My Dad's Favorite Vehicle

Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
With Father's Day approaching, I thought this would be an interesting topic for the dads here and/or the sons and daughters to post a tribute to their dad and his favorite ride.

My father loved to camp. We vacationed in the Rocky Mountains, Ozarks, Smoky Mountains, Wisconsin Dells and always stayed in a state park campground. One of our vehicles was a Ford Fairlane. Sorry, I don't recall the year, but I am the baby of the family. :blush: There were others, but all were sedans, IIRC.

I have no idea how my Dad managed to pack a family of seven plus all the camping gear into one car. I do vaguely remember watching my Dad roll up the tent, which was the old canvas type, into the tiniest roll it could get.

Before he passed, his pride and joy was a 1985 Dodge Caravan that he had stripped out and made into a mini-camper. He and my mom toured Alaska, Grand Canyon, and Yellowstone. He loved that van.

Happy Father's Day, Dad! We miss you.


  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    75' (I think) Duster with a 340 which they had when I was just a baby, and his pride and joy after the Navy, a 69' Boss 302.

    I would do pretty much anything to have that Mustang in my driveway :cry:
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    My dad had a blue one (I'm pretty sure it was a Special - I've been searching family photos for a snap of it for a few years now without success).

    He enjoyed pulling away from Caddy's at the red lights in that thing (it was a V-8). I remember watching the chip seal go by underneath my feet riding shotgun where the floorboards had rotted away. The family used to cruise the dirt backroads just to see if we could avoid getting stuck (often we'd manage to get it stuck up to the axles).

    One of my fondest memories is going to his store front on a Sunday afternoon expecting him to be behind me, and turning around to see him chasing the Buick down the parking lot - he managed to get it stopped before it crossed the highway and landed in the fields beyond. A few months later he thought the Buick had been stolen but it had rolled off into the fields from the same parking lot and sat there quietly overnight.

    Dad sold the Buick in the early 60's to some teenager who promptly wrecked it, and made Dad regret selling it in the first place.

    Oh, and he always bragged about how slow it would go without stalling - he would say the best way to test drive a new car would be to see how slow it could go since any car could go fast. Only the good ones could creep along.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,979
    Of all the vehicles my dad has owned, probably a couple dozen over the years, the one most mentioned is still the the 1960 Ford Country Sedan he bought back in the early 90s. It was a neglected low original mile car, bought for almost nothing. We actually pushed it home as it was a few blocks from our house...he tinkered with it and I rubbed out the paint and polished it up. A few weeks later, it was all shined up and tuned up, and was running fine. He had a modern car, but loved to drive this huge red and white tailfinned wagon. He actually commuted in it for a couple years, but then as moving came into play and other issues, he decided to think about selling it as he had 4 other cars. He parked it in a high traffic parking lot, and it sold the first day he parked it, for full asking price. He kicked himself for selling it for many years.

    When my dad was young, he had a couple of Ford Crown Victorias back around 1956-59. Those earned his affection too.
  • john_324john_324 Member Posts: 974
    A late 1950s black Jaguar XK 140 coupe, with the racing suspension.

    He bought it in the early 1970s in Southern California, when he and my mom were just starting their family. They were out for a ride one weekend, and came across it, up on a lift in a service station. He went in to inquire about it, and walked out as its owner.

    I'm told when I was being a cranky infant, a ride in the Jag on those great SoCal freeways would always calm me down...

    For all the mechanical headaches that car gave him (he was very good friends with his mechanic by the time he sold it), he never thought it wasted money, and he still talks fondly of it. He notes that it always seemed to run better when the weather was foggy, damp and chilly... :)
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    ...if Dad had a favorite vehicle, but there were vehicles of his that were my favorites. I really liked his 1961 Chevrolet Biscayne and 1965 Pontiac GTO. My Uncle Daniel, however, had some REALLY nice rides - a 1973 Cadillac Sedan DeVille and a 1975 Lincoln Continental.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    was a '63 Impala SS409 hardtop he had as a teenager. It had a 4-speed, and had the optional 425 hp setup. And then he got drafted, and sold it! :sick:

    When he got out he got a '65 Impala SS396 hardtop, also with a 4-speed, and this one also had the optional 425 hp setup. It was pretty ratted out though by the time he got it, and he didn't exactly go gentle on it. I think he threw a rod and abandoned it on a lonely country road.

