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What was your first car? What happened to it?



  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,440
    You guys had it good with your '69 and '70 Volvos. Volvo actually enlarged the engine in '69 so that it had more power (OK, not much) and more torque. My father, at one point, owned a '68 144S automatic. That thing had to be driven to be believed. You could get a good approximation of its 0-60 time using a clock with no second hand.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    I can appreciate that one! I was always tempted t measure it with an hourglass....
  • JostJost northeastPosts: 19
    Mine was a 1963 Dodge 440 , 4 dr. sed. It had a slant 6 (225c.i.) and a 3 spd. tourqeflite automatic with pushbuttons on the dash. It was cream with a dark brown stripe between the chrome strips. It had over 100,000 miles on it which was a lot in those days. I used to shift it mannualy, hitting the neutral button between first and second, flooring it and trying in vain to chirp the rear tire between gears. It had rust all over... and with the way I beat on it,, it did not last very long, needless to say the trans. was the first to fail. I ended up paying a junk yard $50. to take it, noone would buy a rusted out slant 6 Dodge with a blown tranny!!!!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    Oooo, just wait until andre reads this! He would love to discuss Chryslers with slant sixes with you, I'm sure. :-)

    My first car ended up going to the junk yard too - it was 16 years old and had a quarter million miles or so at that point. They don't make Corollas like that one any more, although they still do a pretty good job. ;-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • michaellnomichaellno Posts: 4,300
    At least, the one that I bought with my own money, was a '79 Pontiac Sunbird coupe (or, cou-pay as they say on "Top Gear"). Beige with beige vinyl interior. 2.5L 4-cylinder - the infamous "Iron Duke" engine) coupled to a 4-speed manual transmission. No air, no tach, but I think it had an AM/FM radio.

    Bought in the spring of '82 just before I graduated HS. Paid $3850 for it. It had less than 12K on it (an elderly couple were the original owners). I added the following "accessories" to it:

    -> white fog (or were they driving?) lights
    -> yellow fog lights
    -> AM/FM Cassette w/ two box speakers - the rear shelf wasn't deep enough to allow for regular 6x9 or 5" installed speakers
    -> aftermarket sunroof - my cousin and I did the installation - cutting a hole in the roof was a bit scary

    Yes, I probably went overboard on the lights. They were wired independently, so I could turn them all on (with the high beams) at the same time. Got me into a spot of trouble with the cops on more than one occasion.

    That car almost got me through college. I moved to Phoenix from SoCal in February of '83 - no a/c and vinyl seats were fine for cool California (I grew up close to the ocean), but not so good once the weather warmed up in Arizona. I looked into factory air, but that was going to cost over $700, so I convinced my parents to shell out $250 for a pair of real sheepskin seat covers. With the windows down and the sunroof open, it was tolerable in 110 degree heat.

    Whilst living in Phoenix, I was involved in two accidents. First one was not my fault - a lady made a left in front of me and I T-boned her. The cosmetic repairs were fine, but the car never did run right afterwards. It had problems starting in hot weather and shifting became a problem - it wouldn't always find reverse. Took it into the shop multiple times - some of the issues I remember were a busted heater core and some broken motor mounts - but nobody was able to fix it and I was never really able to rely on it.

    One morning about 3 months before graduation (summer of '85), I was on my way to a different repair shop to have the transmission looked at (again) and, while looking over my left shoulder to change lanes, the car in front of me slowed down to turn right into a driveway. I rear-ended the car (some sort of 70's battlecruiser) at about 20-30 MPH. My car went off on a hook, while the car I hit may have had a dent in the bumper.

    The insurance company decided to total my car out. I remember getting about $2000 for it.

    It wasn't fast, it wasn't sporty - heck, it wasn't even all that reliable towards the end of its life - but it was MINE!
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Posts: 3,352
    It came with 216 c.i., 3 on the tree, suicide doors, 6:00 X 16' wide whitewall tires, body by Fisher, chrome bumpers, seated 6 , running boards, and faster than a pregnant Nun going to confession.

