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What was your first car? What happened to it?



  • hamlet00hamlet00 Posts: 1
    My first car... .

    It's funny, since I live in the Nations Capitol I am no fan of driving. But I still dream about the first car I ever had: a 1969 Plymouth Valiant, blue, 2 door, with a slant v6 engine. My friends kept calling her the "blue bomber" so I decided to name it after a real one: The Enola Gay.

    Assorted memories include:

    Once, I crammed nine drunken people into that baby! I was the designated driver and we just spent the evening dancing in Georgetown. A cop pulls me over on Rte. 66 and after going through all of the preliminaries asks me if I've had anything to drink this evening. No sir, I replied. He took one look (and one whiff) of my passengers, determined that I was performing a public service, and waved me on down the road. "Just don't let me catch you with that many people in a Valiant again, son. That's too nice a car to abuse like that!"

    I pulled into a gas station and was filling up my tank when a young grease monkey came out and started drooling over my car. Now, I'm a 17 y.o. punk who knows almost nothing about cars. He offers me $500 for it. Nope, I say. $1000? No way, I laugh. $2000?? My jaw dropped. I asked why on earth would you buy this car for that amount of money? He explained that he was into amateur stock car racing and if he had my car he would smoke everyone on the track. With that engine? I asked. No, he replied. He'd rip it out and put in a 450 V8. He popped my hood and showed me how much room there was under there. He also gave me a nice tour of my engine, which was really nice of him. Never sold him the car, though.
  • First Car: 1947 Crosely Convertable. Don't laugh. I was only 13 (what in God's name were my parents thinking) and had just been bitten by the then unidentified car bug (virus?)1951, paid $125.00 had to tow it home,no brakes (still mechanical, cable operated). I guess my parents figured that I could never get the thing in running condition. They did not realize at the time that I was a mechanical genius----?? O.K. dumb kid that didn't know what a task I had undertaken. Anyway, I did get it running and quite well. Painted robin egg blue, red wheels with wide 3" painted -on whitewalls and a LONG radio antenna from Western Auto. From the side view it looked like a huge blue portable radio with red and white tuning knobs. Absoluely butt ugley machine but I was the only 13 year old (no license of course) to have a car and of course a BIG hit with the girls. I still have very fond memories of that car. It was responsible for my lifelong addiction to cars, having owned about 80 to date (i'm 62 now) and look forward to my next one the day after I get a brand new one!!

    I don't knw what ever happened to that car. Sold it to a friend who ultimately traded it for a bike. He was probably better off. Anyone else out there ever have a Crosley??
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Never owned one personally but drove them quite a bit. I like Crosley a many other American cars made in the 1940s had a overhead cam and disc brakes? The little Crosley 'Hotshot' is a neat little car and fun to drive...actually raced at Le Mans and was doing quite well in its class until the generator (a French generator, btw) died. Almost a moment of glory for a car that now only brings giggles....too bad!
  • chris_wchris_w Posts: 4
    ...and I wish i could contribute. My first car was in '89. It was an '86 Dodge Shelby Charger (maroon and silver). I think this was the last year of the car (didn't make 'em very long). It was an interesting little car. Great acceleration, but butt-ugly and very unreliable. I owned it for three months before it was totalled one night by a speeding pizza delivery guy. RIP.

    Having not learned my lesson, I bought a '89 Daytona Shelby Z...spent a fortune maintaining that beast too!
  • johndanajohndana Posts: 1
    4 cylinder standard 78' Ford Fairmont wagon. I wish I knew what I had. It's hard to find a car today that only uses gas.
  • Mr. Shiftright: You are quite right the Crosley did race at Le Mans. Of course the Hot Shot was my ultimate dream to own. If you remember "Uncle Tom McCahaill" who wrote road test articles for the old Mechanix Illustrated Mag. ran several to set a enduro record for that class of sports car ( under 850cc, class H production ??) they ran them for some god awful length of time , several days I believe to set a new record that as far as I know has not been broken. Do you remember that? My '47 convert did not have disc brakes, only Hot Shots had them but you could put them on the sedans as a update kit. My car originally had the stamped steel and brazed togeher engine block that naturally leaked coolent. It had been converted to a "CIBA" (cast iron block) assy. before I bought it. Complete ready to install engines cost a whopping $250.00 fob Cincinnati. Those were the days eh? Guess I'm showing my age but what fun cars were back then. Oh I wish I had that '40 Ford Coupe' that I paid $150.00 for !!

