Today we are going to Muse about my first car. If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me. Click to check out my artwork
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My 1950 Ford Coupe
While in high school I lived overseas. I never had the opportunity to drive. I used city buses or my parents. When I went off to the University of Washington in Seattle I did not have a car. I used city buses or I bummed a ride with friends. I didn’t feel deprived, but like most young people I wished I had a car. A car meant mobility and freedom.
During my senior year at the university, (I had transferred down to University of California, Berkeley) my great-aunt, Aunt Elsie, decided she could no longer drive and my father bought her car for me. It was a 1950 Ford Coupe like this, same color and everything.
Well it was not exactly like this. Aunt Elsie had the rear seat removed. She was tired of people asking her for rides around town.
This was a pretty nice car.
Clean interior. Manual shift. Wind wings. And, heavy with thick steel construction. One thing it did not have . . . turn signals. They were optional when the car was manufactured and Aunt Elsie was frugal. No turn signals. It was also manufactured before the use of seat belts. No seat belts.
My father was living in Indio, California at the time. He drove the Ford from Arizona to his home and I joined him over Easter. I spent several hours each day driving around the area, working on my ability to shift and to signal.
This seems pretty simple today, but it was big time and exciting for me in that it is my first car.
At the end of spring break I drove north to Berkeley. That is a trip of about 500 miles. I took the back roads where possible and savored the experience. I loved it. In the months that followed I was all over the Bay area. It was a little unnerving because I did not have turn signals. But it was fun.
We found this area pretty interesting. Hmmm!
One thing characteristic of the area is steep hills. That became an issue as the brakes
failed. Pedal to the floor . . . no brakes. Scary! I got a real quick lesson in down shifting and using the hand brake as we careened down the roadway.
It turned out that when my father picked up the car for me, he had it serviced. The mechanic forgot to put the cap on the hydraulic fluid container and every time the brake was applied a bit of the fluid would be pumped out. That night the last of the hydraulic fluid was lost and the brakes failed. Fortunately my friend and I were not hurt. Scared but not hurt.
My love affair with the Ford ended several months later. I was on the way to a movie and lost in thought when I ran a stop sign. A station wagon was coming through the intersection. I still remember someone yelling, “He is coming through!” just before I broadsided them. They were not going fast. Nor was I. But I hit them dead center at the door jamb and it punctured my radiator and twisted the frame of my car.
No one was hurt. The police came and took a report. My car was hauled away. The other fellows drove away. The police left. And I was on foot in a distant part of the city.
Later I signed over the car to the tow service to pay the towing and storage fees.
More to come
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