The '59 is what my grandmother had before those Wildcats. I remember it visually but not the way I do the later models.This is a rather long story about my grandfather's cars. My grandfather on my father's side started out as a Ford man. In fact, as a child he knew the Ford family and in his teens (1908) he went to work at Ford's Piquette Avenue plant as a draftsman. He then studied to be an engineer, came back in 1917 and and worked his way up in the company to supervise the construction of various manufacturing plants until Henry called him into his office on a Friday in 1928 and told him that he was sending him to Fordlandia in the Amazon. The assignment would have meant leaving my grandmother and his four young sons for a minimum of two years. He declined the assignment, and that was the end of his employment at the Ford Motor Company.
That's bit of background, now on to the cars. One of my grandfather's first assignments was drafting plans for the Model T. I have a copy of a blueprint on the wall next to me with his initials noting changes that he had made on various dates as the car was modified during the production run. I believe that my grandfather may have owned a couple of Model T's, and my Dad used to talk about one that they had at their cottage in the 1920s. My Dad also talked about the thrill of Grandpa bringing home one of the first Model A's in 1927, before anyone else in town had one. That may have been a company car, because Grandpa had a 1927 Buick. Henry would not allow him to park it outside the factory where people might see it, so he got a parking spot inside the building.
1927 Buick: View attachment 939128
After his separation from Ford, my grandfather continued to be a loyal Buick man. The earliest Buick that I can remember was an early 1950s Roadmaster. He must have had that car when I was born in 1952 and kept it for a few years.
1951 Buick Roadmaster View attachment 939134
I think I recall a 1959 Buick 4 door. View attachment 939137
And his last car was a 1961 Electra that he owned when he moved in with us after Grandma died. That is probably the only one of his cars that I ever rode in. All I remember about it was the smell of his pipe and the burns in the front seat.
1961 Buck Electra View attachment 939142
These are not actual photos of his cars, of course. I'm enjoying looking at them, though, and thinking about him. He has been gone for almost 60 years.
This is me as a young lad standing by my grandparents '52 Chevrolet two tone Deluxe with a 6 cylinder. They lived on a farm in northern Wisconsin. Stick on the steering column. Starter button. Beautiful herringbone wool bench seats. Vacuum powered wipers that would pause under heavy acceleration. Tires had innertubes. It had a 6-volt battery that would be removed in the winter and kept warm in the house so it would start in the periods of deepest cold.
It came into my possession in the early '70s while I was in college. At that time it only had 27,000 miles on it. I took it on a road trip from Chicago to New York and I took the route through Ontario Canada. When I re-entered the US, the friendly US customs service searched the car for drugs. After they emptied the contents of the car on the ground and removed the back seat they said "OK, you can go now."
View attachment 938746
GM has come a long way back already. I first became aware of it when I bought my first Volt. There is no question about the level of innovation involved, and while they had to cut some corners on that car to keep costs in line, I was impressed by fit and finish and reliability of both Volts. I saw the same thing when I began shopping for C7 Corvettes and compared them to the C6. My impression continues to be positive with my Cadillac ELR. It's just a fancy Volt, but the paint quality is beautiful and the interior is as good as most expensive imports of that year (2016.) And of course, it beats Telsa by a wide margin for fit and finish.These days other competition including the Koreans makes me wonder if GM will ever get back to product quality, innovation and design that can rival their past. I applaud Mary Barra regardless.
Some nice cars, Bob!My maternal grandfather drove a blue '54 Mercury Monterey for the entire time I knew him:
My paternal grandfather died in 1941 in a construction accident. He dated my grandmother in a buckboard pulled by a horse. My wife's grandfather dated her mother in his Stutz Bearcat.
I think my father and mother's first car together was a Kaiser Henry J. Whatever it was, after he bought it he discovered that it had cable-pull brakes, like a bicycle. He decided that simply wasn't reliable enough for his lovely new bride so he designed, built, and installed his own hydraulic brake system.
My dad was an absolute sports car nut. He had a knack for finding down-on-their luck cars and rehabilitating them. The apex of his madness was an Alfa GTV6 like this one that he bought for pennies on the dollar and rehabbed.
Where's the sad imogeeeee?My grandfather bought a new '65 289 Mustang on his 75th birthday. He could be seen cruising the city streets with his pipe and in his hounds tooth touring cap, like some old codger having a mid/old-life crisis. My mother got that car when he bought a new caddie, and I put it out of its misery when I inherited it during my freshman year in college in '71.
The Henry J had hydraulic brakes, just like every other model that K-F sold. Only the emergency brake was cable operated and yes, those could slow a light car like that if you lost a master or wheel cylinder. Same master cylinder assembly as the full sized Kaisers.
Those vehicles don't belong outside of the carnival.All my grandparents were unencumbered by either house or car ownership. Maternal grandparents were born in 1899 and 1901, paternal grandparents a few years later. If they missed the bus back from Leeds, they would think nothing of walking the five miles back home rather than wait an hour for the next one.
My dad bought his first car in his early thirties. A Reliant Regal (saloon version of the Trotters yellow van), bought because as a three wheeler he could drive it on his motorcycle license, and it was taxed as a motorcycle. He borrowed £10 from his parents in order to buy, so that would be the nearest any of them came to owning a car. I don't think that he ever bought a car younger than ten years old, sometimes twenty, until aged almost 70 he bought a new boy racer Corsa SRI. He had to sell it three years later when mum died of a heart attack whilst sitting in the passenger seat, replacing it with a two year old Corsa which he drove until I took his keys away. My youngest then drove it for five years until she emigrated.
As a student only one person on my course owned a car, on graduating I lived in London for six years where a car was a liability rather than an asset. I only learnt to drive after leaving London aged thirty. I bought a roof rack capable of holding two tandems and two racing bikes, then found a car to fit. I drove my wife to the maternity hospital, with learner driver "L" plates, and a bike on the roof rack. It's a box with a wheel at each corner, designed to get you from A to B.