    '39 Chevrolet Master DeLuxe 4 Door
  • JostJost northeastPosts: 19
    That brought a smile to my brother had a '70 Dodge Dart ( Swinger I think) with 3 on the tree. I was working in a gas station at the time and remember a Mercedes with 4 on the a 16 year old whose only foreign car experience was ogling series 1 XK-E's and Triumph, MG, Porche's of the day that was a confusing car to drive!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    Oh, in high school I had a Mercedes with a four on the tree! A 54 300. Loved that thing. My dad traded a $250 dishwasher for it.
  • JostJost northeastPosts: 19
    Wow, what a car that was for school. Certainly was rare at the time! anytime! Which 300 was it? I bet you had some great reaction in high school with a car like that!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    That was an Adenauer then yes? Like this?

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    That was what it looked like all right - though in no where near that condition as you could guess from the price tag. Dad bought it in November of 1968 and we had it until late 1972. He regretted letting it go almost from the minute he did it and for a good 35 year thereafter.....

    The plate says is all - 1945 300B.

    The wood was all alligatored and we stripped it and refinished it. Patched a few rips in the leather with instructions and some patches from a local shoe repair place. It didn't have a working dash until someone turned one up in a junkyard and that one was metric! We certainly had a fan club for that car back then. Great stuff.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    That's a heck of a first car, even if it was a bit of a beater when you got it. Those cars look very nice, but they cost an astronomical amount of money to restore, so unless your dad was either willing to sink a fortune into it or keep it scruffy, he didn't lose too much. A really nice one is worth maybe 30-40K today, with restoration costs double that if done properly.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    Oh, yeah. I have a brother who spouts the same things dad did about how we should have kept it but hearing restorations costs was a factor in selling it. It had reached a point where it was either bite that bullet and sink serious money into it and let the next owner do it. We ended up choosing the latter.

    Oh, it was a ball to have. My older brother took it over to a large degree after my senior year of college but I still drove it lots. Was held together with bondo and a cheap paint job nut we loved it.

    For its first year with us it had that real fun of multiple drivers and no gas gauge. My older brother always assumed there was gas in it and would get stranded. I always assumed there wsn't and did at times pull in, say "fill it" and have it take 50 cents worth....
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    I wonder what became of it when you guys sold it. Someone probably thought they could restore it, took it halfway apart, learned what they were in for, and the car was never re-assembled. That's a fate that happens to a lot of old MB sedans, especially complex and air-suspended models.

    MB of the 50s-60s are known for iffy fuel gauges, oil gauges, and nonworking clocks.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    The clock actually worked. One of the few things that work predictably....

    Over our course of ownership we replaced an engine (that's why we found the gauge cluster in the junkyard) and a load of other things.

    I don't know what happened to it but we put an as in Road and Track and some guy came up from Florida and shipped it down to restore so certainly going into it he was ready to spend. Lord knows what happened after that.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,286
    Oooo, just wait until andre reads this! He would love to discuss Chryslers with slant sixes with you, I'm sure.

    My second car was a 1969 Dodge Dart GT hardtop coupe with a slant six and torqueflite transmission. Only had about 48K miles on it when I bought it in 1989. And to show how sad the state of automotive affairs had gotten in the later years, I think that car was superior in just about every respect to my first car, a 1980 Malibu coupe with a 229 V-6. It was a great little car (okay, not little by your standards, Nippon!) and I still miss the thing. Alas, I got run off the road by an F-150 back in 1992, and whacked a traffic light pole sideways, totaling the car. I held onto it as a parts car for a few years, and some of its pieces are in the '68 Dart 270 hardtop that I still have.

    I've often wondered how long that Dart would have lasted, had it not gotten wrecked. It only had about 77,000 miles on it when it got totaled. By my calculations, I've gone over 300,000 miles since then, so I guess there's a good chance it would have ultimately succumbed. But you never know!
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,695
    I think that car was superior in just about every respect to my first car, a 1980 Malibu coupe with a 229 V-6. It was a great little car (okay, not little by your standards, Nippon!)

    I was in a Dart once for about five minutes, and you are correct sir: I would NEVER call that a little car! Quite big by my standards.

    And I guess they were pretty solid - I have heard other stories about how long some of them lasted. By the time I came to the States in the mid-70s, the Japanese were already invading in California, and so I never saw much in the way of old domestic models, although I had a neighbor who had a couple of Malibus (the really gigantor older models) before switching to Toyota in the early 80s...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    I wonder if one could find an old issue of R&T and see how bad your old heap was. I suspect in the 70s a pristine Adenauer was worth maybe a few grand.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    Let's see.... What's the opposite of pristine?......

