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Cars I Loved and Lost

Cars I Loved and Lost

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Cars I Loved and Lost

Lunghezza:
153 pagine
2 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 12, 2011
ISBN:
9781462045181
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

John Reddie was just twelve years old when his mother bought him his first car. It was a 1935 Plymouth rumble-seat coupe and cost just $15. This was the beginning of his lifelong love of and fascination with vintage American cars.

In this memoir, Reddie gives a glimpse of his life as he reflects on all of the cars hes owned and all of the cars he could have owned. From the misadventures to the successes, Cars I Loved and Lost narrates a trip down memory lanefrom the first car that actually ran to the first car he actually drove. With a few repair tips included, Reddies story recalls fond memories through the lens of the automobile.

Apparently I am not alone in my fondness for these gems. People invest considerable time and money into these cars, and why? Well, maybe they share my appreciation for them, in other words; they too grew up with these automobiles. They remind us of a different time, back when we were younger and carefree, when our biggest worry was having enough gasoline to get around for a day or so, even though it cost twenty five cents a gallon.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Sep 12, 2011
ISBN:
9781462045181
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

John Reddie is retired and has lived in Massachusetts his whole life. Besides writing, he enjoys antique automobiles and classic films. This is his fourth book.

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Anteprima del libro

Cars I Loved and Lost - John Reddie

08/24/2011

Table of Contents

Chapter One

MY FIRST THREE GEMS

Chapter Two

THE 1937 OLDSMOBILE — MY FIRST CAR THAT RAN

Chapter Three

My First Buick

Chapter Four

ANOTHER PLYMOUTH RUMBLE SEAT COUPE

Chapter Five

ANOTHER TRIP ON THE ROAD –ILLEGALLY

Chapter Six

MY 1938 BUICK AND MY DRIVER’S LICENSE – AT LAST

Chapter Seven

A WELL WORN –— WELL USED 1946 PLYMOUTH

Chapter Eight

THE DEPENDABLE 1948 DODGE

Chapter Nine

THE BLIZZARD OF ‘61

Chapter Ten

1949 CHRYSLER — MY FIRST LONG TERM CAR

Chapter Eleven

ANOTHER DODGE

Chapter Twelve

TWO ’67 PLYMOUTH FURYS AND THEIR DONOR CARS

Chapter Thirteen

CARS THAT I SHOULD HAVE HAD BUT DIDN’T

Chapter Fourteen

SOME MECHANICAL TIPS THAT I HAVE PICKED UP

Chapter Fifteen

A LITTLE AUTOMOBILE HUMOR FROM THE PAST

To all vintage automobile owners and enthusiasts

Introduction

Vintage American cars; these classic treasures are great and I really love them. To this day they have style and appeal. I, being born in 1942, grew up with cars from the ‘30s, ‘40s and ‘50s. I am amazed at how many still exist and how many have been resurrected from rusted hulks to functioning, beautiful automobiles, not to mention show cars.

Apparently I am not alone in my fondness for these gems. People invest considerable time and money into these cars, and why? Well, maybe they share my appreciation for them, in other words; they too grew up with these automobiles. They remind us of a different time, back when we were younger and carefree, when our biggest worry was having enough gasoline to get around for a day or so, even though it cost twenty five cents a gallon.

This book is about my experiences with vintage American cars that I have had and a few that I should have gotten but didn’t. I remember as a very young boy, a close friend of my father’s had a ’39 Ford Deluxe sedan. I was fascinated with the little button on the dashboard that was used to activate the starter. Not being tall enough to see into the cars, I would jump up onto the running board of any car that was so equipped and then look in to see if it possessed the little magic button. One afternoon I did this and a guy was lying down snoozing on the front seat. As I peered in, he jumped up, and we both startled the daylights out of each other. I was much more selective about checking cars out after that.

I received my driver’s license in January of 1958, seventeen days after my sixteenth birthday. For anyone not recalling those times, they were somewhat different than they are today when it comes to driving. People were not sailing along with a cellular telephone up to their ear, almost all gasoline was pumped by an attendant, at twenty-five cents a gallon as I mentioned earlier, the Massachusetts motor vehicle inspection cost fifty cents and was required twice a year, and there were a lot less foreign made cars in this country than there are today. Not only that, we listened to Elvis, Chuck Berry, The Coasters, Buddy Holly, Connie Francis and the like on an AM car radio –- with one speaker!

The glory with the cars of those times also was that they were very basic mechanically. If one stalled on the roadside, very often times, you could diagnose the problem on the spot and get yourself home. Today’s cars are much more sophisticated and complex. The engine principals are the same insomuch as they are powered by a spark plug firing a fuel/air mixture in a cylinder, but computers and sensors now control these functions whereas before it was accomplished with the distributor and ignition contact points with a single coil.

Don’t read me wrong though. The cars of today have many engineering improvements from years back and engines and running gears go further than they did before. When repairs are needed, it can be very expensive, especially when diagnosis can be time consuming and requires special testing equipment. Engine oil also has greatly improved over the years. Multi-viscosity oils with detergent additives which reduce sludge build up are far superior to the single weight, non detergent engine oils of the past.