    He also had a '62 Corvette and a '64 GTO 2-door sedan, but they were pretty ratty by the time he got them. I remember him saying the best car he ever had was a '64 Ford Galaxie 500 hardtop, with a 390-4bbl. It was in great shape, but my Dad hated Fords, so he hated this car by default!
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    I can't much account for dad's cars until I showed up though I know he bought a brand new Chevy as soon as they let him out of the Army Air Corps at the end of WWII. He and a friend drove to New Orleans in it and when they got back from whatever they were up to they got in the wrong car. An identical black Chevy but there was just enough off for dad to say this is the wrong car. Now keep in mind his key not only unlocked the other car but started it! The dealer said it was impossible.....

    First one I remember was a 51 Chevy. Then a brand new 57 Plymouth Custom Suburban that he bought for my mom.

    Once that Chevy started to die was when my dad became the king of the $150 car. "For $150 how can you go wrong?" Let me count the ways.... What I remember of those - 3 different 55 Plymouths - two wagons and a sedan, a 51 Plymouth, a 57 Chevy wagon, a 57 Ford Fairlane, a 58 Pontiac wagon...there are more but I think my brain did me a favor and I forget the rest. A few years into this he finally sprung for a $600 car - a 56 Buick Special which worked great. Took us to the day my mom finally bought a new 66 Chevy Biscayne and we were back in the real car world.

    He really liked the 83 Chrysler Fifth Avenue and we put almost 200K on it. By then he had started to rent DeVilles which I think were his favorites that he actually drove much.

    His absolute favorite that to this day is one he bought so that I wouldn't try to mooch his car. It was a 1954 Mercedes 300 sedan that he traded a dishwasher for. The dishwasher was worth about $200 at the time. The thing was magnificent. Four speed on the column! Full wood dash and window trim. Solid wood - not veneer. We had to work like mad to fix up the interior (the varnish on the dash was all alligatored and some tears in the leather) and it had to get a ton of bondo work on it and paint it and the dashboard didn't work - no speedometer, odometer or gauges.

    We loved that thing. It wasn't the greatest in dependability and I always had to put gas in because my brother never did and there was no gauge.

    On e day the mechanic said the engine had seen its time and he and I went up to the Hudson Valley in NY to look at an engine (he looked; I made believe I knew what I was hearing). He put that in and at the same time we got a new dash cluster which was great except that it was metric!

    Later on he built the best possible engine out of parts from the original and the junkyard. Then finally said it's time to either get serious bout restoring it or punt. He got like $600 for it and to this day (he's 89) he may lose memory on lots of things but every time I see him it's good for one "I never should have sold that Mercedes.".....
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • euphoniumeuphonium Great Northwest, West of the Cascades.Member Posts: 3,425
    He arranged for factory drive away and we all flew to Detroit to pick up the Series 61, 4 Door, 331 OHV V8, 4 speed Hydramatic, Ivy Green metallic with light Green top.

    The car was a cross between a Cadillac, Buick, & Chevrolet.