    BTW, I actually have to admit that would be considered my second car. In the summer of 68 dad bought a 56 Ford so that we had three cars which meant he's always have one around. Had a Thunderbird V8 in it. Was a stealth rocket. At the end of the summer he sold it which we thought was the worst thing he could do. By November 9 maybe even October) ge found that a third car was more of a necessity than he thought.

    If you want to go to the first car I actually bought taht would be a 69 Volvo 142 that I bought in 73. A slow but steady special. Definite tortoise.
  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 1,440
    The first car that was consigned to my primary use was a '60 Falcon (with the performance-enhancing 2-speed Fordomatic). My parents had bought it new, and it had served as our family car until my older sister went to college (she lived at home) and my parents bought a new car so she could use the Falcon. When it came my turn to go to college it was provided (although not given) to me for the same purpose. I subsequently got a job that allowed me to get a real car, so my parents gave the Falcon to my best friend and his wife who had gotten married directly out of high school and had their first child - well, let's say he was premature. They badly needed a car and funds were low.

    The twist to this story is that my friend was a mechanic and he went through the entire drivetrain to bring it back up to snuff. Further, he performed a similar mechanical service for a colleague who did body and interior work, with the quid pro quo being that the guy repainted the Falcon and redid the interior. The bottom line is that I saw that car about 6 months after my parents had given it to him and his wife, and it looked and ran like the day my father drove it home new. What a concept; a perfectly restored 1960 Falcon. Of course, this was about 1970, but nonetheless...

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv, 2001 Jaguar XK cnv, 1985 MB 380SE (the best of the lot)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    How much did you get out of the old heap again?

    I still own the first car that was ever registered to me. The first car I regularly drove - a 66 Galaxie, was registered to my parents as I was underage - but it was able to make me broke anyway.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,286
    I still own the first car that was ever registered to me. The first car I regularly drove - a 66 Galaxie, was registered to my parents as I was underage - but it was able to make me broke anyway.

    While it wasn't my first car, I still have one of the vehicles that I first practiced driving Granddad's '85 Silverado pickup. Back in those days, Mom would let me practice with her '80 Malibu, which she ultimately gave me and that became my first car. When she got her '86 Monte Carlo though, she wouldn't let me touch it! Ironically, years later, that car would get totaled under my ownership! :P Grandmom's '85 LeSabre was too "expensive", I guess, so they wouldn't let me drive it much, but Granddad never had a problem letting me drive the Silverado.

    It's funny how back then, the Silverado seemed fast, with its 305 V-8. And compared to the Malibu, my stepdad's '84 Tempo, and most of my friends' cars, it WAS fast! :blush: By today's standards, the thing is kind of a dog though.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    My dad had a 66 Fairlane 500 at one point so I remember 66 full sized Fords. Wouldn't mind one.

    The Mercedes went for $600 so we actually sold it for $350 more than we bought it for...
  • The first car I owned was a new 1972 Ford Gran Torino, purchased for $2,974.00
    I managed to save $800 towards the down payment. My parents managed the bank loan since I was only seventeen at the time. In 36 mos., I paid off the balance of the $2000 loan @ $61.39 per mo.

    My interest and knowledge of cars at the time was enormous. I managed to perform the majority of its maintenance: engine tune-ups, oil/filter changes, brake pad/shoe replacement, Trans. Service and other fluids etc. This all added up to a tremendous savings over the years in terms of cost of ownership and trouble "free" driving to boot.

    I had two minor accidents with it during the first eight years of ownership and that was it.
    When the Gran Torino was ten years old, I leased 1982 Volvo 240 series (not owned by Ford, then), but kept the Torino, it had a place in my heart and I did not want to sell it.
    From that time forward, I managed to drive it off and on and drove a 1984 Mustang GT during this period too for the next seven years, until 1989. The body on the Gran Torino eventually fell victim of time, mileage, and elements .

