There’s One Born Every Minute–Conclusion

There’s One Born Every Minute—Conclusion 

The purpose of this blog has been to show how serious addictions can be. I don’t think I ever heard of a 12 step program for car addicts. LOL

In my last post I said that I had to get rid of the MGA. In a very short time it would need major surgery and the government wasn’t providing insurance coverage on vehicles.  LOL

What to buy, it couldn’t be just any car, I had to make a statement. These were the days of the foreign car; there were Skodas, Maicos, Anglias, Gogomobiles, it was a veritable potpourri of imports. But these were all too common—and then I saw it:

A 1960 Hillman Minx Convertible, the colors were Moonstone (an iridescent blue with a light lavender cast), blue vinyl top, and blue vinyl upholstery. So why did this car meet my standards:

It had a 4 on-the-column shifter.

Did you ever hear of this?

The convertible top could be lowered completely or

(ready for this)—

it could be retracted so that only the front seat was open the back was covered.

How cool is that?

I kept the Hillman for about four years until my wife and I decided we needed a more suitable family car, a 1964 Chevrolet BelAir. This behemoth had a manual transmission, no power steering, no air conditioning. It was very Spartan but it had a huge trunk that would hold a 4×8 sheet of plywood.

I won’t bore you with the remaining litany of vehicles but over the next 34 years 11 new cars passed through my hands. That’s an average of 3 years per car.

In 1996 I was driving a beautiful Toyota Cressida and when it was time to trade, I was informed that Toyota had decided to stop making the Cressida.

There wasn’t enough difference between the Lexus ES300 and the Cressida (other than price) so they hoped to move drivers up to the Lexus.

I wasn’t happy about this decision, I figured there was no way I could afford a Lexus but an eager salesman showed how I could.

I’m a sucker for a salesman!

I found myself behind the wheel of a beautiful ES300.

Strangely enough I kept this car for 12 years. Buy quality and you’ll be happy.

In 2008 I was ready for a new car. Every time I took my Lexus in for an oil change they gave me a loaner car, a new ES350 (such evil people).

My wife told me that since I was going to be 70 I could buy one for my birthday. I looked at all the options, sunroof, heated and cooled leather seats, (hey, I lived in the desert), GPS, Bluetooth, Headlights that swiveled, automatic wipers, power rear window sunshade.

Do you think that was enough, no I didn’t either. I added chrome wheels.

Do you have any idea what the price tag on this boat was? I’m not going to tell you.

Was I happy now? What do you think?

Yes, for a while. But two years later I realized that the car was too big, the payments were killing me, taxes were atrocious—and—it just wasn’t fun to drive.

You won’t believe my next move. I took my beautiful Lexus and drove to the Honda dealer and bought a bright red 2010 Honda Fit Sport. This is a really fun car to drive and is very flexible. And a lot less expensive in all respects.!

 This is the end of my car chronicles, at least I hope it is; but who knows?

Tell me about your vehicle adventures.

 

There’s One Born Every Minute Part 2

So I was 20 years old and I had a new 59 Plymouth Belvedere. It was beautiful, bright shiny red, sparkling white vinyl top. Was I happy?

No         .

What did it take to make me happy?

 

 

First, it wasn’t the car I wanted, it wasn’t the beautiful bittersweet car with the 8 cylinder engine and the pushbutton transmission.

The beautiful red Belvedere with a 6 cylinder engine was  so underpowered a 49 Ford could take me leaving a stop sign.

So what?

This was very important to a 20 year old.

About this time some of my friends were buying sports cars, one had a Jaguar XK140 convertible, another had a Karman Ghia.

What did I have     ?

A crummy 6 cylinder Plymouth!

One weekend several of us went to the Road America sports car race in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin. It was an unbelievable experience Jaguar introduced a new car, the XKSS. Briggs Cunningham was testing a new Osca, and a new class of race car the Formula Junior was introduced.

I was totally intoxicated by the roar of the engines and the smell of the nitromethane.On the return trip I made up my mind to get rid of the Plymouth.

I really wanted a 1959 Austin Healy 3000 MKlll but just couldn’t make it happen. Then I saw an MGA roadster, black, red leather, wire wheels with knock off hubs, beautiful.

 

 

I had to have it.

 

They were willing to take my 59 Plymouth in even trade for the 57 MGA.

I’m sure I lost out on the deal but I didn’t care. It was mine..

I didn’t even notice that the spare had most of the spokes broken and that the tires were worn badly.

