Allow me to introduce my car - Part One
In the summer of 1975, my owner worked the entire summer in order to earn enough money to buy his first car. He was only fifteen at the time, but he would turn sixteen in late November. He trusted his father enough to assist him in purchasing just the right car, something cool but suitable for a newly licensed driver. Well, he bought me.
I was a 1953 Model M38-A1 Military Willy's Jeep. In case you didn't know, Jeep wasn't a brand back then; it was an abbreviated version of General Purpose Vehicle known as a G.P. or if you say it quickly, Jeep. He paid $1,000.00 for me, almost all of the money he had worked for that year. No top, no doors, no heater, no radio. What was his father thinking, talking him into buying me? Oh, I remember. His father wanted to go hunting in Colorado that year and needed a four wheel drive vehicle with a winch on the front to maneuver in the mountains! What a guy!
Well, my owner turned sixteen in late November. He got his license and drove me to school that first day in a snowstorm. Temperatures were around twenty degrees, it was snowing to beat the band, and windy. He dutifully went out to brush the snow from my seats and start me up. Shivering, he got into me and drove a couple of blocks to pick up his friend and go to school in style. He drove me every day that winter, freezing more often than not. At the time, I didn't know if he loved me that much, or if he was just stupid. Over the years I came to understand: he was just that stupid.
He drove me too hard, and I wasn't meant to be driven that way by a snot nosed kid. So I would break down occasionally, just to get a break. You know, like not start or act like my fuel filter was clogged or having one of my two batteries go dead something. Yeah, I said two batteries. See, I was a twenty-four volt system so everything on me cost twice as much as any other car. And I had a tank starter under the hood, just in case he needed to jump start a tank sometime. It was enough that he got tired of not being able to drive when and where he wanted. And there was the fact that no self respecting girl (or any other type) wanted to be seen on a date in a Jeep with no doors, top, heat, or seat belts. So he began to shop around.
The son of a friend offered to trade for me and throw in $300.00. This kid had a 1969 Dodge Super Bee. This beast had a 383 C.I. monster of an engine, capable of taking the kid to speeds unimagined. Rumor had it this car would top out at nearly 150 mph. Hell, I could only get to a third of that! But a visit to the Insurance Man brought that dream to a screeching halt. No way to afford the insurance necessary for a youth of 16 years old to drive a car like that.
But the insurance man, being a helpful soul, had a 1967 Ford Mustang for sale for only $600.00. My owner sold me to that guy who owned the Super Bee for $1,000.00 and bought his next car, the 'Stang. My soul has now been transferred.
Spring of 1976
Ah, what a year we had! I am in the body of a beautiful, red 1967 Ford Mustang! Ooohh how sweet it is! No more pretending to not work in order to get a break from my owner's lead foot; instead I am giving him everything I've got! And buddy, I've got a lot to give.
My engine is not a piddily little four cylinder capable of 50 mph; I have a nice 289 C.I. V8! And not a normal V8 either. No, I have a K engine. It was supposed to end up in one of the Shelby GT350 cars, but somehow ended up with me. And I love it!!!
My top speed is nearly 120 mph. I have hit 110 mph uphill on the interstate. My owner takes me across town to the rival high school almost every day to drag race someone. Over the course of the year he owns me, we must have raced over a hundred times... and never lost a single race!!
We took on all comers. GTO's, Chevelle's, Camaro's, Firebird's. It mattered not, the results were the same. Their view was of my taillights fading in the distance. Even that nice little 1955 Chevy Nomad with the hopped up 283 in it was no match for me. See ya, wouldn't want ta be ya!
Gas was cheap back in those days. My owner would fill me up for about $10.00 and drive for a couple of weeks or more. We went to basketball games out of town, to softball games anywhere we wanted. Life was good.
Then his father (yeah, him again) found out I needed a little front end work. Would have only cost him less than $100.00 to fix but he decided my owner needed something else; something a little "flashier"(read, he wanted it for himself! See he had recently seen the movie Smokey and the Bandit and wanted to experience a second childhood). So they went out looking together and found something newer and flashier. I was now no more than a trade in!
