Author Topic: First and/or most interesting car  (Read 3376 times)

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Offline Pete Bog

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First and/or most interesting car
« on: February 27, 2020, 10:14:12 PM »
   In an earlier topic, a '59 Ford was brought up by Wolfy. That was back in the day when cars actually had style. I thought a topic on early vehicles might be interesting.
   On occasion, a man gets stuck waiting for a table at a restaurant or killing time in a hotel lobby. When it happens to me, I'll start a conversation with what appears to be the oldest man also waiting and ask him what his first car was. I've heard many really interesting stories, but the one that really stood out for me was from a man in his early 90's that I met around 1999 or so. He told me that when he was a young man of around 15 or so, he paid $15.00 for a used Stutz Bearcat. The car was a benchmark of it's day and held in the highest esteem until late in the 20th century. He said his mother made him sell the car after just a couple weeks, because it was too fast and dangerous! The car is so rare and coveted that I was amazed to have met a man that had actually owned one. He was from New Jersey but was in Long Beach, Washington for his Granddaughters wedding. What a chance meeting.
     Another fun story I heard was from a man that sat on the spare tire mounted on the back bumper of a '41 Plymouth. I guess the Plymouth had a soft long travel suspension and they would drive through the fields and shoot jackrabbits while seated on the top of that spare tire. Put food on the table and a lot of fun he said.
     My first car was the family car passed down to me in '68. A '59 Chevy. 283 V8, 3 speed with overdrive. 21 MPG on the best days. We thought that was real good. Gas was about 23 cents a gallon then. Got stuck in a blizzard in Encino NM for 3 days in December of 1960. Snow was so bad, even the trains quit running.
     I also had a '67 Dodge Charger. Oh my, the stories. The back seats folded flat and a panel dropped flat into the trunk, giving over 7 feet of camping space. ;)
     So for all the guys that don't think they have anything to write about, what was your first or most interesting car from way back when and what stands out about it.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2020, 01:53:41 PM »
My first car was a truck.  A 1950 Dodge six cylinder with a three speed on the tree.  Black and with chrome rings and baby moons.  I hauled my stuff to college in it the fall after high school graduation.

The most interesting is a little tougher to decide.  There was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air with the 265 V8 and a powerglide.  A 1957 Chevy Bel Air with a 283 V8 and three speed trans.  It was a bit interesting.   Then I went British with a 1964 MGB.  I liked the lever shocks and the two 6 volt battery set up.  Aluminum hood.  The motor was reliable and easy to maintain.  I had a couple of Alfa Romeos.  Did you know that in Italian Alfa Romeo means "learn to be a mechanic"?  I had a Volkswagen period with a 57 bus and then a 64 DeLuxe bus, and finished it off with a 68 VW bug which was also the first new car I ever bought.  I bought a 1970 Datsun 240Z.  Then got into 4 wheel drives.  Got a Toyota LandCruiser FJ40, then a FJ60, and finally a FJ62.  All of them were bad rusters.  There are quite a few other cars spaced in between those mentioned and to be honest none of them were very interesting.

Since none of mine are really interesting I will tell what the most interesting two cars I ever rode in are.  A friend of mine bought a Ferrari Dino 246 that was the best cornering car ever.  You could slide it sideways on a ninety degree corner and then go straight.  A take your breath away car.  Then he turned around and bought an AC Cobra.  289 V8 with a 4 speed.  Didn't corner as well as the Ferrari but very fast in a straight line.  This when they were just getting expensive and today, those two are in the realm of a half a million for the Ferrari and three quarters for the Cobra.  He must get ill when he remembers what he sold them for.
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Offline Pete Bog

