Monday, November 30, 2020

Cars? I've had a few.

 Looks like you caught us some new commenters with your Mustang-o-rama drama Saturday, Tuna, Well done. 

 Well. much like one of those commenters, ArtbyJoe, my first car was a '55 4 door Sedan.  Only mine was a Ford. Looking through pictures of those type of cars as best I can remember it looks like it might have been a Customline.

Similar to this. Source

 I suppose at one time it might have been lime green, but when my Grandfather gave it to my Dad in the mid 60's, it had survived 10 years of Denver winters, so was more like a puke-green.  Another gift from those winters to the vehicle was the floor board on the passenger side had a hole rusted through it.  I remember going over the pass on US 85 between Trinidad CO and Raton NM at about 20 MPH, it was all it could do.  Given that Mom and my brother and sisters were driving behind us followed by several peeved drivers of other vehicles, the car became known as the "Super Putt Putt". Dad drove it as his go to work car until he went to Vietnam.  He then bequeathed it to me.  

Unfortunately, the amount of information about cars that I knew nothing about was monumental, and it died shortly thereafter from a lack of oil.  Sold it to the junk yard for $25.  

I got my  next car in my Freshman to Sophomore summer.  I was painting houses at Columbus AFB and Dad and Mom offered to go halves on a car.  We bought a 76 Chevy "Spirit of America" Vega for a couple of grand.

Dang, things change! Back then I had hair and no waist.  Now, I've got lots of waist and no hair!
 

I paid off my half that summer.  I think I surprised the heck out of my Parents.  Made several trips from Lubbock to Columbus, 915 miles and about 19 hours.  The hatchback was full of cases of Coors as it wasn't distributed then east of the Mississippi.  I was a popular guy with Dad and Mom's friends on those visits.  Dad got transferred to Nellis late in my Junior year and the trip got shorter. 914 miles, still 19 hours. The aluminum block cracked in my Senior year, So I took out a loan for $600 to replace it.  Paid that off by graduation.  While in grad school (1 year wait for UPT), I lent it to a friend who needed it for something.  He got hit in the passenger door by someone running a stop sigh.  Unfortunately, the other driver had no insurance, but he worked at a body shop, so he'd fix it for me.  He fixed the door but not the bent frame.  Top controllable speed after that was 55.  Which is why I KNOW I wasn't doing 75 in the 45 zone in Hondo as the Deputy Sheriff insisted.  Sold her for $100 to one of my UPT classmates who was staying at Laughlin as an IP.

The next vehicle was a 1980 Silver Grand Prix that I bought in Del Rio just prior to graduation from UPT. 

Source

 

 It was a very comfortable ride,  I drove that for about 9 months through Lead-In and F-4 RTU, but got an assignment to Kunsan.  No cars allowed.  So I left it with Mom and Dad for safe keeping.  Mom fell in love with it.  Returning from Kunsan, I learned that she was reluctant to part with it.  So I sold it to her for the amount  remaining on the loan. Since I'd taken out a 3 year loan and been gone for a year and been paying an additional $100 more per month, She got a good deal.  But, hey, She's my Mom!

Used that money as a down payment on a 1982 Lemon yellow Grand Prix.

Source


 Drove that one from Las Vegas to Moody, where I met my wife, who was driving a Sunbird.  Kept both of them through the Moody assignment and drove them to Holloman.  About a year into that assignment, Little Juvat arrived on the scene.  Since both Mrs J and I were on active duty at the time, we called in a marker and asked Mom to visit for a bit while Mrs J and I figured out the parenting while on active duty thing.  To show our appreciation for her help, we decided to go to Sunday Brunch at the Inn of the Mountain Gods , a resort owned and operated by the Apache Indians in the mountains near Ruidoso NM.  On the way back down after breakfast, Mom and Little J are in the back seat, when he has what can only be described as an "explosive decompression".  Who knew such a little guy could that full of...In any case, Mom was somewhat trapped in the back seat.

Which is why our next car was a four door.  So we decided to sell the Sunbird to one of Mrs J's enlisted folks.

We'd had great success with Pontiac so far and decided to continue the streak with a Pontiac 6000 LE (that's the Luxury Edition, Beans.  It had an FM Radio and 8 track)

Source

 The fighter pilot in me was not ready to give up on the image, so I continued to drive the Grand Prix (2 doors=more sporty).  Mrs J went for the luxury, I mean, FM radio and 8 Track?