    Reply Mr. Shiftright to my E-Mail if you wish [email protected]
  • lax1lax1 Posts: 1
    When I was 14 (1969) we found this tiny car parked in the street abandoned. No one knew what it was. One guy in the group (the car expert) identified it as a Crosley and claimed they used to sell them in department stores. Ten of us carried it home and it remained in my friends's backyard for years. Ultimately his folks had it towed and junked. Wish we had it now.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You can still buy 'em pretty cheap..they're fun if you've got a few weeks to get places.

    Yes, Crosley raced at LeMans in 1951 and nearly won its did win Index of Performance at Sebring, however (the Hotshot again).
  • ardanielsardaniels Posts: 16
    1955 Turquoise & Black Plymouth Belvedere

    When Grandma lost her license, Dad figured that 12 year old Plymouth with 28K miles on it was steal. Complete with bench seats, dashboard lever shift and a flathead six, I took a bus to Redondo Beach to drive it back to SF over the grapevine ( with the moon & stars shining bright) and despite following Dad's instructions (well almost)the engine seized just past the the snow.

    Dad felt so guilty for forcing this ugly beast on a teenage son that he had the engine rebuilt and allowed me to trade it to my older brother for a bashed up 62 beetle. 1967 San Francisco & Vdubs. Some memories survived!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Can you believe Chrysler Corp. was still trying to sell a flathead 6 in 1955? But they made a big comeback in the 60s with some mighty fine big engines.
  • 1greg1greg Posts: 40
    My first auto was a 1969 Jeep Wagoneer. Had yellow paint painted on with a paintbrush. Bees used to be attracted to it. 3 on the tree 4wd and a v8 that got 12 mpg on the road, in town or offroad. The shifter broke and I could only shift it by opening the hood and shifting it by hand and driving it in second gear. I had someone fix it but when I got it back if you hit a bump with the headlights on they would flicker on and off. Traded it for a Datsun B-210, and unlike the rest of you I never missed it for a second.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    They pushed that old flathead until 1959. In 1960, the bulletproof slant six showed up.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    I had one of those slant sixes. Paid 1000 for it [a 66 Dart], drove it 140,000 miles, took 600 bucks out of it when someone ran in to it when it was parked-and-after 17 years it owed me nothing. So, a friend and I took it out one day and decided to try to over-rev it and throw a rod or something. Couldn't make it happen-you just couldn't kill that thing. Finally sold it for $200.
  • plymouth1plymouth1 Posts: 14
    Bought a '69 Plymouth Road Runner in 1982 for $1500. It is restored and still in my garage for summer only driving. A really awesome car!
  • sbarersbarer Posts: 35
    "The Sun, The Moon and 0-50 in 5.2 seconds" read the ad corresponding to the light gray 1986 Dodge 600 ES Turbo Convertible in which I took my driver's test. Although it was really my father's daily driver, it was my weekend and date car. (The girls just didn't seem to respect the '77 Buick Lesabre, nor the '77 Chrysler Lebaron that transported me to high-school.)

    The '86 Dodge was basically a prototype for the Lebaron GTC convertibles that emerged a few years later. It sported a "Mercedes imposter" body and badging, and had the 2.2 liter turbo 4 with a very tight suspension. I'll never forget all the fun I had in that car. (Even with top down, and all that cowl-shake, it was good to about 120 MPH.

    So where is the car? The car was given to my older brother for his college graduation. (I got a '91 Lebaron Convertible.) My brother finally replaced the car last week with a Volvo C70 convertible (and a week prior, my Lebaron was replaced with a new Corvette Convertible)...We are putting the '86 Dodge into storage so that it can be taken out for our children to use on their driver's tests and dates! Maybe the plastic-wood interior and gaudy 80's LED gauges will be back in vogue by then!
  • Mr. Shiftright: Oh gosh do I remember the Plymouth flat head six. This was my first NEW car. 1954 Plymouth Plaza 2 door. $1699.00 out the door in Columbus ,Ohio, Fall of 1954. Didn't even have a heater. Put one in from a kit sold by Sears. Cute car and a real sleeper. Was geared so low it could beat almost anything for about 100 feet away from a light. Put on a split manifold which would wake the dead when wound to the max. Straight thru "Smitty" mufflers. Nothing this side of a Jag XK120 sounded that good. Dual intake with 2 Stromberg 97 carbs. In those days you could actwork on a car and see the fruits of your labor. That old Plymouth really took a beating. Traded it for a 1955 Plymouth 2 door Hardtop red and white, really sharp. This led to my downfall as I met my wife of 42 years because she liked that "cute boy" in that sharp car. I'm not so cute anymore but I'll bet that Plymouth still is.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I don't think too many of those cars got saved, so you may have outlived most of 'em.

