[NTLK] OT - Off Topic - Re: Oil in Newton

Forrest newtonphoenix at mindspring.com
Tue Jan 15 01:47:21 EST 2013

On Jan 14, 2013, at 7:11 PM, Tony Douglas <tonyisyourpal at aim.com> wrote:

> Good fun reading tales of everyone's cars...

My list contains only American cars, and none too exotic, although I loved each and every one, and each in a different way--like children. Well, the Ambassador was like an adopted child. ;) (Note: while I have pictures of my actual cars, it's much easier to just link to stock photos.)

My first car was a 1950 Oldsmobile 88. It was the second year of GM's Rocket 88 V-8 OHC engine, and a huge plated rocket sat on the front of the hood as an ornament. I got it in 1975 for $200. There's a picture here (not of mine): http://bit.ly/V6wWYp

The second was a 1941 Chrysler Windsor. That car never got a fair shake...we found in sitting in a field, paid $150 for it. It had Fluid Drive, a forerunner to the automatic transmission. You shifted into first, it shifted into second for you. You then shifted into third, it shifted into fourth, again by itself. While it was being towed home, somehow the transmission got stuck in gear and a tooth broke off the main cluster gear assembly. I could not find another similar part anywhere. I even toyed with the idea of putting a standard four-speed tranny in it, replacing the fluid drive, but it would have been fairly difficult without the proper tools and equipment. One of the cool things about the car was the speedometer...the owner's manual said, "the speedometer glows green from 0-40 mph, yellow from 41-65, and red from 65 on up." Here's a stock photo: http://bit.ly/W2mLQ9

Next I had a 1954 DeSoto (these cars seemed to find me, not the other way around!). It had the smoothest ride I've ever experienced, partly because it had knee-action shocks in the front, not the universally accepted two-piece cylindrical ones. It also had a dash-mounted shifter, and an amazingly great-sounding stock radio! Stock photo: http://bit.ly/Y6FKyd, but mine was two tone, coral over while.

Following that I had a 1969 American Motors Ambassador. The less said about that car the better--at one point I needed an alternator, and at the time most were $20-$30...but, since AMC didn't make or warehouse their own parts, I had to get it from another source for $75. Photo: http://bit.ly/13xPbHf

After that I had my first truly great car--a 1970 Oldsmobile Toronado. It had a 455 cubic inch engine and a 400 Turbo Hydramatic automatic transmission. You'd stomp on the gas pedal at a red light and the front wheels would just spin before catching, then you'd fly down the highway while watching the fuel gauge needle drop. In 1979 I drove that car across the US and back while in college...a drunk rear-ended it and bent the frame. I found another one, but the engine had a cracked block and the interrior was trashed. My friends and I swapped engines and I changed over the interiors. It ran great, but one winter I went up an embankment and hit a telephone pole with the driver's side wheel. Since it was front wheel drive, it ruined the transmission. Photo: http://bit.ly/SBKdqL

For a short time I had a 1974 Toronado, which my friends and I called the Toro Boat. It was a huge bloated vehicle, and we used to joke that you could play football in the back seat. Photo: http://bit.ly/11w7H36

Next I had a 1978 Honda Civic. That car got 50 miles to the gallon--no joke. My friends were 50 miles away where I had gone to college, and I could go visit them and drive back for around $3 (Gas was about $1.25 then). Photo: http://bit.ly/X9XoLw. I wore that car out, and next....

...I had a 1979 Honda Prelude. This was my third favorite of all I've owned. It was the first year of that model, and it had a moonroof (I never understood the difference between a sunroof and a moonroof) and a clock that wore out and would often display parts of numbers...for example, ai:r0. We called this Mars Time, i.e. time on the red planet. I drove that car from PA to AZ in 1987...it was a good car for most of its life. Photo: http://bit.ly/UMBFsA

Finally--in 1991 I got the car I've owned ever since, a 1987 Ford Thunderbird Turbo Coupe. It's still licensed and I drive it, it still runs great. In 2011 I had to replace a head gasket, and I've done almost all the other repairs all myself. It's got 246,000 miles on it, but since I've had a company vehicle for much of the past 15 years I've probably put no more than 25,000 mlles on it since 2003.

It was Motor Trend's Car of the Year for 1987. I'd love to have it restored, or at least painted (the Arizona sun has been most unkind to it). It's my favorite of all I've owned. Photo: http://bit.ly/WZLkf5

It was great remembering all these cars. Kudos for whomever started it.


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