Sunday, September 09, 2007

That First Car

My first car was a high school graduation present from my mother and her friend Deb. It was a white 1967 Plymouth Fury.
It looked exactly like the photo above. When I was given the car, it was 1981 and there wasn't a mark on the car and there was no rust.

The first week that I had it, one of the radiator hoses split, making it emit an impressive amount of steam. The cool thing was that I went to the local petrol (gas) station and bought the new hose and they put it on for me for nothing.

I've just realized something. Remember when when you went to the petrol station, not only was there somebody there who fixed cars, they would fill your car with fuel and check the oil? Later on, there were two prices of fuel, the self-service price and the full service price. Now it is all self-service. The folks behind the candy counter/cashier's desk wouldn't dream of helping you to fill your car. Don't even think about getting them to check the oil. You used to be able to get new wiper blades for the windscreen wipers, new tires and all sorts of other regular maintenance things. Now, its just fuel and junk food.
I watched a man in a petrol station a few years ago. He had checked his own oil levels and discovered that he was a bit low. He purchased the oil and proceeded to put it into his car, right there on the forecourt. There was somebody behind him waiting to fill up, and he pipped his horn at Mr. Low-on-oil. Sheesh! I know I feel like I'm holding things up if I fill up the windscreen wiper fluid at the petrol station, but I've got to do it. It seems as though these places are for refueling only. If you have to do things like top up engine oil or refill the windscreen wiper squishers, then I get the feeling that these things should be done in the privacy of ones own driveway.

That big Plymouth engine wasn't just for show, it was built to consume fuel. I think it got about eight miles to the gallon. What a beast! I am sure that I am not alone in wishing that I still had my first car. Having said that, if I still had the car, I don't know if I could afford the fuel to run it. Actually, I don't know where I would find the fuel for that car. It ran on regular gas. None of that unleaded stuff for that old tank. I don't know if there are any petrol stations in Scotland that sell the old style, lead-filled fuel for cars.

The Plymouth Fury had one of the biggest engines that Detroit ever produced. It was so solid. I remember being astounded by the boot (trunk) space. I swear one could have put a family of five in there quite comfortably. The body of the car was made of proper metal as well. One could lean on the car or even stand on it and it wouldn't dent. Imagine anybody being brave enough to stand on a modern car.

There is one feature of my first car that I wish would come back into fashion. It had bench style seats and they were so comfortable! I don't remember anybody ever complaining about seat position and sore backs. These seats were built for comfort alone and they came into their own when pulled over to the side of a lonely dirt road in the moonlit Iowa countryside.
Is it a coincidence that the baby boom ended with the demise of the bench seats in cars?

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