Unfortunately (as far as cars are concerned, other aspects of the next assignment were extremely fortunate), our next assignment was Okinawa where cars were again not authorized.  Besides the Japanese drive on the other side of the road.  So, once again, Mom got the car, which was fortunate because the Grand Prix had been totaled by somebody running a stop sign.  We bought a 4 door Japanese something or another that wasn't rusted all the way through.  Salt air having that effect on vehicles.

Now it's finally time for me to pay my dues for 12 good years of flying.  I'm headed to Leavenworth.  (Yes, Beans, the prison is there, several actually.  No, I'm not going to jail...yet). But I need transportation.  Since I'm Air Force and the school I'll be attending is Army, I and my non-Army counterparts have to show up early so we can learn to speak Grunt-ese. (Beans, it's pretty easy, just say "Hoo-ah" to everything.  Inflection is used to convey meaning.)  I'm arriving just as the prior year's class is leaving.  There are lots of cars advertised on the bulletin board.  

I choose a Volvo.  It was an easy decision.  It had seat heaters.  This Texas boy knows it gets cold in Kansas in the winter.  Bought it from a guy in the Portuguese army.  Sold it two years later to a guy...in the Portuguese army.  Nice car, shaped much like a tank, which helped me get into the Army mindset.

Mrs J arrives the following summer for her turn at understanding Grunt-ese, bringing with her MBD who's just now turning one.  Little J had decided I needed adult supervision, and had joined me the previous summer.  We were together as a family again.

At this point, Mrs J makes a command decision.  We need a minivan.  

It looked a lot like this one except for tinted windows.  I had some self respect left that I needed to protect.
Source

We've completed school and have received orders to Hawaii (Yeah, I know, tough duty.) The van goes with us, but the nature of my job is going to require a second car.  I'm looking at the bulletin board when my boss walks in.  He tells me he's just been offered a job as the Airfield Manager at Kwajalein.  (Yes, Beans, the Statue of you is still there.) The catch is he has to sell his cars and he's got to be in position in 30 days or so.  Would I take power of attorney and sell them for him?  Sure.  He's got a Toyota sedan and a red Mazda RX-7 convertible.  I ask him how much he's asking for them.  He tells me remaining loan value.  I ask him how long he's got left on the RX-7. 6 Months.

Source

 

Sold! Drove it home that afternoon.

Kept that car through Hawaii, the Pentagon and 10 years here in Texas.  We're now here in Texas, we own a wine tasting room, run a Wine Tour company, teach school and raise two kids.  I've still got the Mazda, but Mrs J needs something a bit more practical for the wine related businesses.  While the Mazda is a blast to drive, it doesn't have the capacity needed to supply a wine store with product.  So, we buy a Dodge Ram truck, and I start to drive that as the primary car.  Mrs J drives the Mini-van.  The Mazda sits.

Which anyone who knows about the Rotary Engine knows that's a bad idea.  It finally gives up, doesn't start.  There's nobody with in range that knows how to fix it, so I sell it to somebody for next to nothing.  He managed to get it running again and I saw it around town a few times but I heard he'd left town and was living in Wisconsin.  Which I found interesting, one thing the Mazda did not have was a efficient heater.

But...Now I'm driving a truck, not the Ram.  MBD totaled that just after getting her license.  Everyone involved was fine, although she was not so anxious to drive for a while.  No, we bought a used GMC pickup.  Drove that for years.  It fit me like a glove,  had 250K on it when Mrs J sold it to her sister.

I was a little "irked" to say the least.  At least until she had Little Juvat take me down to the Ford dealer in San Antonio and let me buy a new F-150.  

That's Mrs J's Ford Transit Connect in the background.  Everybody involved except Mrs J refers to it as...
The Clown Car


 

Made the last payment on my truck on the first of this month.  Now, it's mine, all mine!


56 comments:

  1. More cars? No tanks? No aircraft? No ships, boats, or trains?

    Just kidding...

