Your parents' cars

CharlieO

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We have thread about our grandparents' cars, but I suspect that our parents' cars probably had a greater impact on us when we were young. I know that this is true for me. I came from an automotive family. My grandfather started at Ford Motor Company in Detroit in 1908 as a draftsman and then engineer, and my father was an automotive engineer for his entire career. I was born in Detroit and I loved cars. My parents would tell people that I could identify every car on the street by the time that I was five years old, and that was true.

I was born in 1952. The first of my parents' cars that I can remember was a 1955 Chevrolet 4 door sedan in the same colors as shown in the photo. Obviously, it didn't have right hand drive, though. As I was only three years old when my Dad bought it, it didn't leave an impression on me.
1955 chevrolet 4 door better photo.jpg


The first family car that made an impact on me was our 1958 Chevrolet Brookwood 9 passenger station wagon. I think that my Dad was proud of this car. It was the ideal car for driving five kids to church or on family road trips, and it was deluxe enough to show that he was doing well at his job. It looked like this:

1958-chevy-brookwood-station-wagon-2.jpg


We moved away from Detroit in 1958 when my Dad got a new job in Wisconsin. My parents built a new home in the suburbs and it was necessary to become a two car family. Mom got the station wagon and Dad got a cheap commuter car, a 1951 Dodge Wayfarer business coupe. At six years old, this was the first time that I realized that it was possible for a car to be NOT "cool." I think that I have changed my mind on it now, though.

1952_Dodge_Coupe_Wayfarer_Fluid_Drive_(9643217356).jpg


The Dodge didn't last long. It probably was a gas hog, and Dad needed something more economical for his three mile trip to work. He came home for lunch every day, so that was 18 miles daily in a car that probably got 15 miles per gallon when gas cost 25 cents a gallon. He had to save money somehow, so he bought an almost new 1961 Volkswagen that looked exactly like this one. He kept it for a long time, and it became my first car on my 16th birthday in 1968. This car got me started on a long line of 8 Volkswagen Beetles that ended in 2002. During the time that my Dad owned the car, he cursed its German engineering. Of course, this was because he was an American automotive engineer. What did he replace it with? A 1966 Volkswagen Beetle, which became my second Beetle several years later.

1961 Volkswagen Beetle.jpg


Mom got the good cars. The Chevy wagon was replaced by a 1964 Pontiac Tempest Deluxe wagon. As we turned 16 and got our drivers licenses, my brothers and I quickly realized that this was a NICE car to drive, with its 326 V-8 engine. It was essentially a Tempest Le Mans, but it was better because it was a wagon. You could cram more people in it than you could in a Le Mans. There was room for a couple of guys behind the back seat if necessary. Ours looked like the one in the photo, without the luggage rack. When I looked for photos on the internet, I was amused to see how many of these wagons have been turned into dragsters and faux GTOs.

1964 Pontiac Tempest station wagon.jpg


The absolute best car that my parents owned when I was a kid was really something special, and I wish that I could own it today. My Dad used his connections at GM to buy a "one off" COPO 1967 Chevrolet Caprice 4 door hard top sedan that had been built for Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen when he was Executive V.P. of GM, just before he left to become President of Ford. This was absolutely a unique car. I have searched the internet for years and have never found one like it. It was fully loaded with the 396 V-8 and Turbo Hydramatic transmission, front disc brakes, Positraction, Rally wheels, AM-FM stereo radio, AC of course, vinyl top, fender skirts and who knows what else. It was blue, and it was lighter than the typical Caprice blue as shown in the photo below. I suspect that it was Corvette Elkhart blue. The car in this photo is not even close to my parents' car, but it gives an idea of what it looked like.

1967 chevrolet-caprice-used-automatic-rwd-4-door-coupe-chevy-2.jpg


My parents knew that this car was special, and the kids did not get to drive it. I think I got to use it for a date once.