    From the dashboard forward it was Cadillac, the interior was Chevrolet Mohair, but the body was the same as the then Buick Special, but it was a Cadillac. He babied that car for over 10 years until the Dr. said that due to his heart he had to have power steering. Though he drove two Pontiacs and a Buick after that, he always had the fondest memories of his only Cad. His generous nature let us use the Cad for our Honeymoon which then included two sweethearts. ;)
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaMember Posts: 1,173
    My dad had 3 before he passed away in 1998 at 62 yrs old (I was 24).
    #1 - Was his 1995 Customized F-150 (was customized by local Ford Dealer for him). This vehicle still lives on as the Fire Chief's personal vehicle at the fire department that he was a volunteer with for 41 years. He was Chief there for 10 years, so after he passed away, we sold the F-150 (at a huge discount) to the department for them to use as the Active Chief's truck (and they signed a contract that they are not allowed to sell / trade with-out contacting myself or my mother first). Oh, and the local dealer that my father bought (and had customized) the truck at performs all service on the truck at no charge.
    #2 - Was his Jeep CJ-8 Scrambler off-road rescue truck that he practically rebuilt. He needed a little roll-out cargo net / ladder to get into the seat (he was only 5'6"). The truck was lifted and modified for moutain off-road trail driving. The funniest thing I remember about the CJ-8 was his license plate on the front read "Have You Driven OVER a Ford Lately." Being he was an avid Ford man, this was very funny to him.
    #3 - His oldest, was his 1974 F-100 custom that still resides at my uncles house in Clearfield, Pa.

    Odie's Carspace
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    My dad had quite a few cars in his lifetime:
    1) 1964 Fiat (a box car, don't know model, pre-me)
    2) 1967 VW Bug
    3) 1970 Ford LTD
    4) 1973 Mercury Capri- my grandfather (dad's father-in-law) had one too.
    5) 1975 Mustang II
    6) 1977 Honda Accord
    7) 1978 Olds Cutlass
    8) 1979 Buick Riviera
    9) 1984 Audi 5000- Remember the aerodynamic design?
    10) 1985 Olds 98- back to America
    11) 1988 Mercedes 300E- trying the germans again
    12) 1992 Mercedes 400SE- the letters used to come after the numbers
    13) 1995 Infinity Q45- trying the japanese luxos
    14) 1997 Mercedes E320- the germans made the best performance and luxury cars according to him.
    He passed away in 2001 and we scattered his ashes at sea. Maybe we should've scattered them at the auto mall.
    Miss you dad!
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    1950 Ford Tudor V-8
    1955 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Starfire convertible
    1962 Volkswagen Bug
    1961 Chevrolet Biscayne two-door sedan
    1965 Pontiac GTO convertible
    1968 AMC Javelin
    1970 Ford Torino two-door hardtop
    1972 Ford LTD Country Squire
    1978 Ford Granada coupe
    1981 Ford Thunderbird Town Landau
    1989 Chrysler LeBaron coupe
    1989 Ford Aerostar
    1997 Mercury Mystique
    2003 Subaru Outback
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    1941 Chevrolet Master Deluxe
    1947 Hudson Commodore
    1953 Plymouth Cambridge
    1958 Chevrolet Bel Air
    1961 Plymouth Valiant
    1964 Chevrolet Biscayne 4-door sedan
    1967 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan
    1974 Chevrolet Impala sedan
    1980 Chevrolet Impala sedan
    1989 Chevrolet Caprice Classic Brougham
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Well, we connect on two anyway. Dad had a 78 Granada and my Pop (mom's dad) had a 61 Valiant.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • driver56driver56 Member Posts: 408
    Two vehicles stand out. His 1957 Chevy Belair, and his last,
    a 1993 Nissan Access.
    I'll never forget that day when Dad drove up the drive in the 57 Chev. We were so happy to have a new vehicle, and one that was considered "cool". Unfortunately, he piled it in to a tree one dark, rainy night and totalled it. Mom and Dad walked away though, so that was good.
    My Dad's last vehicle was the Nissan. He drove it til he was 86, then decided to give up driving altogether. Passed it on to my little brother, and still gets to ride in it occasionally.
  • boomchekboomchek Vancouver, BC, CanadaMember Posts: 5,516
    I have a lot of pictures in my carspace under the album "Our Family's Cars"

    His first was the Opel he was supposed to bring over from Poland. He rolled it so that didn't happen. My dad is the one on the left.
    See more Car Pictures at">

    So instead he brought over the Austin 1300 that he liked to work on a lot. Well maybe from the looks of the picture he didn't enjoy working on it a lot.

