A very special moment in time
Posted: 13 July 2013 11:38 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Across the street from my house is a used car dealership.  Today, this guy came in with his 16? yr old son.  The purpose was to buy the kid his first car.
I remember that experience vividly.  It was one of the greatest days of my life. I was only 14 (times have changed regarding driving privileges).  My father took me to the used car lot and told me I had $75 to spend and I could select any car within that price range. This was in 1959.  There were many cars in my price range, but my dad steered me towards one particular vehicle. It was a 1951 Chrysler Imperial.  It had been a funeral car, used to transport the bereaved to the cemetery. It had 8,000 miles on it and was in immaculate condition. It had power windows and AC. The dashboard was leather and the speedometer sported gold numbers. It had an automatic transmission, but also, a clutch so you could do either (I wonder why they don’t do that now). I test drove it with my dad, and, unused to power steering, I rumbled over the curb leaving the dealership.  My dad didn’t say a word.  We drove around for a while and I got the hang of it.  Anyway, we got back and dad plunked down $65, and it was mine.
I think I know how this kid is feeling right now…perhaps the greatest feeling in the world.
Of course, daddy didn’t get this number for $65.
Isn’t it amazing that I could buy an eight year old car with eight thousand miles on it…for $65? Gotta love inflation.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 08:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Bought my first car in 1962… a low mileage ‘56 Chevy.  Used money I’d saved bucking bales for neighbors.  Paid, IIRC, $400.  Totaled it in 1965.  Went to sleep at the wheel and hit a bridge.  Insurance company paid me $300.  Put a couple hundred with the insurance proceeds and bought a ‘59 Impala.  Tags, taxes, and fees cost more, today, than the entire car did back then.  Much later, when “rolling in the dough”, drove a brand spanking new 1978 Chevrolet Chevette off the lot for $2,500.

Of course, with those first autos, bought a lot of 19 cent/gallon gasoline.  Ordered tires out of the Montgomery Ward catalogue… along with a couple rifles and ammo.

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Posted: 15 July 2013 09:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I filled the car with gas this morning.  Ironically, it was just short of what my father paid for my first car. I don’t know what kind of mileage the old Imperial got…probably not good, but, at 16 cents per gallon, we didn’t worry about it too much.  Sadly, the Imperial was badly damaged, although running when my friend took out a Chevrolet who pulled out in front of him. He sent the chevrolet deep into a pasture and knocked down a telephone pole and the car was still drivable. Unfortunately, not a lot of those Imperials were made and I couldn’t find a front fender. I finally sold it to a hot-rodder who wanted the engine which was mighty powerful for its day.  He paid $300, almost five times the price my father paid for it…still, I missed it. I took the $300 and Dad added some more and bought a 1954 Jaguar Mark VII…a fine automobile as well, although a bit more persnickety than the Chrysler.

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