35 Years of Cars

I told you I was car crazy - itís in my blood. This is a cronological history of every car Iíve owned. A lot of it is nostalgia, so bail out whenever you start getting queasy.

1. 1960 Ford Falcon Station Wagon

This was my first car ever.  I bought it for $25.00 from a relative of my childhood chum Brad DeMond who drove it from New York to Oregon. I don't remember how many miles it had on it, or even if it had a working odometer but it was about as used-up as a car could be. I think the drive shaft fell out so I abandoned it over by Parkrose Sr. High school after taking off the license plates. I was 16 at the time and this was about 1971.

2. 1957 Chevrolet Panel Truck

At one time, you could buy any number of well-used cars and trucks out of the local paper for a couple of hundred dollars or less. No insurance needed, just fill it up with 45 cent per gallon gas and go.  This specimen was well rusted and drove like a tank but the windowless panel design suited my hippie leanings. 1957 had those great overhangs on the headlamps that were reminiscent of Frankenstein's forehead, and the floor inside the back was a combination of steel and wood planks. I do remember the three-speed on the column frequently needed attention under the hood to get it unstuck.

3. 1950 GMC Pickup

I bought this from the local miscreant at school and had a hell of a time getting the title from him.  It had been re-painted a bright yellow and could not be missed going down the road.  It was ratty and missing the front grill, tailgate and back bumper but it had a re-built six that sounded and ran like da bomb. This one had a floor shifter as I recall, and my brother Tom helped me put a clutch into it. The school security guard saw it in the parking lot and decided it needed a camper shell.  He happened have one he needed to get rid of and Steve's Den of Iniquity was born.  The 50 GMC died going west on "I80N" (before it was renamed I84).  I believe it was the rear-end which could not take the weight of the camper for another minute. My father who was constantly bailing me out from my vehicle problems had it towed off the freeway and I never saw it again.

4. 1962 Ford Thunderbird Coupe

My Dad also found some of my cars for me.  Since he worked in the retail credit business, he frequently found good deals on nice cars and this T-bird was one of them.  This car was owned by an older lady as I recall.  It was white with red upholstery and very straight inside and out. The V8 was in fine shape, but unfortunately the automatic transmission wasn't. I don't think I had this one more than a couple of months before it would no longer move under its own power.

5. 1955 Chevy Bel-Aire Station Wagon

Dad found this one too.  It was cherry and stock and straight. It was not the sought after Nomad, but still got me a lot of looks. I put an 8-track in it and listened to the Who and Led Zepplin. It had the little 265 cu in small-block V8 and  I neglected to put oil in it. A cab driver on I80N flagged me down to tell me huge amounts of smoke were coming out the back.  Shortly thereafter it stopped altogether.  I should have found someone to rebuild that motor, but like the Bird it got sold down the river.

6. 1960 Plymouth Valiant

In the fall of 1973 it was off to school at Oregon Tech for me with my best Friend Tim Taylor.  We were living in the on-campus dorm, a concrete building that looked like a parking structure. We decided we needed a car and bought a well worn Valiant out of the local paper for under a hundred dollars. These cars were debatably the ugliest things ever built but they could drive through a nuclear blast unscathed. This one needed a tune up badly but we couldn't get the distributor cap off. I can't remember how or why we got rid of it, but we didn't really need a car there anyway.

7. 1952 International Pickup (Deluxe)

Things are getting a little hazy now and I'm not entirely sure about the order of these next few vehicles, but I'm sure I owned them all.

This is one of those trucks you hear about that was sitting in some farmers barn for years without being started or run.  I was still living in Klamath Falls going to Oregon Tech and a buddy found it for me. I paid some ridiculously small amount for it and all it needed was an oil change and spark plugs.  The best part was that this was the super-deluxe model with the nice trim and get this - a factory spot light that could be controlled with a handle from inside the cab. Oregon Tech had this hill behind it where you could go "jeepin".  I took a truck load of fools up there including a couple in the back. We were bombing down a hill when one of them decided it would be safer to jump out instead of staying with the sinking ship.  We were all fine, but he broke an arm in the process. That was the first time I ever saw a compound fracture. Ewww!

8. 1962 International Scout 2WD

I bought this in Portland and took it back to college with me now that I was out of the dorm. This was a forest green 2 wheel drive IHC scout with the four-banger that was a major rust bucket but did have the hard top and proved to be fairly reliable. It did have a problem with the hydraulic lifters (which I fixed myself) and broke the key slot on thedrive axle at least once. Still, I had a thing for corn-binders and I wasn't done yet.

To be continued...

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