    That's right, I forgot, Chrysler made the flathead until 1959, which means a resurrected auto mechanic from 1919 could have fixed it, no problem. I don't think a mechanic from 1959 could fix a 1999 car...I don't think a mechanic from 1999 can fix a 1999 car for that did I get started on this?
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Maybe incompetent mechanics could be a new topic? Boy do I have some stories to tell on that one!
  • bj4200bj4200 Posts: 1
    My first car -- a 1971 Super Beetle Volkswagon - Marine Blue - cost, $1,999 --

    why do I remember this car so well? I loved it!!! I named it "Walnut," and put in a wooden steering wheel and an a wooden gear shift knob on it. I had never driven a stick shift before. The first time I drove it, it took about 20 minutes to go three blocks (I was on a slight hill). But once I learned, there was no turning back. I was 17 years old then, right out of high school, and ready to take on the world !!

    I put over 300,000 miles on that car -- went through 2 engines and 3 clutches !! I finally reluctantly sold it in 1986, because by that time, I had a daughter and didn't think it was a safe enough car for a child.

    The reimergance of the Volkswagon Beetle is great. I would love to have one again, to see if I could recapture the magic !!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    You could probably still buy one for $1,999...and it would still have its charm, but also its 1971 brakes and handling, so you'd have to adjust to that!
  • ciscokidciscokid Posts: 1
    This is a cool topic.

    My first car was a 1965 Buick Riviera. I owned it from 1985 to 1993. It was my high school / college car. It was big, comfy, old but fast. Everybody thought it was my grandfathers car. I put over 100k miles on that car. I finaly gave it up when I graduated. The 425ci engine got 10 mpg on a good day, parts cost a fortune, and the a/c did not work. Yet I would trade any of my cars to have it back .... that is except for my 1997 Buick Riviera.
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    Earlier here, I mentioned my first real car-a 55 Chev. I forgot about the one I had for a few months before that. A 42 Studebaker coupe-for 35 bucks. It had a flathead six from a 53 model with overdrive. It was shot. I would wind it out in second, shift in to 2nd overdrive, and when the rods started knocking and the blue smoke poured out-I knew it was time to back off-WAY off. One day as I was turning left into the highschool parking lot, the right door flew open and all my sister's books fell out on to the street. Some of my friends were walking and saw the whole thing and laughedd The trunk floor was completely rusted through. But what the hell-for 35 bucks, it got me around, and it was fun. I put a wolf whistle on it and drove around belching blue smoke and whistling at pretty girls on the sidewalk. Finally got a terycloth slipcovver for the front seat-and sold it for $75. The couple who bought it had to make 3 payments of $25. Before they made the last payment they tried to drive it from San Jose, CA to Klamath Falls, OR. Didn,t make it. Near some little town near the border, the brakes went out completely. I believe the car went to a junkyard in Dorris, CA-near the border. The couple came back and balked about making the last payment. I was amazed that anyone would even try to drive that car on a 600 mile trip. They finally paid. A month later, I found my 55 Chev. By the way, Studebaker and Rambler were still producing flathead sixes in the sixties!
  • My first car was a l955 Ford 2 door Victoria. I bought it for $250.00 and went to work. I found a 57 Thunderbird 312 and put a Mellings Full Race Cam , solid lifters and a big ole Holly on top with a dual point distributor. I pulled off all the chrome and dark grey primered it. Then I redid the seats in "genuine wild Alaskian naugahyde" and took out the speedo and put some gauges in the speedo slot and replaced the old six volt radio with a speedo out of a triumph tr3. I put a Super Sun tack on the steering column so that it appropiately blocked my vision and all others could see it. I had glass pack mufflers with some 3 inch pipes off a Euclid construction truck welded to extend just under the rear axle so the cam lope would resonate under the car. I never did replace the transmission so the three speed was mounted on the floor with a sparkomatic spring loaded shifter.

