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1966 Mustand Convertible. Red with a black pony interior. Straight six 200 cu in engine. Routinely burnt out front wheel bearings. Back then I looked like an automotive genius when it came to fixing little engine problems. I long for a single vacuum advance hose and no electronic anything. Drove it for years, until a tree fell on it whilst is was parked in my backyard :0(
1973(?) Fiat 128 The ultimate tin can car, couldn't survive a side impact with a shopping cart, but man could it turn on a dime. I used to run the slalom whenever they put out those orange traffic cones for highway construction or maintenance workers. (When no one was working, of course)
1966 Mustang Fastback GT with a 289 Hi-Performance engine with a 4 barrel Holly carb on top of an Offenhauser high-rise manifold with a 4 speed with a slapstick shift. Forget all the other details except how it would pin me into the seat whenever I stomped on the pedal. Cops would mostly smile and nod their heads when I was crusing down the highway.
The one that got away: 1967 or '68 Mustang Shelby GT Convertible. I forget the exact year. $6,000 at the time. Just sitting there with a ForSale sign on it. Just tooooo much money. (Last time I checked $300,000 or thereabouts wasn't too much money :-0 )
Well, I hope I caused some of you to pause and to think of some of life's pleasantries - like a car that was fun to drive.
1987 Chevy Blazer Tahoe edition
I loved this truck. I had it lifted with 32's on it. Had a pair of subs in it, and could go anywhere I wanted. It was black with a leather interior. Very nice for it's age. Finally sold it due to a weak engine and bad tranny. Sure miss it.
1995 Mazda Millenia S
This was such a nice car. Fully loaded. It would cruise down the highway at a smooth 120mph+. Very quick with the supercharger and could usually beat V8 cars like Thunderbirds. Sold it due to high miles 165k+
Wife only used 3 and 4 gear in the 66 :)
64 Chevell, loooowered, rear tires N60x15 on 15x15 rims,
front tires G60x15 on 12 or 13 wide 15 rims.
Fender wells cut out for clearence etc . . .
Looked like a short tracker and handled good.
[edited by: GeorgeGG at 11:07 pm (utc) on Jan. 31, 2005]
First car, was a bomb, wish I had the money to fix it up. It needed a new engine in it as it totally burned oil. I used to go through a case of oil a month with it.
One of my dreams at the time was to fix it up and race it at our local race track with my cousins who used to race their cars. Some dreams though go poof, and that was one of them.
Totally loved that car, it had so many good memories attached to it. So many that I had tears in my eyes when the tow truck arrived to take it to the junk yard or maybe it was the thought that I would have to use public transportation to get around? ;). Those were the good years.
I bought it in the UK from a dodgy backstreet dealer, 50k miles, good condition, black, 1100cc engine, 5-speed manual. OK, so the gearbox was a but floppy: you had to push back the passenger seat as far as it woud go to get it into second gear. Five days after buying it, I drove it from London to Geneva, where it survived a whole year. I went to Paris and Milan in it, and with a following wind you could get it to over 160km/h (100mph) on the autoroute from the Swiss border towards Chamonix. I repaired it with scrapyard parts and did more crazy things with it that I care to remember.
Every car I've had since has been faster, more comfortable and more reliable, but I still regret getting rid of the thing. A truly brilliant design, and a great car.
I wasn't a teenager, and it wasn't my first car. I was 25, it was my 4th car.... none of the others were "fun" (well, the 1964 Rambler with a Chevy 327 and Hurst shifter qualified as fun whenever I blew away the street-stock stuff of the era - the looks on those faces! PRICELESS!)
I loved that car. It had 37k miles on it when I bought it in 1974, and even "upgraded" got about 22 mpg; I put 80k more miles on it. I drove it absolutely everywhere - including into LV's "westside" (like Watts in LA) on home visits (I was an eligibility cert spec for State of Nevada Welfare). I carried a shillelagh my dad had made for me - you never knew what would happen (one night, my client - nice man with a disability which kept him from working - walked me to my car with a loaded shotgun alongside....). Never had to use the shillelagh, but it was comfortable to have it along....
I was headed for the store one night in 1979. A girl in a big ol' Chevy Impala ran a stop sign.... she'd had her drivers' license about 2 days, and was somewhere she didn't belong with someone she wasn't supposed to be with. I wasn't even speeding (surprise....) I wasn't badly hurt - bruises, a cut on my chin; she wasn't hurt either. But my car was dead.
Her parents took me to court, tried to prove - oh, all SORTS of things.... the judge wasn't nice to them....
But my car was still dead....
I am a convertible, in winter, with the top down, the snowflakes falling, the heater blasting, driving down the highway with a Christmas tree standing up in the back on the way home from cutting it in the woods. I am a convertible taking a weekend frolic to the Carolinas to purchase fireworks, getting lost on a winding treeline road in the piedmont section of Virgina, where the leaves have turned yellow and orange and red and are blowing through the open passenger compartment of my car as I lose track of time and all concern. I am the art of living in motion.