    Tuna questioned my avoidance of American cars the other day, let's just say that when you spend thousands of dollars on something, you don't want to have problems. I did. I do note however that Ford does make some very nice looking cars, their body designs stand out from the cookie-cutter, "hey we all use the same design software" look of many of today's cars. That being said, based on my own personal experience, I'll stick with Japanese vehicles (many of which are mostly made in the US of A by American workers, designed in Japan, built here). Over the past twenty years their reliability has impressed me. If you're one of those people who gets a new car every two to three years, you won't notice that. If I like a vehicle, I'll keep the vehicle as long as it's still reliable and maintainable at a reasonable cost. The only reason I let Big Girl go is that with multiple trips planned for the birth of the youngest grandchild, 800 miles round trip (give or take), Big Girl just couldn't take it anymore. Back to back repair bills north of a grand also made the maintaining of her problematic.

    While that was still cheaper than the cost of a new car (DAMHIK) I didn't want to spend a weekend at a car repair place in New Jersey if I didn't have to. So far, so good. (Knock on wood.)

    Juvat - that last car payment is almost as awesome as that last mortgage payment. I've done both!

    Good post!

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    1. We're redirecting the loan payment on the F-150 towards the Clown Car. That should get paid off in about 6 months. The two payments combined then will be redirected towards the house. As long as the cars stay healthy, we'll continue that process. A paid off mortgage would be a very nice thing.

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    2. Well, in this crazy, mixed up world, OAFS Honda is more likely more American than juvat's F-150. Seeing as how Honda went all in on making as many components and assemblies and final assembly here in the US of A, while Ford and all the other 'American' car companies have moved a lot of their sub-assembly manufacturing to Mexico and other places and final assembly to Canada and other places.

      Like my beloved Ram Promaster City - Ram being the ex-truck division of Dodge. A good American, red-white-and-blue, apple pie company, right? That's owned fully by Fiat. Which is why my beloved RPC is designed in Italy, built in Turkey, fitted with an American designed engine (vs the Frog engine of the Euro version), fitted with a rear seat (to avoid paying huge import taxes), shipped to the US of A, had the rear seat removed and a floor extender installed (because I have the cargo van version) (and the rear seat is shipped back to Turkey) and then sold... as an American vehicle by an American car company.

      Um, yeah...

      It drives, a/c works, carries the Beans family circus (fat man, wonder dog, the ring-mistress, and Lurch the wonder chair...

      Which, in dealing with reality here, is all that matters.

      Previous van was a GMC Safari, which had an engine built in Mexico, wiring from Indonesia, assembled in Canada, which meant that there were Metric and English bolts on the blasted thing...

      Buy American they say...

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    3. Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

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    4. I just think you'd be surprised by the reliability of Fords these days.

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  2. Juvat, in the course of my driving life I have had a Pinto Station Wagon, a Datsun truck (yes, before they became Nissan), a Toyota truck, two 1966 Mustangs, a 1993 Ford Escort, a 1996 Mazda, a 2004 Mazda, and the now infamous Mazda Grey Ghost. During our married life we have had three minivans - two Toyota Siennas, one Grand Caravan.

    The Mazdas have by far been the best (even the 1993 Escort was a Mazda engine and we go 262,000 miles on hit): good gas mileage, relatively low maintenance costs, and very reliable. The Grey Ghost currently is 10 years old and has almost 200,000 miles on it; at the rate I am driving, I am hopeful I can get another 10 out of it.

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    1. I loved the Mazda, it just wasn't practical for that point in my life, and unfortunately, it didn't like the lack of attention. I intend to keep this truck until she or I give up the ghost. (Neither of which, am I in a hurry to witness...for some strange reason.)

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    2. I learned stick on a Datsun B-210... Fun car. Miss it. Somewhat.

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    3. I learned the to drive a stick at the Lubbock Airport. There's something about being told to expedite the crossing when there's a 727 on final and you're driving a truck full of 120 octane Aviation Gas. Focuses the senses it does.

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    4. "We got 262,000 miles on it". Dear Lord, it is like gremlins inhabit this keyboard...