    See more Car Pictures at">

    A few cars later (they're all mostly on my boomchek's carspace

    I think his favourite was the 300D that lasted only about 6 months before the motor seized up doe to an oil leak.

    See more Car Pictures at">

    2016 Audi A7 3.0T S Line, 2021 Subaru WRX

  • michaellnomichaellno Member Posts: 4,120
    I guess that my dad's favorite vehicle is his current vehicle .. a 1970 Chevrolet C-10 pickup. Puce (orange) with a white roof, 350 and a 3 speed automatic transmission.

    I don't specifically remembering him buy it (he bought it new), but I do remember him driving a '53 Ford pickup before that. Legend has it that when he bought it, Mom told him that it would be the last truck he would buy. Little did she know how right she was ... 37 years later, it's still his daily driver.

    My dad worked two jobs most of my childhood .. he was a full time firefighter, plus on his days off he did carpentry work and later became a certified CPR instructor and did some work for Shell Oil and the Navy.

    The Chevy took him pretty much everywhere. He added some type of custom mufflers to the truck and you could hear him coming down the block. The truck hauled tools and lumber and kids (this was in the day where riding in the back of a pickup truck was not only OK, but cool).

    On his (rare) days off, he would go bass fishing at the local lakes and that truck pulled his boat up to them without complaint. I remember going with him a few times, getting up before dawn to get to the good fishing spots, then stopping at a country store on the way home for some home-cured beef jerky.

    As I got older, my dad transitioned into a new job of fire cause investigator (think of the Robert De Niro character in the movie "Backdraft") and had a city car to get him back and forth to work. The Chevy still did weekend duty, though by this time he had sold the boat and was playing more golf.

    Everybody in town knows him by his truck. He had the top end of the engine rebuilt just after it turned 100K (about 15-20 years ago) and a couple of years ago spent about $5K to have all the exterior bits and pieces redone - new chrome, rubber gaskets for the windows, paint job, spray in bedliner - the works. Looks like a new truck now.

    I don't know how many miles it's got on it at this time - he probably averages about 5K a year in it and it probably hasn't ever been more than a few hundred miles from home in the time that he's owned it.

    My dad has refused many, many offers to buy the truck ... it's not that he doesn't trust the modern technology (my Mom drives an '03 Sonata), but I think it's become such a part of who he is that I don't believe he can see himself without it.

    If all goes well, I'll get to see him on Father's Day this year and we'll go for a spin in the truck.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    LOL, we had a Grenade in the family as well, a 78' with the cloth roof, yellow with a 302. That was traded later on for a yellow Torino wagon a few years later.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    We had a Torino wagon at one point as well.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    My grandparents had one at the same time, a brown one with the faux wood panels (I think they were stickers). I think the two of them parked next to each other took up the entire block.

    I remember my parents had a celebration when they rolled the odometer over on theirs. It was pretty durable as I recall.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    Yeah, the "wood" panels were stickers all right. I remember when they started to peel.

    I ended up having to drive that sucker for a couple of months. I was going off to grad school and my brothers conveniently borrowed my car right when it was time to pack and go... I'd have gotten it back but they were heading to Kansas while I was heading to Florida and they are in very different directions when your starting point is New Jersey.

    Actually I got to bring a lot more junk down for that year than I would have since you could cram a lot into one of those and my car was a Volvo 142.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    I'd love to see a photo of that truck!
  • douglasrdouglasr Member Posts: 191
    The Old Man (we always called him that...) had many cars, three stand out. He learned how to drive on my grandfather's 1937 Packard 160---in 1948!!! in the days when my grandfather "worked over to Fords". Brave man for driving a non-Ford car to a Ford plant! I spent years trying to find it to buy it, and surprise my Dad with it. Never could find the car.

