By on January 12, 2017

1990-toyota-corolla-blue-front-quarter

This Monday, I sat among a herd of journalists and executives waiting for the Honda Odyssey press reveal to begin. While nominally I was there to cover the event on behalf of this fine publication, I was also considering my next family car purchase.

Jack wrote at length yesterday about the relatively recent phenomenon of at once coddling and ignoring the spawn relegated to the stern of the family vehicle. While I don’t intend to completely answer the questions raised, I’d like to consider what might affect our choice of family conveyance.

Many of our beliefs, desires, hatreds, and dreams develop at a surprisingly young age. I stumbled upon a description of this a few years ago on an excellent food blog, Serious Eats, where the writer describes Sam Sifton’s “Pizza Cognition Theory:”

There is a theory of cognitive development that says children learn to identify things only in opposition to other things. Only the child who has learned what is not brown, the theory holds, can discern what is “brown.”

Pizza naturally throws this theory into a tailspin. The first slice of pizza a child sees and tastes (and somehow appreciates on something more than a childlike, mmmgoood, thanks-mom level), becomes, for him, pizza. He relegates all subsequent slices, if they are different in some manner from that first triangle of dough and cheese and tomato and oil and herbs and spices, to a status that we can characterize as not pizza.

Thus, while a kid growing up in Brooklyn might wretch at the thought of a deep-dish Chicago pie, another kid raised on Lou Malnati’s would turn up his nose at the thin, greasy slice at Original Famous Ray’s (not affiliated with Famous Original Ray’s). Just like a kid who first rode in a Camaro might spend his life savings on those awful “Calvin pissing on the Blue Oval” stickers.

Of course, the contrarian might prevail as well — thus the slow death of minivans, the symbol of mom-ness in the ‘80s and ‘90s — as most current drivers of child-rearing age won’t even consider the best utility box ever.

While my dad’s frequent sportscar purchases enthralled me, the drives in those were merely a treat for sunny, salt-free days. Whether by his own restlessness or the whims of the corporate fleet manager, dad never kept a daily driver for more than two years. Once he escaped retail sales around 1987, our driveway was constantly in flux.

I recall his first sales job when he had to buy his own car — a stripped down, DX model pop-up headlamp Honda Accord in which I was tasked with installing the dealer add-on center armrest. He quickly moved on to a firm that provided him cars to be turned in upon reaching a mileage threshold. GM A-bodies were the norm for many years, followed by second-gen Tauruses and Crown Victorias.

But my most memorable ride was my mother’s car — a 1990 Toyota Corolla. Painted light metallic blue, equipped with a five-speed manual, and stripped of nearly any feature (while I think it did have AM/FM and a cassette player, it did not have a clock), it was her first major purchase after the divorce. We drove that car everywhere. The tweed-like cloth interior wasn’t plush, but it held up well. Neglected maintenance doomed it, but mom replaced it with another Corolla, and another. I think she’s up to number six or seven with her current 2014 model. Only the last two have been automatics.

Which of your parent’s cars made a major impression on you, and how is that reflected today in your automotive passion? Mom’s Corolla explains my love of cheap and cheerful cars of the ’80s and ’90s, including Toyotas. The cars were simple and fun to drive, and made a lasting impression. 

Oddly enough, I drove a (rented) Corolla to Detroit.

[Image: By IFCAR (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

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181 Comments on “QOTD: What Was Your Family Car When You Were Young?...”


  • avatar
    White Shadow

    None of my parents cars had any influence on me. I grew up in a GM family and had Buick Regals, Chevy 1/2 ton pickups, Pontiacs, and the occasional Cadillac.

    Strangely enough, I’ve never owned a GM car in my entire life. And I’ve owned somewhere around 20 cars so far. The only American cars I’ve owned have been a few Fords and a Jeep. Everything else has been Japanese or German.

  • avatar
    rev0lver

    1988 Civic wagon AWD 5 speed, brown. My grandfather had almost the identical car but FWD and auto, it also was a lighter shade of brown.

    Lots of good memories driving in that car. It was supposed to be mine at 16 but it was rusted to peices at that point.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    We went through quite a few, but were exclusively a wagon family through my formative years. We were a 2 kid family.

    We started in the 80s in a ford Country Squire with wood paneling and corduroy-ish seats, in a color that my mother lovingly refers to as “baby-shit brown.” It had the flip up seats in the way back that were sideways, so you could technically fit 4 kids in the trunk if you wanted.

    When we moved on from that we went through 2 Volvo wagons. The first was a white 740 in the early 90s, and then we moved on to a fire engine red 960 closer to 2000. We never got one with seats in the way back though. I was always kind of bummed out about the 960, because my parents were *this close* to getting an 850R wagon instead. The extra size on the 960 was nice, and I took quite a few surfing road trips in it. The car was long enough to fit a 9’3″ longboard inside FWIW.

    As a relatively new parent myself, we went all-in and got a 3-row CUV right from the get go. We only have 1 kid now, but I’m looking at this as a 10 year car so I want something we can grow into as our family grows as well. We’re only planning on 2 right now, but the 3rd row lets us haul a couple extra people in a pinch, though it mostly stays flat to haul extra stuff instead.

    And yes, before anyone asks, my wife is adamantly anti-minivan, though she’s also accepted that there is no alternative if we change our minds about stopping at 2.

    And here’s a pic of the trunk seats for anyone who’s interested:
    http://www.stationwagonforums.com/forums/media/1973-ford-country-squire-station-wagon.6462/full?d=0

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      The extra seats will come in handy when your firstborn gets to elementary school. At that time you’ll most likely be carpooling with other families. We have two children but there were occasions where my wife, our daughters, and five other girls filled every seat of her Odyssey.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        That’s exactly what I figured. At the same time, it only seats 6 since we got the Santa Fe Limited, which has captain’s chairs rather than a bench for the second row and only 2 seat belts in the 3rd.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      We tried so hard not to get a giant car for our three sons, but it just wasn’t working out. We tried Volvo wagons (not reliable, not enough seats), a crossover (no room with third row up) a giant sedan (that was dumb) and ended up with a Navigator. It fits everyone and everything, the dog, the kids, their friends, another whole family, construction stuff, furniture, it can pull a trailer for hauling dirty stuff. It’s a gas guzzling monster, it’s hard to park and it’s not very fast but it genuinely does everything that we need it to do without compromise. I’m sure when gas prices go back up I’ll be crying the blues, but it’s nice to have something that does it’s job and does it very well.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    First family car was a ’71 ZAZ-966 Zaporozhets, in which my family took our first ever road trip from our hometown near Novosibirsk to visit my grandparents near Biysk, this was shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1991. Gas shortages, oil shortages, not all roads were fully paved yet, and my dad’s little air cooled ZAZ tended to overheat climbing even mild hills in the Siberian summer.

    Once we immigrated, we owned a series of used Civics: rusty ’82 Wagon bought for $750 that we drove for about a year, then a slightly less rusty ’85 Sedan with bad CV axles that got totaled in a rear-end accident. Then came the ’90 Wagon bought in ’96-ish that we held onto until 2007 and put over 100k miles on. At some point my dad bought a very rusty ’77 Corolla from a coworker to use as his commuter once my mom got her license and started to drive the Civic. After the Corolla started to literally bend in half from the rust we bought a ’89 Mazda MPV (rare 4cyl variant) that we likewise bought used for about $5k as I remember from a family down the street. Many fun road trips in that one, a huge upgrade in comfort over the buzzy and small Civics. We bought an off-lease ’98 MPV Allsport 4wd ES with all the goodies in ’01, this truly felt like we had arrived (leather, captains chairs, dual a/c and heat, moonroof, alloys, two tone paint).

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      Your comments about Russia are my favorite thing on TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I appreciate the kind words! There’s an old black and white photo from the trip (we developed our own photos by necessity) of my dad leak testing a tire inner tube in my grandpa’s driveway, my 5 year old brother standing by trying to help, and a 2 year old me and my cousin standing idly by. Can you imagine what it was like for my dad, a pretty new car owner (and new dad) driving his wife and a 3 young children for 10 hours in a highly questionable vehicle, bumping along dusty roads. A story he likes to tell from that trip is how he forgot to put the dipstick back in after checking the oil at a stop, and only realizing his mistake when the oil light came on. No spare oil with him, and it was unthinkable to just find it for sale at a gas station. He went up and down a line of motorists waiting to buy gas asking for help, a nice guy in an UAZ 469 jeep saw his plight and hooked him up with some oil from his personal reserves (this stuff was like gold mind you). Later on in the trip, my dad drove with my grandpa to the local gas station to fill up the ZAZ, inevitably they ended up in a long line at the pump. An older guy in a Volga inadvertently tried to cut the line. The collective rage from the other motorists literally gave him a heart attack and my dad saw the guy die on the spot with his very eyes. Crazy stuff.

        I’ve done that same drive more recently and it’s a piece of cake. All paved but still mostly single-lane in both directions, about 330km of driving, can be done in about 4 hours and change, with a stop for road side shashlik.

        My grandpa had an ’87 Izh 2125 Kombi (moskvitch 412 based) at the time, a car he bought new shortly prior to retirement, his seniority put him at the front of the line for available cars. That Moskvitch was like a Cadillac compared to the Zapo with its fancy interior trim (padded dash, fancy perforated vinyl shift boot, portable AM/shortwave radio) and powerful BMW-knockoff SOHC 1500cc slant-4 water cooled motor making 75hp.

        • 0 avatar
          319583076

          A young, wealthy Russian wakes up in a hospital bed next to an old man. He asks the old man how we arrived in the hospital.

          The old man says, “I installed a surplus jet engine into my vintage Zaporozhets 968 and took it for a shake-down drive. I saw a Ferrari and sped up to pass him, but I accelerated too quickly, lost control, and crashed. How did you get here?”

          The young man says, “I was out driving my new Ferrari when I was passed by an old Zaporozhets. I thought my Ferrari had broken down again and rolled to a stop, so I opened the door and stepped out…”

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          I want to chime in as well. Your stories are great. I really enjoy picturing them in my head. Having spent a good amount of time there makes it all the more real.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            This is my new favorite youtube channel that I mentioned below:

            youtu.be/VLEvGm3trzw?t=388

            Good old car tinkering, with a whole network of local specialists. Uncle Kolya the ‘carb guy’ situated on the grounds of an old factory is a recurring character. Car in the video is a Moscow-built AZLK Moskvitch 412 with the famous slant-4 1500 SOHC.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    My dad always drove Oldsmobiles or Buicks. My first car memory was sitting on the vinyl seat of my mother’s Opel playing with the manual shifter. I couldn’t have been much older than 4. Then it was the dark red Buick Skylark, perhaps a 1973, backfiring every time we came home and turned it off. I loved the 1978 Buick Electra Estate Wagon with the crushed velour seats. As a surprise, my parents took me and my sister to pick it up new from the dealer a few days before we were planning a cross country family trip from Detroit to Florida. Arguments ensued over who got the way back seat.

    It was a rusty hulk 8 years later but always ran well with well over 100k miles but it was my first car to drive when I turned 16. After my dad’s 1982 Buick Regal caught fire and burned to the ground on our driveway one winter day, my mom got a Honda Accord (1987 LXi sedan in all of its pop-up headlight glory). She has only driven Japanese cars to this day but my dad still has a Buick Lucerne. I still have a soft spot for station wagons… and manual transmissions. I haven’t owned a Buick of my own, though. Maybe the new Regal wagon next year will change my mind? I have to imagine they are more fire-resistant than the old ones.

    • 0 avatar
      zamoti

      I grew up in the back of Buick B-body wagons; first a LeSabre wagon until it was used as a battering ram against a conversion van and then later an Electra wagon. I have many fond memories sleeping in the cargo area in the back on a cut-to-fit remnant of yellow shag rug. For many years I thought all cars had those. We went everywhere in those wagons, trips to Maine, the beach, etc. I usually rode in the cargo area which was handy as on one trip I got sick and puked (several times) out of the rear tailgate window. Moms was pretty fast with that button to lower the glass so I could pollute the bumper and surprise traffic following behind us. I’m glad there were no mobile phones with cameras back in those days, I shall remain an obscure highway story for someone to tell their family.
      I suppose that my own family wagon isn’t terribly different than what I grew up in, just the modern iteration.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      We were Buick and Olds guys too. My father got a ’59 Oldsmobile Super 88 a couple years after I was born. The car that influenced me the most though was my avatar, the ’64 Riviera, which we kept for 30 years. We also had a ’70 Olds Toronado which we kept for about 15 years. The Riviera and the Toronado were the first two in my line of Silver Coupes which continues to this day.
      Once I started buying my own cars, though, I too switched to manual transmissions.