    I could tear the gear splines off first gear and did more than once. However, I could get a junk yard 3 speed exchanged by a local dirt track racer for only $75.00 parts and labor. My father sold the car when I was drafted and went to Vietnam in l967. I would really liked to have it back now. I am sure I would have installed the 3.93 gear and the 4 speed with Hurst shifter it really needed. Plus a good set of Hooker headers would have really made it rock n roll.
    That was my first one and I really feel for kids today who never will have the opportunity to enjoy an experience like this.

    Take care out there road agents !!!!!!!!
  • vivonavivona Posts: 410
    carnut4 said "Maybe incompetent mechanics could be a new topic? Boy do I have some stories to tell on that one!"

    We got such a topic already! So, come on over to Maintenance Topic #143 and tell your stories.
  • hardgrovhardgrov Posts: 1
    I have two first car stories. The car I used to pass my road test and the car I drove (when available) was a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. What was my Dad thinking?! It had the 273 V8 and floor mounted TourqueFlite tranny. A gold beauty.
    Light in the rear and easy to spin the tires. It was a 'family' car that my Dad used for his daily commute. I ran it into a wall in January, 1970.

    The other first car was the first one I owned. It was a 1958 Ford Fairlane 500 with a V8, radio with front and back speakers, and no butterfly valve in the carburetor. Painted flat black, there was NO rust (bought it from a guy in Encino)
    and the starter didn't work. I paid $75 for it and helped a friend put a starter in it ($25). I drove it on the LA freeways for 2 months and sold it to some new arrivals from Michigan for $125 !!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I had a 1959 Chevy 4-door I won in a card game (in lieu of a $25 pot, a considerably sum of money in 1969). It was my "street car" in Manhattan, and I had my nice car in a garage (this at a time such things were affordable to mere mortals). One day I went to the car only to find a huge gash,big enough to stick your hand in, from the front fender, through both doors to the rear tailights...nobody of course, heard or saw anything...oh, New Yawk!
  • badgerpaulbadgerpaul Posts: 219
    I miss $25 cars, a couple come to mind a 69 Kingswood Estate Wagon with no floor boards, it lasted an entire weekend. Ended up selling it to somebody who wanted the engine, only to find it had a cracked block.
    The other was a 60 Impala 4-door sedan, the ignition switch was jammed so I had a couple of wires hanging under the dash to cross, it ended up lasting a couple of weeks until my dad got sick of looking at its rusty hulk in front of the house and made me get rid of it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Too bad...had you held onto it, that car would be worth $25 today.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 20,225
    I grew up in a Chevy town. Some of the kids did drive Fords and Chrysler products but they really weren't "in".

    49-54 Chevys were hot stuff back then. We would lower them, split the manifolds, etc.

    At that time, 200.00 would buy a REALLY nice one! For 100.00 or so, you could get one that looked and ran pretty well.

    Once, I followed a buddy who was buying a 1950 Chevy for 50.00 from an elderly couple.

    That Chevy had probably never been on the freeway before and didn't like it!

    As I followed, it threw a rod so hard it took the generator off the side of the engine!

    By buddy said " the hell with it" limped it off the freeway and left it parked on a residental street. Never saw it again...
  • carnut4carnut4 Posts: 574
    The same highschool buddy had two of them: The first was a '39 Dodge 4-door he bought for $7.50. The body was fine, but the engine had a crcked head. He'd start warm it up while we all watched the steam and water seep through the crack. But it ran fine, like those old flathead sixes. For Halloween, he took a cutting torch and cut most of the roof away and stripped the interior. A bunch of guys piled in with two crates of tomatoes[ripe]. You can guess what they did as they cruised around town. An arrogant braggart we knew was cruising around in his Dad's new white Imperial. The Imperial got creamed. His other car was a '55 Ford for $25. Ran on 7 cylinders. 292 with overdrive. The low rearend[4.11] gave it good dig off the line. More than one ego was bruised by being beat at the "stoplight grandprtix" by that ugly, 7 cylinderFord. The car finally got bashed by sledge hammers at a carnival, where most of the $25. was recovered. Last time I saw the car, it had no glass left, not one straight panel-but it still ran!
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