I am a convertible on an otherwise automobile free highway in the open plains of Texas at 2:00 A.M., driving with my headlights off, looking up at the stars.
I remember times when my car was integral to my experience
and I miss my car and the magic we used to create.
Not enough magic in mid-life.
Perhaps that's why old men, who some think look silly in convertibles, just smile despite the puzzled or non-approving looks.
Those who might offer such looks may have never known the magic, or they simply fail to connect the dots to their own experience.
Yes, I am having a moment of nostalgia or cabin fever or a mild mid-winter depression countered by a few moments of escapism.
Or, perhaps on a positive note, a motivational moment. Yes, that's what I'd like to think.
Time to buy a copy of Hemming's Motor News.
Not enough magic in mid-life.
Why the need for a car to create magic? And there is plenty of magic in mid life (though I'm only a mere 29 years of age ;) )
All one has to do is look around, find the magic that awaits you. Open your eyes. Its there for the finding.
Spring approaches, and with spring comes hope. Life springs forward in all around you. Its here now even in winter. Just look.
Just because there is snow on the chimney doesn't mean that there isn't a fire in the fireplace. (aimed at the old men in convertables ;) )
The magic within your writing shows that you are creative, even poetic. Use it. Use it with all your might. Life is a poem, and sometimes, we even get to write our own lines.
i moved to nyc in may and sold my car, a 2003 z71 tahoe. it was only 10 months old. it was a car i had eyed for a long time and finally started making enough to pay for it (graduated college). i loved driving it around.
two months ago i walked out of my building, and there was my car. i had to take a closer look. it even had texas plates. a guy in my bldg was from houston and he was moving home. for that first moment though, i thought it was my car...
1972 VW Beetle Cal Look - In Lilac
1955 VW Beetle Stock
1968 VW Beetle Cal Look - Orange - Lowered with 2.5l porsche motor
1968 Triumph Herald Convertible
1967 Mini Cooper
1937 Renault Recovery Truck
1970's? Ford Escort Mexico
1968 VW Camper
1951 Armstrong Sidely Gangster Car
1968 Mustang Coupe with Hydraulics
1973 Mk1 Cortina
1968 VW Beach Buggy
1984 Mk11 VW Golf GTi
1980 Mk1 Golf
and today I drive a 1979 Mk1 Golf
Kawasaki Z550 Streetfighter
1960's BSA Bantam 175cc Matchless
Casal 70 (weird never seen another)
And today I ride a CCM 400cc Supermotard
There is probably another 10 nondescript cars and 3 or 4 other bikes.
Ha ha I'm only 32 and I've been thru way more than 20 vehicles.
Best of all I have put at least 3 mk111 escorts in the scrapyard!
1978 Dodge Ramcharger - a big behemoth of a vehicle before I remember them being called SUVs, much like a Chevy Suburban. The transmission was bad, and it didn't have reverse. If I was desperate and on completely even ground with no pebbles, I could barely push it. So, I either had to park on a slight incline so I could roll backwards, or make sure I could run over whatever was in front of me.
As you might imagine, I ran over a lot of things I shouldn't have. Being 18 and thinking it was fun didn't help much either. :)
1987 Firebird Formula 350 - just very fast at the time. I sold it for almost nothing because it had a bad heater core and I was too broke to have it fixed, too lazy to fix it myself.
1986 Benz 560SL - reasonably fast and handles well. I still have it, it's a chromed out little ride with a hard top and soft top.
One of my favorites is a "stodgy" beater turbo station wagon that I tricked up into an off-road vehicle. Once I accidentally flipped it on its side at an off-road area while trying to impress the passengers with a slide-up-to-a-stop-sideways maneuver where I didn't see the little gully until too late. Bottom line, no one hurt, we pushed it back on its wheels and drove off. A few weeks later I entered it into a fancy show at a large Volvo shop that featured millions of dollars worth of rare cars. I entered mine on its side (using floorjacks this time) as a demonstration of their durability. This little display was loved by everyone but the show organizers.
My favorite trip was in the Panamint/Death Valley area. There is a road between called Goler Wash, where Charles Manson was caught incidentally. This is something like 60 miles of "high clearance 4wd only" deep gravel washes and eroded roads that are mostly ruts as deep as the tires are tall. A ranger driving a Hummer the opposite direction stopped and stared for many long seconds before declaring, "I never thought I'd see a Volvo station wagon in Butte Valley!" Spent the night in a 130 year old cabin. So many all wheel drive vehicles out there, amazing what skill and audacity can coax out of regular old rear wheel drive.
Put it in compound low and it would climb anything. Never had the ignotion key - started it with a popcycle stick. Original engine finally died and dropped in a Chevy. It was never really the same after that.