These were our family cars before I went away to college, and the ones that have the most memories for me. My parents had plenty of cars later on, but they weren't important to me. What did your parents drive when you were young?
 
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schmee

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My Dad was a Buick guy for years. '49, '53 that I remember.

He went through a period of buying some real oddball cars after that though! I have no idea why.
Borgward Isabella: This seemed like a high quality little car, but man I think it was probably imported to the States for about a minute!
 

imwjl

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This could get crazy in my case. When my dad died at a young age he had 13 antique or unusual cars. Something that left an impression is he had a lot of success between my early years and when he died. We went from modest to quite successful when he died.

His 1967 4 Door Thunderbird stood out for the suicide doors.

1972 stood out because my parents who would buy used or dealer demos bought a special order new Buick Estate Wagon, new Chevy Caprice company car, and a new C20 pickup. He also bought a 1936 Nash Ambassador that some clues have me sure the photo here is it.

That time and the cars were a pretty big deal for my folks. It marked moving to other side of the tracks or town figuratively and in actuality. We went from being poor people to doing well.

It's a shame my dad not live long enough to enjoy his success. We had to sell 13 cars and the farm after he died but handled matters pretty well overall.

It was a good life lesson for me to experience very different levels of family well being in my life.

6963582-900-0.jpg


Buick.jpg

1972-chevy-custom-c10-c20-pickup-highlander-71k-original-miles-paint-rare-truck-1.jpg

1936_Nash_Ambassador_Super_8_%2836394908275%29.jpg
 

billy logan

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If an anthropologist can go to e.g., New Guinea and study the customs of the people there? Well I'd say then a New Guinean anthropologist could well come to USA and learn about us through our car culture!

I believe this was the 1st car my dad bought new, except dark blue. His decision was between this and a Ford Falcon. The dark blue Studebaker Lark wagon had no A/C, but did have LSD. Limited Slip Differential. We, family of six, took a big trip out west and in Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, we tied one of these canvas water bags on the Studebaker's grill for evaporatively-cooled drinking water:
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1642006449988.png
 
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natec

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(Any photos are long gone - below are stock photos from the interwebs..)



Dad had a 67 SS 396 bought new, and kept until 1971, when my Mom sold it while he was in basic training (.. he still brings that up).


1642008187072.png



A short time later - Mom had a 1973 Charger. My early memories are looking through those 'fish gill' rear windows.

1642007731286.png
 

DekeDog

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The earliest memory I have of my dad's cars is of a black '56 Ford Fairlane. I remember a series of mom's woody station wagons.
 

Old Plank

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That's a great line-up of cars OP! I wish I had pics of all the ones my family had while growing up, but alas, no. My faves tho were a '64 gold Impala wagon, and a '65 Mustang convertible with floor shift (which I took my first driver's test on and failed!)
 

Jim_in_PA

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I have no photos of my parent's vehicles. I do remember the 1961 Impala that my mother had...I used to, um...move it around the driveway when I was just shy of driving age. She got a 1966 VW Bug by the time I was licensed and I actually drove that quite a bit to get to my summer jobs and band activities. I actually really enjoyed that thang... For the most part, my dad was an Oldsmobile man, ordering new ones every couple of years...he was an Insurance salesperson and put a lot of miles on. He also believed he had to look successful to be successful and he actually was very successful over a 30 year career. But he always coveted the idea of owning Cadillacs. It was ingrained into his head by his dad, I assume, that these "automobiles" were the real sign of success. He did eventually own a few, all bought used...the supply of low mileage Caddies was robust in Florida where the 'rents retired to. They were nice, but to me, they broke too much and not something I ever wanted to ascribe to. I'm guessing he'd not be happy with the way that company has evolved at this point, but I don't hear his ashes shaking on the shelf, so I guess it's a non issue. :)
 

David Barnett

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I can probably remember most of them.

When I was born, my parents were driving a pea-green 1955 Chevrolet Two-Ten 4-door sedan. It had a Blue Flame Six and three-on-the-tree. It was completely monochromatic - the paint and all the interior surfaces were all in that same hospital green.

