Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cars I Have Known 1

A while back I promised to blog about some of the cars I have had.

Today would be a good day to start. It’s either that or Obama’s Nobel, and I would rather live blog about a prostate exam than the best example of the Peter Principle I have ever seen.

But where to start? I guess at the beginning.

In the beginning there was darkness… Sorry, maybe that was a little too far back.

In 1977 I got my driver’s license and my first car; a 1960 Pontiac Catalina with 70,000 original miles and a 389 2 barrel automatic. I don’t have any pictures of mine scanned, but this one is close to mine. Well, except for the rust. And the whitewalls. It was the best set of wheels possible for me. It was solid iron; if it didn’t weigh 3 tons it didn’t weigh an ounce. It still had about 280 horsepower, and would definitely get out of its own way. A one wheel wonder (meaning it didn’t have a posi-trac rear end, and when you stomped the gas pedal only one rear wheel would lay a strip of rubber), I could drop the tranny into ‘Drive 2’, slam the gas pedal to the floor and smoke that one rear tire for a hundred yards.

Not very fuel efficient- I got maybe 10 mpg- but who cared when gas was 30 cents a gallon? It also would easily carry 6 or 7 friends comfortably, which I did on many occasions. The stories I could tell, but I’d have to check on the statute of limitations first on several of them. It was never fast off the line, but once you got that 3 tons rolling, it would cruise forever. Hitting 85 or 90 wasn’t a problem. Stopping from those speeds with 4 wheel drum brakes and no power assist WAS a problem, but not one you worried about at 17.

I will tell you that that car me a feeling I will never have again. For the first time I was able to go where I wanted, when I wanted, with the only limit being how long the gas money would hold out. No one would be able to limit me anymore.

Then the gas money ran out, I got job and found out how limited life really was.

I drove that old Pontiac (which for some reason I nicknamed Herman) the summer between my Junior and Senior years, and most of my Senior year, until the starter gave out. I left for the Air Force right after graduation and never drove it again. But when I got to my first duty station I was looking for a car, and found a 1960 Pontiac.

But that’s for the next time.

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