Monday, March 15, 2010

Childhood Automobiles

Personally I don't care a lot about the car I drive, only that it isn't butt-ugly [think Citron or Studebaker] and doesn't break down on me. And I've been pretty lucky on both those points with a couple of exceptions. Here's the cars that were part of my life before I got married. Will cover the others later.

Chrysler? green. This car [see below] is one of my vague early memories. Perhaps this is the same car Dad called a Plymouth Deluxe which he bought new for $1800 in 1950. Am not sure except that car was green. Looking at this Plymouth Deluxe I saw on the internet, I would say yes, that's the car.  Only not purple and am pretty sure it did not have whitewall tires.

1956 Buick Super, gray, with those holes in the front side panels. Holes in the front side panels seems like a strange choice of decor. Dad said driving this was like driving a truck. This car could drive off a cliff and land unscathed, it was that massive. Here it is in all its bigness:

1957 Cadillac, blue. Dad bought it used for $800. It was similar to the above photo but the blue was lighter.

1961 Buick Special station wagon we bought brand new for $2500. It was white with red interior. Dad drove us from California to New York and back again in this car in 1962. No seat-belts!  The kids horsed around in the 'way back' which was cold red metal. I learned to drive in this car in 1970 and later ruined the transmission by putting it in park before it was completely stopped. Picture this in white with all 6 of us squished in it:

1962 Pontiac Tempest, creamy yellowish; bought from a VP at Lockheed where Dad worked. It was so sluggish which was annoying and possibly unsafe. Dave used to yell to Mom while she was driving, "look out, you're gonna hit that car/ person/ fire hydrant/ curb/ etc.!" [couldn't find good photo]

1964 Chevy Impala, originally gray until we painted it a sicky blue; a sea-worthy land yacht. I got hit in this car about 1971 and it hardly made a dent. To be fair I have to confess that the car was at a standstill at that moment, but was hit by someone going about 40 mph. We bought it from our friend Bob Price.

1964 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, light blue, bought from our friends the McCollums (Neil and Pat) who always had way nicer cars than we did. The photo below is that car parked at Mt. Pinos with me at the wheel, but don't worry I wasn't driving at age 14. I was recuperating from a nasty toboggan accident that occurred an hour before.


1967 Dodge Dart sedan, dark green. My favorite car because it was the closest to "cool" that we ever owned. It drove well and was responsive. It had a bad habit of getting a stuck choke so I figured out how to remove the lid to the carburetor, stick a pencil in the choke, start the engine, remove pencil, replace lid, close hood, drive away.  It helped to not be in a hurry to go anywhere. Picture this car a deep forest green:

1972 Buick Skylark light creamy tan-yellow. Bought brand new in the San Fernando Valley (from Walter Ruff dealership?) for $3900. Driving home from the dealer it balked going over Newhall Pass and we found it had a crimp in the gas line. We had a devil of a time the next day getting it back up over Newhall Pass so the dealer could repair it. This car was the most "luxurious" we ever owned.

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