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first cars

Unlike the rich friends I had in high school, I was not afforded a brand spanking new BMW upon receiving my license in 1980. No, I had to purchase my very first car on my own. It wasn't easy to save money on my four dollar an hour salary I got for slicing lunch meats at my uncle's deli, but I scrimped and saved and cut down on my drug and alcohol expenditures and soon had enough to get myself a decent used car. Yea, I had these visions of getting a used nice car, like a Chevelle or Mustang or even a souped up Nova like my neighbor had, but my dreams were crushed when I realized exactly what kind of car $800 would get you in 1980.

I became the proud owner of a 1973 Oldsmobile Omega. Maybe it wasn't sporty or fast or sexy or brand new, but let me tell you, that car was one solid piece of machinery. When I was behind the wheel of that thing, I felt invincible, like I was driving a tank.


Soon after I got the car, my younger sister started learning how to drive. She begged me daily to take her driving, but I kept blowing her off with the excuse that with her permit, she was only supposed to drive with someone over 21. Yea, like the law every stopped me from doing anything before. I just didn't want her driving my car.

One day I picked her up from school and decided to let her drive home, just to get her to stop asking. Oh, you see where this is going, don't you?

She pulled out of the parking lot, made the left at the light, did all the right things like turning on her directional and checking her side view mirror. It was going good. I relaxed a bit. She accelerated as we hit the main road and got it up to 50 before I reminded her that the speed limit was 40. But she wasn't paying attention to me. She was waving out the window to get the attention of her friend who was standing on the corner waiting to cross the street. A traffic light was approaching. That light was red. Not just turning red, not briefly red, but red as if it had been yelling "Stop, you moron!" at us for the past ten feet.

By the time I actually got the words "Step on the fucking brake!" out of my mouth it was too late. I saw the car coming at us on my side. She was barelling through the interesection at a good clip and, well, she had the green light . I'm sure she wasn't expecting to see a car zooming in front of her. I braced myself for impact. The sounds of the Clash's Brand New Cadillac coming from my cassette player gave way to the sound of metal upon metal and screeching brakes. She slammed us broadside, so hard that her license plate became embedded in my back passenger door. The Omega spun and turned and ended up on the median, a "No U Turn" sign inches from my face in front of the windshield.

When the car stopped moving, I took stock of the situation. I was alive. My sister was alive. In fact, we were both kind of sitting where we had been at moment of impact even though neither of us were wearing seat belts. The engine was hissing, the woman who had hit us was screaming something, and Brand New Cadillac was still playing. I heard voices outside the car "Holy shit, did you see how hard they got hit? They have to be dead?" "I'm afraid to look in there!" "Dude, that was sick!" There were people milling around the car. Finally, someone poked his head in the driver's window and was surprised to find two young girls, very much alive and not the least bit hurt.

I turned to my sister, trying to be a bit compassionate since she was probably very shaken up. I resolved to save my abject anger at her until later.

"Are you ok?"
"I broke my fucking nail!"

That's when I started punching her.

So the car was pretty much wrecked and we escaped unscathed. That is quite the testament to the strength and tank-like qualities of the 1973 Oldsmobile Omega. You want a car like that today, you'll have to buy yourself one of those monster SUVs that take up six parking spaces.

Another first car story, from my friend "the turtle" :

This was my first car. Stupid. Simple. Cheap. Fast. Like I was then. When you grow up in the 80's you have to get over the fact that you won't get a 70's muscle car. That was the past; something that would always be there, but always out of reach. So I bought one of these.

89 Honda CRX. That color. Blood red. That thing pretty much changed the way I felt about pocket rockets. It had the power and the speed of anything I had ever driven. Well, maybe not the power but it definitely had the speed.

I was bored one day and saw someone with a plastic Jesus on their dashboard. Dude was just smiling and thinking the was God’s gift to world and his smile and my lack of attention made me want something.

I was next to a church supply store. I had no idea what they were supplying. Maybe faith? Anyways, I bought a manger scene. All those little characters. I stopped at a linen store and bought drapery beads. I went home, took this great mess and created the manger scene on my dashboard with some superglue and creativity. I glued "dingle balls" around the interior of the car and dropped that car even lower then a CRX should go.

One night I was heading to the moutains and was stopped by Cal Trans. No going through the mountains without chains. Well, fuck. Those are 20 bucks! So i bought a can of white spray paint and painted strips on the tires and i was never stopped again.

There was only one night when those tires brought me any trouble. We came upon a DUI check point in the middle of a main street. I had a friend in the passenger seat and a girl rolling around in the back seat drinking her father's moonshine out of a jelly jar that was crawling with dead ants. Apparently, ants really like moonshine. I saw the lights at the checkpoint, tossed some beer cans and went thru real slow. The cops asked why I had snow chains on the car. I put on a fake Canadian and said "II gues itdoesn't get as cold here as the say on the tv!" He waved us through.

Looking back that was a prety stupid thing to do. But thats what you do with your first car. Stupid things for shits and giggles.


He's right, you know. I could tell you some stories about what went on in my Omega that would make your hair turn white. But I'll just say instead that the power of being behind the wheel of your first automobile when you are young and incredibly stupid is more intoxicating than a 40 oz of Miller Lite and a nickel bag.

