I have always been fascinated by cars. All of them. It never made any difference what condition they were in, as long as they were mine.
My first car was a 1933 Chevrolet sedan. I was sixteen. The car was twenty two. I bought it for $35. She was a beauty. Curtains on the side windows and everything. Her only problem was, she wouldn’t start. The day I bought her, she was already running. I jumped in and, without benefit of plates, registration, or insurance, drove her home down a bridal path restricted from motor vehicles, and parked her in a field owned by a local policeman. See what I mean by being fascinated. Maybe obsessed is a better word. No obstacle to big, etc. etc. After school, a couple of my friends and I would go down and push the car to one end of the field where there was a little incline. I would then jump in while they went around to the front and pushed it backward until I popped the clutch and most of the time, it would start. Then everyone would climb in and we would go for a couple of spins around the block. However, it didn’t last long because of a life altering experience. My father found out. So I had to sell it. No one wanted the car, but I found a mechanic that said he would buy the big chrome headlights. So I junked the car and sold the headlights, for….yup, $35.
After that, while in the military, I bought a 1946 Pontiac. I owned it for about a year and sold it after I only had second and third gears left. First and reverse were just history. Turns out that the linkages had just come loose and the guy that bought it fixed it in about ten minutes. Oh well.
Next I owned a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria, which to this day was probably my favorite car. The previous owner had done a lot of body work on it. It had been totally de-chromed, including the door handles and trunk release. Everything opened with solenoids. It had also been lowered and was painted with several coats of metallic green. It served me well until the day I was driving from my air base in Maine down to Massachusetts where my wife to be and I were going to apply for a marriage license. It left me in Augusta when the engine froze up, never to run again. I couldn’t afford a new engine, so I had to sell her as is and thumb the rest of the way home.
Over the years, I have owned many cars, each with it’s own prob…make that idiosyncrasies. I had one that I came to believe had a rear window defroster only so my hands would be warm when I was pushing it. An old Chevy Power Glide was the slowest I ever had. Zero to fifty in an hour and twenty seven minutes, only slightly improved going downhill. But by far, the worst (yes, even worse then the 33 Chevy) was an old Hudson Jet. The floorboards on the front passenger side were rusted through so you could watch the street go by. It had so many loose parts I was always afraid I’d get stopped for littering. The dome light and fabric had come loose from the roof and rattled all the time so I propped it up with a well placed mop handle and the problem was solved. And, if you took a sharp left turn, the right rear passenger side door would frequently swing open, but a quick flick of the wheel to the right would close it again. Piece of cake. I remember driving back to base one cold winter night. It was snowing and I was in the Haynesville woods, a forty mile desolate stretch of nothing but trees when the drivers side window collapsed into the door frame. I got out my duffle bag and put on every piece of clothing I owned and drove the rest of the night that way. Yup, obsessed.
I have only owned one ‘new’ car in my life. All the others have been “previously owned”, but at least as my years have increased, theirs have decreased. However, there is nothing particularly memorable about any of them other then being a lot more comfortable and dependable.. None of them will ever measure up to the adventure that the old ones provided.