August 07, 2012
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For its This Car Matters movement, the Historic Vehicle Association is asking people to share some memories about those special vehicles that helped shape their lives. Check out the new videos in the series along with information about how you can get involved.
Think about the greatest moments in your life, and chances are pretty good that there’s a car somewhere in the memory—a wedding proposal, a family vacation, a cross-country trip, heading off to college.
This Car Matters stories are presented in two formats: written histories (and photos) submitted by members and HVA-produced videos shot at events across the country.
Watch and listen to the latest videos added to the series, then head on over to the This Car Matters page of our website to find out how you can participate, too.
Andreas Mohringer talks about his 1953 Ferrari 375 MM Pininfarina—quite possibly the only unrestored example of its kind.
Keith Louden gives us the story behind an original 1936 Duesenberg Landaulet.
John Garnett and a 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile: A glimpse into the past and the beginning of assembly line techniques.
One of my earliest memories in life was when I was about 5 or 6 years old in Palos Heights, Illinois. The prople who lived behind us, the Trankinos, owned a red over white Metropolitan. I never forgot that car. Over the years, I owned 1959 Thunderbird, and a 1961 T-Bird, which I had restored. But that Metro was always in the back of my mind. And so it goes, one of the happiest days of my life was 3 years ago when I bought my own. It always turns heads, and collectors are beginning to recognize it as an American classic as it's won several trophies since I bought it.
I grew up in Oakland, CA and I and many of the other neighborhood kids use to play ball in the street by our houses. In the fifties it was still safe to do so and the only worry was keeping an eye out for cars coming down the street. One of our neighbors who lived across the street from my folks home was a young man I would guess to have been in his early twenties. He was like a big brother to us kids and always took time to come over and throw the ball around with us when we were on the street. One day while we were out playing, he drove up in front of his folks home in a brand new 1957 Chevrolet two-door hardtop. I stood there in awe - the car was so gorgeous! I went over to him and told him so. Later that afternoon, he asked me if I would like to take a spin around the block in the new car and I said sure would. The coolest part of this simple once around the block ride was that I was the only kid he asked and as a result of this experience have owned five 1957 Chevrolets since. I started out with a 57 convertible when I was a senior in high school - a great car and great times to be sure. In between, I have several hard tops and one very nice nomad that I lost in a serious car accident. I now have a two-door hardtop that has been in our family for the past 28 years. At the time of purchase back in the 80's, I was buying and flipping cars quite often. For some reason this particular Chevy stuck and has never given me a bit of trouble. My kids grew up with the car and in the few weak moments of thinking about selling it, my wife and kids have always said you can go but the Chevy stays. Being a gear head and loving most all old cars, my favorite is and will always be the 1957 Chevrolet.
Fort Worth, Texas
While returning for my sophomore year at the University of Arkansas, I was driving my 1957 Studebaker Silver Hawk through a mountain range west of Little Rock, AR and enjoying the handling of the car with its brand new Indianapolis 500 shock absorbers as I cruised through all of the sharp turns at 60 mph which was the state's speed limit at the time. After I reached the far side of the mountain range and was on a flat and straight portion of the road I noticed a state police car approacing rapidly from the rear with its lights and sirens on. I pulled over and a very upset state police officer began reading me the riot act for sppeding through the mountain area where, he claimed, the speed limit was as low as 35 mph on some of the curves. Fortunately, I had spent the summer working at the State Police Headquarters and knew the difference between a speed limit sign (rectangular) and a speed advisory sign (round) and pointed out that my car had absolutely no problem taking all of the curves at the speed limit while remaining completely within my lane of traffic. My comment and the fact that the trooper could not keep up or catch me while I was in the mountains with his 1956 Chevrolet Police Cruiser did not sit well with the trooper, especially the fact that he could not catch me. After a long discussion I was finally able to get him to call his supervisor to discuss the difference between a speed limit sign and a speed advisory sign and his supervisor advised him that I was correct. As you can imagine, the trooper was not pleased and told me that he was going to radio his buddies all the way to Faryetteville to watch for me and that I had better not cross any solid lines or speed at all the rest of the way. That Hawk was one fast vehicle for its time and was a joy to drive!
FT WAYNE, IN.
