Do you remember your first car? Sure you do! How could you forget her? It was either a good experience or a bad experience. But, for most of us, either way, it was a life altering experience. I remember my first car like it was yesterday. I also remember the car that I really wanted, because my oldest sister owned it. My sister Terry, who got her license in 1973, and was awarded a 1969 copper colored Mustang convertible with white leather bucket seats. It was one sweet car. Even as a girl, I was impressed with that car’s epic coolness. As it turned out, my sister was an alcoholic from an early age and she would get drunk and hit parked cars every weekend. My Dad would get up early on Sunday mornings and go around town paying off the damages so it wouldn’t go on his insurance.
So, when I turned 16, he opted for the “starter car.” You know, something that could take a “hit” or two. Something I would perhaps survive a wreck in and something that wouldn’t cost much to fix…oh, like it ever got fixed. She was a gold four-door Delta 88 Oldsmobile. One word can describe that car…HIDEOUS! It was so rusted out around the skirt of the car from the winter salt on the roads that you needed a tetanus shot just to drive it. My dad paid a whopping $60.00 for it. The interior smelled like an old bum’s bum. And, of course, I nicknamed that car right away (girls always do), and called her “The Embarrassment.” I was so embarrassed to be seen driving the car, that I hardly ever drove it. Although, when I was finished with her, before she went to the junk yard, she was all smashed in on all four sides. She was more compact and easier to parallel park that way…like a Mini Cooper.
In hindsight, my dad was a brilliant man. If I would have gotten the car I really wanted, I probably wouldn’t be alive today to tell this story. Here are a few other stories from other folks about their first car…
- My first car was obtained from trading a hog. It was a Buick Skylark, 1960 something. The owner had a habit of spitting tobacco juice out the window, with a lot of it ending up on the inside roof of the car. The back seat had been taken out to haul…you guessed it…HOGS. It was a true embarrassment to drive.
- 1969 Mustang. After about six months the brakes went, “completely” out. I had no brakes what so ever. This worked just fine for a while until I ran the car through the front window of our local general store. So there I was literally setting inside the guys store, in my car. When I got stopped I was setting even with the checkout counter. Jim, the store owner, looked down at me and asked, without expression, “what can I get you Mike”.
- When we turned 16 years old, our shop teacher sold us his old Rambler for $30. Six of us put in $5.00 each and we had 6 keys made. We left the car at one kid’s house and all six of us would drive it.
- A white ’95 Buick Skylark. I bought for $500. The horn didn’t work. Eventually the reverse gear went out, so when I went to work, I had to park in the back parking lot because it was on a slight incline. I would put the car in neutral, stick my foot out the door and “Flintstone it” backwards. Good stuff.
- 1969 VW Bug. When you wanted to be warm you’d have to turn on “The Heater”. The heat actually came off of the engine, so you always could get a little buzzed off of the fumes.
- 1974 Ford Pinto hatchback… the exploding model. One good thing about it, nobody tailgated me! I once fit nine girls in it. I replaced EVERY part of that car (except the radiator) at least once. I owned it for eleven years. In college I would leave it on the street with the windows open and the keys in the ignition. No one even would steal it.
- 1968 Toyota Corolla. It had several hundred thousand miles on it, blew the motor then traded it for a bag.
- 1966 Chevy Chevelle Super Sport. Which would have been really cool had it not been the year 1991! This car had so much Bondo holding the body together that if I left it in the sun for too long I could go out and reshape the fenders after it melted.
- ’79 Pinto. I bought it for $75. I sold it to a junkyard. They said they would give me $50 if It ran. It stalled on the way there and would not restart. Fortunately, I was nearly there and it was all downhill. I coasted it in, and the guy commented on how quiet it was and said “Well, at least we know the muffler must be good.”
- 1958 pee-yellow Ford Anglia. Top speed: 45 mph. I bought it for $20. If you put the key in the ignition, it would set the dashboard on fire. My buddy showed me how if you put a beer in the glove box, it would start (there was some wire that would make contact with the frame & fire it up). I customized it by bolting a bottle opener to the outside of the driver’s door, so you could stick your arm out and crack a beer. Some cop saw that and he followed me home and made me tell my mom, who freaked. I sold the car to another buddy for $20.-
- A BROWN 1978 Chevy Monza. I built/installed a 454 with a Supercharger. The Monza became known as the the “Flying Turd.”
- 1980 Ford Escort. The horn worked by pushing the turn signal. The first time I turned on the heat a baby mouse came out the vent. When I popped open the hatchback it flew off. The hole in floor was covered by a speed limit sign.
- 1966 Ambassador. I also rearranged the ambassador letters on the trunk to read “Bad Ass”
- A faded red/rusted 1984 Plymouth Reliant Wagon. It wouldn’t haul ass… or get it.
- A beautiful ’67 Mercury Cougar, my wife hated it so she sold it for $500 while I was in the Navy, I got even, I had her 1958 Pontiac Chieftan crushed.
Until next week…”Chin up…you’re not going to have to drive it forever ” (words spoken by my dad, Bobby Thompson, around June of 1976).