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2020, 07:44:44 PM »
     In 1971, a friend of mine bought an Alpha Romeo Giulia 1300 GT Jr.. It was a DOHC Hemi head with dual side draft Webers. At least I think they were Webers, it was a long time ago. I would tune the carbs for him and then we'd take it out for a "Test Drive" on the back roads of western Tennessee. Only 1.3 liters, it didn't have much pull out of the corners, but it didn't matter because it cornered so well there was little need to slow down for them! The rear axel had a strip of belting attached from the frame, under the axel and then back up to the frame to limit body roll. That car was so much fun to drive. But by the time we got back from our 'Test Drive" it would be running rough again. The brass mixture screws would readjust themselves from the vibration of a good test run and then we back at square one for a carb tune again. We were 19 years old. Now we would know how to fix that, but back then? We had a lot to learn. But, what a fun car. Little high revving DOHC 4 cylinder, 5 speed manual and a great suspension. The Carb adjustment was the only troubles that I remember with that car. He had it for a couple years and then got the new car bug.
    Did your '50 Dodge have the Hydra drive? I always thought that would be a good transmission of field use on the farm.
    We took a 64 VW camper bus to Alaska and back. 1200cc 36 horse if I remember right. The Alcan was over 1200 miles of gravel road in 1969. That little engine worked it's heart out and finally burned a rod bearing North of Whitehorse on the way back. Hitch hike into Whitehorse for parts, drop the engine along side the road, R&R the bad parts. Then back on the road the next day. Can't say enough good things about that little bus.

Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2020, 09:02:14 PM »
The Dodge was a manual transmission.  I think there were some they called fluid drive but we never had one.  I did have a 53 Buick with a Dyna Flow though.  Not a real fun car but it was a straight eight and had no front shocks so it was like driving a motorboat.

My Alfas were a Berlina Sedan and an Alfetta Sedan.  Both were four doors and pretty good handling cars and the Alfetta had a European spec motor (Dohc with two webers and hot cams).  It was fast.  It broke a lot.  I had no problems with the Webers but things like valves, springs, cams, and rods were iffy at best.

My 57 bus was a beater when I got it but always ran pretty well although slowly.  The 64 DeLuxe was about 36 hp as I remember and I blew the engine on it trying go up a long mountain road hill at more than 40 mph.  Threw a rod.  The 68 bug was a really good car.  We had it for a few years and all we did was change oil and air filters.  Tuned it up once in awhile.  I remember we paid just over $2000 for it with chrome wheels and a radio.  Sold it for $800 when I let it go.  The last VW we owned was a station wagon called a 411.  It had the same 80 hp motor in it as a 914 Porsche.  Fast for a VW and a neat wagon.  Saw one in a German publication some time ago and it was really a decent looking car.  The one we had was an automatic and never gave us any problems.


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Offline Pete Bog

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2020, 02:12:22 AM »
     When we first moved onto this place in '87, there was a '51 3/4 ton dodge pickup in a shed. Flathead six and a four speed. The landlord said it was  a dyna drive or some such thing. I guess the way it worked was it had a torque converter in front of the clutch and transmission assembly. You operated the clutch transmission just like any other manual transmission vehicle, but nothing happened until the engine had some RPM on it to get the torque convertor to engage. From what he was telling me, you could idle the engine down and the truck would come to a stop. And even though you didn't push in the clutch, you couldn't kill the engine. I thought that would be pretty handy while picking up hay bales in the field or traversing a steep rutted trail in the hills. I never got to drive it. It was destroyed in a fire in '08. I remember it had 17" wheels on it and thought that was unusual for the early 50's.
   
« Last Edit: February 29, 2020, 02:20:28 AM by Pete Bog »

Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2020, 08:38:24 AM »
What you are describing is the fluid drive system.  Here is a rather good review of the whole system and it's pros and cons.

https://www.allpar.com/mopar/fluidrive.html
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline Spyder1958

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2020, 10:07:55 AM »
My 1st, 65 fairlane, 2 door, 289, 3 on the tree, honeydew gold, black hardtop. learned to drive on the back dirt roads of E. Tenn. I changed so much on this car. Lots of great memories in this little car. After getting married, I traded it for a 73 firebird, boy was it fast, hit 135 mph once and thought it was going airborne.
the 69 GTO and 70 SS chevelle 396, were fun cars. Lots more in between. Thanks for bring up those memories.
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Offline Pete Bog

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #7 on: February 29, 2020, 11:24:33 AM »
My 1st, 65 fairlane, 2 door, 289, 3 on the tree, honeydew gold, black hardtop. learned to drive on the back dirt roads of E. Tenn.