    Fast forward. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1964. First new car in the family: 1965 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport 396 Coupe. It was on the show-room floor, and he bought it. We literally "saw the U.S.A." in that car---driving over two summers first to the Canadian Rocky Mountains, hitting Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons along the way, and then the following year to Maine. It had real punch when you floored it. Sadly, he sold it for $600 in 1974 when gas was an outrageous .44/9 per gallon! When it hit 75 cents a gallon my Dad went and bought a new car. (Ohh, what that big block Chevy is worth today...where is that car??? If you find the butterfinger wrappers stuffed down the left-rear armrest under the ash-tray, I did it!)

    Then there was...the Porsche 912. It was the rage in 1967. Bought second hand, dark blue, black interior. It was the only sports car my Dad could fit in. Though not a car guy, he went all out with this car, joining the Porsche Club, and then sport racing at Elkart Lake within the Club. Many happy power slides, down shifts, and blasts to 90 and 100 plus mph in that little trumped up VW. Especially the downhander before the finish line!! It always sounded like we were coming in for a carrier landing when downshifting from was, well "Groovey"

    ...but (isn't there always one of those?) service at Porsche dealers was non-existent because they had been sold at Mercedes dealers, but in 1968 became allied with Audi/VW, and that was the end of that. You had to beg to get the car fixed---no there were no authorised mechanics ready to go when the switch happened. While the enjoyment was great, the little things weren't. It was also the late '60's and half the mechanics were, well "smoking" something other than blue tail-pipe smoke on start-up, (at least those that were not former tank mechanics for the Wehrmacht!!) .

    Yet the poor Porsche suffered mightily---first when my Mom blew the engine racing, (she was better than my Dad at it...), second when (crime of crimes) my Dad gave the Porsche to my older brother in 1975, a brother who did not know a plug wire from a piece of string! He learned to drive too fast and too furious, however. How many times did that tranny get miss-shifted, and that was before the wreck...ohh but am off my story.

    Dad took the Porsche racing---under the aegis of (an un-named co-conspirator and former University of Wisconsin Professor who shall go nameless) his friend "L". Jim Clarck my dad wasn't, not even finishing....but the little Porsche limped home, tape over its lights, the tailpipe smoke a little closer to the dark blue of its finish.

    That was the last great car my Dad became Pontiac Grand Ville's and then a disasterous FWD Cadillac, followed by a slew of somnambulant Town Cars that just kept on ticking. Yet, I had the supreme pleasure of taking my drivers test in the 912. Lucky Me: the examiner missed all my speeding and double shifting to take power curves, and gave me my license anyway!

    But in our family, though "we" (my brother and I) mourned the loss of the big block Chevy, Dad's Porsche was king, and the excellence was not expected---it was exciting!.

  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    My Dad was in the US Navy before WWII broke out in Europe and was discharged until after the end of hostilities in Japan. All in all, he gave almost 8 years to the service of his country.

    Once discharged and home again, he managed without a car for quite awhile but finally bought a used mid-fifties Ford, shortly after getting married. Through the 1960's and early '70's, he had a 1961 Olds 88 (beige), a 1962 Buick LeSabre (pale green), 1968 Olds Delmont (maroon), and a 1973 Ford Galaxie 500 (medium blue). To my recollection, with the exception of the first Ford, every one of these cars had at least a 350 cubic inch engine, and I know the Delmont had a 455!

    Then the first Oil Crisis hit. So he bought a 1976 VW Dasher (dark green), with a 97 c.i.d. 4 cylinder. Unfortunately, every penny saved on gas was spent trying to keep that dang fuel injection system functioning (incredibly unreliable car). But he liked the efficiency of the car, the comfortable seats, and small size for parking.

    The Dasher was traded on a 1981 maroon & silver Pontiac Phoenix hatchback (one of the X-bodies). It had the "Iron Duke" 2.5 litre 4 cylinder engine. The Phoenix was the first car he ever had with air conditioning and the first car that he ever bought new.

    The Phoenix was followed by a new 1985 Olds Cutlass Ciera (bronze), again with the Iron Duke engine.

