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What Was Your First Car?

Category: Baby Boomer Retirement Issues

May 5, 2021 — For baby boomers, nothing was more exciting than getting our first driver’s license. The freedom that lay ahead. Just as exciting, maybe even more, was the prospect of getting your first car. So we would like to hear about your first wheels – whether your parents gave you a brand new car (so jealous), or if you saved your part-time job earnings and bought a used jalopy. Please use the comments section to describe your first chariot to freedom. We will try to add your pictures (one of your own, we can’t accept other photos for copyright reasons) to the gallery at the end of the article. Send the photo.

As for your editor, my first was a 1962 Renault Dauphine, bought in partnership with my 14 year old brother, funded with our house painting money ($350). Unfortunately for Mike, he never got to drive it legally because it died due to me hitting a curb and its own (serious) mechanical failings. He does like to tell the story of younger brother abuse though. My second was a 1965 Dodge Dart (Slant 6!) that was a wonderful reliable car (sold it to Mike later and he got better use of it). Then as I entered the Army, a 1 year old MGB – maybe my favorite car of all time (and the least reliable).

Let’s hear about yours!

Renault Dauphine courtesy of Pinterest and Philseed.com. It was a copycat to the VW Beetle
1965 Dodge Dart courtesy of Pinterest and StreetsideClassics
MGB, circa 1969

Worst Cars Ever Made (AAA)

Baby Boomer Nostalgia (Pinterest)

Posted by Admin on May 5th, 2021

26 Comments »

  1. A 1970 Turquoise Blue AMC Gremlin with plaid seats. Installed an 8 track player for my tapes. Blood rock and Blind Faith were some of my faves. It also had a pop up back window and a roof rack.
    What a great first car!

    by Joanne Mark — May 5, 2021

  2. John
    That was nice looking MG. Like the spokes.
    Hope all is well.
    Ray

    by raymond — May 5, 2021

  3. 1966 VW Bug
    Beige with SunRoof
    40 hp
    Trunk in the front with the Gas Tank and Fill Under the Hood
    6-volt Battery Located Under the Back Seat. The battery died a lot but it was easy to push and pop the clutch. Then I broke down and bought a spare second battery. I left a wrench under the back seat with the spare. Easy to change.
    The car lasted until the unibody started to rot out in the front and I’d get splashed when it rained and I drove through a puddle.

    Fun First Car.
    I don’t know how we did it but we had (5) 6′-guys in the car one night. We weren’t break any Speed Limits.

    by ChuckLe — May 5, 2021

  4. John, I am pleased that you have acknowledged here that I was “educated”/“swindled”on my first auto, the Renault Dauphine, purchased when I was 14. Too bad you wrecked that car before I turned 16. I later purchased the Dodge Dart from you mostly with my share of winnings from a golf tourney won with you as my partner. It also helped that our mother negotiated the price for us on the Dart giving consideration to the previous “Renault swindle”. At the end of the day, it turned out well for me as I used the Dart during most of my college years and it was a good car.

    Brother Mike

    by Mike Brady — May 5, 2021

  5. A ’64 rust-bucket Ford Fairlane, dubbed “The Beige Bomb” by my friends. Adding to the adventure, the gas gauge didn’t work so I had to track my mileage.

    by Chaz — May 5, 2021

  6. 1964 Plymouth Valiant convertible with push button transmission. Loved that car.

    by Larry — May 6, 2021

  7. Loved my ‘66 Chevrolet Chevrolet 300 with a very powerful straight 6! Drove it for several years, sold it cheaply to my brother-in-law who fixed it up really nice. He sold it to a guy that raced cars. It finally died on the race track at Auto City Speedway in Clio Michigan after winning many “Super-Six” races.
    Had many life “firsts” in that car ?.

    by Dave C — May 6, 2021

  8. Typical over 60 poster… that was a ‘66 Chevelle, not Chevrolet Chevrolet LOL!

    by Dave C — May 6, 2021

  9. Thanks for the update Mike. Glad at least one of our shared cars worked out well for you!

    by John Brady — May 6, 2021

  10. The summer before my junior year in college, I got my first car – a red 1968 VW Beetle. It was a year old when I bought it for $1700. My local bank lent me the money and I paid it off with earnings from summer jobs over the next three years. It had a radio that would go off every time I hit a major bump; then I had to pound on it with my hand to try to get it to come back on. The heating system had two settings: “on” and “off.” Needless to say, it had no air conditioning except what was called in those days 4/80. Four windows down at 80 mph. That didn’t exactly apply to the Beetle, since I don’t think it would go 80, nor would the back windows roll down. I drove it for my last two years of college, three years of law school and two years after that. Unlike some others, I never developed much of a love for that first car and was glad to move up to one that had air conditioning!

    by Clyde — May 6, 2021

  11. My first vehicle was the 1959 VW 21 window microbus referenced in my comments on Nomadland. My first car was a FIAT 850 roadster in British racing green that i bought new for $2250. The only option was a $50 AM/FM radio. Through some miracle, and a lot of valve jobs, it lasted almost 90,000 miles before I traded it in for another real winner, a 1973 Vega GT. Do I know how to pick cars or what?

    by LS — May 6, 2021

  12. My first “car” was a ’66 red Honda 90. Turned out it changed my life. At the time it made high school bearable. Still riding today!
    My first car car was a green 64 VW beetle. The first of many until the 80’s. Got the job done, and you could fix most things yourself.
    Really fun reading everyone’s stories. Great memories!