All right now, I’ll get back to the older, vintage cars that I want to focus on here. As I stated earlier, this is a trip back to my earlier years, my automobiles and related experiences that accompanied them. Also, I will offer a few repair tips that I have learned over the years and some old car stories with a little humor thrown in. I want to say that this is the kind of book that I would enjoy so come with me back to the days that I am so glad that I experienced; the great and sometimes not so great.

Chapter One

MY FIRST THREE GEMS

The very first car that I owned was a 1935 Plymouth rumble seat coupe. My mother purchased the car for me for $15.00. I believe that she figured where I had been interested in cars, that this would keep me occupied and out of mischief seeing as how I was twelve years old at the time. It did….. for a while. This was a rather unique Plymouth coupe because it had been used as a stock car at a local racetrack. As I remember it was painted silver with black fenders and had the number 44 painted on each door. The rear mounted spare tire and mounting bracket had been removed and a painting of Daisy Mae from the ‘Lil Abner comics was there in their place. My mother did not want the car to be running and it was not. Several of my friends and I used to pretend to drive it and also took parts from it like the carburetor and for some reason which I have no idea why now, the left rear fender. The coupe had a flathead six cylinder engine in it but I have no idea whether it was the original. Oh, and somehow, a baseball managed to crack the windshield. That was the beginning of my deep fondness for all of these vintage cars and also with being a little partial to Plymouths. I can still remember the smell of those old mohair seats.

I actually did not own this car for too long a period. One evening a young man knocked on the door right after supper and introduced himself as the former owner of the coupe. He had been the driver of this car at the racetrack but had gone into the army. At that time he sold the car to the garage that we acquired it from and I recall that they also had several cars there that were raced. He offered to trade me another car for the coupe because he wanted to resume the stock car racing again. I explained to him what we had done to the car but he seemed confident that he could put it back in order. I wish now that I had followed up on this and attended some of the races. He was eager to get his old Plymouth back and get it racing again so I agreed to the trade. This transaction introduced me to my next car, another rumble seat coupe, a 1937 Packard.

This car was also not running which was fine with my mother as I was still only twelve years old. It was a faded blue coupe with the six cylinder flathead engine which was really tired I was told at the time of the trade. I think this was known as the 115C model. It had the rumble seat with a small trunk that was located beneath it. It also had the fabric roof insert as did the Plymouth. Packard was one of the last makes to abandon this type of design as I recall. Most ’37 Packard coupes that I have since seen are equipped with a full trunk and I believe the model that I had was rare because of its rumble seat and today would be sought after. If only I had had the sense to keep these cars.

For some reason my friend and I decided to paint the Packard and did so with house brushes and a bluish green enamel paint that we found in my cellar. It did not complement the car. Where the car did not run and I had zero knowledge of auto mechanics at the time, I lost some of my interest in this car and agreed to sell some of the parts from it to several men who were looking to buy them. The radiator, grille, bumpers, and passenger door went and for next to nothing I might add. Shortly afterwards, my father grew tired of this partial car in our yard and I sadly junked it. I began to feel badly about not getting involved with these two cars and was now almost thirteen years old. I wanted to get a car that ran and I had passed the western hero and cowboy and Indian stage. I had saved a whopping $30.00 dollars now and was serious about getting a driver. One must remember that back then (1954), these old ‘30s gems were plentiful and inexpensive. In late August of that year I spotted a car for sale at a repair shop several towns away and subsequently purchased it for twenty five dollars. It was a 1936 Chevrolet Master two door sedan.

This was the two door sedan with the trunk back and was also fitted with the knee-action front suspension. Some of the Chevrolets had leaf springs on the front and were less troublesome than the knee-action which were prone to leaking fluid as I remember. The car was black and in decent shape for its age. I also remember that it had an aftermarket radio that was mounted under the dashboard. I can remember sitting in the Chevy and listening to the Davey Crockett song that was popular at that time on this radio.

The garage owner was selling the Chevy for the owner who lived close by. After the deal was closed, I called the garage and told the elderly gentleman who ran the business that I would like to pick up the car.

Ok, I’ll get her running for ya.

For some insane reason I remarked Oh we’ll do all getting going ourselves.

This turned out to be a big mistake on my part. I knew as much about fixing cars as I did about heart surgery.

My parents were able to borrow repair plates from my cousin who worked at a service station and we towed the Chevy home. My cousin also donated a battery to me as the car came with a stone dead one. The Chevrolets of that era had the starter activated by stepping on the accelerator (I believe that "36 was one of the last years this method was used and in ’37 or ’38, some models had a floor mounted foot pedal located next to the accelerator that you activated the starter by stepping on it).

The starter switch on this car as on many makes of that era was alive as long as the battery was connected, that is that the starter motor could be activated whether the ignition switch was turned on or off.

This car had

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