DRI - Busted
Jello Biafra and Mojo Nixon - Plastic Jesus
Mad Caddies - Road Rash
Clash - Brand New Cadillac

Previous cars:
77 Trans Am
69 Camaro
70 Mustang Mach I
Ford Galaxie 500
74 Dodge Challenger
70 Chevelle and 72 Barracuda


I can't believe you didn't have more sympathy for your sister's broken nail. WHERE IS THE LOVE?

This, folks, is why siblings don't let siblings drive their cars. My brother learned that lesson when, instead of shifting his truck into 2nd gear using his column-mounted gear shift, I tossed it into reverse. Ahhhhhh, the fresh feel of warm pee running down my legs in fear when he gunned it. Good times.

there are times i'm so very happy i didn't even get a sibing until i was 16.

Michele! You're back! Happy day!

First car? A friend of my parents' 1967 Malibu Classic. It was a metallic olive green but we got it painted at Earl Scheib for $99.95 (No ups, no extras) midnight blue.

Three weeks after I got it I got t-boned at after blowing off a stop sign because I was paying more attention to the blonde next to me than the traffic.

First car?

A 1959 Ford F100 4×4 with a blown (destroyed, not supercharged) 293 V8. I paid $375 in 1974, when I was only 14. For another $350, I picked up a 351 Cleveland motor from a totalled Mach 1 Mustang. Since I wouldn't have my license for another two years, I spend my time building it. I would like to find another one now.

I eventually traded the truck for a bunch of stuff and some cash, and used my parent's 67 Mustang for transportation until I got my license. Then I bought a 1970 Opel GT, which was actually a lot of fun. That little 4-banger engine could get me to 120 mph in the few short stretches of available road in Juneau AK.

1969 Ford Maverick.

Yup: "Oldsmobile saves lives - Story at 11:00."

My first one was a 1965 Dodge Coronett 440. It was a retired black & white cop car & I bought it from the police auction for a hundred cocos. Had a big 413 Max Wedge V8 and would pass anything on the road. Had an appetite that was prodigious, tho. Good thing gas was less that $0.25 a gal.

I put over 300,000 miles on that POS before it went to the crusher. I still have dreams at night about that car.

March 1977, Great Falls, Montana. A blue 1972 Mustang Coupe for $1,650. The salesman at the car dealership said it had a 351 Windsor, but when I got it home I discovered it had a Cleveland motor. I put a Shelby intake manifold on it with a Holley 4-bbl. Although it only had a 3-speed on the floor, that car would flat move. Best car I ever owned.

1978 Pontiac Phoenix. A beautiful car that had faded to a dull smurf blue, hence its name "The Smurf." It wasn't quite a boat, and it handled well. Bought it from my brother in 1995 for $400. I remember what he told me about maintenence, "If it makes a funny noise, turn up the radio."

First car? 1965 Mustang, almost completely rusted through but a perfect motor. 3k later, it even looked good, and the best part is that I still have it and it's almost perfect now, down to the all too few notches in the back seat.

I always remembered my dad lamenting the fact that he'd sold his '55 Belair and I wasn't going to go through life with that kind of bad mojo.

My first car, '69 Chevelle. 307 SBC, 4bbl, Cragar S/S, M/T 60 series, Hijacker air shocks, headers, 8-track.

First car 68 Olds Delta 88 coupe 455 engine,blew pu in front of the Post Office in Chicago after a first date with a cheerleader at the Sonny and Cher concert fall 1972.One by fire
Second car 69 Olds Cutlass, after a wild wild weekend in Carbondale IL on the drive home found that someone poured sand in the gastank and totalled the engine. One by Sand
Third car, 72 Malibu, locking gas cap and alarm system, put in the 8-track myself, drove into a flash flood in front of the Miller Brewery in Milwaukee, had to swim out into the middle of the street in front of the workers who were on break.One by Sea
At that point I figured the next one would be by air,took the bus for quite a while.

First car: The Box. 1963 Chevy II Nova. 230 cid inline 6. Powerglide 2-speed auto (Hey, where's third gear???"

That car too so much abuse, and always kept coming back for more.

Spent $225 for the car and put a $400 stereo in it. Jensen Triax 6×9's, Pioneer 8-track. 40 Watt (!) amp. I was the sh*t.

Loved that ride.

first car 1984 olds Cutlass Calais. No not the front wheel drive with the four banger, that was the 84 1/2.

This was the rear wheel drive that looked exactly like the Cutlas Supreme. I think they only made it half a model year before it was switched to the smaller front wheel drive model.

I always got into arguments with the guys at the parts store getting parts for that beast.

The one Big difference was the bucket seats. I can't even begin to count the number of night I spent sleeping in those buckets, most comfortable seats ever.

It only had the 231 V6. I always had dreams of dropping in a v8, but never had the scratch to do it.

once you go to pocket rockets, it is hard to go back...love the torque of muscle cars, hate the way they go around corners.

I didn't actually own a car until I was out of law school, instead mainly driving my dad's 1977 Chevy Caprice Classic (this was the early 1990s - my parents had that and a 1979 Olds wagon, both acquired second-hand).

The Omega looks a lot like my dad's 1976 Chevy Malibu, which had a body made of rust by the time it was a year old, but which had an 8-cylinder engine (on a mid-size car!) that's almost certainly still running somewhere (I think eventually they installed in Dick Cheney); it had 250,000 miles on it, mostly city commuting miles, when my dad got rid of it around 1990.

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