My Vehicle History
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1949 Pedal Car
This was my first car... I cannot remember exactly what it looked like, but in browsing some pictures, this is what I perceive it to look like. I can remember rolling down the sidewalk on Sylvania Avenue in St. Joseph, Missouri. Sometimes my brother Greg and I would crash into the tree at the bottom to keep from going into the street. That hill seemed a lot steeper than it did the last time I saw it. Every thing seemed a lot bigger then...
My First Bicycle
1953's 26" one speed bike...
My parents bought this for me at Christmas. It was great being able to ride all over the place, on my own. Soon, other kids and I were racing our bikes around the community. I rode this thing, painted it, even BMX raced it before BMX was even invented. The last I saw of it, was probably in 1985, and my dad had converted it to a bicycle exercise machine with some 2x4s and an old lawnmower wheel against the rear tire for some friction.
1955 Cushman Highlander
My scooter... This was my primary means of motivation from when I was 14.5 till I turned 16 and started driving. Even then, since I did not have my own car, I still rode the 'scoot'. This model does not look exactly like I remember it, but that was a few years ago. Mine was so much better looking, and blue, too...
My first car, (actually my dad's, but he let me drive it.)
He let me do a lot of the maintenance and repair work on it too. I learned a lot on that car, and my brothers 1951 Ford we rebuilt. Dad wouldn't let me paint it though. It was Yellow with a White roof. This is an image I found on the Internet. If 'my' car had been this color, it would have been great. The seat covers we bought from Western Auto were Black and Red. I covered the door panels in Black.
1964 Plymouth Valiant Convertible
This was my first real car that was MINE, and mine to pay for and keep running or else. A new paradigm, as I found out. I bought it after 14 months in Korea (in the Army). It was a convertible, 225 ci Slant Six, 4 Speed Hurst in the floor, Burgandy. with White top. My dad thought it was a 'hot rod' since it had a floor shift, and it was not a truck. He later developed an afinity for the little Valiant and he bought one for himself. I got 22 mpg towing a Volkswagon back from Washington, DC for a friend. I drag raced it in "T Pure Stock" class winning several trophies. Raced Top Stock elimination ONCE as 'U Stock'. They spotted me 500 plus feet against an 'A Stock' Nova. It was scary watching him eat the track up behind me, then almost blow me off the track when he went by. That was it for drag racing.
1964 Plymouth Valiant Hardtop
This was to replace the burgundy one my brother totaled for me... Mine was a White Two door Hard top, 273 ci V8, 4 speed Hurst on the floor. White all over. It was a bit faster than the 6, but more cantankerous. Did not race this one. Finally sold it to my brother. Yes, the same one
who wrecked the other one. Thankfully, he has stopped driving that way.
1967 Camaro Convertible
Hey, I like 'rag tops'... It was a 327 ci V8, 3 Speed on the floor. Blue with a White top. Back then I got into CB radidio. My handle was unique, 'Blue Camaro', arf, arf. This car got me back and forth between Oak Ridge and Myrtle Beach, SC, where I loved to go. Unfortunately, a slightly inebriated individual turned left, just in front of where I was driving. He promised to pay me for the damage, since he had no insurance, and I exdpect a check in the mail any day now...
1966 Dodge Charger
This is the one with the looooong back window. I had to get something to replace the Camaro. It was a 383 automatic. The sun could sure heat it up if you let it. Mine was Cream color. The electrical lighting system was 'h--l' to work on. It also never met a gas station that it did not want to visit.
1968 Corvette Convertible
Yep, another 'rag top'. It was a 327 ci, 325 Hp, 4 speed rag top. Silver with a White top. Ate a Mustang's lunch, on the way to blowing up... This guy just stayed right on my bumper all the way up the two lane road, till we got to the four lane section and a light. After demonstrating the HP of the 'vette', and when I backed off, the engine came unglued. The timing gear plastic had started to shread, plugging the oil galleys, starving the engine from oil. The only indication was that it was running a little hotter than normal, but still in the acceptable range, and oil measured okay. I could not afford to rebuild, so I sold it. A great relief from my insurance payments. It had some Black air brushing stipes on the hood.
I entered some Autocross events, now called Solo II, with this car. Most of them were very short courses. The VWs were faster than I was. I never got out of first gear. Burn tires, burn. Then, by accident, I found myself in second gear after starting. Thinking I screwed that run up, I decided to backoff and drive smooth and different. To my surprise, I took 2 seconds off my normal times. Hmmmm, maybe gas is not what you need here... I took second place, and still have a trophy somewhere. Ken Cross, (if I remember his name correctly), was President of the University of Tennessee Corvette club. I never got close to his times. He was a driver. That started my love of sports car racing, and SCCA.