  • avatar

    For the most part our family car was a 1971 Chevy Kingswood Estate wagon that my mother drove, which eventually became my first car. Retractable tailgate, total chick magnet.

    After that my mother drove a 1975 Lincoln 4-door that we bought from a neighbor. I’m not sure what model, but it was huge and had blue leather seats with an oddly metallic sheen.

    My Dad drove a ’67 Bel Air with extremely low miles. It had a lot of body damage on one side (the elderly previous owner would scrape the driver’s side against his garage door opening) but my Dad had the body work done and it looked great. I learned to drive on it.

  • avatar
    OldandSlow

    Even with two children, my Dad bought full-sized two door cars.

    First there was a 1950 Ford, which I don’t remember. Then a 1953 Ford Customline. It was followed with a 1963 Ford 300.

    The 63 was the sled that I passed my driver’s test with. That 63 Ford was a real bomber, which is probably the reason, I’ve driven foreign makes since 1972.

    Mom preferred Chryslers, big ones with 383 cubic inches or better.

  • avatar
    Joss

    72 Renault 16 TS pale cream with plastic sand interior. Sometimes I had to ride in the hatch crumple zone. Yeah I was adopted…

    Then my best friends dad got a 73 TX with electric windows and sunroof. I woz green with envy. His Action Man talked too.

    • 0 avatar
      moorewr

      ’70 R16 here. I’ve been quirky, practical, endearing, and unreliable ever since!

      On long trips, I used to stand on the transmission tunnel with my hands on the front seats…

      We had it until 1981, long after the last trust-worthy place to fix a Renault closed down in Miami.. My dad bought an R5 in safety orange with “LE CAR” on the sides, and it struggled on ’till 1983.

      My parents bought Japanese cars ever after, but I picked up the reins by acquiring a habit for Audis.

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    Green GrandTorino Wagon, I don’t remember the year, 70’something…

    We kids rode in the back, no seat belts, it probably only had lap-belts, if it even had those back then.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    Always Fords when I was growing up.
    I remember two Torino wagons. The first one my Dad totalled on the Major Deacon Expressway. I remember him coming home with stitches in his knee. He was a smoker, the ashtray was open, and his knee went right into it.
    The second was a school bus yellow wagon.
    There was also a Maverick that rusted and a Fairmont that I learned to drive on.
    Even though they were mostly crappy cars I guess it gave me a fondness for Fords and I have always rooted for them to be successful. My current car is a 2008 Fusion AWD – which – despite its faults – I like a lot.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Most of my family’s cars didn’t last very long in the salty brine of NE Ohio. My father would trade out about every three to four years or so. By then most cars had the “gingerbread” of rust around all of the edges exposed to salt.

    We were on the edge of replacing my parent’s 1974 Mercury Montego when my father passed away unexpectedly in 1978. Dad’s pension wasn’t worth sh!t, so my mother made do with the old Merc until 1981 when she got herself a brand new Ford Mustang Ghia.

    During the seven years we had that car, I went from middle school to university, from washing the car to performing tune ups and brake changes, all the routine stuff. I also learned to drive on that car.

    I did all the normal hormone-fueled teenage boy stunt driver stuff that every kid used to do with that car. If I broke it, I had to fix it. I didn’t get my own car until I was out of HS, so I have the most memories of that car…

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    The first one I remember was a 1961 Ford Falcon station wagon, light blue in color. I recall taking a very long trip in it in which the luggage rack started coming apart and my father had to make temporary repairs with a roll of Scotch tape. Next up was a red 1964 Chevrolet Impala wagon. In 1968 she got a Ford Country Squire wagon, light blue in color, with the 390 V-8. We went through Lion Country Safari in it, a male lion came up to it and sprayed one of the tires, which then smelled like cat pee until it was changed. In 1971 we moved to a different city and my mother got a 1971 Dodge Charger, orange in color, with that half vinyl roof that Dodge put on some of them. Granted, hers was a 318 2 barrel with a three speed automatic, but what I recall most was what a mediocre car it was, and to this day I can’t understand why collectors think these are something special.

    When my first born arrived, my wife was driving a 1999 Lexus RX300. It would only realistically carry two children, so when my daughters were old enough to where carpooling became a thing we did, we traded it for a 2006 Odyssey. Wife’s current vehicle is a 2014 Explorer.

    • 0 avatar

      “In 1971 we moved to a different city and my mother got a 1971 Dodge Charger,…what I recall most was what a mediocre car it was, and to this day I can’t understand why collectors think these are something special.”

      Chrysler made a lot of crap. But as bad a car as it may have been, the styling of the 71-74 Dodge Charger is one of my favorites. Performance makes up for sins too, which is why the big-engined R/T, Super Bee and Rallye versions are valued. Oh, and Richard Petty won lots of NASCAR races in those.

  • avatar
    rocketrodeo

    I came home from the hospital in a 1958 Chrysler Windsor, in a relatively subdued pastel turquoise green with a brown interior. What I remember most about it is that the rearview mirror was mounted on the dashboard. It was replaced by a 1967 Dodge Polara with a 383 in a metallic light blue. Later there was a 1969 Ford F-100 Ranger with a slide-in camper, 360 with a 3 on the tree. We traveled all over the country in it in the early 1970s, with no air conditioning.

    But the one that made the most impression on me was the 1975 Mustang II, with the 2300 OHC and a 4 speed stick. The 1973 gas crisis had made an impression on my dad, and he had a 35-mile commute every day. This was what I learned to drive on, and it gave me an appreciation for decent handling and the control of a manual transmission. Lots of folks deride the Mustang IIs as shadows of the earlier Mustangs, but it was all I knew at the time, and what I knew was that it sure felt better to drive than a big v8 sedan with six inches of play in the steering. Later I got a “real” Mustang — a 1967 GT S-code fastback — that honestly wasn’t as fun to drive as the Mustang II was. Brakes and handling were definitely more primitive.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Between 1955 and 1965, while dad was a Chevrolet dealer, invariably a tp of the line (Bel Air or Impala) two door hardtop (’56 was a four door, ’60 was a convertible) with a 2 barrel small block and Powerglide. Either ’58 or ’59 was Turboglide, and back to Powerglide real fast. From ’62 on is was an Impala SS two door hardtop, 327 Powerglide.

    Of much more influence was mom’s cars, starting with a 1959 Kingswood (or whatever the Bel Air equivalent was called) wagon, drivetrain same as dad’s. 1960 was an upgrade to the Impala level wagon, with a new one ever year thru 1966.

    Yes, I still love station wagons. Since I can’t pick from many of them any more, my second car is a minivan.

    If there was any long term influence on me, it was the attitude that EVERYBODY (except the unsuccessful) bought a new car in three year intervals, at least. The truly successful bought a new car every year (as a child, the concept of company car was completely over my head and I didn’t realize that dad never owned a car before our ’66 Caprice Estate Wagon.) And only poor people bought used cars.

    I was probably in my twenties before I was completely disabused of that notion. And I was over 50 (2000) before I personally dropped the new-car-every-three-year interval, due to my second wife decided we needed a much better house than what I was living in.

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      @Syke “From ’62 on is was an Impala SS two door hardtop, 327 Powerglide.” What I wouldn’t give to have one of those in my driveway.

      And I too was influenced by the same ethos. When we were ‘poor’ we put up with whatever we could afford. When The Old Man came into money, he changed cars every year for himself and every 2nd year for our mother.

      That convinced me that successful people never drove ‘old’ cars. Throughout my adult life I never kept a daily driver vehicle more than 4 years or 100,000kms and always had at least one vehicle in the driveway that was less than 2 years old. Was convinced that anything older or with more mileage was untrustworthy.

      Am now venturing into new territory as all 3 of our cars have over 100,000kms and the newest is nearly 6 years old. I am now past my ‘comfort zone’ and getting itchy to buy something new.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      The part I really didn’t get as a kid was that while dad would “buy” (read: order for himself) the sportiest full-sized Chevrolet available for the new year, he always had it specced out the milquetoast version: Basic small block and automatic, a few flashy exterior items but never any of the performance underpinnings (his ’70 Camaro RS was the first time he let me talk him into getting the performance suspension, which was a revelation to him).

      I was probably 14 or 15 before I realized that he was never really ordering a car for himself. He was always ordering his car set up to be a desirable quick sale on the used lot the following year. Mom’s ’66 Caprice wagon, and his ’67 Camaro RS were the first cars where he actually poured thru the order list, picking out the options carefully.

      The ’60 convertible was the joker in this series, because he actually allowed his nine year old son to dictate the order that fall, and I really wanted us to have a convertible. Unfortunately, mom hated putting the top down. I remember it being down twice that following summer on the weekly Sunday drive, with mom bitching, pissing and moaning the entire trips. Even I knew better than to ask for another convertible when the ’61’s were due.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Syke,
      It explains why you’re a man of style, that’s for sure. Did you know you had it awesome by the constant V8 burble and shiny chrome?

      I was delivered (ahem) in a ’68 Olds Cutlass, the last of the 2-door family cars we would have. The idea was that kids couldn’t open the rear doors if there weren’t any. Logical. It was a 350 Rocket, green over green.

      After that, wagons. From the terrible Aspen to the much less terrible Cutlass Cruiser. All in brown.

      My Dad always had something cheap to do the grey-flannel suit thing, as it was only a couple miles to the office. Apparently, a late 50’s blue Beetle made a huge impression on me as a toddler, and I threw a total fit when it went away, as I have a ton of blue Beetle toys from that era. After that, eminently practical little Toyota and Datsun trucks. I’ve owned 4 Nissan Hardbodies, so I guess it rubbed off.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    First was a 1980 Chevy Malibu with black pleather seats. That thing was a killer in the summer, would burn your ass so bad. My dad got tired of replacing starters and in 1990 they bought a Dodge Spirit. Had the usual head gasket issues, but was fixed under warranty. I dont think that car ever got past 100k miles though. My older brother learned to drive in it. After that we got a 1997 Honda CR-V, one of the first delivered, and had no issues through the life of that car. I learned to drive and drift in the CR-V. AWD is great.

  • avatar
    cc92oct

    We had a 1991 Toyota Previa growing up. Space age and awesome, that and our 96 Tacoma instilled a love for period Toyota cars that sadly has waned with the quality of current Toyota products.

    I now own a 08 Kia Spectra manual since the truck was a manual, and a 08 Sedona for business/having the space to do it all

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    We were a GM family. It has influenced me to buy Japanese.
    Actually, none of our cars were bad. But my mom started leasing in 1993 so only ever had anything for 3 years and probably 20k miles.

    Two stood out: one was our 1987 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser in blue with wood panels. We bought it used as a loaded up program car and had that for about 15 years and aside from the carburetor going bad early on, it was dead reliable.

    The other was the ’93 GMC Safari. It was pretty much loaded. I liked it a lot, it was probably my favorite of all their cars. It had fully adjustable second row buckets and rear AC.

    Of course, if you really get down to it, my step dad was driving what is now my ’67 Impala when we moved in with him. Since I still have it (the Land Ark) it would definitely be the most influential and important.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      “We were a GM family. It has influenced me to buy Japanese.”

      HA! Amen, the malaise was not good. I got used to sleeping in fleabag motels or in the Olds or Buick when it’s transmission/camshaft/cigarette lighter would go out. Dad bought his first pop-up headlight Accord on my recommen…ok constant nagging. He sold it at 130k miles because he got bored of the blue. Nothing. Ever. Broke.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    My old man was a MOPAR man. 77′ Plymouth Voyager full size van. Black Vinyl bench seats in the back, no AC. When he had ‘made’ it in the 80’s, he ordered from the factory a Black Dodge 250 VAN, complete with 4 SP MT on the floor. His kids were older, so he reluctantly upgraded for, in his words, the fads of AC & AM/FM + tape deck oh, and we pleaded for cloth interior, black vinyl seats are cruel and unusual punishment.

    My mom drove a Dodge Colt Vista, 5 MT of course until the Mitsu motor blew up….

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    A mix of Ford & GM pickups made me an Ecumenical Truckist.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    1991 Camry V6, 5 speed
    1979 Saab 900 5-door liftback, 5 speed

    We didn’t do the 90s SUV craze.

    The Saab didn’t make it to my driving age, but it’s distinctive turbo whine as Dad was coming up the street was a fixture of my childhood. I learned stick on the Camry and we did a lot of road trips in it. It did influence me because I have a Toyota affinity now, kind of like still rooting for your hometown team even when you live in another state and they aren’t having a great season.

    Those 90s Corollas as pictured above were incredibly cramped. I wasn’t a big kid but I still remember having zero legroom riding around in someone else’s to a soccer practice.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    My father always drove two-door compacts: 55 Plymouth Plaza, ’60 Plymouth Valiant, ’62 VW Beetle, ’64 Chevy II, ’69 VW Type 3 Fastback, ’71 AMC Hornet, ’72’ ’74 and ’77 AMC Gremlins (can you imagine being a teen in the rear seat of those?). That was the run of cars I remember up to the point I left the nest.