    But his favorite car was his last one. A 1989 Nissan Maxima SE. Although he bought it used, he loved that car, in an elegant beige exterior with black leather interior. He loved the smoothness of the engine and the power that it delivered. It's the car that I recall him doting on the most. He'd sometimes show up at my office at lunchtime or pull into my driveway on a Saturday afternoon, the car freshly washed and waxed.

    By 1996, my Dad was slowing down physically and I was warning him about driving at night. Finally, one evening I got a call that he had been in an accident - it was pretty bad and the Maxima was totaled. He and my mom were bruised up badly. A week later, I actually had tears running down my face when I emptied out his personal belongings from the car while it was in the salvage yard.

    My mom and I convinced him not to get another car, but it really broke his heart and spirit to lose his independence. The physical aftermath of the accident started his last downward slide and he died 4 months later.

    Even today, when I see a Maxima of that era (and there are a surprisingly fair number still around), it catches my eye. Honestly, it took a couple of months after his death for me to stop looking for Dad behind the wheel whenever I saw one.

    Thanks, Dad, for letting me help out on car maintenance projects when I was just a little kid, handing wrenches and sockets to you. I realize that I was probably more of hinderance than a help for at least a few years. Thanks, too, for letting me take on some of the work on my own as I got older. It was a tremendous confidence builder for a gangly teenager trying to make sense of the world and my place in it. And thanks for the heritage of tools - I still use them today and think of you whenever I handle one of them. I miss you still.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    My grandparents on my Dad's side had a '77 Grenade. 2-door model with the 250 inline-6. They traded in a troublesome '75 Dart Swinger, which stalled out on a regular basis without warning, and the dealer never could fix. I dunno if the Granada really was much better, as it dropped its transmission almost off the showroom floor! Luckily it was under warranty.
  • varmintvarmint Member Posts: 6,326
    "We had a Torino wagon at one point as well."

    Not family, but... My neighbor hides a 68 or 69 Torino "Sport roof" GT in his garage. Might even be a cobra jet, but I'm not 100% on that. He leaves the 'hood too fast for me to get a good look!
  • varmintvarmint Member Posts: 6,326
    Not a great Porsche, but how many can you truly call "bad"?

    I'm not sure this car is dad's favorite, but it's certainly his favorite of all those he has owned. His was BRG and the floorboards were rusted out before he sold it (just before my older brother turned 16). It was replaced with a 240Z, but that car didn't seem to tickle his fancy quite the same way.

    Mostly, I think he liked messin' with the heads of muscle car guys who mistook it for the 6 cyl 911. I know my father enjoyed the car, but he doesn't share many driving stories. To hear him talk about it, the brakes were the thing that inspired the loudest OMGs from any given passenger.

    This is also the car I was nearly born in. Apparently the 4 cyl was just enough to get mom to the hospital on time. I recall climbing into the jump seats as a little critter and watching the road lines through the floor. Not much else, though.

    The car he covets, but never owned, is a 6 cyl big Healey.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Wow, I thought the Darts were some of the better cars of the 70's?

    I was born into a (2) Duster family, one was a 340, Green with black stripes and a stick, the other was something called a "Cropduster", brown with a 6. They had them both at the same time and my folks claim them to be some of the most reliable cars they've owned.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    I can see why he'd dote on that car. Style-wise it was my favorite Maxima.

    My dad isn't driving these days and he has managed to slowly accept the fact that he's not likely to again, but not to the point where he doesn't have a car. Not one of his leased Caddys - just a Buick Century. If he wants to get somewhere and one of us can't take him he has a driver that's a phone call away. I was plenty worried that not driving would be the end of him but he carries on.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    Wow, I thought the Darts were some of the better cars of the 70's?

    For the most part, Darts (and Valiants) were excellent cars, but Chrysler came up with this brilliant idea called "Lean Burn", a crude computer that stuck on the side of the air cleaner and controlled the spark advance for the distributor. In 1974 they put it on their 400/440 big blocks, and then in 1975 I think they expanded it to all their engines.

