Old Cars . . .

At a recent weekly Breakfast Club get together, the subject got around to what year and make each of us had as our “first car.”  We took turns relating tales, first we heard about someone’s 1951 Studebaker, then another’s 1950 Dodge, and so forth.  When it was my turn, I remarked that my initial automobile was a 1950 Ford that I purchased for $50—out of a used car showroom!  No one could believe it.  But it was the God’s honest truth.  That car didn’t last very long, however, as it was involved in a wreck that occurred when I first attempted to drive in a freezing rain.  Its replacement (a ’51 Chevy, purchased for $75) met a different fate altogether.

“The incident” occurred early in the first winter after my high school graduation in 1962.  It was the custom at the time for hotshots like me (LOL) to rev the engine on our cars, then pop the clutch (stick shift, remember?) and burn rubber down the quarter-mile long driveway that led from our high school parking lot to the nearest cross street.  My Chevy had a floor shift conversion kit and was named “El Matador.”  Upon purchasing it, I had immediately painted flames behind each of the two front fenders, along with the car’s name.  It was a thing of beauty, of which any red-blooded teenager could be proud.  On the day of “the incident,” I drove up into the parking lot and positioned El Matador with its rear end facing the school cafeteria, lined up at the beginning of the driveway.  Aware of all the students who were watching, I placed the transmission into first gear, revved the straight-six engine to its red-line limit, and popped the clutch.  Immediately the needle on the speedometer flew to its maximum position of 90 MPH . . . but nothing happened: no movement, no noise, no nothing.  The car just sat there.    Because the air temperature was so cold . . . and my car was so old . . . the driveshaft had completely shattered upon receiving all the RPMs from my high-revving engine.  I was mortified.  I could hear the cheers and jeers emanating from the cafeteria, but there was no place to hide.  To make matters worse, I had to go into the school building so I could use a pay phone to call for a tow truck.  Needless to say, I never tried that trick again.

Maybe you had a similar experience with your first car(s)?  Why not tell us about it in the comments section on this page.  I’m sure everyone would love to hear about it.  I know I would!

NOTE: Joe Perrone Jr is the author of the highly-successful Matt Davis Mystery Series: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day (a 2012 Indie B.R.A.G. medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. All four are available in paperback and E-book. As the Twig is Bent and Opening Day are also in audiobook from Audible.com, with Twice Bitten and Broken Promises soon to follow.

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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of five books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, Broken Promises and Deadly Ransom. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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3 Responses to Old Cars . . .

  1. Becky says:

    My first car was a tan 1965 VW beetle, which I named Pebble (Don’t ask, I don’t know why…) She opened an entirely new world to me. I was no longer constrained to borrowing my mom’s car, could go to work and to school (I commuted to college) or anywhere in-between whenever I chose. I decorated the interior by wrapping the emergency brake and stick shift column with flowered material. I think I made a throw pillow for what passed as the back seat and, in the usual homage to the sixties, put flower decals on the engine door.

    Pebble represented my first steps away from the girl I was to the woman I would become. She allowed me the freedom to escape from the oppressing environment in which I lived. I spent hours driving “the road” — the one that began in Englewood Cliffs, NJ and ending in Edgewater by the Fort Lee line. It wound down the Palisades until it reached the Hudson River. Never, since then, have I felt so free. Just Pebble and me, the verdant trees, Cousin Brucie and the velvet darkness. The only light came from my little in dashboard radio, my headlights and, as I neared it,–the magnificent George Washington bridge. The night view of that bridge spanning the Hudson is the icon of my youth.

    Pebble and I were together from when I was eighteen years old until I had to sell her when I was twenty-three. I needed a larger car because I was pregnant with my first child (having married at twenty) and could no longer fit behind the steering wheel, no matter how far back I pushed and tilted the seat. I also suddenly realized that Pebble was not a suitably safe vehicle for my soon-to-be born daughter.

    I had outgrown her, but will never forget her. She was my sanctuary through bad times, and the vehicle to my future.


  2. Gerry Simipkins says:

    Great story Joe.


  3. Great article, Joe! I love anything nostalgic, especially if cars are involved. It reminded me of a great book I read in high school. It was titled “Street Rod” by George Henry Felsen. You can still buy copies of it on Amazon, but not in digital edition. My car story involves the fact that my powerful engine (327 Chevy Impala SS Convertible) and my lead foot at takeoff, kept ripping differentials out of the rear end. I got to a point I could replace one in about an hour – at night.


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