First Car

Back in my day (yeah, I know, dating myself here) kids clamored to be able to drive.  Drivers Ed was always full and kids found ways to make money so they could afford gas and insurance. Age 16 was FREEDOM, if you had a car.  Or access to one.  Nowadays all you here is how many of the younger people just don’t care about driving.  Car sales are down and many manufacturers are considering leaving the cheap car market since kids are just not buying them.  I understand the cost aspect of it, but I just don’t get the lack of desire.  Even with my youngest son, he just wasn’t in a hurry to get his license for a while.  NOW I can’t get him to stay home, but he waited until he was 18 instead of going for it at 16 like I did.

So, most of you reading this are older like me. What was your first car?  And do you have any good stories involving it?  My first car was a 1976 Ford Grand Torino.  Station Wagon.  Powder Blue. Like THIS but without the wood paneling on the side.  It had a HUGE v-8 engine in it that went very fast and had room for all my friends.  I am very surprised we never got in trouble or hurt while messing around in that car.

There are a few stories that stand out with me involving this car.  Once we thought it would be cool to go steal the flags from one of the local golf courses.  So I drove down the street real slow and let 3 of my friends out just around the corner.  the plan was for me to drive back and forth with all the windows down and they would come running up when done, throw the flags in the back and jump in! Remember, this was like 1983, no cell phones to coordinate with.  So down Steger Road I drive and when I get to the end out piles 3 of my friends, wearing dark clothes, to go run about the course grabbing flag poles.  I turn around and drive down the street, figuring it would take them a few minutes, then I start to slowly drive back. I get to the agreed upon area and slow down.  Two of my friends are there with flags in hand.  off in the distance we can see the third guy running in the moonlight with what looks to be 3 or 4 flags in hand.  We see his silhouette running towards us and then he just disappears!  We all look at each other in a panic.  Did he hurt himself?  Fall in a lake?  A hole?  Now a car is coming own the road.  So I put the car in drive and take off fast.  As we are driving away we see our friend at the edge of the road.  He waves as we drive away and then we see him appear to jump back off the road as the other car was getting closer to him.  I turned around about 30 seconds later and drove back to our area to (hopefully) collect our friend.  I slow down when all of a sudden a mud-monster or something jumps out in front of me!  I slammed on the brakes (I was only going like 5 MPH) and bathed in my headlights is friend #3, covered head to toe in mud, holding 3 golf flags.  he just jumps thru my back window and screams ‘Drive!’, so I take off.  We ended up going to a car wash to hose him, and my car down.  Seems on the way back he missed the jump over the creek and fell face first in the mud. But at least we got our golf flags!

Story two concerns the same road, but this time a different friend an no golf flags.  I had a friend that had a Ford LTD and we used to race all the time.  So we lined up at the stoplight to get onto the expressway and when it turned green, we raced to the next light about 2 miles down.  The race goes to the street sign saying Steger Road coming up so we have time to stop at the light.  So light turns green and off we go!  it was a tight race but my station wagon prevailed! I hit my brakes pretty hard so that I can turn down Steger Road and make the turn losing a little rubber in the process.  How I didn’t fishtail with that wagon I will never know.  Now Steger Road is just a 2 lane road and very hilly.  I finish making the turn and look in my mirror to see if my friend is following when out of nowhere I see him flying by me on my left, passing me. We are on a hill so he is clearly nuts.  I slow down not wanting him to cut me off or anything, or get in the way should another car be coming over the hill.  He makes it safely into my lane and proceeds to accelerate down the road.  I am done, not going to follow him at that speed on this road.  He is now 2 hills in front of me and I see him cresting over it and disappear from my sight.  All of a sudden I see smoke.  Oh great, he got into a wreck!  So I speed up a little to get there and see if he is OK.  As I crest the hill I see two tire marks several car lengths long where he locked up the brake as he passed the turn he wanted to make.  Now I see him going BACKWARDS towards me at full speed as I am coming over the hill.  I can’t explain HOW we didn’t crash but I turned left, he braked and ended up almost in the right side ditch and by God’s grace we were safe.  That friend is a maniac and has had several vehicular accidents since, including one where he broke his face.  Literally his face plate fell off his skull and was wired together like Frankenstein.

The third one is a bit more sedate.  My wagon had a compartment int he back for storage.  Well what I kept in there was a pillow, blanket, air mattress and alarm clock just in case I was ever drinking somewhere (yes, I was attending many parties where alcohol was served back in my day) so I didn’t have to drive home. One beautiful spring day I was attending a party at the home of Stacey, a girl I was infatuated with.  The feelings were not mutual.  However I was invited so to the party I did go.  I was drinking, but not too much, and having fun.  The target of my affections was making her hostess rounds so I was just going to leave.  Just as I reach where my car is parked I see this lovely lady walking towards me, drink in hand, kind of smiling. Time to bust out the charm!  I say hi and she stops.  We make small talk for a moment and then my alcohol takes over.  I feel like she was flirting with me pretty heavy here. In reality she probably wasn’t, but that wasn’t going to stop me from throwing down some lines.  So I lean back on my car and say something about getting out of here together and find some place quiet where we can spread out in the back of my ride.  You know, something smooth.  She looks at me, and while I can’t remember exactly what I said, I can remember what she said back. “You know I am Stacey’s mom, right?”  Then she patted me on the chest and said “maybe in 10 years…” as she walked back to the party.  Guess I need to work on those lines a bit.

So, what are your memories of your first car?

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