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Wednesday, March 16, 2011


 Don't really know what to write, so I thought I'd try to start a list of the cars I've had and some of their memories.
 Way back when, when dirt was new @ 72 or 3, I had a friend with an old T'bird. It was a 1960 model with a wheezing motor and various shades of paint. The fact that it ran and the price was cheap really caught my eye. 40 dollars.
 Now back then 40 dollars was a real lot of money for a boy in high school. I had a part time job, but making that much money as a 14 yr old was a long way off. The friend said he'd hold onto to it for me. Probably like a sucker in hand is better than advertising for a loss.
 When I finally had enough money saved up for it and I told my dad what I was going to do, He wasn't all that thrilled. I gave him the money and asked him to look it over and to pay the guy while I went to work. I'd get someone to tow it home for me tomorrow.
 I guess my dad saw things my way. Or he thought this was the best car for 40 bucks. Or he thought I'd not get it running right and we could part it out and make my money back.
 When I got off work that night It was around 1 in the morning. I drove up to the drive in my moms car and there set the most beautiful car in the world.
 Mine. My very first.
 Here was my pride and joy. Needless to say, I did what every boy does with there first car. I sat in it and imagined the world going on around me as I traveled through life. Well by 2 o'clock, I had tried out the power seat, the lights, the radio and now the battery was dead.
 It was time for bed. I didn't sleep much that night.
 The battery got charged and we were gonna try to get the motor running better the following weekend. We had plenty of fuel, plenty of spark, but no compression. When I tore apart the motor, I discovered the problem. It was the rings. You could place the blade of a pocket knife between the walls and the piston rings. I was surprised it wasn't knocking. That means one thing. I needed to rebuild or replace it.
 Well short story long, we went looking for a replacement. We went to a garage behind a chrysler dealer who said he could rebuild it for around 500 dollars. But he also had a car to sell instead. For 600 dollars and my car. I was getting in deeper.
 You couldn't have been more shocked than I was when I saw his car. It also was a 1960 Thunderbird. It was just like mine except his had the sunroof. And only one paint color. It look like it came off the showroom. Ok, maybe from a used car lot. Needless to say, I was hooked.
 It took a few days to get my mom to cosign a loan. 
 I finally got my car. It ran like new. Milage wasn't much to talk about, but with 18 cent gas, you didn't complain.
 I drove that car a lot. It would hit 120 on the straight away. We'd fly down the road with the motor  screaming until it go no faster, or till the rail road tracks, where we had to hit the brakes or we would miss our turnoff. Kids. We were stupid back then. No seat belts and recklessly flying down the road.
 God must've looked after me as much as he does the drunks.
 That car is gone. Lost it when a guy ran a stop sign. He had insurance. No one was hurt.
 God is still watching out for me. Got a wife that loves me and a mother in law that needs me. Throw in 3 cats and a dog and life don't get much better.
 Well for nothing to write, I said plenty. Should I continue the auto list or just find something else?

Comments always welcomed and followers will get followed.


Susie Swanson said...

Oh I loved this it brought back so many memories. My husband and myself grew up in that era. Life was simple back then and in some ways better, for sure. I'm your latest follower and I love your blog. So my words are keep writing. Thanks for posting this, Susie Swanson

Bobby said...

Susan, This was indeed an era that has my favorite memories. No worries. Nothing that mom or dad couldn't fix. Maybe with duct tape, maybe with a hug.
Thanks for following my blog.

Ralph Goff said...

Love the car talk. I grew up in the era of big fifties and sixties sedans and muscle cars that would endlessly cruise main street in our small town on summer Sunday afternoons. Its probably part of the reason I am hooked on the sound of big rumbling American V8s. (Still driven one myself).

Orin Nusbaum said...

I'm a bit jealous of guys like you who grew up in the 60's and 70's when cool cars were cheap and plentiful. When my generation talks about their first car, an '83 Tercel.....somehow that's just nowhere near as cool as a '60 T-bird.

Ralph Goff said...

Orin, you have my sympathy. Some of the cool kids in high school here had late sixties Merc Cougars. I remember a wild ride in a 56 Studebaker. Don't laugh, it was a V8 and it would move! My earliest memories of riding in my Dad's 52 Merc when the muffler had rusted out and the rumble and roar of that Merc flathead v8 just got me hooked. Living through the days of 50 cent a gallon gas makes it all the more painful to be paying closer to $5 a gallon now.

collieguy said...

When the family sedans got serious miles on them, we took a hacksaw and cold chisel and removed all bodywork behind the doorpost and made light duty pickups out of them. Built a really solid wooden box we transferred from one to the next. Those were the days of full steel frames and leaf springs you could stack double with long shackle bolts. I have fond memories of driving the '56 to high school. Aluminum pistons, floor gear shift conversion and a really poor muffler.

Bobby said...

Ralph, You brought up some more memories I will have to write about. My uncles 55 Studebaker Champion and my Cougar. Orin don't know what he missed. We had gas wars. A whole different meaning than today.

Rusted out mufflers really were cool back then. If you got ticketed you put on a cherry bomb. I still have a v-8 in my antique Ford van. Sounds better when I call it antique. The wife calls it something else.

Orin the cars of the 60s were just "used" cars. Nothing really seemed special about them back then. I wish I had kept them all now. Hindsight is 20/20.

Collieguy, I've seen some of the trucks you refer to. Made from old Caddys and Buicks. I've put in my share of floor shifters and cams. Didn't swap pistons until I got a motorcycle. Nothing like cubic inches.

Thanks for all the comments. I'll try to make my way thru the rest of the line-up. It is a long list and I hope I remember them all.

Ralph Goff said...

Collieguy, I thought it was just a Saskatchewan oddity. Cut down cars is what we called them and they were very popular in late sixties. The fact that farm pickups could legally burn purple (tax free) gas was the incentive to convert that old family sedan into a "pickup". Some were "hammer and chisel" jobs but I saw one old Dodge that looked almost factory made. Very nice with chrome wheels and loud mufflers.
You can watch and listen to my "rumblin Olds" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUjzVWa5Zpk

Gorges Smythe said...

Dern yer hide, Bobby! I just put the finishing touches on a post I'd named "I love my truck" and then I come here and see you've already beat me to the punch with a car post! Oh well, the old saying is that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so folks will just think I really dig your writing. No harm in that I guess.