    Sometime in the '70's, the wife and I were in Union County, TN headed to Maynardville, to visit some friends. On a winding two lane blacktop, I was having fun. I thought I was doing real good, carving my way through the corners. And then I was passed by a grey haired old lady in an early 70's Ford LTD four door sedan. And it was not a slow timid pass. She showed up in my rear view mirror just as we approached an open left hand sweeper, pulled to the inside and blew by me like the novice driver I was. I couldn't even keep her taillights in sight as we worked our way through the curves. I was so outclassed by this local woman of obviously superior experience and driving skills. I was humbled that afternoon.
   

Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #8 on: February 29, 2020, 01:24:45 PM »
Spyder you're right about the memories from cars.  Early GTO and Chevelles were something.  So were some of the Chevy II Novas with the 396 motor.  427 Vettes were also quick.  Ford 406 and later 427 motors made those Galaxies awfully tough to beat in a street race.  A guy in my high school class had a Fairlane with the 390 motor in it.  Wrapped it around a tree two years after we graduated.  Killed three of the four in the car.  Another friend had a Firebird.  He wanted a Camaro but his dad was a diehard Pontiac guy and got him into the Firebird.  It was a fast car.  Remember the Olds 442 and the Buick Gran Sports?  Never many around but they were fast.  Those were the days.
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Offline Pete Bog

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #9 on: February 29, 2020, 02:31:45 PM »
     Remember the letter series tires? J.C. Penny used to sell tires and accessories way back when and they had an 'N' series tire that must have been 13" wide and had a reputation as being pretty sticky. If you wanted a street legal tire that would hook up and go, that was the one.
    That having been said, the SS-396 Chevelle could light 'em up and once they were hot in 1st gear, you could lay down 4 consecutive black patches as you shifted through the gears without lifting off the gas. Now we just shake our heads (while smiling) at how we abused those cars. Dang they were fun!
    My brother in law and his best friend had matching SS-396 Novas. The only difference was the 4 speed tranny. One was wide ratio and the other a close ratio. The outcome of a drag race was always the same. The wide ratio would jump out front off the line because of the deeper low gear, but the close ratio was out front at the 1/4 mile mark because the engine didn't drop off the  peak power curve between gears. Great cars but the solid lifters were a pain in the neck. Not really suitable as a daily driver, but when your 19, it's just an inconvenience.

Offline Alan R McDaniel Jr

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2020, 07:46:35 PM »
1st car was a Midnight Blue 65 Pontiac LeMans.  It was a two door with a Hurst shift.  326.  It wasn't a GTO but I drove it like it was one.  A lot of firsts happened in that car....

Most interesting vehicle was a 78 Dodge pickup. It had a three speed OD with a slant 6.  The interesting thing about it is that I think EVERY nut, bolt and screw on it rattled loose at some point.  I had to cut the exhaust pipe off and reattach it with flex hose because it kept rattling loose from the manifold.  Finally had to braze the flange to the manifold and run flex hose all the way to the back.  It also had a resistor on the ignition and it it got the slightest bit damp the engine would stop.  I changed the clutch, pressure plate and throwout bearing three times in five years.  I finally sold it for $500 with $200 worth of tires on it.  That was a bargain.

Most durable car was a 75 Pinto Station Wagon.  Baby Blue with a standard transmission.  I put it through Hell and always put it back together.  #1 wife and I went all over Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi and up the East coast to upstate New York in it.  It floated across flooded creeks and over places where there weren't roads.  The back seat stayed down and our sleeping bags spread out.  If we wanted privacy we'd just fog up the windows and no one could see in.....


Alan


Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2020, 09:37:13 PM »
Lots of firsts............ your right about that.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline Mannlicher

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2020, 05:15:45 AM »
First was a 1957 Ford station wagon.  Automatic, but I was already driving a stick.  It was a helluva beach car.

Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2020, 02:25:34 PM »
My first vehicle was a 91 Ford Ranger, 4cyl 5 spd.  Nothing fancy but it did have an easy spot for my fishing tube to ride as I pond hopped relentlessly.  Someone stole it though after about a year and half into it.   