1968 Dodge Dart GTS
Similar to the Dodge 'Super Bee', but smaller. It was a 383 ci, 4 speed on the floor. One very quick machine. Changing plugs was not much fun the way the engine was shoe horned in there. With the right tire pressure and temp, it would almost wheelie. I swear it did once. It certainly would smoke the tires, (but son, if you read this, I didn't do that, and I bought my own tires). Mine was Gold with a White Bee stripe. It also did not have this monster scoop on the hood. This was a 'Valiant' on steroids.
I think this one had the biggest fins ever, on a Chevy. I bought this to drive while I rebuilt the Dart after I loaned it to a friend? It was a 'hunk-a-junk' I paid $100.00 for to get me around. I sold it for $150.00. Mine was metallic Green. Talk about a junker...
1964 Ford Van
I guess this was one of the original minivans. Had to rebuild the Dodge again. I Think I missed a piece of one of the old pistons. Oil pump died within 1000 miles. Again, another friend, but I don't think this one was hot rodding it this time, just missed the gauge. No oil, no bearings... Mine was originally White. I had inherited a bunch of cans of spray paint from the previous tenant, so a friend of mine and I 'customized' it. Can you say 'Hippie Van'. The 'dog house' was back from the front dash, and between the two front seats. With a pad, it could be used for a third seat, with no belt. For that matter, I don't think we had any seat belts.
1970 Plymouth 'Cuda
Another Valiant in disguise. Sold the Dodge after the rear seal started leaking and destroyed my new competition clutch. I just got tired of fixing it. The Cuda was a 340 ci Slapstick automatic, 2 door hardtop. Sounded good with the headers. Black on black with black interior. Can we say 'HOT'. Another thing that I noticed, is that with a black car, you can start washing at the front, progressing toward the rear. When you finish, you can go back to the front again, because it is dirty again.
1968 Chevy Corvette
No, I had not learned my lesson yet, and yes it is the same picture. I have to find one of my original pictures and put it here for you to really know what it looked like. This one was customized pretty extensively. It was a 327 ci, 4 speed, White convertible with a Black top, (almost like the picture). I am still trying to find my two pictures I had of it after the wreck. Maybe I can do some creative art work and make one... It had a 1975 Corvette front clip, glassed in headlights in the grill, flared fender wells, Hooker side pipes, flip tail, custom tail lights, button and tufted custom interior. Great looking car. I only had it four weeks, before wrecking it. Ugh, I won't go into that.
1969 Corvette T-top
Mine was a Silver "T" top. I bought it to replace the one I wrapped around a pole. I was talking, instead of paying attention, found some gravel, and bang, mated my 'vette' with a telephone pole. No one hurt... Still have to sell the Cuda. Insurance went 'sky high'. That is a hard lesson to learn.
No, not another one, the same one.The 1969 'vette' was stolen and totally destroyed after about 6 weeks. I had spent a considerable amount of time working on it too. I had worked out a deal to get a fresh paint job, by trading the interior of the previously wrecked 'vette', put new shocks, brakes, tires, had the rear end rebuilt, and had a tune up done on it. I GIVE UP. I sold the 64 Ford Van before I could sell the 'Cuda. Thought I would keep the 'Cuda for a while.
1971 Honda 750 BIKE (MORE)
I guess I had had enough of 'vettes' for a while. Time to move on... So, I built this thing. This one was a project a friend talked me into. I am not sure I would recommend this to any one, but it did turn out okay. To find out more, click on the Link
1971 Ford Custom Van
I got married, and decided to do the van thing, so I sold the Cuda. The van had a full custom interior, but only a 6 cylinder, 3 speed on the column. Not fun merging with traffic. Still, it got 19 to 20 mpg on the road. It was a dark Blue with custom scenes painted sides and back. Poker runs, sight seeing, and camping.
1973 Ford Maveric
When I married my wife, I inherited this car. It was Orange, with a vinyl top. When the top rotted, we had it sanded off and repainted it all Orange. It later took us to Houston, Texas, with two kids.