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  3. My current fleet: a restored 1999 Mercedes E55 AMG (aka "Russian Mafia Staff Car"), A 2005 Mercedes E55 AMG (aka "Sex On Wheels" with an awesome 0-60 in 4.5 seconds or less), a first-generation Miata (aka "Blue" at 25 years of age and <48,000 miles), and a 1975 Ford F150 that is in the process of restoration. For reliability, the Japanese cars have it all. The AMG Mercedes are a blast but I will be the first to admit it stands for "All Money Gone"...
    I forgot you run a wine-tasting room and tour. Would you mind if I ask the name of it? My better half and I enjoy traveling up to Fredericksburg and a wine-tasting sounds enjoyable. (We usually stay at the Peach Tree Inn and walk to the Fredericksburg Brewing Company for food and beer.) - Barry

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    1. Barry, Both of those adventures are past tense. They're both still in business, just not with Mrs J and I as owners. They are Texas Wine Cellars as the tasting room and Texas Wine Tours. Tell the driver on the tour that his advertising is wrong. It says something about being established in 2006. No, it was established in 2000. I sold it in 2006.
      Lot of tasting rooms on Main Street, most affiliated with a specific winery. We like the wines and views at Pedernales Cellars and the wines at Texas Hills Vineyards. The latter were one of the few wineries in the area when I started the tour business (that's not the case anymore by a long stretch), so we've been friends with them for a long time.
      Interesting fleet of vehicles you've got there. Well done.

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    2. So what's your wife's travel business called?

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  4. First car I drove, to and from school as a 14 year old, was my dad's old (and I mean old) Packard. Links in the manual shift were a wee bit worn, so if you were sloppy while changing gears it would lock up and you'd have to stop and use a metal rod to reach in and unlock it.
    The odometer on that thing went around twice before it broke, and we didn't fix it.
    It was finally parked, still in running condition, under a tree and I got to drive the '59 Buick - I could sleep on the seat without head or feet hitting the door handles. That thing was a tank, drove it through places where 4 wheelers got stuck.
    As for the Packard, dad finally put an ad out, after being parked about 15 years, and sold it to some guy from KC - who had a friend drive him up to the farm, and he then drove the Packard back home.
    American cars, once upon a time, did not have a reliability problem.
    Frank

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    1. That's a great story about the Packard. Pretty impressive.
      Unfortunately, that's the case about a lot of things. I think moving a lot of manufacturing capability to a certain communist nation had something to do with the lack of reliability.

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  5. I enjoy reading about car owning experiences. Maybe because I was in the car selling business for many years. My last car payment was in 1984. I've owned so many different cars and trucks over the years that I would be hard pressed to list them. So what do I drive? A 1986 Mitsubishi Might Max base with 173,000 miles and lots of rust. My criteria for a vehicle is it starts, it moves, and can maintain highway speeds. When I need to make long trips I call Enterprise. Pay the $14-16 a day damage wavier and have no worries.

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    1. That's not a bad idea, saves on the mileage, and if it breaks down, assuming you get a cell signal, it's not really your issue. Wouldn't want to do that in Big Bend NP though. Unless you bring water.

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    2. Mine or a rental, a survival duffel bag goes with me. From the Enterprise office the next stop is blocks away where 4 quarts of water is purchased. One reason I dislike flying airlines is trying to take the survival duffel with me. The contents of the duffel will insure a minimum of 72 hours survival; not necessarily in comfort but surviving in any weather conditions in the contiguous 48.

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  6. First car was a 1957 Ford 2 door straight six with the big fins. A great car for what I paid, $325, in 1963. After that my all time favorite, a new 1967 Healy Sprite. Most fun ever on 4 wheels. A succession of VWs, a Bug and a Karman Ghia. I kept the Ghia which my Daughter drove in high school, until a guy offered me almost what I had paid for it new. Seems he had wrecked his daughter's Ghia and was desperate. Next was a 1980 van with the Porsche 917 engine. I loved it but SWMBO didn't so it went away. All Hondas after that with the odd '87 Jeep Cherokee thrown in. CRVs are great cars for basic around town transportation.

    I have to second the recommendation for Pedernales Cellars. Our friends got married there last year and I joined the wine club. I'm no wine expert but I find their wines to be very enjoyable.

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    1. What fathers will do for their daughters. That having been said, I probably would have also.

      For some stupid reason or something, I haven't been to PC in a while. Might be a good time to see what's what. A glass of Albarino right about now might be just the ticket.

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    2. Porsche **917** engine? Prolly meant a 911? If that van had a 917 it prolly would have been in all the car magazines!