In 1960 that was traded in for a 1960 Chevy Bel Air 2-dr with a six and three-on-the-tree, in kelly green. That was replaced by a 1963 Ford Galaxie 500 2-dr, "Champagne" with a red interior. That one had a 260 V8 and a Cruise-O-Matic 3-speed automatic. Then there was a 1966 Ford Fairlane 500 4-door in bronze, with a 200 cu. in. six and Cruise-O-Matic. This was their first air-conditioned car.

In 1965 my dad got a job with a company car. First was a '65 Chevy Impala, turquoise inside and out, with a 327. Then a '67 Impala in maroon with a black interior, a '69 Impala in ice blue, a '71 Impala in a color sort of somewhere between silver and green. Next was a '73 Ford LTD coupe in dark green metallic. Next one I remember was a '77 Impala, orange with a white roof, then a brown Cutlass Diesel, and a blue Cutlass with an amazingly weak V8. His last company car before retiring was a charcoal gray '88 Ford Taurus.

After the '66 Fairlane, which was handed down to me, my Mom got a '74 beige Chevy Vega wagon with woodgrain on the sides, a brown 1980 Citation, and an '83 S-10 pickup.

After retirement they kept the truck and my dad got a white Buick Century. After my mom died and my dad quickly remarried, the Buick was replaced with a series of Cadillac Devilles and a DTS before he died.
 

naveed211

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My first recollection was that my dad had a Subaru Justy. Sorta like this:
84ED6B05-C435-4E70-9570-269E288901BB.jpeg

We also had the classic family station wagon with the wood panel sides and the third row in the back looking out the rear window. Can’t recall the make or model exactly. Good times.

We went through a lot of cars. I learned to drive in their Ford Windstar mini van.
 

dkmw

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When I was little, my dad had a black ‘50 Ford. I was a car nut at an early age, so I talked him into putting moon eyes on it (let’s see who remembers those lol), and some disc hubcaps.

They bought a brand-new ‘66 Olds Vista Cruiser, which we used for the drive-across-the-country summer vacation.

My mom got a huge Olds 98 in 1971. Sixteen year old me would borrow it, take it to a newly paved road that was all but unused, torque up the 455 against the brake, and lay rubber for hundreds of feet. Soon my mom found out her right rear tire was inexplicably worn out, while the other three were fine🤔
 

aging_rocker

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I remember my mother having a green Mini in the late 60s, and we had something with a leather front bench seat too - early 60s Vauxhall Cresta, I think, like this one:
1642017576128.png




But one of these was the coolest car dad came home with - early 70s Triumph 2.5 Pi - same colour as this one:
1642017304237.png
 

imwjl

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When I was little, my dad had a black ‘50 Ford. I was a car nut at an early age, so I talked him into putting moon eyes on it (let’s see who remembers those lol), and some disc hubcaps.

They bought a brand-new ‘66 Olds Vista Cruiser, which we used for the drive-across-the-country summer vacation.

My mom got a huge Olds 98 in 1971. Sixteen year old me would borrow it, take it to a newly paved road that was all but unused, torque up the 455 against the brake, and lay rubber for hundreds of feet. Soon my mom found out her right rear tire was inexplicably worn out, while the other three were fine🤔
My town had the "circuit" where people drove in a big circle.

The first modern smile was remembering when my pal Randy and I without cars or driver's licenses rode our bikes around bummed to not get noticed by the chicks. The smile was when Beavis & Butthead came out thinking that was us.

When we had licenses we borrowed parents' cars. There were older kids with jacked up cars that looked cool but that second smile was those mom cars with big blocks did well against them.

My wife has no recall of the sky windows from their Olds wagon but but having a VW Thing is a legit reason for her memories tied to it. Truth be told, when I rode in the Olds wagons with those vista windows it was not like a sunroof or convertible top.
 




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