WHEN I first started my job as an architect in the 1960s, I was on a three-year contract with a monthly salary of RM628. I bought my first car, a Peugeot which cost RM7,724, equivalent to approximately one year of my salary. The car became my reliable companion for 14 years. Those were the good old days, when a car could be bought with just one year of a fresh graduate’s salary.