Spring of 1977
Hello, I am now residing in a 1973 Ford Mustang Mach I. I have no room in my back seat; I have a weak as a newborn kitten 351C.I. Windsor engine when combined with my transmission and rear end gears makes me completely unable to squeal my tires from a standing start. Embarrassing, really. I look nasty but I will never win a drag race. But I have a secret!
I am fast! Oh Lord am I fast! I will run 60 mph in 1st; hit 120 mph in 2nd; and who knows in 3rd! My speedometer only goes to 120 and I bury that in 2nd! If someone is foolish enough to race me from one town to the next, they will arrive quite some time after I get there. Like this one guy who challenged me to a race from Harrison to Flippin in Arkansas. About 40 miles or so through three towns along the way that you are supposed to slow down for. But it was fairly late at night and these towns had no police force at all, so who bothers to slow down? Not me! Took the other guy nearly 40 minutes to cover what I did in 22.
Then there was the time my owner took me to see Star Wars, and we flew home afterwards. The Highway Patrol was chasing us for nearly 15 miles before we slowed down. We didn't even know he was back there, honest! And the fact that he tagged us with the radar gun at only 66 mph in a 55 mph zone made this officer mad! Oh, and the fact that he couldn't get a read on us as we outran him ticked him off, too. He was running 140 and couldn't keep up with me! Hee hee!
But my owner had a Come to Jesus moment in me one day. We were running to Harrison to drop something off at the airport. We were doing about a hundred or so all the way there. As I pulled up the the first stoplight in town, my left front tire blew out! If that had happened five minutes earlier, I would have been spread across two counties worth of highway! Oh, and my owner would have been in trouble too.
He slowed down but began to take me to places I didn't have any business being in. Like up the side of this mountain in order to go fishing! I have horsepower but I ain't a four wheel drive! Coming down he took me over a rock that damaged my oilpan and made me leak out some oil along the ride home. He came to realize I wasn't what he wanted in this slower, more sedentary lifestyle he was beginning to partake in. So I was traded for a slightly more ugly vehicle capable of taking him where he wanted to go now.
Fall of 1978
Howdy! I am now residing in a 1973 GMC Jimmy four wheel drive beast they call the dent-mobile! I came with an extra front left fender to replace the one that don't allow the driver's door to open right. And it has dents, too! But I'm tough as a fifty cent steak, I tell you.
Big tires, big engine, big lift kit to keep my precious little oilpan clear of any rocks and such that might hurt me. Got a big gas tank, too. Need it because I only get 5 mpg! So, if you was to fill me up, you might make it 175 miles before I'm snortin' fumes, if you're lucky and part of the trip is downhill.
But I'll get you to places you've never even dreamed of! Across the mountain to the Buffalo River, down roads and mere suggestions of paths to the best fishing this side of Heaven. Up mountains strewn with downed trees and then back to civilization. And when you're ready, I'll take you to college.
Let's talk about that trip to College. Seems I had a measly little nail or four in my tires. Been there all summer and I never complained once, did I? But my owner saw fit to get these tires fixed before driving the hour and a half to his new school in Russellville. Heh, I showed him! How about nine, that's 9 flats in the first two weeks of school all on tires he had fixed. Teach him to treat me nice!
But my oh my did we have fun at school! Trapping, hunting, fishing we went everywhere when he wasn't in class. I did have this one little trick I liked to play on him when we went through a stream. I would splash really high and get my wiring wet and short out! Sometimes we would be there for hours just waiting for me to dry off enough to start again! Makes me laugh just thinking about them times!
Did any of you ever hear the stories about people in Detroit doing things to cause car owners to come back to the shop? Like hearing noises, rattles and such? Well, it's true. See my owner and me were out looking for deer in fields one night and we went off the road and into a culvert. That hurt like hell, I can tell you. When my back end dropped down into the culvert my rear window shattered into like a millions pieces. Rather than fix it, he decided to cut my fiberglass top in half just behind the driver's seat and make a mini truck top for me. When he cut into the side panels of my top, he found handfuls of ten penny nails! Right begind my driver's left ear and the passenger's right ear would be this constant rattling which would make the owner take the truck back to the shop to see what was making that noise. I swear, the depths to which a human will sink to make money...
