Of all the cars I’ve loved before…
An old blogger friend used to post up lists of top ten cars of various notoriety or interest (funniest cards, muscle cars, first cars, etc) that would bring back memories. While reading about Abby's latest Clampett saga, it reminded me of another looming repair on the pimp mobile. Pondering the possibility of adding a new chariot to the fleet, I looked back over all of the wheels I’ve ever owed/driven/wrecked since I first got my license. These are ones that I personally owned and drove - not the ones my parents let me drive (or wreck). To give some perspective of time, I broke it up into certain stages of my life.
1975 Kawasaki KV 100 - a chainsaw on wheels. An enduro style dirt bike that could go on and off road. This was my first set of wheels when I got my license and I was in high school. This was my early attempt at two wheelers when I had a burning desire to ride the open road on something bigger. It rode like a brick, was simple to maintain, had a nasty muffler baffle that I burned my leg on several times. I used to ride along the bayous in Houston with my friend and did a lot of bushwhacking on it. I dropped it several times, ran into the back of a '69 Cougar (more damage to it than the bike), and even tried to play u-boat with it once (drove/pushed it through water until the water was up to the handle bar) but it still ran. I almost upgraded to a Honda CB550 but my mom “gently" persuaded me that it would not be a practical mode of transportation to college. Seeing how I got into much mischief and had more than a few spills on it, it was probably a wise decision.
1967 Mustang Coupe - '67 Midnight Blue Coupe with a straight 6 engine, 3 speed stick. My attempt to be Steve McQueen (aka Bullitt). My first real car that I bought. A classic ride but the 6 cylinder engine left it woefully under powered. I tried to pimp it out with new wheels and interior and fancy radio (with a cassette tape player) but nothing could overcome the power train issue. I even acquired a nice set of bucket seats from a 67 Cougar that fit the floor plan to a tee, but it was a matter of overkill. Had a crumpled right front fender from the previous owner and I used to spend my Saturdays combing the junkyards to find a replacement (no joy). While we were at the movies one night, someone broke into her (popped out the vent glass) and stole my flashlight but left the radio (it was one of those gigantic 4 cell Maglites that cops carry and could be used to interrogate suspects). Finally sold her off for about what I had in her to get a bigger car for college (seriously regretted). I may have sold it off for something practical, but my burning desire for a Mustang would come back later in life.
College1969 Plymouth Fury III (the Green Hornet) - sold the Mustang and picked up my dad’s company car. 383 ci engine, 4 doors, metallic green with a black Landau top, power windows, am/fm stereo radio with surround sound system, climate control a/c, cruise control (1st car I ever knew with cruise control). Was a fancy rig with all of the available bells & whistles. The thing had enough room for a football team (plus cheerleaders). When I left for college, I could pack my entire room inside the trunk and still have enough room for a couple passengers. Had a huge backseat that you could really enjoy thunder and lighting in. This thing had a trunk a mobster would love (would hold 3-4 bodies) and the engine compartment was huge. I could literally sit inside the engine compartment while changing the spark plugs. With that big of an engine, it wasn't the fastest car off the block, but it would easily get up to 100 and hold it steady for a long time (not that I ever did that). Very reliable car. Sadly, I wrecked her on a road trip home with girlfriend (future wife) by clipping the back tire of a gravel truck parked on the side of the road (Truck 1, Car 0). Pretty much tore the right front fender off.
1970 Plymouth Fury III (the cop car) - sold the 69 Fury and bought my brothers’ company car. 318 ci engine, 4 doors, canary yellow, am radio, and moon hubcaps. This one looked like a police interceptor. Nothing fancy. It was basically the same body style as the 69, just without all of the flair. If you look at a lot of the cop/chase movies back in the '70's, most of the police cars were this style. Was a good car, ran forever, would start regardless of the weather conditions (hot, cold, wet, snow, etc.). It was a cruiser - you could get it up to 90 on the open road and rope it off and it would just glide along the road. She was responsible for my first two tickets. Not to start a trend, but I wrecked her on my way home from summer school one afternoon by clipping an older man in a 1968 Chevrolet Pickup. Tore up my left front fender but totally destroyed the old man’s truck (he ran head on into a giant crane truck). I am just glad it did not kill him.
1972 Chevrolet Impala - sold the 70 Fury and picked up another company car from my dad. 350 ci engine, 4 doors, pearl green, cruise control. One of those big, sloppy Chevys that best used as taxis. This was my post college car. If you look at one of the latter James Bond movies with Roger Moore (Live and Let Die), most of the cars in the movie that were used for stunts were that model Chevy. Replaced the water pump on her twice, new shocks, brakes. I left it with my dad when I headed out for Germany with the Army and they sold it for pretty much nothing.
Next round: The Army Years