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    3. William, I've never ever neer hit publish with a tipo in the response. Nope...Never! :-)

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    4. Mea culpa, y'all. It was the 914 engine in the Type 2 van. Not many made in that model, more in the Vanagon.

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  7. Badgers prefer pickups. Although I didn't mind the Crown Vics. But they were not mine. I just drove them.

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    1. Maybe it was the flashing lights and sirens that made the Crown Vics fun to drive.

      They used to be really nice cars. Shame they're gone. There's still a need for a 4 door full sized sedan in some places.

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    2. Flashing lights and sirens are good...unless they pull in behind you and accuse you of going 75 in a 45 in a small Texas town in the middle of nowhere. And offering him a ride to see if the car could do 75 didn't help.

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    3. Not to many civilian Crown Vics on the road back then so if you saw one, chances are it was a cop behind you. The new Explorer cop cars are tough to pick out amongst the thousand civilian ones.

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    4. Crown Vice were comfortable to ride in, for long periods, and we're very reliable. Caprices, I am told, were amazing. I had an Impala, and it was OK, but it really wasn't suited to be a police car. Vickys and Tahoes were the best.

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  8. Cars - one of my favorite topics. My first- a 1961 Corvair, white with that blue GM interior color they put in everything in the ‘60’s. My next was a 1957 Chevy Belvedere 4 door. It had a two tone blue on blue paint job, a V8, and a three speed automatic transmission. Next was my 1965 Mustang- 289 and 3 speed on the floor. And then came the Navy and no car for awhile. And then begins adulthood and the cars required for family life. Though, I did manage a 1971 240 z for awhile. Now I drive a 2017 Ridgeline

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    1. While Dad was stationed in Thule Greenland on a 1 year remote, we lived in Northern California to be near Mom's family. For my 10th Birthday, we took a train down to Southern Cal to visit DisneyLand on its 10th anniversary. Grandpa rented a red 65 Mustang 289 for getting around. Luckily the 4 of us kids were young enough to fit in the back seat. That was a fun vacation.

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    2. Chevy have a three speed automatic in 1957, or did somebody put that in later?

      I thought they were all the two speed powerglide

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    3. William, you are probably correct. 1969 was a long time ago.

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    4. GLT - I had to look it up and 1957 was the first year Chevy offered a 3 speed automatic. They also continued to offer the Powerglide for '57. I was surprised to learn that the Powerglide was used in various Chevies up until 1973! In '57 you could get the 3 speed manual, Powerglide, or turbo-something 3 speed.

      BTW did you know the car we know as the '57 was never supposed to be? What we know as the '58 was supposed to be the '57, but the tooling wasn't all ready. So GM told Harley Earl to freshen up the '56/ And of course of the Tri Five, the '57 is the iconic year.

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    5. Thanks for the info. Now I really don't know which transmission I had but I remember it had anemic acceleration, even with the V8. And I really loved the vacuum powered wipers. Talk about a safety hazard. The brakes....

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  9. Cars... hmmmm!
    There's a post somewhere on my blog that enumerates the vehicles I've had, most of which are almost forgettable.
    I've had the Fossil, my current vehicle for over 14 years.
    I may keep it.

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    1. 14 years? That's a long time for no car payments. Well done, Skip!

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  10. I've owned only a third generation Falcon, '66 if I remember correctly, and that got thumped up after a wet road slide into some signs. The car wasn't worth fixing, and I sold it to a Navy buddy who wanted the engine.
    After that I bought a used '73 Datsun Pickup from an Electrician's Mate Senior Chief on Forrestal, and I owned that until I replaced it with a Toyota Pickup. (Same as TB, above.)
    I bought a Fiat 850 Spyder on a whim around '77 when I was on the Willy R, and owned that until maybe '80. It was a bunch of fun to drive when it ran, but it wasn't dependable and I sold it for what I'd paid for it.
    The family cars were her Audi Fox, evil bad car, no repair was successful until I bled on it.
    Then a Toyota Corolla that we owned for over a decade, then gave to a family member who drove it for a couple of years, and then gave that to a friend. The friend drove it until it was hit in an accident and that was the end.
    The Toyota Pickup got replaced by a Ranger 6 cylinder pickup, but the gas mileage was kinda awful awful, the dealer experience was equally bad, and thus no Fords in our future.
    We drove a Subaru Outback (made in the USA) as a rental during a trip through the West, and shortly after returning we swapped the Ranger in for a one year old Silver Subaru Outback. A Forrester followed us home, and the current stable holds a '17 Forrester, and '20 Crosstrek.
    We put a used engine into the Datsun because I'd missed seeing the temperature creep up, and without going into the details, their L series blocks were the same size and so the elderly 1600 cc engine got replaced by a 2000 cc engine. In that day, it was a fairly simple job to swap an engine.
    The Datsun P/U was in the terminal stages of death by rust, and I sold it for cheap.

