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Your First Car

Started by jonisaacs, 08/17/2009 01:51PM
Posted 08/17/2009 01:51PM Opening Post
So, what was your first car? Tell me the story about your first vehicle...

I have never been to nostalgic about 4 wheeled vehicles but the other day I was cruising the net and ended up looking for some photos of the very first vehicle I ever owned. It was totally impractical at the time and it would be even more so today but there is a part of me that would love to own another one... This is about as close as I could find:

1941 Dodge Power Wagon... I loved the thing, I loved the bars over the head lights, the tiny bed and the horrible ride. Mine had a 347 cu inch Pontiac/GMC V-8 that would float the valves at 85mph uphill or downhill. Combine that with the non-servo brakes and a bare weight somewhere the far side 5000lbs, it was a scary, dangerous ride.

Oh there were the fun times like when my buddy had gotten his little D-2 Cat stuck and we hooked up the chain and got the Cat free. And people gave the thing a lot of room... And the people we used to light up, those old 6 volt caddy horns running on 12 volts would warm some hearts. smile

But when the gas crunch hit in the early 70's the fact that it couldn't go 120 miles on 20 gallons of gas doomed it and it passed from my life.

So what is it that brings you back to those days when life was simple, gas was cheap, engines were big and brakes were crappy?


Posted 08/17/2009 06:44PM #1
1973 Mazda RX-2 4-door with 4-speed manual transmission. I bought it from my dad in 1976 when he got a pickup.

At the time this little rotary rocket was the second quickest car coming out of Japan after the Datsun 240Z, then 3rd when the RX-4 came out. Zero to 60 was about 9.8 seconds, which actually makes it the slowest of the cars I have owned (1987 Buick Century with 3.8L, 1998 Jeep Cherokee with 4.0L, and 2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee with 4.8L). However, it FELT quicker, probably because it was so light and had a manual transmission. There's nothing like revving a rotary up to 7000 rpm, it just screams. This is also the car in which I set my personal speed record: 115 mph. I don't endorse this type of behavior any more.

Gas mileage wasn't so good (13-15 around town and 18-22 on the freeway), but it sure was fun to drive. Also, I could make it backfire on command.
Posted 08/17/2009 08:42PM #2
My first car (in 1988 timeframe) was a 1973 Opel GT. I drove it between D.C. and Florida. On one of my trips down, I got caught in a terrible gully-washing thunderstorm down in Georgia. A semi-truck was so close on my tail I could only see his Confederate Flag license plate and fog lights. Against my better judgement I pushed the lever to rotate the popup headlights into position and turn them on. They spun like slot machine wheels, ended up halfway popped up, took in lots of water, and the front electrical harness burned out. Fortunately, the storm was shortlived and the car made it the rest of the way to Gainesville without me needing headlights.

The white car in the pictures here was mine:

I have several telescopes, but none are semi-APO, APO, or in anyway valuable.
Posted 08/17/2009 09:18PM | Edited 08/17/2009 10:20PM #3
"Modern" power brakes are wonderful inventions.

I had non-power brakes in a front heavy 1967 Camaro. Think it was just drum brakes on all four wheels, but I know nothing of autos except where to put the gas.

The Camaro brakes were not really dangerous as it stopped every time, but they felt dangerous. Really had to stand on the brake pedal. The braking dynamics felt disturbing even after owning that car for years. It never felt like it was decelerating quickly enough, and the closer I'd get to the stop, the more I'd have to stand on the brakes.

No power steering with a 327 sitting over the front wheels. A little tiresome to steer slow, but no problem fast. Hydromatic 2 speed transmission that would run 90 miles per hour on the interstate all night long. 90 mph in second gear. hmm. It got about 13 miles per gallon, about twice as efficient as your truck.

Edit: Dunno much about it, but maybe the transmission was a Powerglide. Wikipedia says all the Hydramatics were at least 3 speed.

Chevy did a recall because of motor mount failures. They didn't replace the motor mounts. The dealer just tied wire rope around the motor mounts. If the mounts cracked off, the cables were supposed to keep the motor from falling all the way out of the car into the road.

Loved that car and drove it about 7 years. Shouldn't have ever given it to little sister. Sis loved it too. Sis drove the snot out of that Camaro many years till she finally broke the rear axle and abandoned it on the side of the road outside Atlanta.
Posted 08/20/2009 10:14PM #4
79 Mercury Grand Marquis. It had a bad timing chain and that insufferable Ford Variable Venturi carburator. I put a new timing chain on it and replaced the carb with a Holly 2300.

It is what it is...
Posted 08/21/2009 03:37AM #5
1968 Ford Mustang coupe.
289 engine
C-4 tranny
Factory air
Wish I still owned it.
Posted 08/21/2009 07:40PM #6
smile Hey, i know someone who has one of these in fairbanks,ak in fox ..just outside of fairbanks, john grin