    As a result, I hear that the 1974 and earlier Dart is an excellent car, whereas the '75-76, not so hot. I think the 318 V-8 adapted better to the Lean Burn. The slant six in general never did take very well to emissions controls.

    Now that I think about it, my grandmother's cousin had a 1979 Volare wagon with the slant six, a 2-bbl setup, and I think she had carb and choke and Lean Burn problems with it.
  • michaellnomichaellno Member Posts: 4,120

    If I get to CA this weekend I'll try to remember to get some photos and post them in my CarSpace pages.
  • fintailfintail Member Posts: 54,979
    I don't know if it is the same thing, but one of the high school clunkers my sister had was an 81 Cordoba, and I think it had the 6 in it...either way, it had some kind of crude computer that caused no end of problems. Of course it was a neglected 15 year old car then, but my dad always went on about a "computer" causing all the issues.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    I think 1981 was the year that GM started loading up their cars with computers. They put the ECU down in the kick panel in the passenger-side footwell. Supposedly 1981-82 was a really bad timeframe for these things, too. And I remember my grandparents on my Mom's side getting a 1982 Malibu wagon that shot its ECU, out of warranty, to the tune of about $500. They had it replaced, and the second one crapped out sometime in the fall of 1984, wherupon Granddad got fed up and they went and bought a Buick LeSabre. I remember Grandmom saying that they looked a blue one first, but it wouldn't start, which gave her a bad vibe. The next one they looked at was a gray one, which fired right up, and that's the one they came home with.

    I'd imagine that by 1981, Chrysler was loading more computer crap on their cars as well, just waiting to fail and wreak havoc.
  • altair4altair4 Member Posts: 1,469
    When I was in college in the late '70's, a buddy had a '69 Dart with the slant six. I can still hear that unique starter sound, kinda like "Dino" from the "Flintstone" cartoons....

    My buddy's older brotehr bought a Dodge Aspen with 318 Lean Burn was, shall we say, problematical throughout his ownership.
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    "Cropduster"?? Was that a special edition for the prairie states? Ford made "Twisters" for Kansas cars
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    LOL, We were living in Massachusetts at the time, in the city. No prairies there! I think it was a special edition or maybe it was the color code for brown?

    I'll bet Andre would know this.
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    of a Crop Duster. I've heard of a Gold Duster and a Feather Duster, though. And there was something called a Twister, that looked like a Duster 340, just minus the 340. I guess it just had the graphics, rally wheels, and maybe bucket seats. And there was something called a Space Duster, where the back seat cushion folded up (rather than down like most hatchbacks/wagons) to create more trunk space. There was also a Silver Duster, available in 1976. doesn't say much about it; I guess it was just a final-edition trim package that they put on the last A-body Dusters.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    :surprise: Wow, I thought there was a punchline somewhere in that :D I had no idea there were that many editions of the Duster! Then there was the sibling, the Demon to go with it, were there editions of that car too?

    BTW, thanks for the info. How you know all this stuff is amazing... :surprise:
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    to be honest, I only remembered the Gold Duster and Feather Duster. I had to look that other stuff up on I tried searching the web though, and couldn't find anything at all about a Plymouth Crop Duster.

    As for the Demon, well it was renamed the Dart Sport for 1973, because a lot of people in the Bible Belt didn't like the idea of driving a Demon to church. There was a Dart Lite that corresponded to the Feather Duster. There was something called a "Convertriple", which had the folding rear seat and a sunroof. There was something else called a Dart Hang Ten, but I forget what its angle was.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
    Ah, yes, the Hang Ten. Only you could have reminded me of that one, Andre. I believe that was a reference to surfing. I guess Chrysler may have tried to niche market to the California and Hawaii crowds with that one.

    I don't imagine that name would be too popular in this age of terrorism and frequent images of brutal acts. Somehow Avenger Hang Ten doesn't sound too appealing. But maybe, if that Dart had the 340, it was brutal in a positive way. Don't know what engine it had, though.
  • fezofezo Manahawkin, NJMember Posts: 10,379
    I remember the Gold Duster and the Twister. Those others are definitely new to me.