    How did those vehicles affect my own taste in cars? Well, I prefer two-doors and I usually don’t like cars that are very big. But my taste ran toward foreign cars, preferably sporty ones, after about 1970. And I would never subject any kid I cared about to the back seat of a Gremlin.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Teens fold up small. I used to ride around in the back seats of my father’s 911.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        This one didn’t, I tried to get in the back seat of my neighbor’s 1989 Toyota Supra. It was futile. That wasn’t a seat so much as it was a leather covered package shelf. The only way I could sit back there was sideways with my knees up damn near to my face.

        • 0 avatar
          SilverCoupe

          That’s why I always drove my ’89 Supra Turbo from the front seat! I don’t know that I ever tried to put anyone in the back.

          There was plenty of room to throw my bike in the back when the rear seats were folded flat, though.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Riding in the extended cab of a Ranger or S10 on one of those little jump seats was like being in a Town Car by comparison, lol.

            I’ve never tried to drive from the back seat. I did sit on my console with my head out the sunroof, driving my Concorde once, though, LOL! Only at an extremely slow speed, joking with friends who said I couldn’t do it. Don’t tell Johnny Long Legs he can’t do it!

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    For drive to work vehicles, my Dad had a few different late 60’s Chevy vans with straight 6 and three on the tree; learned to drive a manual with those vans.

    My Mom had various 70’s Olds Cutlass, Monte Carlo, etc., all two doors. I distinctly remember the five of us going on vacation in these two doors. I still like these Colonnade style cars, especially 1973/1974 Chevy Malibu’s.

  • avatar
    Shortest Circuit

    Quantum Wagon, but f__k me if I can remember the year… that thing was a fighter. Pity that VW’s quality dropped off later. Dad bought that, then a B3 Wagon, then a B4 Wagon and finally a B5 Wagon. Each had worse and worse failures at less and less miles. Now that me and my bro are out of the household, he drives an E-Class. Sedan (finally). Can’t fault him.

  • avatar
    MidLifeCelica

    With 4 boys to raise, my parents had to have at least one big vehicle, which was a 1971 Dodge Polara (in green of course). I haven’t compared specs with modern vehicles, but that sucker was HUGE both inside and out. On long road trips we four boys would fight over who got to ride on the foam mattress laid over the transmission hump, one kid to each side. The losers laid stretched out on the back seat. On one trip one of the rear drums locked up and caught fire. I remember us all hiding in the ditch while Dad threw cups of Kool-Aid on it until it went out. Good times…

    • 0 avatar
      rocketrodeo

      Those fuselage Polaras were definitely huge. We had a ’67 and I remember how much bigger the later cars looked. But that was the early 1970s for you; everything grew.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Growing up my parents had a series of 1980’s non-descript GM crap sedans. I remember nothing about them, except for some reason some horizontal speedometers and crappy power window switches. My mom owned a couple Toyotas, one of which was a 1981 Corolla SR5 that I inherited in High School. I had an uncle at the time that was driving Merkur’s and BMWs. I’m sure that’s why I’ve always leaned to German cars and have never had significant interest in American sedans.

  • avatar
    spreadsheet monkey

    The comments make interesting reading.

    Throwing some English views into the mix, my dad drove a variety of Fords in the 1980s when I was young, including two Cortinas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Cortina#Mark_V). These were massively popular in the UK at the time.

    In the early 90s he moved on to Toyotas, a Carina and an Avensis, both sub-Camry models that were popular in Europe but not sold in North America. He’s now retired and in his late 60s and drives a BMW 1-series hatchback which he loves.

    The Fords must have made an impression – I owned two Fiestas and a Puma while I was in my early 20s, before getting a taste for German cars.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    When I was born The Old Man had a beautiful, perfectly maintained, low mileage 1956 Ford Customline (2 door hardtop) with the V8 and chromed exhaust tip.

    However when he had his 2nd child, it was traded for a new Austin Mini Minor. Forget A/C, it had side windows that slid open, a drawstring to close the doors and no radio. And it was a piece of #@^*. The Old Man was just under 6’2″ and around 245lbs of ‘street copper’ at the time. The final straw was when the shifter came out in his hand. It was just over one year old when he traded it.

    He traded it for a new VW Beetle. Had a 3rd kid and kept that Beetle for 5 years, which back in 1960’s suburbia was a long time to keep a car.

    After 5 years it was traded for a VW Type III Squareback/shooting brake/wagon.

    Eventually he came into money and changed cars every year. Still pining for the Customline, he originally went to Lincolns. Mark III’s, Mark IV’s and Mark V’s. However after that he switched to Cadillac and remained with them for the rest of his life. Fleetwood, Seville and then nothing but the STS. Did have one Northstar quit on him at about 15,000kms. GM simply gave him a new car rather than replace that engine. Although he did add a Jeep Grand Cherokee to his driveway near the end for bad weather driving and trips up north.

    I still have the last black leather bomber jacket with the Cadillac crest over the breast that he received with his final Cadillac. One day I will wear it when I drive off in my own, newly purchased Caddy.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Most notably a series of Family Trucksters, of the Chevy genus. That’s what I initially got to drive.
    My Mom was ecstatic when enough kids had moved-out that she could get a Jetta! It was like jumping forward 40 years in one easy transaction.

  • avatar
    gkhize

    Although he talks with fondness about his ’41 and ’49 Plymouths, Dad always drove Fords when I was around. A ’56 two-tone blue Fairlane, ’62 dark aqua Galaxie 500 with a white top, dark green ’66 Galaxie 500, and pale green ’71 Country Squire were the cars I rode in. I remember him arguing with his brothers for hours about which color of tractor was the best, and those arguments extended to their cars. It was Ford or nothing for Dad, and that naturally extended to me and my brothers. We have driven almost all Fords for the simple reason we were afraid Dad wouldn’t let us in the house if we showed up with anything else. Dad has softened a bit as he got older, and at 85 he now drives a Chrysler Town & Country he traded his Grand Marquis in on. Personally, I have owned 31 cars (yes I need help) and 26 have been Ford products including a couple of Mercs and Lincolns. From the ‘Dark Side’, I bought 3 old Pontiacs for my kids, a GMC Yukon, and a Chevy Colorado. I still consider myself a dyed-in-the-wool Ford guy, and it’s all because of my Dad and the Fords he brought home.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      31 one and you need help? If that’s the case, I need to be committed as I’m 34 and I’ve owned well over 100.

      Many were Fords, but also a fairly diverse variety of other makes, from an Acura to a Yugo (the latter of which I didn’t even own for four full hours before I abandoned it).

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    I was 2 years old in 1977. My dad scrapped his 1967 Plymouth Sport Fury convertible and bought a 1966 Chrysler Windsor from my grandad. Grandad rarely drove it because he had a separate winter beater, so it was mint. That was my dad’s DD from 1977 until 1986, and an attempted restoration project after that. Today I own two 1966 Chryslers.

    Later my dad bought a 1984 GMC van with the 6.2L diesel. That was my intro to the diesels. Every one of the 5 DD vehicles I have owned has been diesel powered.

  • avatar
    deanst

    My fondest memories are going on vacation in a full sized Pontiac Laurentian (I assume this was a Canada only model). I would lie on the back floor with my head on the transmission hump and my feet out the window reading comic books. My dad only bought GM at the time, but I convinced him to by the downsized full size Chevy in 1977 and the first year of the x bodies – an olds omega. Surprisingly enough, they were remarkably reliable vehicles – but very cheap in appearance and most other respects. I had a hatred for GM as my friends had interesting foreign cars, but I’ve actually bought more GMs for my self than any other brand.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, my dad made a lot of money, and he was a car guy, so there were a lot of cars that made “an impression” on me (a Citroen SM, several Mercedes, including a SL, and a manual BMW 7-series, among others), but noneso more than his first Cadillac – a ’72 Sedan DeVille. We got it when I was eight or so.

    We shopped together for a Caddy for probably a year or so before pulled the trigger on it. Dad was a poor kid who made good, so I think he was probably somewhat scared of buying something that expensive. I learned all about the features, gizmos and options. I remember the way that car smelled.

    And I still have a major soft spot for Cadillac today, even though the ones he had after that (a ’75 Coupe DeVille and a ’80 Eldorado) were, to be charitable, less than spectacular. I’d take an ATS coupe in dark grey metallic in a nanosecond.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      My father, being a hard core GM guy, always considered Cadillac the ultimate. And he always dreamed of the day he’d have one. Finally, in 1986, mom put her foot down and told him to quit putting it off. Both his kids were done with college and married, the money was certainly there (like it had been from the day he left the Chevy dealership).

      So, late spring/early summer, he finally bought himself the metallic blue ’86 Sedan de Ville.

      And by November mom was dead.

      That completely killed the Cadillac for him. He’d always had a second ‘beater’ (in his eyes, 3-5 year old) Chevy or Buick, which is all he drove after the funeral. And by spring of ’87 the Cadillac was gone.

      That was one of two moments in my life that taught me, if you really want a certain car or class of cars, get your money in order and buy the damned thing. You’re only going to live so long, and if cars are really that important to you, stop putting off your dreams.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Man, that’s sad. But you’re right – if you want it and you can afford it, then do it. I usually regret the things I don’t do more than the things I do by mistake.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    I truly feel sorry for those who have to identify the cars of their youth by using numbers rather than real names.

    Wildcat, Riviera, Thunderbird, Mustang, Dart Swinger, Superbird, Biarritz, Coupe de Ville.

    Cars like pets require names, not numbers.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    1981 Plymouth Reliant. Base mode – no A/C, PS, PB, radio or passenger outside mirror! 2 door, 2.2L 4-on-the-floor.

    We loved that car and both of us had a ball driving it, zipping around town, especially with two kids, Wifey driving, me in the back seat between our son & daughter and grandma in front!

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    1990 Chevy Lumina made most impression on me. Our first car in the States after immigrating from Ukraine. This car was anything but reliable, and was the single reason we’ve switched to imports. But it was large, quiet and comfortable, if a little too thirsty. My personal first family car was ’88 Accord LXi. I loved that car; it was reliable, only required minimal maintenance and took me all over Seattle area and beyond.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      If you don’t mind my asking, what region of Ukraine and when did you immigrate? Did your family happen to own a car back there?

      I’m currently subscribed to a shade tree mechanic’s channel on youtube, the guy is in Krivoy Rog in the Dnepropetrovsk region. His clientele seems to be made up exclusively of Soviet-era Moskvitches, Ladas, and Volgas that he fixes up on a shoestring budget. Reminds me very much of the sort of rust-belt-ish vibe of Biysk and other somewhat dilapidated Russian cities in the “regions.” A highly entertaining watch, especially the guy’s colorful outbursts in Ukrainian when he gets flummoxed by some repair or finds something wrong.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    When I was a kid, Mom drove the nicer family car, and dad drove the economical hatchback commuter car.

    My parents had a ’72? Cutlass Supreme and a fox body Capri when I was born, and when my sister was born the Cutlass was traded in on an Olds Custom Cruiser station wagon. The Capri was traded in on an ’87 Accord hatchback for dad. Then Mom got a 1990 Olds Delta 88, which was pretty nice (tape deck! power seats!) for a while. Dad got a new for ’94 4-eyed Integra hatch, LS for the sunroof and 5-spd for fun and fuel economy, but was too cheap to buy the GS-R since it required premium. That is the car that probably had the most effect on me as a kid, I loved that thing. It was bright red, and one of the first of the model around, so it got a fair bit of attention. He drove that for 12 years, putting two kids through college, etc. In that time, Mom got a 1997 Chrysler Concorde (which sucked, such a rattle trap) and then by the time I was off to college she went through a couple Accords (’01 and ’04) and then switched to loaded Lexus ES350s (she’s on her second and ready to buy her third as soon as the new model is released). Dad did a 2006 Accord coupe (4cyl automatic, dull) and then switched to CRVs which he swaps out every 2 years like clockwork. The Integra was the closest thing to an “enthusiast” car he ever had, and ever really cares to have.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I resemble this remark. The wife has a nice CUV, and I drive a Mazda 3 hatch day to day. I do have the S2000 for summer weekends though.

      Thinking about replacing the Mazda with something that has a little bit more back seat space in the next year or 2 now after trying to fit a dreadnought-class car seat in there when I had to cart our son somewhere.

  • avatar
    zoomzoomfan

    I was born in November of 1989. At the time, my mom had an ’85 or so Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais coupe. It presumably had the Iron Duke four-cylinder, and it was the color of egg nog. Only reason I know this is because I have photos from their wedding reception a couple years before I was born and the Calais is shown all decorated.