But all good things have to come to an end. Three years of bliss erupted in the blink of an eye. We moved back to where he grew up in 1981 and he decided to get rid of me! Seems he couldn't stand putting so much gas in me with the way the prices were going up. So he traded me in on the most ugly, most despicable car he would ever own.
Summer of 1981
Yes a 1981 Ford Escort! I am small; I am useless; I am back to running 50 mph at my best! Yuck! But, on the flip side, I do get more miles to the tank than I ever have, and I am a very pretty shade of red! I am new, only 3,000 miles on my chassis so I feel very nice. I look okay too; at least until that idiot let his car roll backwards into my door and then left the scene of the crime! Damn that hurt!
I do give my owner the ability to speed however. At least in town. Try two tickets in three months for speeding in a 35 mph zone! I mean really, do you think of an Escort as being a speed demon?
Oh God, wait! there's someone else driving me now! And they are putting a....BABY in me! A baby? Where did THAT come from?!?
Oh great, now they can't afford to make my payments! I'm getting sold to his sister. I don't like her at all!!!
Fall of 1983
Back in the saddle again! Well, I'm not a race car; I'm not an off road truck; I'm not a fuel efficient car either. What am I?
A 1976 Mercury Cougar.
I have room inside to be a family car, so I guess that's what I am. My engine has some power, but not too much. I am a smooth riding car, floating down the road in style. I guess I can get used to this.
Another kid? Now, wait just a minute! One puking on my upholstery is too much, but two??? Come on, I have dignity, ya know!
Just for that, I'm going to get you another speeding ticket! Yeah, head out and follow that little black speed demon just to see how fast they're going! Keep going, just a little bit farther...
Yeah! 68 mph in a 45 mph zone! That'll cost you! (Let those kids puke on me will you?)
For I while I had a blast watching my owner run around me when I started. See I had this trick of hanging my starter up when he turned the key. He would open my hood, then reach in and turn the key to start me. If the starter hung up and kept going, he would run back to the front of me and try to take the solenoid wire off me quickly to stop the starter from continuing. Gosh that was funny watching him run around me in a panic!
Another lovely day on our way to softball practice. Approaching an unmarked intersection here so look out. I'm a low rider so go slowly through these dips, okay? Look out! She's coming fast! Yeow, she hit me on the passenger side behind my rear tire and it hurts, it hurts!!! Somebody call a cop!
Whaddya mean it's my fault? She hit me! And she was speeding too! Ow my fender! You know I'll never get this fixed; not if she gets her way with that cop and my owner has to pay for her car. Yep, he's screwed. Well, I guess it gives me a little character. What do you think?
Is this hub entertaining you or not?
Fall of 1986
Well, more family life to come now that I'm in a 1983 Chevrolet Celebrity. God what a pedestrian car I am now. White, with no redeeming features at all. Four door sedan just right for a family of four. Did I mention I was boring?
Oh wait, where are you going with me? You're not my owner, you're his wife! And your drunk!! Get outta behind my wheel! Careful, you're swerving all over the place! I can't look I can't look I can't look!!
Whew we made it home! Now get outta me right now! Hey, wake up! Wake up! On no she passed out! Help! Help! Get her outta me NOW!!!
Ok, much better now. My owner is driving me back and forth to his new job in Kansas. 60 miles one way every single day. As boring as I look, I still look better than the landscape I see every single day. Man there is nothing here to look at.
Wait, what's that on the road up there? Slow down, let's look at it. Well, it's road kill but what is it? What?! It's a fish! A road kill fish! Well, I've seen everything now!
Well, that brings me up to 1989 now. Are you still with me? If you are, keep watch for Part 2. It may not be as exciting as the past 14 years, but who knows? Thanks and see ya later (maybe)!