    In 1986, I decided to go hunting for another body and found a similar body type in the Ford/Mercury intermediate family, a 1975 Mercury Cougar XR7, paid $300 for basically a body w/blown engine(3512v) and (c4) transmission. Although, the engine/transmission transplant did not take place, until 1989, which was very simple. At this point, the engine and transmission both had about 225,000 miles. I drove the 1975 Cougar for another 90,000 miles or so before a collision in the L/R quarter panel by another Ford vehicle, a F-250 4x4 pick-up truck around 1991. The damage was not worth repairing so once again; I went on a search for another body. This time (with the help of a close friend) I found a 1976 Mercury Cougar XR7, paid $500 for a good body w/blown transmission. This car had about half the mileage of the first Cougar had. Once again, a transplant took place this time w/o original engine (302 2v/5.0L), which was originally from the Gran Torino (was given to a friend), and the original transmission (FMX) kept and rebuilt it to my satisfaction and installed behind the original 351W 2v/ 5.8L in the 1976 Mercury Cougar XR7. When it all boils down, the original transmission from the Gran Torino lived life in THREE vehicles.

    In addition, all, I can say from my experience is when a vehicle is properly maintained it will yield many years of reliable operation.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    66 Fords are decent looking cars. My Galaxie got hit not long after I started driving. My dad knew of a guy who had an identical car, same color and all, tired, but straight, especially for a parts car. It ran and drove, but its 352 had seen better days and the interior was shot. We bought it, bought the wreck back from the insurance company for nothing, and set to putting it back together. The project ended there, as the first car was found to have a bent frame and it wasn't worth the hassle. We then sold the parts car and the wreck to a guy for twice what we had into it (the wreck had a strong 390-4bbl, which I am sure is what he was after). The adventure could have gone a lot worse, I suppose.

    Selling that old MB saved a fortune in the long run.
  • JostJost northeastPosts: 19
    First off, to fintail, that 300B was an incredible first car no matter how rough around the edges, sounds like you and your brother had great times with it! The poor condition and things that did'nt work we're simply personality! My first car as stated previously was the '63 Dodge. That only lasted about 6 months. My second car, and the one of real memory was a '68 Mustang fastback. I bought in 1970 for $1100. It had about 80K on the clock, was candy apple red, black interior, shelby side scoops and black 5 spoke Keystone wheels. It had a 289 V8, 2 bbl.carb and a 3 speed on the floor. I ended up switching in a 4 speed and put on a holley 2 bbbl carb, why I did'nt get manifold from a junk yard and bolt on a 4bbl I don't know. I loved that car, and kept it for several years, selling it and buying a 69 GTO. Of all of them, its the Mustang that I wish I'd kept,, and quite probably the one woth the most today.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    I wish my first car was something as outrageous as a beater Adenauer - mine was a thirsty loud 66 Ford. Fezo had the Mercedes. My second car was an old MB however.

    That Mustang sounds like a looker and a mover.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589
    Yep. That was me with the Mercedes and yes it was everything you'd want even in its beater status. We had loads of fun making it look nicer (late 60s version of nicer.... you almost don't want to know...) and it was an absolute hoot. It was also the only four on the tree I've ever had and ever expect to have.

    Funny thing. A mechanic dad knew had this thing. Dad had just realized that with brothers that went to a Catholic high school twenty miles away and just two cars that he'd either have to pick them up more than he wanted to or at least lose a car to the errand. He says, "Steve, I've got a car to look at. If you'll pick up your brothers when they need it and you want this car I'll buy it." I took one look and told him to get out the checkbook. He tells me it's a stick which I knew. He must have known I wasn't good on a stick yet. I said "Trust me. I'll learn." On no time I was better on it than he was. I actually got the manual trans gene from my mom who didn't believe in automatics at all.

    Merry Christmas everyone!
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,589

    Here are some nice shots of one that got restored. It's a 53 rather than a 54 but it's the car! Mercedes Adenauer.

    Meanwhile, here's the one I had for maybe three months just prior to the Mercedes that my dad went and sold on me.... 56 Ford Fairlane. The one we had was exactly this car down to the colors. However by 1968 the paint job on it was shot so you have to imagine it in more pink and rather than red and black. It flew!
  • fintailfintail Posts: 34,720
    You had the ultimate beater. A 53 and 54 will be identical. What color was yours?

    That "restored" car looks like a more cosmetic job...I wouldn't bet on that upholstery being accurate and it needs beauty rings, but it's still better than most Adenauers.

    I remember when I was a teenager a local used car lot had a very nice turquoise and white 56 Ford 4 door HT...wanted 4K for it, not an awful deal. The same guy also had an extremely nice 50 Pontiac sedan and a decent bullet nosed Studebaker coupe for the money. This dealer always had lots of oddballs...then he sold the place, and now the lot sells clapped out old police cars and rebuilt heaps :sick:
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