    The Fiat Spyder deserves much more comment, but it would be a long and detailed explanation why the FIAT brand deserved their bad reputation.
    But it was a tiny two seat red convertible and major fun to drive.


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    1. I understand the "tiny, two seat red convertible" bit John! I never let her drive it, but even Mrs J liked going for a ride. Not that I wouldn't let her drive it, I just always seemed to find an excuse to go along and drive.

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    1. Aww, shucks Ma'am, you're making me blush!

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  12. I thought a fighter pilot should at one point have a Corvette?

    My car list isn't very long -

    1969-72 - had a 1967 Camaro - 327 with the high compression "Corvette heads". But it has a Saginaw 4 speed - everyone knew those were bad - the one to have was the Muncie. The 2nd gear synchro kept going out. It was the luck of the draw as to which one you got.

    (to my embarrassment) - 1972 - a new Ford Pinto. Bought it up at Koons Ford, in Fairfax VA. And best of all, turned down a friend's 1962 Porsche 356B for....$1200. It was a faded red and a quarter-zize spot of surface rust on the right rear fender, all turn offs for me.

    Had the Pinto all of 6 months, and got my draft notice.

    Get out of the Army and spot a nearly-new 1974 Ford Capri 2800 V6. 4 speed, it was a nice car. Drove it 130,000 miles and got a new (only new car I have had) Toyota Celica liftback.

    Drove that 180,000 miles and got a used 1986 Toyota MR2. Loved that car. Had 30,000 miles, I put on another 300,000 miles.

    Then a 1986 Mercedes 300E. Put 300,000 miles on that one, too.

    Then a 1996 Mercedes SL500. And a coupla years later, a 2000 Mercedes E430 sedan.

    As you have probably figured out, I tend to keep my cars ;-)

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    1. Re: A Vette. Probably, certainly one of the most notable fighter pilots I came across in my career drove one...as an O-6!

      I'm a relatively frugal person. Didn't see the ego enhancement as valuable as a positive bank balance. I do spend for value however.

      We keep the vehicles as long as they last...or a sister talks Mrs J into selling one!

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  13. Great stories, guys!
    I'll just list them. To talk about them would take too many bits here.

    1964 Corvair Monza. 1967 Corvair Monza. 1969 Dodge Charger R/T. 1971 Mercuri Capri, "The (Horribly Underpowered) Sexy European". 1967 Corvette coupe (stolen). 1969 Corvette coupe. 1970 Chevy Imapla. 1973 Pontiac Trans Am (still on the road in San Pedro). 1967 Mustang. 1968 Mustang. 1973 Vega GT "Kammback". 1972 Chevy El Camino SS. 1975 VW Scirocco. 1975 VW Dasher GT. 1976 Pontiac Trans Am. 1979 FIAT X1/9. 1978 Toyota Celica. 1984 Toyota Tercel. 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee. 1985 Toyota Celica Supra (still have). 2020 Chevy Colorado Z71 (current car).

    If I could have held on to some of them, they would have turned into my Retirement Fund. Much more fun than a 401(k)......

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    1. You had some muy bueno cars DrJim, well except for that Vega anyways. Fastest I've been in a car was a 1973 Charger R/T Long straight stretch of highway north east of Big Spring. My buddy had just bought it and wanted to see how fast it would go. I don't remember the exact number 185 maybe, I was paying more attention to the nose starting to fly.