I had a lot of fun with the MG I’m surprised I didn’t get more tickets or kill myself.

I kept the MG for less than a year because the clutch needed to be replaced. This was extremely expensive.

Bye bye MGA.

I may have been a sucker, but I sure had fun.

Did any of you have a sports car that you will never forget?

Write me let me hear what kind of cars you had. I love to talk about cars.

There’s One Born Every Minute

There’s One Born Every Minute

If you remember from my earlier blogs I have an obsession for cars. Friends joked that the gestation period for a car was 9 months. I didn’t wreck the cars, I just got bored. I needed a new car to pique my interest.

I couldn’t really afford to change cars that often but I made a decent salary for a 19 year old—Oh yes, my father was the loan manager for a bank and never turned me down. I just moved from car to car and transferred the unpaid balance. My poor suffering father couldn’t believe my recklessness.

In 1959 I walked past a Plymouth dealer and saw a red Plymouth Fury. I was stunned, it swooped, it dipped, from the headlights peeking out from under their arched eyebrows to the rear fins and the trunk mounted continental tire. I was enticed into the dealership by the colors and the geometric forms.

 

 

 

 

 

As you would expect, the beautiful red Fury convertible was beyond my grasp. However there was a Fury sedan, painted Bittersweet, a beautiful cinnamon-orange color, had a  pushbutton transmission (what the heck was that) and a powerful V8 engine.

When the salesman saw that I had already sold myself, he told me that he could get me into the car for $150. I wrote a check for that amount and the salesman told me that the banks were closed for the day why didn’t I take the car and drive it over the weekend and we’d sign the papers Monday.

Perhaps I should have questioned this transaction. Who would turn over a new car to a 19 year old?

I didn’t care I drove out of there, before they could call me back, in a brand new car.

I had a great time over the weekend showing off my new acquisition to my friends. My father just shook his head; I figured he was jealous because I had a newer car than his.

I drove to the dealer’s after work Monday, eagerly rushed in looking for my salesman, he signaled that he was busy and to sit and wait. I waited for about an hour and he finally came over.

He was not smiling. He told me that the bank had refused to accept the deal and wanted more money down. I had no more money; I had used all of my available cash for the $150 down payment.

I said I was sorry and I guess I’d have to take my car back. His response was that it had already been promised. I would have to get another $300 somewhere by tomorrow or surrender the car. I didn’t know what to do. I drove home feeling like the biggest chump in the world.

It was time to call in the marines. I called my father and told him about the entire sordid deal.

I picked him up the next day and we drove to the dealer.

I had always thought of my father as being a pacifist who would do anything to avoid a fight. He lit into that salesman and informed him that I was a minor and had no authority to enter into this agreement. He further stated that his bank would no longer wish to do business with such a shady operation.

The Sales Manager came out and said that it had all been a misunderstanding

Somehow my black Mercury reappeared and we left as if I had never been in that place, nor would I ever enter it again.

Since I was determined to get a new car, my father took me to a Plymouth dealer that he knew and trusted. I was unable to get a Fury with a V8 but I did drive away in a new 1959 Plymouth Belvedere, it was red (the same red as the Sport Fury) and had a white vinyl top, no automatic transmission and a 6 cylinder engine.

But it was mine and how many 19 year olds owned a brand new 1959 car?

Was I happy? Oh yeah! Would I stay happy? Probably not.

Did you ever do something stupid and have to call in the marines?

 

 

The First Car…

The last time we chatted, I was going to tell you about my first car and I hit a patch of nostalgia and spun out. Maybe I’ll make it today.

I’ve already established how important a car is to the physical and emotional needs of a young boy (er, I meant young man). Although most men learn to physically control and master the mechanics of driving a car, many of us never gain control of the emotional affect induced by cars.

 

My first car was a 41 Plymouth coupe. It was maroon blending to rust, the chrome was a little pitted, but still shiny, the interior was in pretty good shape.

The best feature was that for $50 it was mine. Mine!

Apollo never had a finer chariot when he raised the sun each morning. It was my access to adulthood.

My friends and acquaintances know that I am ostentatious bordering on pomposity.

Okay, I heard someone in the back whispering, “How can you be ostentatious or pompous when you own a 41 Plymouth in 1955?” Yes, I heard you! You know who you are and so do I.

Seat covers might dress it up. I bought a set of rolled and pleated seat covers (if you don’t know what that means) take my word, they were cool. The seats had a red and black diamond pattern with black vinyl trim and channel stitching running down the back. I paid $75 for the seat covers.

