Thursday, May 1, 2014

Our Automotive History

 I've been thinking about the cars we've owned lately and thought I'd make a quick post about it.  My first car was this 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS.  My father let me buy it when I was 15 and it occupied my time before I had a license.  It had a 327 4 barrel and about 105,000 miles on it when I bought it.  Those are our dogs Jose and Bernie standing in the shade beside the car shown at 1411 East Will Rogers in Stillwater, OK.

It was in a bit of rough shape, most of the body panels had some sort of bend, but it was mine.  I only had it one year because my next car popped up at such a deal I couldn't pass it up.  I sometimes wish I still had this Impala as I now have the funds to give it the TLC it so truly needed.  And it is a classic design that is still very popular today.
 One day when I was putting gas in the Impala, I saw this 1970 Cutlass S sitting at the station with a "For Sale" sign.  Woody, the owner of the station, said the owner wanted $775 for it.  I offered $700 and it was accepted.  Woody said she originally told him to get enough $$ for four new tires on her new car, and he told her to ask more.  So $700 it was.
 Here it is after a good wash at my parent's house (1411 East Will Rogers, Stillwater, OK).  This is the last photo I have of it before I had it repainted 1977 Corvette Silver - the paint job was a graduation gift from my parents.  This Cutlass had a Olds Rocket 350 2 barrel.
 Here it is parked outside my apartment on Airport Road in Stillwater, after the new paint.  I loved this car so much I kept it for 12 years - and sold it for $1100 - $400 more than I paid!  Before that happened, I drove it to northern California where I met my wife and got married.
 This is the car my wife owned when I met her - a 1972 Ford Gran Torino. I absolutely loved this body style.  We received many compliments on it, even though the passenger side was caved in a bit by the previous owner.  This car had a 351 Cleveland V8 that was not the original motor.  Obviously this car had a rough life before my wife bought it.

As much as we loved it, we had to sell it when it became problematic.  We had to have the rings replaced when it started smoking like crazy.  More problems ensued including the transmission and we eventually sold it.  The guy who bought it apparently neglected to change over the title because we received a notice from Washington state saying they found the car on the side of the highway!  These photos of the Gran Torino were taken at the Driftwood Apartments at 1200 Plumas Street in Yuba City.
 We replaced the Gran Torino with this 1980 Pontiac Sunbird that my father made payments on while I was in college.  He/we paid something like $2500 for it.  It had NO options on it, not even air conditioning which was rough in the central valley summers.  Someone had installed an aftermarket sunroof in it that leaked like crazy.  But it provided good gas mileage and the Iron Duke 4 cylinder was quite reliable.
 After our first son was born, my father also gave us this truck - a 1969 Dodge D-100.  This was another vehicle that had led a very rough life before my family owned it.  The passenger side was caved in and the bed was in very very poor shape.  But it came with a free sheet of plywood to cover that up!  ha ha  This truck was built back in the day when pickup gas tanks were in the cab, behind the seat.  The sound of gas sloshing around was a bit unnerving.
 This is the truck that made me understand trucks.  I had never really considered owning one before, but after living with this one for a couple of years I was hooked.  They are so convenient it is hard to imagine living without one now.  Alas we had to sell it when I graduated college and moved to Southern Calif.  The new owner was thrilled to have it and my dad told me later he would see it around town with a lot of new work done to it.  I hope the new owner restored it.  I very very rarely see 1969 Dodge pickups any more.  They are almost all gone.  These two photos of the Dodge were taken on Gray Avenue in Yuba City.
 ...and we still had the Cutlass at this point! Here is an older photo of it, shown here on Airport Road at Boomer Lake in Stillwater, Oklahoma before I moved west.

