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About Your Parents' Cars

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  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    oh lord if you can drive a Model T you can drive anything. I found it easier to drive an armored personnel carrier than I did a Model T. No wonder in the silent movies you always see people's heads about to jerk off as they start out in their Ts
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    I think that turquoise is a pretty nice color, as long as it's used with an accent. Such as, either a turquoise body with a white roof/side accent, or a white body with turquoise roof/accent.

    As for hierarchy, I just pulled out my old car book to verify, and it looks like the Custom was the midrange model. There was a cheaper model called the DeLuxe, and a top model called the Sport. The Custom was a broad range, offering a 2-door wagon, as well as a 4-door wagon in 6- or 9-passenger configurations. The DeLuxe was only offered as a 2-door wagon that year, but expanded to offer a 4-door for 1958.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    that the Sport Suburban was considered a bigger deal. Didn't have a park button, which the Custom did not? If I had to guess we were probably two door and a six. It definitely "sat six." There were seven of us when you included the parents which you kinda had to do since they were the only ones who could drive it. In fact that is something missing in my life. I never drove a car with a push button transmission.

    Does your deSoto still run?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,594
    Yeah, the DeSoto still runs, although it has no brakes. It doesn't have a park button either. When you park the car, you basically throw it in neutral and then pull the handbrake. Instead of working on the rear wheels like most parking/handbrakes, the Chrysler system back then clamped down on the driveshaft.

    I think they finally made "Park" standard on the 1960 models. It was a lever that you threw into position.

    For the time, the pushbutton system was pretty cool, and actually somewhat idiot-proof. It had safeguards built into it that would lock out 1st and 2nd if you were going too fast. And reverse would lock out if you were going forward more than 10 mph. Although I'd imagine that throwing a car into reverse when it's moving forward at 10 mph isn't exactly good for it, either! And unlike most automatics, if your battery was dead, you could push-start it, although I think you had to get it up to about 10 mph. I think the old-style GM HydraMatic, with the 4 speeds and pump in the rear, had that capability too.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    Very interesting story about your dad. I can tell there is a lot of him in you.

    I have to chuckle when I think of Renault Dauphines. Many years ago my buddy and I were speediing on our bicycles on the way to my early morning paper route. It was probably 4:00 in the morning. Very steep residental street.

    Well, we got too close to one another and somehow one of my pedels wnt into the spokes of his front wheel.

    It sounded like a harp as the spokes snapped. The wheel, of course collapsed and my budy went headlong into the back end of a parked car. A Renault Dauphine!

    Over the car he went landing squarly on the hood of the Renault. I too had crashed through a low picket fence.

    We did the only thing that made sense...WE RAN! We limped down that quiet street carrying our broken bikes as lights came on in houses and dogs barked.

    Who knows what damage was inflicted on that Renault?

    Amazing we survived our mis-spent youth!
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,356
    In some foggy recess of my cluttered mind, I seem to remember something.

    I seem to remember you started an early fifties Packard by pulling the gearshift lever toward you.

    Am I dreaming or what?
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    I think that was true of the stickshift "bathtub" Packards, yes, and some Nashes as well.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    Of all the brands on the market today that one could perceive to be Packard's spiritual successor, I think Lexus comes closest to embodying what Packard stood for; namely, comfort, reliability, solid performance, and prestige.
  • MrShift@EdmundsMrShift@Edmunds Posts: 43,664
    Could be---one thing to keep in mind was that Packard was a very conservative company. The engineering was sound but not flashy by any means. Packards were not pimped out like Cadillacs. They were quite Spartan, at least until their desperate final years when they'd try anything to survive in the GO-GO 50s. But you'd always find more chrome and more gadgets on Caddys, Lincolns, Rolls, Pierce, etc. than on Packards.

    Of course, nowadays restorers pimp these cars out as well, to my chagrin, as that really violates the temperament of the company, I feel.

    It was a stately car for stately sober people. In that sense, Lexus does match--although Packard was never the "newcomer".
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,195
    My youngest brother who was only maybe 4 months old when we got that Plymouth had fun with that when he got to be maybe three. He'd open teh door and play with the buttons. Unfortunately, if you pulled the button out it would not go back in unless you removed the faceplate. After the second time the mechanic showed my mom how to fix it.

    Funniest push button tranny ever was on the 58 Edsel which, of course, (only in here could I use that of course) had the push buttons on the steering wheel hub. I can just picture somebody going for the horn and throwing himself into reverse....