1977 Dodge Van
I really liked driving a van, so I decided to buy a new one. My first, and so far, last new vehicle. Two seats, that's it. It was Powder Blue. I built the custom interior myself, bar, bed, curtains, overhead console in the cab with stereo and CB. It was great for Poker runs and other outings. The first 'rug rat' was on the way.
1977 Ford Pinto Wagon
(Chrysler warrantee work was crap) I was having problems with the van, and Burgin Dodge of Knoxville refused to honor the warantee and fix it. It would stay a week at a time with the promise that things would be fixed, but noooooo. Dodge finally had me take it to a Plymouth place to get it fixed. They kept it a week, and did almost nothing. I wish Burgin Dodge a Hawaian Good Luck every time I pass by. Haven't looked twice at a Chrysler product since. I WILL NEVER BUY A VEHICLE FROM A CHRYSLER COMPANY AGAIN! Even if they were the best car made, I don't think I could stomach owning a Mopar.
1977 Mercury Monarch
Sold the Pinto, and moved to Houston, Texas in the Maverick. Had to buy a car to keep my wife in wheels while I worked downtown, so I bought this one. It was 6 cyl. with a 3 speed in the floor, two door hard top. Nice car. Drove it about 110,000 miles. It was Cream color. Had a funny problem with the power steering. As you drove down the road, the car would decide on it's own to turn right. The only thing you could do is turn the steering wheel to the left to compensate. Then it would decide to stop turning right, and you had to quickly turn to the right to stop turning left. Do you know how much the Power Steering Modulator Cost? A bunch.
1984 Ford LTD (the small one)
The Maveric was getting a little old. My wife had had three major wrecks in it, and I felt we needed another car, so I bought her this one. It was light tan, and ran like a top. Up until the accident, I don't think I did any major work on it. I liked it.
1984 Ford ClubWagon
Back to the van thing. Basically this was a car/van. It was a 302 ci automatic, eight passenger with lots of storage. I used it to transport kids to karate tournaments, and the BMX bike races. I often had 8 bikes, helmets and gear, with 8 riders in the van going to a race somewhere in Texas. It was two toned brown, and was affectionately known as the 'BBT', which stood for 'Big Brown Turd'. I put 206,000 miles on it, the last two years without A/C. I just opened all the windows and sweat in the Summer.
1984 Ford LTD
My wife mixed it up with a dump truck in the other LTD, so I had to buy her another one. She got some healthy bruises out of the incident, but nothing serious. The car, however, was totaled. This one was all White, and basically the same as the first.
When the tranny went out in the LTD, we decided we needed another car. The cost of the rebuild was pretty high, so we junked it. The Taurus is still with us, and is a pretty good car. There is a little too much plastic in cars today, because it is always breaking. I also have expressed my opinion of the design location of the A/C 'schrader valve', which sticks down below the frame. When you hit a rock, that hits the valve, expect about a $1500.00 bill.
1982 Honda Prelude
Yes, 1982. I seem to be going backward. (This image is actually a '79, but looks like mine.) Maybe that is a comment on career compression at the Houston Engineering Company I work for, Fluor Daniel. Originally I bought this one for my daughter to drive going to Community College. I recently bought it from her, since the van died. 206,000 mile on the van. The Prelude has only 90,000 miles on it as of June 1999, and was in super excellent shape. The guy that I bought it from used it for road trips, but drove his Nissan truck daily. Garaged most of the time, he took pretty good care of it. Thanks Bill. It gets 31 mpg, with some pep, (I think it is about 70 HP). This is a Type 1 Prelude. It can cruise the Freeways at 70 mph just fine.
Well, That is just about it. Of course, I am relying on memory for all of these cars, and if I find that I am missing one, I will add it in when I get a chance.
The following are just some miscellaneous vehicles I would like to own. The way things are going where I work, though...
1970 Datsun 240Z
This is one good looking 1970 Datsun 240Z. I found this picture on the WEB, and made it my Wallpaper, and it's from a good state too, MO...
1963 Solo Vee
For having SOLO II fun on the weekends. 1600 cc, 1000 pounds
The race car driver calls out. 175 hp, about 1300 pounds, and a top speed of 175 mph.
1968 Austin Mini Cooper
Saw one scat at the Solo II races one day.
Cause I'll never afford a real Cobra.
Harley Davidson Motorcycle - Anything as long as it rumbles.
Boss Hogg Motorcycle
Some would say this is a bit much. This is Chevrolet 'bow-tie' (350 ci) powered, direct drive, (no gears), man machine. Top speed is estimated at 175 mph plus.It deserves its own page here.