The current rage on the intarweb blogs is the “What was your first car?” meme.
Well, nobody asked me, but I’ll answer anyway. I’ve done this post before, but here it is again:
My first car at age 16 was my dad’s hand-me-down. He’d bought it for something like $700 in 1974, put another couple-hundred in parts into it so it would run, and drove it until 1978 when he went down to the Ford dealership and placed an order for his very first brand-new automobile, an F-150 pickup truck.
That was the year I turned 16. Our insurance agent told him, “Don, you have a new driver in the house. The insurance company sees ‘new driver’ and ‘new vehicle’ and they put two-and-two together and come up with a 60% increase in your insurance premium. Put the old car in your son’s name and insure it for the minimum you can.” So he did. Which is how I, out of three children, was the only one who got a car from my parents.
Pissed my brother off.
But the car in question was no particular prize. It was a 1969 Simca 1118:
Only mine didn’t look that good. It was originally silver, but the sun had faded that right through to the gray primer underneath. The interior was sun-rotted so the front seatbacks got reupholstered with T-shirts stretched over them. I got some scrap carpet from a friend – brown shag, no less – and carpeted the floor with that. Door panels, too. No radio, so my dad had mounted a 12V-powered AM-FM under the dash and wired it into the harness.
Rear-engine, rear-wheel drive, 1118cc, water-cooled, 56Hp. Zero-to-sixty? Take a lunch and eat it when you get there.
But it was a car, and it took me anywhere I wanted to go.
I always wondered what that car would be like with an engine transplant out of a Honda CBX.