    BAck then the people across the street had some relative that came about once a week in a brand new 58 Edsel. I was impressed!....
  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    I don't know every car my folks have had, but I can recall many of them:

    I know than when my folks were dating (or perhaps just newly married), they had a '57 Chevy convertible. I believe it was yellow and white two tone. The only other thing I know about this car was that it was totalled on Highway 101 in Montecito, California by a cement truck.

    When I was born, the folks were driving a '63 Beetle. I suspect it was bought used and my mom used it for running around town, by and large; there is a picture, however, of the Beetle up at Lake Tahoe with my parents and grandparents. Since we lived in Southern California, that must have been an interesting trip!

    Somewhere along that time (early to mid 60's), my dad bought a '53 Ford pickup to use as a work vehicle. Black is the only thing I rememnber about it.

    The Beetle got traded in on a new '67 VW Square back. Beige with beige interior and a stick shift. That car took my family from CA to NY and back in the summer of 1971 on vacation.

    In 1970, my dad convinced my mom that the Ford was in need of replacement. She agreed, but told him that if he bought a new truck, it would be the last one he would own. He promptly bought a new 1970 Chevy C-10 .. in orange.

    He still has this truck ... 37 years and 137K later. Here is a picture I took on a recent visit:

    image

    So, now that dad had bought his "forever" vehicle, we can concentrate on the cars that mom drove.

    The Squareback gave up the ghost in 1973 .. sonething to do with the engine. It was sold and the folks bought a '73 Toyota Corona. Poop brown inside and out with a column mounted automatic transmission. This was the car I learned to drive in. Unfortunately, it was also the car that I got into my first accident in, as well. On my way to school one morning, someone pulled out in front of me and I t-boned her. The Corona was totalled ...

    ... and was replaced by a used Mercedes. A '72 220 Diesel, to be precise. As this was 1980 or '81, I suspect the recent fuel crises may have had something to do with this purchase. Unfortunately, the car required a full engine rebuild not long after we bought it. After that, the MB was pretty reliable. My mom, however, hated driving it. She hated waiting for the glow plugs to warm up before the car could be started. She hated the leisurely acceleration. I hated the stiff throttle spring.

    (to be continued ...)
  • michaellmichaell Posts: 4,300
    After a number of years suffering with the MB, my mom got fed up with it and basically forced my dad to get her a new (used) car.

    The MB was traded in on an '84 Toyota Celica hatchback. Light blue with blue interior and an automatic. As both my sister and I were driving by this time, they didn't feel that they needed a 'family' car. Even with the slushbox, the car was so much more fun to drive than the Mercedes. Ironically, I had gotten my folks the vanity plate "REAL SLO" for the Benz, and they transferred these over to the Toyota. When I was stopped for speeding coming back from the airport (with my aunt on board!), the CHP officer commented on that fact. Oh well.

    The Toyota was fairly reliable, except for the time when the timing belt snapped and my folks learned about the distinction between interference and non-interference engines. The Celica had the former --- oops! Mom was about 30 miles from home when this happened. Don't remember how much this cost to fix.

    The Celica was traded in on another used Toyota around '94 or '95. The low-slung Celica was starting to become a bit problematic to get into and out of for my aging parents, and their first grandchild was getting of an age where the cramped back seat was simply not working out.

    The new Toyota was a '91 Camry - same interior and exterior color as the Celica. Automatic, too. This was a much better car for my folks, even though they were driving less and less.

    The Camry was kept until just a few years ago, when my mom again demanded that she get one last "new" car .. the last new car they had bought, remember, was in 1973.

    I was almost certain that they would get another Camry, and they almost did, until my dad started to research the Hyundai Sonata. They could get a V6 version for the same price as a 4-cyl Camry. So, in 2003, they bought what I suspect will be their last car .. a Sonata GLS V6. Dark red with beige cloth interior. They love it - dad calls it his "Jaguar", and, given the styling of that model, I can understand why.

    Four years later, the Sonata has about 15,000 miles on it. The 10 years on the warranty will expire way before the 100K threshold will be reached, I'm sure of that.
  • urnewsurnews Posts: 668
    Mr Shifright,

    Terrific story about your Dad and his cars. A great read. Left me wanting to read more about this man and his machines. You, obviously come from good stock and have a knack for writing.
  • My parents had a Fiat Bianchina for their first car. When my father was sent stateside, my mother was pregnant with my sister. The decision was made to purchase a car more suitable for a family, a 1963 Fiat 600. When my father left the Air Force in 1967, we drove from Sumter, South Carolina to Brooklyn, New York in the 600. My father said that mule carts were passing our loaded down 600. he later purchased a 1969 Chevy Belair, a 1975 Dodge Coronet, and a series of Lincolns afterwards.
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