    My mom told me that the Calais was not well maintained and had a variety of issues, mostly the fact that it wouldn’t idle, so she had to hold one foot on the gas and one on the brake at each stoplight. To top it off, I imagine putting infant me in the back seat of that small coupe wasn’t easy.

    My father passed away in a car accident in July 1991, and my mom used part of his life insurance money to buy a new and (at the time) safer car for her and I (as well as a house next door to my grandmother so she could help with me, as I was only around one-and-a-half). Mom got an ex-program car that a salesman had driven. A 1991 Chevrolet Corsica LT with the 1991-only Z52 sport package. That package meant the upgraded FE3 (as opposed to FE1) suspension, a “spoiler” (luggage rack), full gauge cluster (tach, oil pressure, voltmeter, etc.), and wheels from the previous Corsica LTZ model (itself only offered in 1989 and 1990). It had the venerable GM 3.1 V6 and 3t40 three-speed automatic transmission.

    Mom drove like a bat out of hell at all times, so the Corsica lived a hard life. Then, in 1995 or so, she met my step-dad and let him move in. The Corsica became his in 1998 when my mom got herself a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee (the SUV craze of the ’90s was in full swing by then). My step-dad treated the Corsica even worse than my mom did, but it never had any major issues and soldiered on for 10 years and 175,000 miles. My step-dad sold it in 2001 when my mom passed away, which angered me because I wanted to keep it and have it as my first car.

    To this day, when I see a Corsica (admittedly not very often), I think of my mom. Say what you want about the GM L-Body (Beretta and Corsica) but ours stood up excellently to the abuse of my mom who thought driving under 75 MPH was unnecessary and my step-father who thought car maintenance was beneath him.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I kinda liked the Corisca. We had a then-new Cavalier in drivers ed, and it was a total pile of crap. One day it left us walking and we walked all the way to the school to get a Corsica to continue in. I liked it far more than the newer Cavalier from the first moment I sat behind the wheel.

      I was the first up to drive it and our lesson was to take place on the freeway. I got it up,to the speed limit, hit the cruise, and relaxed. Instructor was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?” Um, driving? What’s wrong? It freaked him out because he had been instructing in that car since it was new and had driven it himself countless times, but had no idea it had cruise control or how to use it. It was my first experience with GM’s Cruise-on-a-stick but it wasn’t hard to figure out.

      I later worked at a GM dealer and I was to take a used car up near Atlanta to fetch a Silverado. The used car manager insisted I take a program Cavalier since it was under warranty (AMAZING confidence in his wares, eh?). I refused. I went to the general manager, who was my boss, and told him I hated driving a Cavalier and I really didn’t want to drive one to Atlanta and back. “Well, what do you want to drive? Pick a 4 cylinder car.” I was like, you know that 1996 Corsica that we took in with 60k on it? That one. “Fine by me.”

      It performed wonderfully. Sometimes a car “talks” to me. I get the feeling it has a good soul and is a good car. That one did. I didn’t need it, but my brother’s in-laws needed something to replace their totalled (early 90s) Olds 88. I brought the Corsica to them, told them I thought it was a good one. Two days later, they bought it. I believe it had over 250k before they replaced it with a (gulp) Saturn Ion.

      She will tell you to this day that the Corsica was a far better car, and if it hadn’t accumulated so much mileage, they never would be in the stupid Ion.

      I owned one Corsica, a 1988 LT with the 2.8L. It was awful. After being used to the newer dash, the old style felt like a 1970 by comparison. Desptie being low mileage, it wasn’t a reliable car and I didn’t have it for long.

      If I ever find myself buying another Corsica, it’ll be a later model and likely have an I-4.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Our family friends owned an ’87 Corsica with the 2.8L and a rare Getrag 5spd manual. Fantastic car as I remember it through my rose tinted glasses. Comfortable ride, and really torquey feeling to someone who was used to old Civics.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          I had a 2.8L Cavalier RS wagon I bought for a whole $50, it was surprisingly quick. My friend was in it and I was in my 3.5L Chrysler Concorde LXi. We raced of course, and the Chrysler “won”, but only by a nose hair (this wasn’t a real “race” lol, he tried to overtake me and I held him off, but just barely). I was really surprised. Big engine in a little car is always a recipe for fun…and cramped working space under the hood lol.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    62 VW Beetle
    68 Ford Galaxie 500 (302 V8 = bad)
    74 Ford Maverick (302 V8 = good)
    78 Ford Fiesta
    74 Datsun 810

    I learned to drive on the Fiesta; it left a very positive, long-lasting impression.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    My dad was a highway warrior, plying on 40k miles a year for his job visiting stores and making sure they were up to snuff.

    When I was young, he drove BOF cars, like an Olds 88 or a diesel Olds 98. I do have a real appreciation for the B-Body, having owned two of them myself.

    Later on – after the Olds diesel died an early death – he was a Nissan man. He first bought an ’84 Nissan truck for hauling wood, and then a ’87 Nissan Stanza for commutes. He ended up buying three! Nissan Stanzas, all built in 1987 until the day he retired.

    My first car purchase out of college? A ’94 Nissan truck. My next purchase for my then-GF-now-wife, a ’97 Altima. So yeah, I’ve been influenced.

  • avatar
    bhtooefr

    Let’s see…

    My family had a 85 Astro when I was born, but I don’t remember that. There was also a 78? Olds Custom Cruiser, and all of my memories of it were that it was a colossally unreliable pile of shit.

    We always had at least one full-size pickup, and sometimes a compact car, sometimes a compact or midsize pickup, as the efficient runabout. Also, we used our pickups as actual pickups, and sometimes the car would get used as a pickup, too. (I distinctly recall having to share the back seat of a 91 Escort with a couple of goats for a couple hours…)

    So, the entire list before I got my own car would be something like…

    1985 Chevy Astro
    1978 Olds Custom Cruiser
    1983 Chevrolet C-10, regular cab, 3 on the tree, I6
    1987 Ford Ranger, regular cab, 4-cylinder, manual (meaning I had to straddle the stick)
    1986 Ford Escort, 5-door, automatic
    1985 Ford F-150, regular cab, 5.0, automatic
    1990 Dodge Ram 250, extended cab, 360, automatic
    1991 Ford Escort, 3-door, 1.9 liter, manual
    1990 Dodge Dakota, extended cab, V6, automatic
    1995 Chevy C3500, extended cab, 6.5TD, automatic
    1991 Plymouth Sundance, 5-door, 2.5 liter, 3-speed automatic
    1991 Ford Ranger, regular cab, 2.9 V6, automatic

  • avatar
    kobo1d

    My family bought a 91 Accord (DX? Pretty stripped) before I was in preschool that stuck around I could learn to drive manual with it in high school. I do still like plainly styled, small, useful, cheap, slightly fun to drive cars.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    The year was 1979.

    I was 3 3/4 years old, already charged with operating the wheelgun, while riding unbelted in mom’s lap, as she calmly dragged on a Marlboro with one hand, while intermittently finessing the tiller and shifting gears at high speeds around corners with the other…

    The vehicle? A 10 year old, yet meticulously maintained

    http://car-from-uk.com/ebay/carphotos/full/ebay147211680547743.jpg

    http://car-from-uk.com/ebay/carphotos/full/ebay147211680887760.jpg

    Precisely 185 seconds prior, we had hit up a local fine jewelry store for $3,700 in cold, hard cash and another approximate $15,000 in assorted diamonds, gems, gold jewelry & fine watches, with my mother already using me as a disarming decoy before the act, accomplice after the fact, all while teaching me the finer points of what was then the family tradecraft, before we went “legit.”

    A mere 2 years later, I was attending an expensive and exclusive K-8 prepatory school (navy-blue blazer emblazoned with school crest, sweater vest and tie required) in one of metro Detroit’s most posh suburbs, with a now politically connected father, thanks to one Ronald Reagan & his band of young Turks swept into office (now THERE IS a very complicated backstory to be told another day), and socially well-connected mother.

    We had made it (though the how’s, why’s, and who’s of this quick transformation and ascendancy up the social and economic ladder was literally the hushed yet frequent discussion that had morphed into incredulous local legend – too impolite to talk of openly, in larger congregation, yet too scandalous a topic to ignore while in far less formal, alcohol-lubricated, loquacious gatherings among the old-monied), and now the thought of being transported without a lap belt, typically while riding in my mother’s 1981 Mercedes 500SEC or father’s Cadillac Sedan Deville was positively unthinkable.

    I didn’t give a second thought to the moral quandaries inherently tied up in such larger matters at such a young age, and merely found the rapid social and economic fluidity of my changing circumstances stimulating.

  • avatar
    omer333

    Let’s see… when I was born my folks had a Lincoln, don’t know the model. Later on they had a pair of 280zx’ 2+2’s, then an Alfa Spider, then a Cadillac Coupe de Ville, then a Cadillac Sedan de Ville. After the Sedan de Ville was totalled, my dad got an old El Camino,

  • avatar

    My childhood was split between living with my father/stepmother and my Grandmother, although most of my youth was spent with her. During the times that I lived with them, they owned:

    Dad: 1977(?) Lincoln Continental Mark V. This was the constant, and I guess was considered his “toy” in the latter years of being in our family. He had this, and a small, cheap car (Chevette, T1000, Tercel, etc) as his daily driver. Later on, he switched to trucks and vans, most of which I got (I didn’t get the Conti, unfortunately).

    Grandmother: 1985 Ford LTD II, 1991 Ford Taurus GL wagon, 2001 Mercury Sable LS Premium. I eventually got all of these cars, so I was pretty familiar with them. I helped my Grandmother pick out the last two (I worked for a LM dealership, so the last one was easy).

    Did this have an influence on my purchases? Seeing as I’ve owned 15 Ford products, yeah, I say so. Even though I’m knee deep in Japanese vehicles, I was waxing nostalgia last year and bought a 1996 Ford Aerostar XLT.

    I wasn’t expecting for the memories of being in a Ford to flood back into my mind, but it was great while it lasted. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “1996 Ford Aerostar XLT.”

      Nice!

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I loved my Aerostars, and I had a 1996 XLT before I bought my current Taurus. Unfortunately, while it was reliable for me, it was high mileage and clearly hadn’t been treated or maintained well. When it showed signs of a blown head gasket, I dumped it for my current Taurus (which had far fewer miles than the Aerostar at the time, but now has more than it did when I sold it).

        My favorite Aerostar was my 1994 XL Sport. It was sold new in Canada, so I ripped out the DTRL module and the KPH spedo, and lost track of the mileage after that, but best I can figure it had something like 250k miles on it. I loved that thing. I got more use out of the 1996, but I would choose the Sport if it was still alive and I had the choice of the two. An unfortunate incident left it beyond feasible repair, so I junked it. :(

        My 1989 Aerostar was the best as far as total money spent. I had a new job but few resources and no transportation, so I bought it for $150 with only 1st and 3rd gear working, 239k on the dash. I never even pulled the damn dipstick on that thing, I literally spent $0 on it outside of gasoline. I drove it for a few months until it lost 3rd and so only had 1st gear. I then sold it for exactly what I paid for it.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      I had an Aerostar as well, mine was a ’91. I had gotten back into racing and used it as both my daily driver and as a tow vehicle, first to pull a 1980 VW Scirocco on a tow dolly, and later to pull a Formula Ford on a single axle trailer. It fulfilled both roles with aplomb and didn’t ask for much in return. I sold it after 10 years because I had stopped racing and was almost through finishing the basement.

      I wish something similar still existed. I suppose the closest thing is the Transit Connect wagon, but it only has a 2000 lb towing capacity. That wouldn’t have worked for the Scirocco.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Yeah, I towed with mine too. I would go to abandoned vehicle auctions on rainy days when most people wouldn’t show up. I would back the Aerostar up to the non-running car, open the liftgate, and I had all my tools right there and a shelter to work under.

        If I couldn’t get it to run, or running it was a bad idea (like a coolant leak or something), grab the chain, hook her up, drag it to the shop. I remember I was pulling a 1st gen Sable with IIRC a blown freeze plug with the 1989 Aerostar. I came up on a slow moving Toyota Tacoma. I pulled out, passed and continued on my way. My buddy who was in the Sable steering/braking was laughing so hard and smacking the steering wheel! When we got home, he was like “first I didn’t know what was goin on, as you started to go into the on coming lane…then I saw the pickup and said, well, I guess we’re going around him!”

        Imagine getting overtaken by a beater minivan towing another car on a chain. I think I would have to pull over and put it in park, I’d be that ashamed. LOL thanks for bringing that memory back!

        Re: modern equivalent, I guess a V-6 Transit would be about your only option for a new Ford van that can tow more than a Fusion is capable of, lol. I’d go for the I-5 PowerStroke myself.