    by Tim — May 6, 2021

  13. Larry, since the 65 Valiant I bought in 1973 had an auto transmission but it was on the steering column, 1964 must have been the last year for the push button transmission. I loved that on the family 1964 Chrysler station wagon I learned to drive on – you had to be able to type to drive!

    by John Brady — May 6, 2021

  14. After 3 years of driving my mom’s Pinto station wagon, I saved enough for a down payment on a new Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. (I was highly influenced by the movie “Smokey and the Bandit.” Fun to drive, except in the winter (rear-wheel drive), it forever cemented my love for sporty-looking, two-door cars.

    by Lara — May 6, 2021

  15. The first car I purchased was after college in 1974 . A bright orange 4 door Datsun B 210. I drove that car across the country and back few times and it went almost 200k miles with never a repair! Loved that car.

    by Maimi — May 6, 2021

  16. My first car was an Opel. Loved that car. Pulled up next to a big 16 wheeler once and suddenly heard a thunderous voice saying ‘Morning, lil gold Opel.’ It took a while to realize that it was coming from the truck since the top of my Opel was about level with the tires on that truck. Driving it was often an adventure. I think that car made everyone who saw it smile. At the time, it was probably the only one in Chicago.

    by Barbara — May 6, 2021

  17. “First car” is a story that leads to stories. Our “first” car came when I went with my future wife to meet her family for the first time. The notion of wedding did not come up at all until her father talked about an old Chevy he had bought that day. My girl pipes up with, “Great, we can take that to go back and forth from college to plan the wedding!” My mouth fell open and I could only stare at her!

    A few months later (after the wedding), her father let us trade that Chevy in on our true first car — a red 1968 Ford Torino fastback with racing strip and a 390 cu in engine. A GI returning from Viet Nam had bought it in California and drove it 10,000 miles across the country before giving it up. You could floor the gas pedal and feel the Gs — and watch the gas gauge move down! It was a fun car in a period when gas prices were low and we were young enough to be stupid.

    So many stories, but as an Air Force private in the Biloxi, MS area, months after Hurricane Camille had hit (sustained 175mph winds), the coast highway was still at times breaking off into the sea. One morning while driving to work, I pulled out to pass only find that that lane had newly dropped away. I hit the new barrier and bounced back and forth in the seat dragging the steering wheel side to side causing the car to zig-zag numerous times across the road and finally run into a (fortunately) vacate sandy area 30 feet off the road. THAT’s the moment I learned to wear my seat belt and have never failed since!

    A couple of years later we traded that Torino for a new Chevy Vega. Afterwards, our mechanic said it was a good thing because he had been afraid to tell us that the cam shaft was bent and there was a big bill coming!

    by RichPB — May 6, 2021

  18. 1965 Mustang convertible

    by John — May 6, 2021

  19. Lara I laughed at your post. I was in high school 76-79 and during that time my dad bought the “Smokey and the Bandit” Firebird.
    He would pick me up at school sometimes and i was sooooooo embarrassed when people would look to see who was picking me up and see an OLD MAN of 50 driving!!!!!
    He let me drive it once and someone rear ended me!!!!
    Oh and my 1st car was a 76 Toyota Celiac that leaked oil. It was stolen so I was pretty happy.

    by Tomi — May 6, 2021

  20. ’57 Ford Fairlane was my first driver. Bought it for $600 because the tranny was slipping. I replaced the torque converter from a junk yard and added some liquid transmission rejuvenator to reduce the slippage. That only worked for a short while, but I did all the work while I had the car jacked up and placed on red building bricks. The old 272 V-8 was under powered to keep me out of serious trouble. It was traded in on a ’65 Chevelle with my mom’s ’63 Corvair. Such a deal! Malibu SS had a 327 4 speed with positraction. A real screamer. I even beat a ’63 Ford Galaxie 406 in a drag race!

    by Ricardo — May 6, 2021

  21. whew ! first car was an Oldsmobile (remember them?) Cutlass F-85 convertible….either a ’62 or ’63..forget which because I am an old fart now…anyway, the car was mint with buckets and a white convertible top…a real beauty….only paid $50 for her….she’s probably worth close to 30k now…wish I stlll had her !

    by uncle al — May 7, 2021

  22. Barbara…….You were not alone. I bought a gold Opal from my BIL in 1980 after I discharged from a 4 yr. Air Force Tour (Rich…I don’t recall any privates…I thought they were in the Army?) MY BIL had purchased it new and took impecable care of it. As I recall, it was great on the gas milage, so I was able to sell it for more than I paid, cuz gas prices moved high that year, and folks were looking for little cars. I then bought my first (and only) brand new car……a 1981 Volvo. It was a beautiful sound car. I recall shaking when I wrote that check….$12,800.

    by Caps — May 7, 2021

  23. John, I had a 66 Mustang convertible. Had so much fun in that car.

    by Sharon L Alexander — May 7, 2021

  24. Used ’67 Ford Galaxy 500.

    by Rich D — May 8, 2021

  25. Caps, you’re right — I was an airman, not private. I spent much more time in the Army (my Dad was 28 year career). Foggy memory? :<)

    by RichPB — May 8, 2021

  26. My Dad was body and fender man, all of our family cars were cars ,totaled by insurance companies. It was 1972 -My first car was a 2-door 1965 Olds F-85 with a 330 cu. engine. it was total lost that I got from insurance co. for $75. His labor was free and so was mine . Materials , parts and paint cost about
    $ 340 which I paid when I worked. I owed about $150 when I graduated from high school in 1973 and as a graduation gift my bill was paid in full.Thanks Mom and Dad! Wish I had a picture to send you.

    by Sam Pace — May 14, 2021

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