTEST RULES

If you'd like to be the new owner, all you have to do is submit your story for a chance to win. Either in a short video, a Facebook post, tweets or an e-mail, tell us who you are, why you're a responsible driver and why you'd be a good owner

Video: Upload to YouTube or Facebook and send the link to GlobeDrive@GlobeandMail.com
Twitter: Tweet @GlobeDrive
E-mail: Send your story to GlobeDrive@GlobeandMail.com

Entry deadline: June 12.

Judging: The best entries will be posted online and Globe Drive readers can vote for the person they believe should receive the car. I'll interview the top three finalists in person. A winner will be chosen and the car handed over there and then. The winner may not turn around and sell or scrap the Camry

One last thing: I will be requesting annual visitation rights

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