  • avatar
    ptschett

    I’m told I loved riding in the blue ’74 SD-455 Trans-Am when I was a baby, but the first vehicles I remember are my dad’s red Austin-Healey Sprite Mk II, black ’78 F-150 4×4 farm pickup, and the gray ’83 Buick Century T-type family car my parents bought new when I was 2. When I was in grade school my dad got back into Pontiacs for fun cars with a black & white ’57 Pontiac Star Chief convertible he had briefly, followed by a green ’70 GTO convertible that he still has, and in 1990 my folks bought my grandma’s ’73 Mercury Cougar to have as a 2nd car my mom could drive when my grandparents upgraded to an almost-new Coupe de Ville. The Century was the family car till I was 13 and my folks bought a 2-year-old blue ’92 Cadillac Seville SLS; I took my license tests in the Century but the Cougar was my daily driver through most of high school till I got my ’96 Thunderbird in senior year. The blue Caddy only had a few years in our family then was rolled by my sister and was replaced with a purple ’93 STS which was still the family car when I went off to college (and which became my sister’s car when my parents upgraded to a ’98 STS.) My dad switched to Dodges for the farm pickups in ’01 with a new Ram and a pair of mid-’90’s Dakotas, which influenced my choice of an ’05 Dakota when I bought my first vehicle entirely on my own. Now the parental daily drivers are an ’09 Ram 1500 and a ’10 Cadillac CTS4 sedan.

  • avatar
    IBx1

    My parents only bought new after I was born in ’91 and drove their cars until they cost more to repair than the down payment on the next one, with a goal of 8-10 years each. I remember some kind of beige mid-’80s Chevy Malibu, then a midnight blue ’95 Saturn SW2 wagon, a light metallic gray ’00 Saturn SL2 sedan, a red ’03 Saturn VUE, and a dark metallic gray ’09 Forester right before I graduated high school. The CVT blew up on the VUE twice; second time was out of warranty at 131k miles and that was our down payment on the pre-CVT Forester.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    73 Olds Delta 88. Rocket 350. I used to do the engine tune-ups for my dad when I was in high school.

    Before that we had a ’66 Ford Custom 500 that my father used to curse because it always flooded. This was one of the first Fords with an automatic choke; my dad always said he’d have preferred a manual choke.
    .
    .

  • avatar

    With us, it was mostly Buicks.

    The family had a 2-year-old 1961 Buick LeSabre when I was born. Power steering and auto trans were revelations to my mom, who had two stripper Fords before that. It was great and the main family car until 1969, when we got another new LeSabre, this time with A/C! Nice, but it always broke down.

    The 1961 was passed on to a neighbor as a station car. At that time my dad was driving a lot in the region and bought a new ’73 Plymouth Valiant for himself. 2 years later my mom got a new 1975 LeSabre, a huge beast that was only marginally more reliable.

    It only lasted two years, as her company started leasing her cars. That started with a 1977 LeSabre, followed by 1980 and 1982 models. The 1977 was the best but they were all comfortable, safe, nice, reliable, reasonably efficient – each equipped with 5.0 Pontiac or Olds V-8s.

    My dad replaced the OK Valiant with a much-nicer car — the “aeroback” 1978 Buick Century, which eventually became mine. It lasted 140K until someone stole it off a Brooklyn street. My roommate at the time found it while jogging but it wasn’t worth salvaging.

    In my adulthood, my mother stuck with GM company cars even past her retirement – ’85 Century, ’87 Pontiac 6000STE (great car, but broke a lot) and 1992 Regal (blah).

    After a few years with a blah Fox-body Mercury Marquis, Dad got an ’89 Nissan Maxima. As WWII kids who never wanted to buy Japanese, it was a huge revelation to both of them. That was eventually replaced with their last car, a ’99 Infiniti I 30 — same basic car, more luxurious.

  • avatar
    jupiter119

    Blue 1976 AMC Hornet. I remember the day they first brought it home. My brother and were let down because they traded in the cool 2 door Maverick for a station wagon. It lasted until 1992 when my dad hydroplaned and smashed the passenger side quarter panel into a power pole.
    It’s also the car my mom was driving me to high school in one day when she blew through a red light in a hurry. A police officer saw it and hit his lights. Instead of turning into a nice quiet street across from the high school she pulled right in front with the cop behind her(lights a blazin). Before I could jump out of the car class let out and way too many kids were there to witness my humiliation.
    It was the same day I vowed to buy my own car by the time I turned 16. I worked 2 jobs and eventually bought a sweet 71 Datsun 510.

  • avatar
    Fred

    1961 Chevrolet Parkwood (or maybe a Nomad) Maybe that’s why I have a Acura Sportwagon today.

  • avatar
    cft925

    A 1982 Mercury Zephyr. This was a badge engineered Ford Fairmont. Complete garbage. The car literally stalled as my father was driving it home from the dealership. He was a GM man, like his father, and I remember him frequently saying, “I am never getting a Ford again.” Luckily, Fords have improved, because this vehicle’s equivalent is a Fusion, which is an outstanding car.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Going from carburetor to fuel injection is a major advance.

      I had a 1983 and 1978 Mercury Zephyrs. The 83 had well over 200k, and the only time it ever stalled on me was going over a mountain pass in late fall, ice formed on the grille slats as we drove. Anyway, it would quit and we would coast to the shoulder. 4-5 minutes later, it would crank up and run fine. It did this three times. When morning broke and the sun warmed things up a bit, it never did it again.

      The 1978 was fine for a year or so, but it eventually hard carb issues all the time, and when I dropped major coin on a new carb, and it was far worse than the old one, I had to give up and sell it as I was moving and didn’t feel like towing a Mercury Zephyr with a Ford Tempo for 3,000 miles was a wise move.

      I really miss both cars. The ’78 was a Z-7, the ’83 was a GS sedan. Both had the 3.3L (200 C.I.) Inline 6, automatic.

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    The primary cars my family used for family-hauling duty were a 1991 S10 Blazer and a 1996 Outback. My dad also drove an ’89 Ford Tempo as his commuter car, but in my eyes at the time, that was very much “his” car, and I don’t remember riding in it very often. When I was in first grade, we traded the Blazer, then suffering from pretty significant rust, for a bright red 2001 Grand Prix. To my six-year-old self, that was pretty much the coolest thing that wasn’t a Corvette or a Mustang, so it probably made the biggest impression on me of all of them.

    When my parents got divorced, my dad got the Subaru and sold it to my aunt, and at last check, it’s still going strong.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    The first one I remember was the ’52 Studebaker. When it caught fire dad went out and got a ’56 Studebaker President wagon, which carried the family out to California.

    Next was a ’58 Mercury whose exhausts from that 383 would one day scorch our sleeping bags (right through the trunk floor) on the way to the Sierras on a camping trip. It turned out the rear springs allowed the body to sag too much (thus the burn) so he got a cheap pair of overload coil springs to clamp to the back axle.

    That went to my sister who had fallen on hard times, so next up was a ’62 Olds Dynamic 88 that 10 years later I learned to drive in. That was our first car with air conditioning. It had lousy brakes but that 394 was a torque monster.

    After the divorce, the Olds developed squeaky A frame bushings and a leaking tranny front seal, and mom traded it in on the first ’73 Civic..and it was the perfect car for her. Honda, knowing the market they were in right at the beginning of the first oil “shortage”, gave her 50 bucks in trade. That little CVCC loved to rev.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I grew up in a GM family (my dad was a GMI grad and – with a significant break in service – a GM retiree) so the cars I remember were mainly GM products, and for the most part wagons; a couple Vegas, an Impala, an Olds Cutlass Cruiser, a Buick Century, all wagons. The non-wagons were a ’79 VW Rabbit, an Olds 98 Regency (mid 80’s style), an Olds Achieva, and couple odd used cars.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I used to really like the Achieva…until I had one.

      Water intrusion in all four doors, manifold leaks (3.1L V-6), and a failing transaxle all at around 100k miles. I owned it for about two months or less, most of that time was waiting on the title to come in so I could dump it.

  • avatar
    vvk

    The street car, the bus and the subway.

    And the hydrofoil ferry when we went to our country home in the summer.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrofoil

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Tan K-car wagon at the beginning of the ’80s. That one eventually wore out, and instead of a minivan, we ended up with a 1988 Colt Vista wagon. Three-row seating!

  • avatar
    threeer

    A 1976 Mercury Montego, a succession of Opel Rekords and then a 1981 Toyota Corolla (and I was a teen when we bought it and it was a two-door!).

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, my dad with a family of 5 bought a 4 passenger/3 door Ford Escort and a 3 passenger single cab Ranger. (Both had vinyl and no A/C, did I mention we lived in Atlanta at the time?!l

      And people today think they MUST have a 3rd row when they have one small child.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    1971 Plymouth Scamp and Fury III

  • avatar
    Kavan

    Bicycle. Mom, Dad, and two kids. South Asian country in the 80’s.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    My first automotive ride in this world was in an aqua blue 1978 Mustang II fastback hatchback with white vinyl interior, 4cyl and 4spd manual. It was my dad’s car at first, and the first new car my parents purchased. Became the “family” car mom drove (dad drove mom’s brown 1972 Capri) until my little sister was 3 and parents bought a 1984 Plymouth Voyager LE “MAGIC WAGON” in metallic brown with woodgrain sides and two-tone brown vinyl interior. I remember learning about cruise control and thinking naturally it meant the car would completely drive itself.

    That was mom’s car until I was 10 (dad got his Mustang back and the Capri was sold) and my parents bought one of the very first available 1990 Chrysler Town & Country minivans, white with woodgrain and tannish-brown leather. Being such an early model meant it had the Mitsu 3.0L V6 instead of the later 3.3L Chrysler V6. Dad sold his Mustang (Rustang by that point) and drove the Voyager.

    My parents to this day drive a minivan, although a 1996 Caravan SE 3.8 that stripped the splines off the TC input shaft under warranty disabused them of the Chrysler habit.

    Personally I never got (still don’t) the appeal of Mustangs. The lowly II was a crap/cramped family car and the performance and comfort potential will forever be limited in my mind. I don’t like minivans but cannot set aside their practical superiority as a family vehicle. My wife drives a minivan. If someone made a minivan that could tow between 6k-9k lbs we’d replace our Odyssey with that almost without doubt. Since no one makes such a beast and both our Ody and my pickup are knocking on 200k it’s a tossup what we’ll be in the market for next.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      The II was an economy car (Pinto) made to look vaguely like the older Mustangs. It certainly wasn’t intended as a family car, more of a “sporty commuter” if you can call it that. It wasn’t far removed from the Toyota Celica or Datsun 200SX of its era, RWD economy cars styled to appear more than they were.

      I’m not defending it, it was a terrible car that I and other Ford guys wish never existed, but it was a product of its time, the “right car at the right time” (gas crisis).

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        I’ve never understood the hate for the II. Is a restyled and stretched Pinto really that different from a restyled Falcon, which is all the original Mustang was?

        The hate shouldn’t be for the car, but for the godawful ’70s engines that came in it.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          But you can’t honestly say that a 1966 Mustang and a II are equally good looking.

          For starters, the Falcon wasn’t ugly so much as it was plain and boring. The Pinto (and therefore the II) was hideous, and calling it a Mustang is sacrilege to me. I can’t think of a worse comparison, except maybe calling the Vega a Camaro, or the Fit an NSX. Dodge’s Omni-based Charger was worse than the II, I’ll give it that much credit, but that isn’t a resounding vote of confidence by any means lol.

      • 0 avatar
        rocketrodeo

        I’ll happily defend it. The Mustang II was a much better handling car, and better bolted together, than any of its predecessors. They sold them by hundreds of thousands every year, the most successful model since the original. It was indeed a sporty commuter, more of a shrunken personal luxury car. Yes, the engines were gutless. What engines weren’t in the late ’70s? Mine was comfortable, economical, and reliable. It had a limited mission brief and performed it well.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    First I remember was a brown 1971 Impala, then a copper 1975 Monte Carlo, then a red 1978 Magnum, then a black 1984 Chrysler Laser, then a 1986 Chrysler 5th Avenue and then they found out what life was like with a minivan. They both have a minivan now that dad is retired. Before that he had Dodge Maxi-vans as his work truck. Replace the timing chain at 80k or 90k miles with a steel sprocketed one and they last forever.

    Before I was born mom and dad had an affinity for blue Chevelle SS 396 with a 4 speed.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      Yeah, my parents also owned cool cars before I came along. Bought-new 1966 Mustang V-8 and later a new 1971 Ford Torino GT coupe with the 351C and white leather inside a sweet red body (the ‘Stang was candy apple red).