My favorite car, believe it or not, is my '85 Ford Escort. It was my first car, and I got it after it had been owned by my great-grandmother, then my grandfather. I got it in 1999, I think, and it had about 32,000 miles on it. It was doggy at first, but after I'd driven it for awhile I got it so it would beat any other automatic off the line (up to about 35 MPH, at which point it took half a mile to get up to 55!)
It's a fun car to drive, nimble, handles well, and since it's in excellent, no-rust condition, it looks good too. People think it's funny for a guy of my age to like this car so much, but I really do. An extra bonus is that it has virtually no blind-spots, contrary to these new cars, where you might just as well have no back windows at all! ;)
And then there was my 2000 Chevy S-10, which I won in a free drawing from a hardware store, where I had gone to buy about 38 cents worth of nylon washers . . . sold the truck before I'd driven 1000 miles, took the money and started a business instead.
We were on the BACKside of Wheeler Mountain, heading over into Quaddle Valley (west end of the Sespé) one Saturday when we met a ranger in an army jeep coming down the track. We would be headed UP that hill in a few minutes. He stopped us, told my dad there was no way he'd make it up there, and the jeep wouldn't pull out something as heavy as the Chrysler. Daddy just laughed.... we got up the hill just fine, leaving the ranger at the bottom of the hill staring after us with his mouth open....
Then there was the time we were picnicking in the Sespé and some dove hunters started shooting in our direction.... poor old green huge-mobile wound up with birdshot scars in its paint....
Not so mini: 24 feet, sleeps 4. Wish I had one in college. Good thing I didn't.
Purchased used in mid 90s with only 43,000 miles on it. $6,500. Old but solid. Kept that way by a black seal boiler engineer, meticulous kind of guy. Currently doing a complete gutting and metal re-roofing with son, who wants to take it on spring break. Ya, right.
Original motivation: My father, retired, talked for years about owning a motorhome. Called his bluff. Went Dutch.
Favorite memory: 3 trips with the kids from New Jersey to Fort Wilderness in Walt Disney World Orlando. Fort Wildness, which sits on the lake next to the Magic Kingdom, offered all the advantages of an on campus hotel for 1/3 the cost. Made it possible to do the Disney thing x3 for 8 days on campus at a time. Kids loved it. Strongly recommend it.
If you're considering such an adventure, used motorhome and all, here's the winning tip (assuming you are somewhat handy): When you buy an older used RV gut all the under the hood engine add-ons: water pump, alternator, radiator, fuel pump, power steering pump, belts, hoses, etc. Cost ~ $1,000+ if you have a mechanic do it all at one time. Why fix what ain't broken? Because once you breakdown on the road the cost of replacing a single component, say the water pump, will run you close to the same amount between the towing the big rig, parts, mechanic, night in hotel or 2 (cars always break down on Saturday evenings), etc. I bought years of peace of mind by attacking the problem before it ever appeared. Amen.
Life's a trip. Enjoy the ride.
He didn't want me to get the next model up because it came with reclining seats. Little did he know that the only difference was the latch handle was omitted on the 220. Any narrow screw driver would work the recliner.... :)
Then there was the 68 Toyota sedan, also new. That thing was built like a tank! Try as I might, I just couldn't break it.
Along the way there was a 73 Ford Country Squire 10 passenger wagon, fake woodgrain side trim and all, no 27 year old single guy should ever own one of these. But what a highway cruiser that thing was!
My all time favorite was a 90 Mustang convertible. Four cylinders, automatic, the most comfortable car I've ever driven on long trips.
There have also been 2 VW sedans (10,000 miles in 30 days in one when it was new, don't want to do that again) and a Transporter. The Transporter was really great, but when it needed a new engine I realized I'm a driver, not a builder, so away it went.
But it wasn't the standard little boxy car, this was the 4x4 pickup model. It was 13 years old by the time I got my hands on it, but for a first car it was great - I once had 23 (no mistake - 23) people in it! I finally blew it up doing 190KPH down the motorway on a very steep hill. Ah well. If the petrol got low it would clonk out going up hills - all the petrol ran to the back of the tank.
Oh, and the "official" driving age in Spain was 18, but I got my British license at 17, so was driving a year before my peers. :)
Guilty by virtue of looking like you're going fast? Hmmmmm.
Used to happen all the time to my parents when they owned aforesaid Rally Sport Camaro. Police followed them everywhere . . . two young kids in a sporty car! (Dad was into following the speed limits by then; before he and Mom were married the police would have had good reason for following him around!)
The best strategy to avoid the long arm of the law is not to catch the eye of a watchful patrol officer. In other words, "don't drive a red car; don't drive a flashy car; don't tailgate; don't do more than one illegal thing at a time."
That's why I made my car stealth ;)!