Wicked Wednesday- First Cars, Favorite Rides

Jessie: In NH luxuriating in a spring heat wave!

The arrival of spring in New England fills the roads with motorcycles, convertibles and antique automobiles of all sorts. Which got me thinking about first cars and favorite rides. So Wickeds, what was your first car? What about a favorite vehicle?

Liz: My first car was kind of lame – a Chevy Cavalier. My parents picked it out, what can I say? Now that I’m in charge, I’m totally a Volkswagen girl. Love my Jetta.

IMG_3106Sherry: My first car was an old car my parents gave me in the late seventies, after letting me drive it during most of my high school years and on and off in college. It was a 1965 Rambler that a friend nicknamed “Rodney”. I drove it to Grand Junction, Colorado in 1981 when I moved there. I kept it another two years before finally selling it. Part of me believes that car is still on the road somewhere.

The picture above is from my high school year book. I was editor in chief my senior year so Rodney became a prop for one of the photos. My favorite car was the Cutlass Supreme my family bought when I was in high school. It was hot and fast. I got to drive it on occasion but usually it was Rodney and me.

Jessie: I had a Ford Tempo as a first car and I loved it. It had a sunroof, and a leather wrapped steering wheel. It was a standard and I loved working my way up and down through the gears. I liked it so much I’ve chosen standards every time it has been an option since, including my current favorite, a little red Mini Cooper.

Edith: Ah, fond memories. I was a pump jock and apprentice mechanic at Lockhart’s 1966_volkswagen_beetle-pic-30896Mobil on Coast Highway in Newport Beach, California, with my freshly minted BA in linguistics. I saved up my money and bought a 66 bug very much like this one for $600. I did all the repairs myself, including once putting a fan belt on too tight and nearly burning up something or other. Still love the sound and feel of a good old analog engine. I’m with you, Jessie, on manual transmissions. The first automatic I’ve ever owned is my current Prius, and that’s only because they don’t make them with a stick shift. Favorite? I love getting mpgs in the high 50s with my current ride, but I also loved my 1970 Volvo sedan that I bought in 1980. The trunk was infinitely large, and the huge steering wheel made me feel like I was driving a bus, even though I had to sit on two pillows to see over it.

Julie: My first car was a Ford Escort, inherited from my grandmother. I drove it into the ground, but was in my 30’s when I inherited it, and have only had one car since, my Scion xB, which I adore. (I live in the Boston area, and use my feet and the T for my primary transport.) My 10 year old Scion just hit 40,000, so I suspect this might be it for a while.

first carBarb: My first car was not even really mine. It was an ancient Ford Falcon that my grandfather left at the train station from Monday morning until Thursday night when he returned from Manhattan to my grandparents’ summer home in Water Mill, Long Island. In the summer of 1974, I lived with them while I waitressed at Herb McCarthy’s Bowdoin Square, and I got the use of the car as long as I dropped him off and picked him up at the train. The Ford was ancient even then (see the rust) and had no power steering. When I went to see my boyfriend in Boston (now my husband), I would take two small ferries that went to and from Shelter Island. The ferrymen, who got used to seeing this college girl in the old beater, delighted in having me park it in the most impossible spots on the boat. They thought it was hilarious to watch me grapple with the wheel. My favorite car was the same grandparents 1958 Thunderbird. White with real leather seats in white and aqua. When Bill and I were in Cuba in 2013, I got to ride in one again. A real trip down memory lane.

Readers, how about your firsts and favorites?

16 Thoughts

  1. My first car was an old push button Corvair. I read somewhere it was the car that Ralph Nader had in mind when he wrote Unsafe at Any Speed! I believe it. The windows fogged over if there was any humidity at all. The windshield wipers never worked. The tires fell off one day on the way to class at LACC. It smelled of leaking gas. Hey wait a minute… !


  2. I love this post. My first car in 1975 or 76 was a 1965 Mustang that my brother-in-law gave me. He told me not to keep it too long because it had a hole in the frame and wouldn’t pass inspection. I sold it for $50.

    The first car I bought was a ’70 (?) Plymouth Duster–a dark green total rust bucket. The next car was my favorite–a turquoise ’72 Buick Skylark with a white vinyl roof. I named it Surf’s Up and my sister and I drove it to California and back. I was really sad when the transmission died a few months later. Our current 2006 Rav 4 is almost the same color.

      1. I know! If I hadn’t been a freshman in college and actually had some money I might have. My brother-in-law bought one a few years ago. I don’t know if he still has it, though.

  3. I wish I had hung on to my first car. It was older than me. A 1938 Plymouth Coupe. 3 on the floor and the battery under the seat. The defroster was a fan! The metal was thick, much thicker than we have now.

  4. Never had a car until I got married. My husband came equipped with a rusted out Chevy, that I made him sell (for $75) ASAP, and then we bought a Chevette (mainly because his father had one) new. Not a car to fall in love with: the gearshift broke off when we were climbing a steep hill in Berkeley, on our way to a wedding. But the first car that was ever mine, all mine, was a New Beetle (manual), and I loved that car. We’re all manual drivers in our family, even our daughter, by choice.

  5. A ’77 bright yellow Datsun B210 hatchback, acquired in California, that eventually rusted out in ’89 after enduring Cleveland winters. Manual transmission. We called her “Little Nell” which might have been the name of one of James Bond’s cars.

  6. My first car was a 1978 Dodge Colt. My family had bought it used. When we were looking to sell it, my grandparents bought it. They were ready to get rid of it about the time I turned 16, and they gave it to me. It was a stick shift, and I’d learned to drive in another car which was also a stick shift.

    My other two cars have both been automatics. First was the ’84 Honda Accord my uncle gave me before my senior year of college. Then my 2001 Honda CR-V, which is the only car I’ve bought. I bought it new and I have almost 210,000 miles on it. Time to replace it, but I need to figure out what to buy as I keep saving up money.

    1. You get your miles’ worth out of a car, Mark. I like it! Was raised the same way. And, Hondas never die, really, especially in California…

  7. My first and favorite was the 64 Rambler American convertible that I shared with my brother when we were teenagers. It had lots of issues – wipers worked when they wanted to, radio went on and off when we hit a bump, etc. – but, hey…convertible!

  8. 1954 Pontiac Chieftain which I bought in 1972. It had been stored for almost 10 years. Perfectly running flathead 8. Black 4 door with lots of chrome! Everything worked including the clock in the center of the radio & the lighted chieftain hood ornament! Automatic 4 speed: L2, L1, D1, & D2. It was our “lake” because we took it for weekend camping trips. Everything, including a large tent fit in the trunk. I bought another junked one (orange) for parts. It sat in the backyard which mortified my then husband. Kept the cars & got rid of hubby.

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