  • avatar
    zamoti

    Pizza theory is nearly correct. I grew up in Chicago and NY style pizza (aka, garbage) is reprehensible and isn’t actually pizza. The only thing worse is what Californians call pizza (no, don’t put broccoli on it).
    NY is a place where everybody congratulates everyone else for living there and they must at all times state how fantastic the city is. Thusly, even though the sad, floppy, greazy trash that they call pizza is genuinely terrible, they have to say that it’s the best. If not, it would cause dissonance with the belief that everything about NY is great. Real pizza has meat on it, and no pepperoni isn’t meat, sausage is meat (because it is all the meats). Real pizza has more than a whisper of dough and should not be able to be re-created by unrolling a tube from a Chef Boyardee “pizza in a box” kit as made by a nine-year-old child. Real pizza has big hunks of tomatoes on TOP because real people aren’t afraid to taste real tomatoes; garbage pizza has a smear of sad watery baby puree tomato substance that has more salt than tomato in it.
    Pizza theory needs to take into account the terrible nature of NY not-pizza as logic will prove that NY style nonsense simply inedible garbage.
    Thank goodness I just quit my job that had HQ in NY and picked up a new one with HQ in Chicago.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Have fun with your pizza-cake. Tried Giordanos once in Chicago. Ingredient quality is there, but putting on that much sauce and a literal inch of cheese does not make things inherently better. I offered the leftovers to a homeless guy and he declined, saying “all that cheese makes me sick as a dog.”

      Best pizza was at my Italian-American friend’s place, engineer that he is he built a legit pizza oven in his back yard and invited folks over for fresh-made pies made entirely from scratch (dough, sauce both homemade). Thin layer of sauce, pieces of fresh mozzarella, and some basil. Cooks in about 1:30 in the pizza oven. Barring that I will take NY-style from any local hole in the wall any day (pepperoni + mushroom, or anything really).

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I regret it every time I eat Chicago-style pizza. It makes me feel like I ate a bag of lead weights.

      The right pizza is how the people in Napoli do it. Smaller, crispier, and less soggy than typical New York pizza, with real fresh mozzarella. Typical toppings are ham, mushrooms, and maybe a fried egg.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        Truth be told an egg improves just about anything. Egg on a pizza, yes please. Hard boiled egg in salad. For sure. Fried egg on a burger–top shelf. Poached egg on rice with kimchee, darn tootin’. Egg nog, but of course! Grilled Gruyere with ham and an egg? Now that’s a party. Spaghetti alla carbonara, fantastico! Of course don’t forget that egg cooked in your ramen (real ramen, not the crap in a foam cup).

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

          “Fried egg on a burger–top shelf.”

          OMG STFU LOLOLOL

          Kidding aside, I absolutely LOVE a fried egg on my burger. Just don’t ruin it with onions.

          Damn. Now you got me hungry for a nice big burger. :)

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Fried egg on a burger…Love it ! Plate of deep brown Beans, with a fried egg on top…to kill for !

            Me thinks my cardiologist may have a different view.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I rode home from the hospital in a VW Beetle, which seemed appropriate since I was conceived in (what was then West) Germany.

    My earliest memory in a car was sitting in dads Monte Carlo (80s, G body, turbo 6 cylinder, total lemon). When that POS left us stranded for the last time, dad traded it in on a 1985.5 Ford Escort 3 door and a 1985 Ranger with the slug Mazda 2.0L.

    The Escort shot a spark plug out of its head one morning on the way to school in 1989. I still remember the loud pop, and then the unmistakable sound of engine compression uncontained. My dad repaired it himself and it was a good car otherwise until it was totalled in 1992.

    The Ranger was traded in on a new Aerostar in 1990. This was our defacto family vehicle until 1997, by which time I was a teenager in high school (I was the youngest). It was traded in on a leftover new 1996 Mustang V-6/5spd for my brother. He beat the crap out of it until my dad took it back and traded it in on a 1998 F-150. The 4.6L F-150 didn’t like pulling our large camper over the mountains, so it was traded in on a 1999 F-250 that my dad still drives to this day.

    After the Aerostar was gone, my mom didn’t really have a car of her own again until they bought her a program 1997 Mercury Sable GS with very few miles. I drove it, or rather beat the phuck out of it, through my last two years of high school, when my crappy import clunkers wouldn’t run (83 Mazda B2000 Sundowner, 1985 Nissan Sentra and the absolute worst, a 1983 Toyota TurdCell SR-5 4wd wagon with plad seats).

    I did grow up to like Fords, and I’ve even owned several Aerostars, but my favorite Ford’s as a child were not the ones in our driveway. Even back then, I really liked the gen 1/2 Taurus and the Tempo. Didn’t change over the years as I wanted a Tempo coupe with a manual so bad in high school, lol, it was crazy.
    I finally bought myself a Tempo after graduating, and I settled for a sedan with an automatic, but I loved that little light blue ’94 like it was a brand new SVT Mustang.

    • 0 avatar

      Which did you like more, the Tempo 5-speed or the idea of Ione Skye from “Say Anything” behind the wheel?

      Given my memory of the Tempo and general love for brunettes, I’d go for Ione every time.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        I had to Google that. I had no idea what you were talking about. (Well, “brunettes” was a clue.)

        I have to say that question is not applicable to me, as I am gay. I had a (male) crush in high school, but I suppressed my sexuality, dated females and mostly concentrated on cars and getting drunk at school without getting caught…until I did get caught with a nearly-empty bottle of Wild Turkey in my bag LMAO.

        My parents were strictly against alcohol consumption by anyone at any time, so I guess I was just a typical rebellious teenager at that time, hell bent on doing exactly what I was forbidden to do. Listening to 2Pac and Master P CDs on my diskman, pouring liquor in my Mountain Dew in the school greenhouse (best place for privacy during lunch break lol).

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          We drank white rum and root beer in high school. Right in the cafeteria during lunch, out of coloured pop (not soda, we were in Canada) bottles.

          At least until one of our buddies whose father had served in the U.S. forces occupying Japan came up with a better idea. Loaded up a container of sake that they brewed/distilled at home in one locker, cut a hole from it into an adjoining one, ran a hose into the 2nd locker and used it to dispense/bootleg the sake. Ran that scam for 2 full school years.

          But back then attitudes were much different.

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    My childhood memories are attached to a 71 lesabre, green white a white vinyl top, no ac, am radio only. My dad did spring for the hard plastic covering over the seats to protect them. As far as in-ride coddling goes, of course there was none. I was also too big to ride on the rear window shelf. But I have great memories of watching all the other cars, trucks, and road construction, which I would promptly recreate when we got home with legos and matchboxes. Also some funny memories of ma and pa bickering, and arguments over whether or not open windows degraded gas mileage.

  • avatar

    When I was born, a 69 Chevelle coupe and a 76 Chevelle sedan, then an 84 Olds Delta 88 sedan and the 76, then a 92 Buick LeSabre, the 84 Olds, and I got the 76 Chevelle as a 16th birthday present. Mom always got the new car, and Dad would get the hand-me-down.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Age 0-5: a 1976 Mazda RX-3 wagon that had a lot of issues and was prone to loud backfiring that annoyed the neighbors.

    Age 5-7: a Euro-spec 1981 Golf GLS with the 1.3-liter engine and (sob) a three-speed automatic.

    Then my parents divorced. In my mom’s household, the family car for the rest of my childhood was a 1981 Chevette with the gas engine and a four-speed. In my dad’s household, it was first a POS 1979 Range Rover and then a 1990 Discovery that was one of the very first off the line and turned out to be even more of a POS.

  • avatar
    ColoradoFX4

    Like most everyone, we had a few. The ones that stick out are a 1975 Civic CVCC in bright green (the “Green Pickle”), a 1974 blue LTD Country Squire (“Blue Whale”), and a 1987 Taurus LX wagon. The Civic toted me and my toddler siblings around on a day-to-day basis until leaking engine oil killed it off in 1991. The LTD was our road trip vehicle, making annual excursions to Omaha and Houston (overheating at least once every trip), getting an astounding 11 MPG from the big 460. The LTD died about 1993, at which point it was used as a kind of storage shed for a few years before being hauled to the scrap yard.

    Then there was the Taurus, the family chariot through most of the ’90s. Trips for hockey tournaments, skiing, and numerous trips up to the family cabin in the mountains. I don’t know how many hours of sleep I got in the back seat of that car, or how many times I forced my parents to play the first cassette I ever bought on the tape deck, but the fond memories are tattooed to my brain. We managed to wring 360k miles out of that car, all on the original Vulcan and only one rebuild of the AXOD, with too many sets of tires, brake pads, and struts to count.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    We had a 1986 420SEL and a 1979 XJS V12 coupe by the time I was old enough to know what was going on in the late 80s. Dad managed a shop, so that made the labor bearable. Once he left the shop the XJS was replaced with a Mark VII LSC (yawn).

    It’s doubtful they influenced my preference for anything other than displacement. I respect those old Mercs but I don’t consider the spirit of the company that built them to be any more alive today than Jaguar from that era.

  • avatar
    JohnB

    My mom had a turd brown 1981 Chevette (Scooter) – that’s the most stripped down model you could get. It had a heater and a 4-speed stick. That was it. It didn’t even have a glove box door. I’m talking cheap here. I think it made it to about 60k miles when she was able to get something better… Life on the wrong side of the tracks – good times.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Now I know I grew up elite, because my mom’s red ’81 Chevette had a glovebox. Shiny chrome wheel covers from a Citation, too…

      That thing got to 130k miles and still ran OK, although the mufflers were on an annual rust-out cycle.

  • avatar
    jkross22

    1976 or 77 Gray Pontiac. It was a POS, but I do remember going to look at Fords with the old man and zeroing in on a 2 door Pinto wagon with a portal window in back. Groovy.

    1978 Oldsmobile Eighty Eight DIESEL – It’s hard to describe how bad this car was. I remember the seats felt like parchment paper. That’s not a good thing for leather. This was a brown car. Brown exterior, interior and exhaust.

    1980 or so Oldsmobile Ninety Eight – Another pos, but better than the diesel – it’s the first car my parents let me start. I flooded the engine a few times because it was cool to press the accelerator and rev that V8. I remember the overly plush green velour interior, the cruise control toggle switch on the dash and the Dolby B button the most.

    When my mom decided it was time to get rid of the Ninety Eight in 1985, I got to see what good cars were like. I remember being in the first Acura Legend and thinking how great it was. Same thing when she bought a Cressida. It was brown and it had a brown velour interior, but holy crap, that was about the only thing it had in common with the GM garbage of that era. I thought the EFI badges, graphic equalizer and transmission mode buttons were really cool.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    My Mom drove a 1968 Ford Country Squire green with woodie sides, and covered headlamps. She called it Priscilla. Then by 1977 Priscilla had cancer so bad, it was time for her to go. Mom then got a ’77 Chrysler Cordoba with fine Corinthian Leather, Anto on the floor, fully loaded with a 400 engine. She loved that car, but still missed Priscilla…Her true friend.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    My parents drove a base ’85 Sunbird and base ’90 Sonata, followed by a base ’93 Plymouth Sundance, and a pair of basic Grand Caravans (’89 and ’99). I more or less stuck with the adherence to relatively basic vehicles, and not buying more than you need (minivans are pretty cool, too). On the other hand, I veered heavily (thanks to an Asperger’s-driven devotion to reading car magazines) and want stuff that’s fun to drive.

  • avatar
    MartyToo

    Our family car was typically a less than two year old Chevy Belair class station wagon. (The wagon name varied a bit during those years.) Dad had a business that made daily customer deliveries. His partner didn’t drive due to eye problems. Starting in 1957 Dad was able to justify trading his full size Chevrolet every two years. Early on this extravagance used to cost less than $1 per day.

    If Dad could trade for $2000 or less it cost him only $500 out of pocket. Taxes ram about 50% when adding state and federal in the early 60’s. Of the $1000 left his partner was on the hook for half meaning 730 days of driving for somewhere around $500.

    This went on until 1975 when Dad tried a Malibu wagon that I eventally inherited (from my brother). I think that was the last two year trade in because price increases finally outstripped his wallet. Interestingly with the downsizing in 77 he went back to a full size wagon. He eventually bought sedans because an uncle used Dad as an ersatz delivery boy.

    We also talked him into an upgrade to the Kingswood Estate in 1971. But I don’t think he bought air conditioning in our upstate New York locale until the late 70’s or early 80’s.

    His typical options were automatic transmission, AM radio – beginning in 61 or so, wheel covers, back up lights and exterior mirrors!

  • avatar
    lon888

    Oldsmobiles and Chevrolets and then the 70’s came along with poorly built cars. Hello Nissan and then Hondas forever.

  • avatar
    Firestorm 500

    1956 Mercury Monterey 2-door hardtop, turquoise and white. 1959 Ford Galaxie 500 2-door hardtop, white with red interior. Later, a 1965 Galaxie 500 same doors and colors.