I COLLECT-OWN-RESTORE OLD CARS
I grew up in the 60's during the beginning of the muscle car era, but unlike a lot of the guys I went to school with was in love with sports cars of the English breed. My first car was 58 Morris Minor convert. Then I went to my only ever new car. A 1967 Austin Healey Sprite. When I went to work for a local foreign car repair shop, I bought a drream machine. A 1964 E-Jag roadster! I had it 4 years before moving on to another car when the frustration of setting the overhead valves a couple times and the need of a clutch during our first years of marriage taxed our cash reserve. That is the car, like a lot of car nuts, that haunts me still after 40 years. I only paid $1500 for it...you do the numbers of what it would be worth today. I almost forgot to mention it had a hardtop too. Speeding forward about 40 years and another 20 cars brings us to "Ethel". I joking said to my wife one day as we passed a 1929 Model A ford sitting in a front yard, "That's what you can get me for Father's day this year. much to my surprise, she ask if I had stopped to see what the fellow wanted for it yet and added, "You know you've always wanted one." We almost didn't make it to the funeral we were driving to. Most guys have a buddy whos mom was like a second Mom when we were growing up. mine was Ethel Guinter. That's the funeral we were headed to. By now you've probably deduced that I got the Model A by the name I gave it .. "Ethel". The unique thing about getting Ethel was because when I finally got around to talking to the owner and told him I was going to try to restore it as best possible, he took me around back where another 1929 chassis was sitting and sold me that as well for a couple hundred bucks. That chassis actually became Ethel rather than the truck that was sitting in the front yard that caught my eye in the first place. 6 years, an idea, a bunch of new and donor parts from the first truck and a stack of oak flooring and Ethel was in the car show stream. It's been in news papers, on TV shows, Sears tool catalogs (one of the things I also did was collect vintage tools and the majority of power tools in my shop were vintage Craftsman that still work great), magazines and many car shows where she garnered a trophy of one level or another. My favorite shows were the 'Make-A-Wish' shows where I let the youngsters sit in the truck and blow the aaaoooga horn to their hearts content (much to the dismay of many a car sitting beside me). Ethel has since moved on to another owner because of health issues that made driving her pretty un-comfortable but all the trophies, news paper articles, etc. that I accumulated during the 10 years I had her are still here in my shop along with a book I started with pictures and write ups on everything from the restoration to history of the Model A and car makers from York, Pa during the same period. I get it out every now and then to relive that great time when she cane into my wife and my life. I also remind her about her statement the frist time she saw it. "And you see possibilities here?" About 2 months after I sold Ethel, my wife could see my growing sadness from not having a unique vehicle to drive and work on so she suggested I needed another 'project'. A year ago I bought that next project .. a 1976 MGB roadster. Back to my roots again.
This is a FANTABULOUS addition to the newsletter. Please keep them coming.
The sound of a strange horn beeping and the garage door opening was the sound that started it for me late one October evening in 1980. I opened the door to see the new family grocery getter.. An iridescent gold 1980 Pontiac Sunbird. The last of the GM H-body cars... I was only 8 and was easily impressed. But this car was different.. It was all one shape... like a pod, or a spaceship.. I hopped into the back seats...perfect size for an 8 year old! The car fit just right! But there was more.. I could hop into the hatchback area and play while mom or dad were driving! Pretty novel if you asked me.. I spent most of the time looking out the angular side quarter window, on the way to grandma's house or church or the inevitable family trip to Canada.. As the car aged and soldiered on I spent some years sitting "on the hump" in back due to my new little sisters car seat taking my old place. A few years and mishaps later and the car was finally passed down to me. Likeing the car so much I found another one with a little better bodywork, and the fun began. I practiced all the "hot hatchback" tricks, and soon had a V8 sunbird, then a few V8 monza's, the Sunbirds H-body counterpart.. the Cobalt of the 70's. I chased for sale H bodies all over town in the 90's and it paid off in 1995 with the score of my cherished original 1978 monza spyder factory V8 4spd Posi. I have the buildsheet. The spyder graphics are a rare and very era specific. I would have chosen a blue car myself but beggars cant be choosers. Mine also has a more rare tan cloth interior.. most red spyders had black or red interior. Love the car. 85k miles. I also have a 78 Sunbird with the "Formula" graphics, another rare and likeable look-alike.