 We took the Sunbird and Cutlass with us when we moved to San Diego - here is the Sunbird in front of our first southern Calif apartment in Mira Mesa, in front of 9605 Gold Coast Drive.  We ended up owning this car for 9 years - it had about 150,000 miles on it when we sold it.
 But before that, we sold the Cutlass and bought this 1986 Pontiac Grand Am SE.  We really needed a 4 door car because our second son was about to be born.  This was a great little car also with a nice V6 in it that was pretty powerful for the time period.  I can't remember exactly what we paid but it was in the $9000 range.  We bought it at C & M Chevrolet in Kearny Mesa.  It wasn't even on the main lot yet when we bought it, they had just taken it in on trade.  The woman who traded it in was getting a used 2 door version.  Not sure why.
 We sold the Sunbird for $500 in 1991 and bought this 1989 Dodge Dakota.  I'm fuzzy on the price for this one too, but think it was about $9000 also.  It had 27,000 miles on it and was loaded with options, including a V6.  I loved this truck and kept it even after I got a new truck.  After 15 years, I ended up giving this to my son while he was away at college in northern Calif.
 We still had the Grand Am at that time.  It was doing an excellent job hauling our growing family around.
 We kept this car for 150,000 miles and 7 years.  When the boys started entering their teen years, this car felt a little small on long trips so we started looking for something larger.  We sold the Grand Am to a friend of ours.  He loved it too, but someone ran a red light and creamed it while he owned it, which was the tragic end to the Grand Am.
 And while we kept the Dakota...
 In June 1995, we bought this 1996 Dodge Grand Caravan from Kearny Mesa Dodge to hold our growing boys.  This body style had just come out and I don't think there were more than a dozen of them in San Diego when we drove this off the lot.  We had waited for it to reach production for about a year and when we saw this one on the lot, we had to have it.  I can't remember the exact price but it was around $30,000 after tax and license.  This thing was fully loaded and had the larger V6 engine.
 Here is David about to leave for soccer practice.  This van really fit out family at the time.  It is hard to beat a minivan with teenagers in the house.  We owned this Caravan for 6 years and 100,000 miles.  GM was about to close down Oldsmobile and was offering killer deals on their cars, so we sold the Caravan and bought...
 ...this 2001 Oldsmobile Alero at Rorick Olds/Buick.  One boy was away at college by now and the other had his own license, so there was really no need for a minvan any more.  A four door car worked just fine.  This Alero also had the V6 engine and was nicely optioned.  It had a fair amount of power and was a great size - not too big and not too small.
We kept this car for 5 years and 100,000 also but eventually traded it in on a 2 door car once our youngest son moved on.

 Somewhere around this time, our neighbor moved to Coronado and wanted to sell his 1990 Miata.  This was the first year of the Miata and the car was in great shape so we bought it for $5500.  This car had no options on it, but was very fun to drive.
 We had originally intended for it to be our son's car when he turned 16, but figured out it probably wasn't the best idea to give a convertible with no rollover protection to a new driver, and it didn't have any room for hauling his friends around anyway.  So we bought him a different car and I kept this one.
It was a great little car but we started driving it less and less - mainly because it didn't have a/c.  That is something that I didn't think a convertible in southern California would need, but I was mistaken.   That also hurt resale a bit as most people who looked at it decided not to buy when they found it didn't have a/c.   I think I ended up getting $4000 for it.

 I haven't shown any of our current cars, but they show up in other posts here and there.  As they become former cars of ours, maybe I'll add them to the bottom of this post.


Damion said...

What a wonderful history of cars and so well documented. I think this is something that i am going to do in an album and just keep record of all the cars my family has owned. Its nice to just open and reminisce about all the times we have had travelling or getting stuck due to problems. Thanks for sharing.

Damion @ Jacky Jones Lincoln

Paige Hollingsworth said...

What a great list! I immediately began thinking about all the cars that I have owned or have been in my family. When I was a kid, my parents had a blue Ford station wagon. I don't remember much else about it but I loved that car! The cars in our life come and go, but the memories last a lifetime. Thanks for writing this blog post. It took me back.

Paige Hollingsworth @ Baldwin Motors Lincoln