    My parents gave the ’65 to me when I turned 16 in 1971.

  • avatar
    NOSLucasWiringSmoke

    I could write a short book about a series of boring cars, but it’s a long enough post to hit these highlights of family cars that have stayed with me over the years:

    1) Babycrap green 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle sedan: my grandparents’ car, and the first car I “drove” myself, at the ripe old age of 18 months after my grandmother distractedly left me standing on the front seat with the engine running while she helped my then-8-months-pregnant mother load shopping in a mall parking lot. No brake/gearshift interlocks in those days, so when I grabbed the column shift lever and pulled it went into gear and started rolling away. Some quick action by Nan (then about 45, still with us at 83) got it stopped before I inaugurated a drive-in service at a local doctor’s office. This must have got me started as a gearhead, as my mother says that by the age of two I could name every car I saw.

    2) Metallic blue 1977 Chevelle coupe, the first car I spent a lot of time in with my parents. Pre-seatbelt laws, I perched on the driveshaft “hump” and leaned on the back of the bench seat between my parents so I could car-spot. First car that Dad let me sit on his lap and drive, on an old airforce runway. It was a base model (six, automatic, AM radio) but it was a cockroach. My father made a mistake getting rid of it, his mechanic (still working on my parents’ cars now) bought it from him and his wife drove it for years afterward.

    3) Silver with blue landau roof 1982 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais: not the N-body, but a rarely-seen G-body model with buckets, console, gauge package, and disappointing 267 under the hood. The family car from 1986-92, during which time I graduated to driving myself (albeit not yet legally) and graduated from the old Harmon AFB runway to back roads. My parents didn’t want a 4-door with two young boys, but by the time they got rid of it I was 15 and 6’1 (luckily skinny in those days), climbing in and out of the back of that thing was a real pain. Might have lasted longer but my father is very lackadaisical about maintaining cars.

    4) Babycrap-green-with-rust-accents 1981 VW Rabbit 3-door, my late Uncle/godfather’s car, the other family gearhead who was a mechanic and taught 13-year-old me to drive stick in it on backroads. Heady stuff.

    5) Red 1992 VW Passat: Poverty-spec CL sedan, 4-cylinder, 5-speed; the car we had high hopes for as a Cutlass replacement but turned out to be a lemon extraordinaire. Nonetheless, it survived seven years, 170,000 km, and two teenage drivers, it just had less and less stuff on it that worked as the years went by. The car I drove to prom, and that my parents drove when they dropped me off at University (Go Mounties!). Also the car that gave me a skepticism of Volkswagens that has lasted my entire adult life.

    6) Honourable mention: silver 1989 Chevrolet Corsica with obligatory GM 80s Bordello Burgundy (TM) cloth interior, 2.8 V-6, 3-speed auto; my grandmother’s car frequently borrowed by 17-20-year-old me, and the car in which I took my actual drivers’ licence road test in 1993. Soft, soft suspension and mucho body lean, but when you’re a teenager and it’s a car you can get hold of to go running around with your friends, who cares?

  • avatar
    Chan

    In Hong Kong:
    W116 MB 280 SE
    E34 BMW 525i
    W126 MB 300SE
    Mk1 Nissan Serena

    In California:
    Gen1 Previa

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    First I remember was a ’68 (I think) VW Bug. Then my parents bought a fire engine red ’70 Monte Carlo and that ended up being the car I learned to drive in and the one that made me a GM guy, at least for awhile (My dad also had a couple of Chevy trucks and a Blazer in those years). My first several cars were all GMs; even the beaters I had in Germany were Opels. But that preference didn’t stand the test of time. Although we always only bought new American cars and trucks, my wife and I have only owned one GM product in the 25 years we’ve been married, a 1994 Chevy S-10. The preference for buying only American cars finally went by the wayside last year when be both bought German cars, an MB C450 and a Porsche Macan.

  • avatar
    CobraJet

    The first car I remember was a new 55 Oldsmobile. My folks liked GM and Ford products. Later there was a 59 Ford Fairlane and then a new 64 Impala followed by a new 69 Pontiac Lemans that I eventually bought from them when I got married. They were all very reliable, especially the 69 Pontiac I drove up until 1983.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    Dad owned F150s from the early 80s until the mid 90s. He then owned consecutive F250s before closing doors on his own concrete construction company in the early 00s and started working for Kokosing and the other big construction outfits. He has a pair of Tacomas now (beater ’96 and a TRD offroad ’11).

    Mom had some sort of sedan/wagon when I was born but jumped to a Bronco II when my middle brother was born. When my youngest brother came along, it was ’91 Explorer, ’95 Explorer, ’97 Yukon, and ’02 Explorer.

    As far as their influence, I’ve never owned a Ford. I begged them to not buy the ’92 Tempo they were considering as my first car and instead got a ’93 Impreza that dad’s friend’s wife owned. I basically swore up and down that I’d never own an SUV and always went sport compact and hot hatches when it as my own money. After several unpleasant drives through heavy snow in my hot hatches over the eastern continental divide and being unable to fit much of anything in the hot hatches, I bought a body on frame SUV. I’ve owned a ’10 4Runner, ’14 Rav4 (hit by an Ohio driver, else I’m sure I’d still have it), and a ’16 4Runner, so my buying preference for the family car mirrors my mom’s pretty closely.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Born in 71. Family car at the time was a 68 Chrysler Newport. Dad had a 65 Mustang convertible but it was a beater;torn top, rusty bumper. That was the fun weekend car for me and my dad. In 75 my Mom got a new Plymouth Valiant Brougham 2 door, brown with tan vinyl top and a slant six. We thought it was sporty because it had bucket seats. Then a 78 Buick Lasabre and then an 81 Buick Electra Park avenue.

  • avatar
    TheIrvMan

    Age 0-4- Mom’s MK2 VW Jetta
    0-8 1981 Chevy Scottsdale pickup
    8-11 1991 Chevy Silverado (worst vehicle my dad has ever owned)
    11-present 2008 Chevy Silverado
    4-12 1999 Chevy Venture Extended
    12-present 2009 Honda Fit

    My dads habit of purchasing GM mediocrity has really dissuaded me from purchasing/lusting after GM products while my moms Jetta planted my deep fandom of Volkswagen

    The Venture came into the family when my brother was born, it was a real POS, the electric sliding doors would open when reversing, the alarm had to be disabled due to it randomly coming on, and the power windows crapped out. We should of gotten a Grand Caravan or odyssey/sienna but my dads GM fan boyism got in the way.

    During the ventures tenure in our family my dad drove a 1991 silverado which he has quoted as being the worst vehicle he has ever owned. It was unreliable, rusty and at one point the previous owner needed to fix gas tank,so instead of removing the bed the PO cut it and peeled it back like a can of sardines and proceed to put it back together with caulking and covered it with a plank of plywood so an unsuspecting buyer (AKA my dad) wouldn’t notice. It was sent in for clash for clunkers in 2009 so my mom could buy her Honda Fit.

    My dads current ride, a 2008 silverado is alright but is starting to show it’s age with new rattles and a multitude of idiot lights.

    The fan-boyism got in the way when we were looking for my first car. I kept giving possible candidates but he kept shooting them down, “oh you won’t like that” “one of those caught on fire” “Oh BLAH BLAH BLAH”. I ended up with a 1998 Saturn SL2, it was decent and good on gas but the quality was awful, it was uncomfortable and it was a pain to park because of it’s pathetic turning circle. I sold it recently and got a low mileage (89,000km) 2002 Golf which is superior in every way

    My Grand parents vehicles have really kept with me. From age 0-12 my grandmother drove a 1992 Metallic silver Buick Regal GS coupe with imitation leather that would almost burn me and my brothers fingers upon touch in the summer. When my younger cousins got older they purchased a used early 2000’s Grand Am to shuttle us all around, the Grand Am was purchased during the bailout so they probably got it for a killer deal;they still have it, but it has been giving them some trouble recently. My grand father drove a dangerously rusty bright orange (aka The Pumpkin Truck) 1986 F-150 Custom with the inline 6, it was a former rail fleet vehicle, no options beside 4×4. He sold it when I was 14 or so, I remember making the craigslist ad for it, sold for $400, I regret not buying it.He replaced it with a faded red 1991 or 1993 (I can’t recall) Mazda B2200, the first Japanese vehicle he’s ever owned, it’s been really solid but the transmission is starting to crap out, it’s a shame since its very low mileage (150,000km) and in very good condition.

    Point of interest-before the 86 F-150 my grandfather daily-ed a black and green 56 F Series, but this was before I was born.

    Another influencing vehicle has been my grand fathers 1929 Ford Model A, he restored it to be what he would’ve liked his first car (another 29) to end up like back in the day. It has shown me what happens when you have passion and has also taught me a thing or two about wrenching.

  • avatar
    onyxtape

    1987 Mitsubishi Colt – split in half after being hit by a Suburban.

    1989 Plymouth Reliant – a guy was coming to look at it and buy it, so we washed it; then it stopped working.

    1987 Honda Accord – flip up headlights! 100hp took 5 people over the Rockies and back. I sold it in the mid-90s with 230k miles and it’s still seen being used as a pizza delivery vehicle as I type this.

    1994 Mazda MPV – lots and lots of issues that scummy dealer would not help to fix under warranty. Comfortable car, though.

    1999 Malibu – fell apart and puked radiator fluid fully promptly at 100k miles.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    We had a couple, since my mom has always had terrible luck with cars.

    Oldest I remember is the 1984 cream colored Toyota Tercel. That got totaled after TWO front end collisions.

    Next was the 1987 Lincoln Town Car in white with blue cloth top and blue interior with wire wheels. Guzzled gas like a mofo and the rear window motors were already burnt out (this was like 2000!), but man was it nice to ride in!

    Then there was the 1999 Mitsubishi Mirage. That thing was just the worst. Small, loud, uncomfortable, totally lame. That got rear-ended and totaled and was replaced with…

    …a 1999 Oldsmobile Cutlass. Yes, the fancy Malibu. Nice car, it had a leather interior and plenty of options! But then either the head or intake gaskets failed (good old 3100 quality) and its engine was about to blow up so it was replaced with…

    …the 2005 Chevrolet Malibu Classic. Which was essentially the same car except worse in every way. Scratchy cloth, 4 cylinder instead of V6, less options…the only thing good about it is that it’s cockroach tough, as it’s now my sister’s car.

    Now my mom has a 2005 Sonata, last year of the Jaguar S-Type wannabe design. It drives nice and it’s quiet, but it has electrical problems and issues with trim bits coming unglued…still better than the Malibu though, and it has heated front seats!

    My parents divorced when I was young, but I know my dad had a mid 90s Grand Am, a 2003 V6 Mustang, and now a 2012 GT. Maybe something else between the Grand Am and the Mustang that I don’t remember.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    From my birth until the early 90s, we had a 84 Plymouth Voyager with the Mitsubishi 4 cylinder. POS car that had engine run-on issues. This happened at my grandmother’s funeral no less. It was stool brown.

    After the Voyager, my dad bought a 1990 Honda Accord EX w/5 speed manual in navy blue. They were everywhere during that time. Our neighbor had an identical Accord that was purchased around the same time. We still have the Accord and it runs just as good as it did when we bought it.

    Once the Voyager went to junkyard heaven after sitting in our driveway for a few years, we got another MOPAR product. 1993 Jeep Cherokee Sport. We loved it, then it was stolen in Conyers, GA before a flight to California. It was recovered, but we’d already purchased another car, which was…

    1998 Honda Passport EX. By this time, I was the only child of three in the house and I went off to college in 2002. This was the last of the family cars before my parents started buying luxury sedans and Vettes.

  • avatar
    Dann

    During the 90s, my post-divorce mother owned a Maroon ’77 Chrysler/Mitsubishi Sigma SE, a silver ’78 Holden VB Commodore, a red ’84 Nissan Bluebird wagon that was terrible for rust in the roof, a blue ’79 Ford XD Fairmont and a blue ’92 Holden VP Commodore, between my ages of 7 and 17.

    My father owned a revolving door of ’78-81 VB-VC Commodore V8s, a ’70 Holden HG Kingswood V8, a ’78 Ford Fairmont GXL V8 wagon, and a blue ’83 6-cylinder VH Commodore.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The first car I really remember was a 1975 Chrysler Newport. Yes, the Chrysler with the electronic ignition for the one model year. Yes the same one that if rained, snowed, was foggy, went through a car wash, dog peed on the tire, spilled a glass of milk in the house, it would not start.

    The car was 70s avocado green on the outside and strained peas baby food green on the inside. Six-passenger vinyl seats. Even as a tiny kid I hated being seen in that car. I hope the car was killed with fire when it was traded in just two years later.

