Wednesday, October 12, 2011

First car

From ASM826 by way of Jay G:

So here's the meme. Long answers or short.

1. What was your first car? Model, year, color, condition?
2. What adventures did you have in it, good or bad?
3. What happened to it, what's the end of the story?

OK, I'll play along, too...

1966 Dodge Monaco station wagon. White with fake "wood" paneling on the sides. Condition... well... Mom bought it new. (I was 6 at the time...) Gave it to me when I turned 17 and got my license. (She got a miserable, never-to-be-sufficiently-damned 77 Aspen to replace it. AGAINST my advice, I might add. She regretted not listening to her son that time, too.)

Here's a couple of pix of different 66 Monaco wagons. Neither one of these was mine... condtion of mine was somewhere in between these two.

Mechanically, it was in perfect shape. Had like 110K when I got it or so. Body... not so much. Both rear quarter panels were rusted out and covered with sheet aluminum from my dad's company metal shop and painted white to sorta match the rest of the car.

Adventures. Well, aside from 11 years of riding in it as a kid, I learned to drive in it!! Yeah, I can hear you now. So what, you say. Guys... this beast was 18' long. (one version had a full-sized rear seat that swung up out of the rear deck!) You could sit three people across in it, and I mean adults... with no crowding! If the roof didn't have a rack on it, you could launch and recover F15 fighter jets off of it! And there I was, learning how to drive in it. Why, no... parking big cars doesn't intimidate me; why do you ask?

I never did have to learn how to make out or make love to a girl in the backseat of a sedan... the rear seat of the wagon folded down. Plenty of room in that rear deck!

I remember when we discovered that the gas tank had rusted out... it was dripping on the driveway. We had to drain the tank and pour it down the sewer (Hey, this was '77!). What killed me was that the tank was 3/4 full... and it was a TWENTY FOUR gallon tank! Gas was pretty expensive; I think it was like 55 or 60 cents per gallon! Dad showed me how to patch it, since it took four weeks to get the new tank in. Take a few layers of aluminum foil, mix up some 5 minute epoxy, clear away some of the surface rust on the tank and apply patch. Cover the outside with epoxy, too. Lasted 4 weeks without losing so much as a drip (Have I mentioned yet that my dad could fix anything except a broken heart or a soap bubble?). 'Course, since I was so sensitive to having had to dump 18 gallons of gas, I was running the tank pretty low for those four weeks... and ran out of gas for the first and, so far, only time in my life. 1 block from a gas station. Uphill from it. And I could NOT budge that car by myself to the corner to turn and coast down the hill! Had to get a can and walk back uphill.

Alas, it's end was with a BANG! and a whimper. Down on Long Beach Island, there's a stop sign that's mounted about 10 feet up... much higher than you normally look for a stop sign. I'd had my license for a month and blew through it... and hit a 67 Continental. Blasted his front wheel into his engine compartment and (I learned many years later, since my parents didn't want to worry me about it *growl*) totaled it. The Dodge? Shifted the front bumper back an inch or so and moved the hood up. Drove it home (125 miles) and discovered that I'd made the power steering pump leak, too. And a day or two later a hood hinge broke it's weld and popped up through that strip of metal between the hood and the windshield, scaring me out of a year's growth (Hey, that's why I'm so short!).

Our mechanic told us it wasn't worth repairing the power steering so we donated the car to my high school for use as a shop car. I found out later that they were dead wrong about not worth repairing, but by then it was too late...

1 comment:

Lee said...

Pontiac Sunbird, 1979(??) Photo:

I bought it used (naturally), drove it as a Domino's delivery driver, then fouled it up by putting transmission fluid in the brake cylinder. OUCH. Youthful negligence? Ignorance? Guilty.