    Didn't remember about the Hang Ten but that was a very popular term amongst surfers and more so with would be surfers.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    ...that a clothing manufacturer called "Hang Ten" sued Chrysler for using their name. I don't know what happened to the lawsuit. I think it was dismissed.
  • anythngbutgmanythngbutgm Member Posts: 4,277
    Now that I hear it a few times, and put the phrase "Duster" and "Twister" together, that sounds like it might have been the one. I'll have to confirm with my folks when they get back from their trip, but I'll be damned if that isn't it instead.

    I am positive they had a 340. Even had the decals on the rear quarter. If I can hijack a picture of the two cars together, I'll post it.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Member Posts: 5,092
    ...and to keep this sort of on topic :blush:, I recalled a car that belonged to my childhood best friend's Dad. He babied it like it was his eighth child. A Plymouth Road Runner! All I really remember about it was its distinctive horn. Meep-meep! :D
  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 24,880
    I wish my Dad had babied some of his cars a bit better. As it was, he had a habit of ragging them out and throwing a rod or something, and then leaving the carcass abandoned on a lonely country road. That was the fate that met his '65 Impala SS396, which had the 425 hp setup and a 4-speed. I imagine a car like that, in good shape, would really be worth something today. But back then it was just a 5 or 6 year old clunker with a blown engine.

    Dad also had a '62 Corvette, which I'm too young to remember it very well, but somewhere in a family photo album there's a pic of it sitting in the circle of my grandparents' driveway and me pointing at it. I guess I was about 3 at the time. It was a total piece of junk though. And to make matters worse, Dad hit a taxi with it. Broke out the taillight on the taxi. Pretty much demolished the passenger-side fender and door on the Corvette.

    A couple years ago, I was talking with Dad about some of his old cars, and he said that he had originally wanted to fix that Corvette up and give it to me when I turned 16. I dunno if that was true or not though, or if he just made it up on the spot. You know how, sometimes, parents can tell you things that you like to hear, just to save face, I guess? :P
  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    My Dad was my polar opposite when it came to car care. Both my parents smoked and the inside of the car looked like Pittsburgh circa 1955 when we took a trip. The floors would be covered with McDonald's wrappers and months-old shopping flyers. The ashtray would be overflowing with ashes, cigarette butts, and paper debris. The driver's footwell would be 1/2" deep with dirt and pebbles. His approach to car repair was to let problems go until they couldn't be ignored and when they were dealt with, his approach was "good enough." When I first got my license, I took the time to clean and detail my Dad's ride. A friend of mine thought my family purchased a new car. I told him it was the same car, I just cleaned and detailed it. He was astonished. For a short time, my Dad's car was spoiled. Then I got my 1968 Buick Special Deluxe. My little sister preferred to ride in my car as it was A LOT cleaner.
  • davethecarnutdavethecarnut Member Posts: 248
    Hey Andre, so they did put the Corvette big-block in the big cars? I know about the 385hp engines, but the 425's? That would be a cool car to have today.

    The Twister was a Ford. Not the Duster.
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    My dad's favorite car was a 1956 Pontiac 4 door. It was pink and grey. I think it was a hardtop. He also liked our 1949 Packard that I learned to drive in. I was not allowed to drive the Pontiac. His favorite PU trucks were all Studebakers. He kept one of them running into the 1980s. He tried several other PU trucks and ended up with Dodge Diesels the last 20 years of his life.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    My dad's favorite cars were his late 60's Chevelle and GTO both were modified. :)

    Lemko, is your brother in-law going buy a american car next time ? Doesn't he drive a Altima ?

  • lemkolemko Philadelphia, PAMember Posts: 15,261
    Actually, he already DID buy an American car to replace the Altima - a Ford Fusion. I think he wanted to buy another Altima, but he felt the Nissan dealer treated him shabbily and wouldn't budge on the price.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 14,014
    Is he happy with the fusion ?

This discussion has been closed.