Reminiscing: My First Car

Posted on January 30, 2010


In January 1960 I purchased my first car.  I was 16 at the time and working as an assistant shipping clerk in a large retail store. One of my fellow workers had a 1949 Plymouth that he was anxious to sell because he was buying a new car. I bought the car for $25,00 and was not terribly concerned that it left a trail of blue smoke every time I took off from a stop light. I think at the time I was impressed with the radio that had a good Bass sound so things like a worn engine just weren’t a concern for me.  The car looked good and took a good shine so my friends thought I got a real deal.  As I proceeded to drive the wheels off this car the shortcomings became apparent. One winter day as my friend Jim and I were driving back from New Hampshire, it began to snow and when I turned on the windshield wipers I discovered that the drivers wiper didn’t work.  As the snow volume increased it became obvious that the wiper problem had to be fixed. We tried hooking a piece of string to the wiper on both sides and pulling on the ends through the passenger and drivers side windows. Needless to say this didn’t work well  and then not at all. By this time we were fairly close to home so we got on the least traveled route we knew of . We then alternated driving (slowly) and getting on the roof and manually moving the wiper blade. This was working quite well until we were spotted by the police. This resulted of course in my first ticket and the car being towed.  Gasoline at the time was about twenty two cents a gallon so you could pretty much fill the tank for about two bucks.  In those days you could get reclaimed oil for about ten cents a quart. This car burned so much oil that I used to have to put in two or three quarts every time I stopped for gas. I also carried a quart or two with me for in between fill ups.  I had many good times in that car and I drove it until I joined the Army in 1961. When I left for Boot Camp at Fort Dix, I told my Dad to do as he wished with it. By this time the tires were so thin you could practically see through them and I was starting to use even more oil than gas and it seemed to leak foul liquids from every nook and cranny.  About a year later when I got shipped over to Germany, my Dad sent me the five bucks he got for the car when he hauled it to the junk yard.