Then I got what is probably my favorite truck...
92 Chevy 1500 reg cab, long bed, 350 v8, 5 spd, 4x4.  That thing was fun to drive had slightly aggressive tires with no lift.  But I took it everywhere and it could fit anything I wanted.  Lots of memories in that truck.  sold it to a family friend and he still has it and it looks really good.  Might post a pic some time if I can dig one up
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Offline Mad-max

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2020, 02:36:09 PM »
International Scout.  Don't remember the year. Second was a '66 VW bug that blew up on the way to prom.  The rest are kinda blurry.  It was the '70's....man. 
huh?

Offline wolfy

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2020, 03:43:10 PM »
First: '63 Ford Falcon, fordor, three on the tree, 101 c.i. in-line 6, black wheels w/baby moons, and a blue Walker Continental glass-pack w/turned-down, slash-cut, chrome tip.  Sound system: AM radio w/reverb/rear fader control switch & 6X9 low-fidelity rear speaker from Radio Shack. 

Next in line was a '71 VW Campmobile.....GREA T traveling machine for two brothers with shallow pocketbooks and a yearning to see the Wild West & western Canada....excellent chick-magnet/dating machine, also! 8)    Not wanting to get it all beat up on a trip up the unpaved AlCan Highway to Alaska in '72, we bought a '67 VW bus that we converted into a camper with plans from J.C. Whitney.  It worked great, but it met it's demise two years later when I was driving it to the convention center where I worked in the winter.  It seems that after leaving it sit idle for about 6 weeks prior to starting work in the cold of a Nebraska winter, a mother mouse decided to build her nest between the engine shroud and the finned & air-cooled #3 jug.  The  faithful old girl seized up and tossed a rod through the engine block, leaving a hole big enough for a squirrel to jump through. :-\

I loved those 2 buses....wish I still had them! :'(
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Offline Sarge

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2020, 11:21:43 AM »
My 1st, 65 fairlane, 2 door, 289, 3 on the tree, honeydew gold, black hardtop. learned to drive on the back dirt roads of E. Tenn.

    Sometime in the '70's, the wife and I were in Union County, TN headed to Maynardville, to visit some friends. On a winding two lane blacktop, I was having fun. I thought I was doing real good, carving my way through the corners. And then I was passed by a grey haired old lady in an early 70's Ford LTD four door sedan. And it was not a slow timid pass. She showed up in my rear view mirror just as we approached an open left hand sweeper, pulled to the inside and blew by me like the novice driver I was. I couldn't even keep her taillights in sight as we worked our way through the curves. I was so outclassed by this local woman of obviously superior experience and driving skills. I was humbled that afternoon.
   
Maynardville?!?! I grew up just down Highway 33 in Halls.

I'm late to the party as usual... You guys had some great vehicles. I'd like to see that car show.  8)

My first was a '71 Dodge Dart Swinger with a 318 and a set of glass packs. No sneaking out or back home in that thing. I had a VW Rabbit next with .030" over pistons, duel Dellorto carbs, adjustable cam, sway bars, etc. I've had pickups ever since, including a '90 Nissan Hardbody i bought new and kept for 16 years.
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2020, 02:35:27 PM »
Sarge,

My wife and i have a friend we go to church with and usually eat lunch with on Sundays.  She is 94  years old and has a 1994 Nissan Hardbody.  About 70K for miles and it is a manual transmission.  It is faded red, has a couple of hail dents, but no wrecks and everything works.  We have tried to get her to sell it to us to no avail.  She hauls trash to the dump in about once a month.  I really like the truck but so does everybody else.  She said people come to the door just to see if they can buy it every so often.  Ha!, I am never going to get it most likely.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline Sarge

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Re: First and/or most interesting car
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2020, 03:34:28 PM »
They?re great little trucks. Mine was a king cab and 5 speed manual. At 16 years old, it had 130k miles. The only real repair was the slave cylinder on the clutch at about 80k. The only other work was just maintenance. Paint faded on mine too ... in just a couple years. Dealer painted part of it but wouldn?t paint it all. Friend of mine has a 92 or 93 he still drives to work every day. People try to buy his too.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart (1862-1931)