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    2. I've always been a Car Guy, much to the consternation of my Dad. The Vega was actually a very good little car. By 1973 they had most of the bugs out, and had improved the corrosion protection. Plus this one had been Ziebarted, and didn't have a speck of rust on it. This was when I had the nice heated shop, and the car was never dirty in the winter. Once I got rid of the A70-13 bias-belted tires and put a good set of B70-13 radials and a decent set of shocks on it, it handled like a baby Z/28 Camaro. GM replaced the first engine at around 28,000 miles, and that one went about 35,000 miles. I ALWAYS changed and checked the oil and coolant, but they still wore out. I called in a favor, and the GM Zone Rep signed off on a third engine, and I traded it shortly afterwards. A few months later I helped a friend swap out the "Vega 2300" engine in a Pontiac Astre for one of the Pontiac 151CID "Iron Duke" engines, and when I saw how easy it was to do, I was kicking myself for not doing it to mine.

      Oh well. I'd traded mine for the '72 El Camino SS, and was having fun with that.....

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    3. Jim- that Supra has gotta be worth a decent amount these days. Ever price it? The Mustangs? Even more if you still had 'em.

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    4. If you had the Capri with the V6 it was just about perfect - except the interior vinyl couldn't stand up to our Central Valley heat. The there was a rubber steering coupling that would break - and 2 nylon timing gears - all fixed by the aftermarket. Put 130,000 miles on mine.

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    5. @Tuna - Current value for a "#3 Car" per Hagerty is $9500, which is what I have it insured for. The '67 Mustang (my "Rustang") no doubt returned to Mother Earth sometime in the 1980's. The '68 we got my Mom to replace the '67 I took over was a cream-puff! I'd say from watching the auctions today, that if it had been preserved in that condition, it would be worth $25k~$35k

      @William - The Capri was an early 1971, bought in the Fall of 1970. It had the 1600 Kent engine, with a one barrel carb you could barely stick your thumb in. I don't think it would rev over 5,000RPM if you put a brick on the gas pedal and walked away. It was rated 75HP, but they didn't feel to be very strong horses! One of my friends had a 2 litre Pinto with a 4-spd, and he could pull away from me with ease. I guy I worked with at Western Electric had a '73 with the 2.6 V6 in it, and it was a rocket ship compared to my 1600.
      It handled well, had good brakes, and got superb gas mileage. I averaged around 23MPG, and on the highway it would do 30MPG, an astounding number for the time.

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    6. In Europe they had a whole range of engine choices for the capri

      The hot one to have was the RS with a 3 L V6 and I think it was fuel injected

      They raced those cars to a lot of success

      I had a 2 L Pinto and other than the flimsy body it was a nice little car

      Particularily with the four-speed

      That was the same 2 L they put into later capris.

      I think the V-6 choices were 2.6, 2.8, and 3.0. At least in Europe

      2 L engine was a German engine wow the 1600 was a British engine. They use that in all kinds of forwards including the Cortina.

      I think lotus really did some magic with it

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    7. The Kent engine was the basis of the Lotus Twin Cam engine they used in the Lotus Cortina and the Lotus Elan. Know them very well, as I had several friends with them. Yes, Lotus really does mean "Lots Of Trouble, Usually Serious". The engines are bear to rebuild, with all kinds of little gotchas if you haven't studied them, or been shown how to work on them.

      The "Pinto 2000" should have been the base engine in the Capri for US consumption. The 1600 was a laugh. I even went so far as to install the "Tri-Y" header and Weber progressive two-barrel from the Cortina GT, and it made very little difference. The Cortina GT also included a different cam in the package that made it a "GT", and when I found out that to change the cam you have to turn the block upside down ( ! WTF ! ) to pull the camshaft because it used "mushroom foot" lifters, and if the block wasn't upside down and you pulled the cam, the lifters dropped down jamming the whole mess. You couldn't even push the cam back in because now the lifters were jamming it.

      One of the main reasons I traded the car was that I thought it was Really Bad Engineering to design the engine like that.

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  14. Juvat, at least you went to an Army, and not Navy, installation. We have our own language. No, there really isn't a good reason, & yes, we do it just to screw with landlubbers (also, no sailor actually says "landlubbers").
    --Tennessee Budd
    USN 1988-92
    CV 67, CV 59

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  15. Oh yeah, the car/assignment carousel... Always fun times and thank God for the 'Lemon Lot'...

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  16. Nice post! I guess I inspired something in several folks last weekend. As you said, several new commenters which was good to see. So how'd you get around Kunsan? I take it you didn't live out in America Town?

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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