That was more than the car cost, but they would totally renovate the car. I spent a Saturday installing them.

When I was through I opened all of the car doors to display the renewed interior. I stood back, walked around to the other side of the car, got into the back seat and looked at the stitching on the seatback, got into the front seat, felt the sooth sleek seats, shook my head and realized sadly that it was still just a 41 Plymouth.

Paint, a new paint job; that would do it.

At the time I was working in a paint store. I bought some black enamel and borrowed an electric sprayer. This wasn’t a compressed air sprayer operating on electricity; it was simply a jar with a spray nozzle that plugged into an outlet.

I drove my car over to my father’s house and parked it in the garage. My stepbrother and I began the prep work, sanding off the rust and wiping the car down.

I filled the paint reservoir (otherwise known as a jar) with paint, plugged the sprayer into an outlet, and slowly squeezed the trigger, nothing happened. I checked the sprayer and realized that I had not opened the sprayer’s orifice. I adjusted the nozzle and once more squeezed the trigger. The sprayer sputtered and spit a blob of paint followed by drips, drops, and finally a mist. By evening the paint job was finished. I walked home and impatiently waited until the next day when I could view the results of our effort.

The next morning I slowly opened the door of the garage. The car was black, but it didn’t shine. I touched it, it felt like sandpaper, I turned the light on and saw that the surface was gritty, looking closer I saw dust embedded in the finish.

Now I knew why painting was performed in a closed off spray booth. After extensive smoothing with steel wool and a second coat, it still didn’t look any better.

Several months later I got an offer to buy it and accepted. Thus ended the saga of my first car.

Don’t fret I’ll have other car stories.

What was your first car like?

 

 

Cinderella’s Coach

Cars have always been my passion, from early teens continuing through today. It was more fun to fantasize over cars in my teens when they were sexy, sleek, and unapproachable, sort of like that cute blonde cheerleader. Today, I couldn’t even twist myself into a 300SL much less afford one. If I approached that cute cheerleader, she’d spray mace at me, run, and there’s no way I could catch her.

Enough fantasizing, back to the cars. Cars to a teenage boy were everything, freedom, status, coming of age, and bait in the great sport of fishing, fishing for girls—that is.

I have to digress again; we Seniors do a lot of that. I’ll never forget one of the most embarrassing dates I ever had. There was an attractive blonde in my grade who had some prodigious assets, you know what I mean. Don’t you? Sure you do. She brightened my day whenever she greeted me. I wasn’t one of the more popular kids, sorta tubby (I would have fit in better with today’s obese generation of kids) and I didn’t have a car

A Sweetheart ball was going to be held at a Masonic Hall. I just had to ask her. I practiced asking my mother out and after much coaching I felt I was ready. I hesitantly approached her and stuttered and sputtered an invitation. Was that a yes, had I actually heard a yes from this dream girl? Yes, I had.

How would we get there? I’d ask one of my friends to go with me! Bill had a black 49 Ford that was lowered in back and painted with flames, even had Laker plugs. Fabulous car, Cinderella’s coach couldn’t have been any better—except—two days before the dance Bill told me he was sorry he would not be able to go.

What do you mean you can’t go? I need you there, or at least Cinderella needed her coach.

I tried to make other arrangements, with no success. I had no choice but to tell Cinderella that I was sorry the ball was cancelled, at least for us.

I approached her and told her that Bill could’nt make it and we had no ride. Surprisingly, she said that she would rather just be with me. Then she added–we could take the bus—

Take the bus! Would Prince Charming have taken Cinderella on the bus? Of course not! But, I was not Prince charming and Cinderella said she wanted to be with me.

I showed up at her house carrying an orchid corsage, she greeted me at the door wearing a frothy white dress with a blue ribbon and lace directly under her breast line (oops, I meant bust line) she was beautiful and reminded me of a cotton candy cone. She took me to meet her mother and her mother pinned the corsage onto her gown, told us to be careful and have fun.

We boarded the bus and all of the townspeople watched my Cinderella work her way down the aisle, trying not to snag her gown on any of the seats. Their attention then turned to me and I could hear them thinking, couldn’t she do any better than that—, that being me.

I don’t remember the rest of the night, I had reached the nadir of self-respect. No one, absolutely, no one would ever or had ever taken Cinderella to the ball on a bus. The fascination that I had for her was completely erased and it was sometime before my self-esteem allowed me to ask another girl out.

How many of you can top my embarrassment on a data.

Let me hear from you.