I’ve had many cars in my life. After all, I started driving at the age of 16 when I got my learners permit. My mother let me drive the family station wagon- a huge Chevy Bel Air- two and a half acres of bright red Detroit muscle. That wagon sat about 40 people- it had the little seat in the way back that faced the opposite direction. We always fought to get those seats- it was a completely different vacation back there.
Anyway, I was reminiscing about all the cars that I have owned- some good, some bad, some ugly, some sexy, but I spent considerable time behind the wheel of all these vehicles. When viewed back to back they tell a story- the story of my life. To the best of my ability, here’s a remembered history.
My earliest memories of driving with my parents in their Nash Statesman. I remember it broke down on our way to Ocean City for vacation one year, my father got so mad he traded it in and we never saw it again.
We were the hit of neighborhood when my father bought a brand new 1959 Chevy Biscayne with huge fins. It was black and long and looked like a space ship. There were no safety belts and my sister and I jumped up and down on the back seat as we drove. When mom hit the breaks hard we all went tumbling, but we never got hurt.
My father bought a second car to drive to work in when I was in elementary school. It was a 40’s era Dodge. He took me to the dump once when I was a kid in that car and it got stuck in the mud. My father let me drive while he pushed from behind, but nothing worked, that car was stuck. My mother had to come and pull us out in her giant station wagon. The interior of that car always smelled like mildew.
By the time I was in high school my mother had taken over as the main driver and arbiter of the car rules. She bought a huge Chevy Bel Air station wagon. That was the car I learned to drive in. That was the same car I used to take on my first dates. It was the size of Cleveland. It was “fire-engine red” and sported cartoonish red and white vinyl couch-like seats. I used to park and make out with my early girlfriends in this car, which was so big it was almost like getting a hotel room.
My first personal car was a Buick F-85, I bought it used from a guy down the block. It was on its last legs when I bought it, and I took it the final stretch to infinity. That Buick had a 4 speed gear shift on the column. The clutch was as low as a birdbath, nearly non-existent. The radio had a reverb knob! The brakes gave out one day coming down a big hill on my way to college. I plowed into the car ahead of me. The cops were very sympathetic.
Then, when I became a hippie, I bought a VW micobus with my hippie girlfriend. That bus took us 1000’s of miles and eventually we drove it into the ground. If it broke down (which it did many times) you could always camp out in the back.
Then I came to California. My first Golden State car was a turquoise VW bug. It served me well when Ry was a baby. I had to park it on a hill pointing downward so I could roll it down the hill and jump start it every morning. I once threw a roach out of the window during a Berkeley rainstorm and it stuck to the side of the car and a cop stopped me and I got busted. The case was later thrown out “in the interest of justice.” I rolled that car at Stinson Beach on a Sunday afternoon.
Then I bought a Datsun 510 wagon off a neighbor.
I bought a little beat-up Peugot for my second car. It cost $300. I called it the refrigerator because it was “appliance white” and square as a washing machine. It was ugly but it always started. A drunk plowed into it standing at a red light in Oakland.
I started making a little money and bought my first new car- a Fiat Rally. What a piece of junk! Fiat stands forFix It Again, Tony.
When the band began to get successful I bought my first cool car in 1982- an Alfa Romeo GTV6 Balocco. What a great car! I loved it. There were only 350 made and each one was numbered. I had #40. I totalled it on New Year’s Eve!
For punishment I drove a horrible Chrysler K Car for 2 years. That cured me of driving fast… for a little while at least.
Then I got Toyota Highlander- what a great vehicle. That car did it all. One of the most reliable cars I’ve ever owned. I wound up selling it to my manager who loves it and still drives it to this very day.
Ford Motor Company had a contest back in the year 2000 for the best radio commercial for the Millennial Mustang. I won with a stupid blues song! I wasn’t even trying to win but I did! Amazing. Of course you all know the fate of that car- I totalled it.
And then I got the Corvette.
These are the cars of my life.