    That was replaced in 1977 with a Caprice Classic station wagon, with the 305 V8, brown with faux woodie panels and tan vinyl interior. Was a great car, my dad kept it for 7 years, which for that era was a long time. I don’t remember it giving us any problems.

    My parents divorced and my mother’s first car was a 1977 Caprice sedan in two-tone blue. It was bought used, and had every option, including the 350 V8, believe it had LSD, know it had the F41 suspension package. Me and my siblings were lining up to call dibs on who would get it as their hand me down car. It wasn’t to be. In 1981 it was totaled when my mother was run off the road and crashed into a stone wall. No one wore seat belts then and how we walked away from that crash without eating dashboard or windshield I’ll never know. I remember the only vice this car had was the AC would go out once a year. I don’t remember it being a major issue (I think it just need a recharge each spring, so likely some small leak somewhere). Other than that it was as solid as a…well you know. We were all very sad to see how it met its end. She would have likely gotten another 5 or 6 years out of the car.

    This was replaced by a 1981 Caprice sedan, with the 3.8L V6 rated at a paltry 110HP. It was the last American product my mother owned. It was horrid. It lived at the dealer. Endless problems with multiple systems. Gutless. I was behind the wheel when it got totaled by a drunk driver that took the entire front clip off. Thankfully wearing a seatbelt at that point. Hit my head so hard against the side window I was knocked out. Of course I was out for an “unauthorized” drive. Thanks for not killing me mom (no seriously – thank you)

    The last car my family had before I got my driver’s license was a 1984 Dodge Caravan. My father put a total of 287 miles on it when the engine self destructed because it was assembled wrong at the factory. After that fiasco it was very reliable. Dad kept that van for over 10 years – he was always meticulous with his vehicles. It was cranberry on the outside and 80’s bordello red on the inside. The biggest thing I remember is how roomy it was compared to the sedans I grew up in, despite being smaller.

    Dad got a Buick Regal next, want to say in 1994 but could be wrong. I remember it was a really nice car. The only thing it suffered from was the paper thin crap rotors GM was putting on the W-bodies of that era that were constantly hopelessly warped. You might as well have just replaced them at each oil change. My father died in October 1999.

    Mom gave up driving last year, and sold her 2003 Camry to a friend.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I remember driving *new* Chevy Malibus (the first gen of the resurrected nameplate, first FWD) with brake shudder. I remember a lady cussing and throwing a fit because her Malibu with all of 15k miles on the odometer was on its third set of brakes and the warranty wouldn’t cover any of them. GM sure knew how to pinch a penny in the 1990s/00s.

      I can remember the truck arriving with brand new Chevy S10s and Blazers, a couple of which wouldn’t start and we had to tow the damned things off the trailer and back to the service department so they could be made to run.

      I was a dealer transfer driver, one day I set off in a new Century. At around 35-39 miles (NOT a misprint), the SERVICE ENGINE SOON started flashing, it was losing power, and before I could even look for a place to pull off…”knock, knock, KNOCK, KNOCK…BOOM!” Yep, ready for a new engine with less than 40 phucking miles. My boss is all bitching at me, I’m like hey, I was doing 60 mph, not flooring it or beating on it, its not my fault its a pile of garbage.

      “Why is it every time I send you out in a car, it comes back on a tow truck?” I started to say “well, let’s go work at a Ford dealer and see if it still happens” but I bit my tounge. LOL Actually, it only happened twice, and the other time it was a Ford, an older Crown Vic which blew a lower radiator hose and of course I refused to ruin the engine by continuing to drive it, so I called a tow truck.

      Used Monte Carlo with 15k on it, stalls in the rain. Took me four hours to get back to the dealer during what should have been a 1.5 hour drive. Finally, when I got out of town and hit the 4-lane, I held it to the floor until I was forced to slow down due to heavier rain. It was the best way to keep it from dying on me.

      And they wondered why I worked at a GM dealer, but drove a Ford Tempo. Lol I had this crazy obsession with actually making it to work!

  • avatar
    Dave W

    My mom drove Ford or Mercury station wagons. My dad replaced his last Studebaker with Loyd, DKW, SAAB, Subaru and Toyota cars. He held onto the DKW when the 3 cylinder 2stroke in it burned up, hoping to electrify it some day.

    I currently drive a Taurus Wagon and just traded in a 5 speed Fiesta for a plug in C-Max. So, no influence at all.

  • avatar
    ericb91

    I was born in 1991, #4 of 5 kids.

    Dad drove a company car until 2001. Then he got Mom’s 1996 Grand Voyager -> 2004 Mazda 3 hatchback (bought when it was 4 years old) -> 2015 Mazda 3 hatchback (bought new, current car)

    Mom drove a 1990 Plymouth Grand Voyager (bought new) -> 1996 Plymouth Grand Voyager (bought new) -> 1998 Dodge Caravan (bought when it was 5 years old) -> 2002 Dodge Caravan (bought when it was 4 years old) -> 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan (bought new, current car)

  • avatar
    first_eored

    My dad was losing his sight and knew he wouldn’t be able to drive much longer. With my mom working and my brother and I both in a sport every season plus a job we needed a 2nd car (our existing car was an ’81 Plymouth Reliant K sedan with the Mitsubishi 2.6L “Silent-Shaft”). Since I’d been saving up for a car since 6th grade (I wanted a Mustang) he let me influence the decision. His criteria were: American, four-doors, room for 5, not too big or expensive, and, sadly, auto-trans. My only remaining unobjectionable criteria were: rear-wheel drive. Can you guess what we got? The PERFECT sleeper: 1985 Ford LTD LX. It shared with the Mustang: Fox chassis, 5.0 V8, handling suspension. Bonus, it was white with black trim. Looked just like an unmarked police car. We had one of those Kojack magnetic lights. My buddy got a small siren and a handheld bullhorn. We’d go out on “patrol” for our friends (or enemies) and scare the hell out of them. Great fun. Today I still prefer low-selling, sleeper performance cars. If Mazda ever puts the CX-9’s 2.5 Turbo into the Mazda6 I’m getting one.

  • avatar

    The first car I remember was a white ’59 Plymouth Belvidere. Too young to know what engine it had under the hood. The next was a white ’66 Dodge Coronet 500 with a 383 Hemi powering it. By that time I was old enough – high school freshman – to care and thought it was a cool car. Both were automatics. My dad also had a Ford F150 pickup which was a manual and was the vehicle I learned to drive a stick in. I should mention it was 3 kids in the Plymouth and 4 by the time we had the Dodge. Dad eventually bought a 67 Sport Fury for my brother and myself to drive. We neglected it to the point of it needing an overhaul. Painful lesson learned there.

    The effect: not really sure if there is any correlation. I tend to like cars based mainly on looks, sporty if possible money wise and not white if I have a choice. Being financially challenged – two jobs one paying $11/hour; the other $11.50 – I will not have the car I “really” want most likely. My first two cars were both Dodge Chargers – a ’72 (gold) and an ’84 Shelby (garnet). After the ’84 I owned a ’95 Escort wagon (white). I am currently driving what used to be the wife’s car – she is disabled and had her right leg amputated above the knee last year – a 98 Dodge Stratus (purple). Seems that the main influence on me is the brands I tend to buy. Can’t say that I would be exclusive in that area as money is the bigger factor in that decision.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    My earliest memory of what my dad drove was a used late 50s/early 60s white Vauxhall Victor. Next was the tan ’64 Plymouth station wagon with a slant six, followed by a blue ’67 Dodge Polara 500 4-door sedan with a 318, then a green ’71 Dodge Dart 4-door (again with a 318). Next he picked up a brown (formerly white) ’68 Beaumont 4-door with a 307, then a black ’72 Chrysler Newport sedan with a 400, which I used to take my driver exam in. (aced the parallel parking).

  • avatar
    peeryog

    For at least 25 years all our family of 5 had was a Jeep Wagoneer. It was utilitarian and tough, with vinyl bench seats and a Vigilante V8. It had a roof rack on top filled with spare wheels as tires didn’t seem to last very long then. That and spare gas cans. It hauled our boat every weekend to the beach and back. It climbed long dirt trails and winding savannahs and we slept in its back beneath the stars. Parts were hard to come by so underneath the hood was a sea of yellow from parts adapted from Caterpillar tractors.Once when towing the boat a brake line burst . My dad got the Jeep stopped and repaired the hose and then replaced the fluid with water from a nearby river. It got us home and worked well until he fixed it properly . So many good memories of that Jeep that it has influenced me to this day. When we all left home Dad sold it and bought an Audi A4.

  • avatar
    Eromitlab410

    Most memorable of the early family rides was our silver Opel 1900 wagon. It was a manual and my grandfather and aunt also owned them so the family combined had three. Actually four at one point because both my grandparents owned matching Opel wagons. They weeent much in the performance dept and they were small as heck, but the styling was early 70s euro-Buick cool. These were the same era as the Opel GT, which was a beautiful little car.

    Honorable mention goes to my stepmother’/ BMW 733i, which I never should have been allowed to drive at my young age :). What were they thinking?!? And thanks to that it led to ownership of five different BMW’s in adulthood and continued E28 and E30 lust,

    But the Opel wagon makes me lust for things like Subie WRX wagons of the last decade and Mazda3 hatches. :)

  • avatar
    vwgolf420

    When I was really young we had a 75 Pomtiac Lemans in silver with black vinyl interior and a pale green 1969 Buick Skylark with a slightly darker green interior. My dad also had a 1971 MG Midget that I have only the vaguest memories of. The Skylark went to my car parents and they kept into the early 1990s. The cars were replaced with 1968 Chevelle an aunt gave us (the Lemans was a major lemon) and a 1982 Chevette that they bought on my sixth birthday. I loved crawling into the hatch area.-this may be why my last three cars–a Protégé 5, an Elantra, and a Golf–have all been hatchbacks. My parents divorced and my dad bought a 1985 Mazda 626 he kept about six or seven years and my mother eventually had to replace the Chevette and bought a 1986 Cavalier which was an even bigger piece of garbage that leaked oil almost from day one. She replaced that with a 1989 Mazda 323 that she drove for years. I learned to drive in it.

  • avatar
    71charger_fan

    I vaguely remember some old wagon that met it’s end after hitting a deer. I remember that being replaced by a new ’64 Rambler American 2-door, straight six, three on the tree. The only options were a heater and radio. That got traded on a ’68 Plymouth Satellite 2-door with a 318. That Satellite was a pretty car and that little 318 made it feel like a race car compared to the Rambler. I was upset when they traded that Plymouth on a new Fury III in ’72. The worst part, as it turned out, was that the Fury was the first car we had with air conditioning. After the reality of being trapped in an air conditioned car with two chain smokers set in, I grew to hate the air conditioning.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Like so many families in the late 80’s and early 90’s, a first gen Taurus and second gen Dodge Grand Caravan served the longest as our family haulers. Generic!

  • avatar
    daviel

    A ’53 Olds 88, and a ’56 Olds 98, first car I drove over 100 mph, at 16.

  • avatar
    mmo1184

    In my family, the earliest memories of cars were the following: My mom had a 1981 Buick Century Wagon that overheated frequently which eventually led to it being replaced by a new 1988 Plymouth Grand Voyager LE with fake wood that was kept until 1993 and it had over 100k miles on it, there were definite problems with that car as it got older, air conditioning and transmission I think. That van was replaced by a 1994 white Grand Voyager LE with the 3.8 V6, I remember it stickered for around $26k. My dad had a charcoal 1985 Audi 4000S which was replaced with a 1993 Mercury Sable LS, first and only leased car in my family. My other early memories were when we lived with my Grandparents and my Grandfather had a 1978 blue on blue Impala which was replaced by a 1987 maroon on maroon Caprice Classic.

  • avatar
    OzCop

    Wow…long thread so will keep this relatively short. First car I remember dad owning was a 47 Chevy Deluxe 4 door, then a 48 Chrysler sedan, 4 door…the first car he owned that really caught my attention was a 50 Oldsmobile Futuramic 88, sea foam green and the torpedo style we currently call fast back. Then a black 52 Olds 88, until he purchased a blue and white 56 Olds, 4 door hardtop. Next came a 58 Olds 4 door hardtop, beige in color, and a danged good looking car. His first brand new car was a 60 Oldsmobile 4 door hardtop, maroon, and loaded. His next new purchase was a 65 Olds F85 sedan. A couple years later, he felt he needed a larger car, and bought another Oldsmobile, 68 model.He totaled that car in 70, and I talked him into buying a new 71 Chrysler Newport 4 door. He chose a blue and white model that was very well loaded, with a 400 cu. in. motor, finally breaking out of the Oldsmobile mold. He really liked that car and drove it until he retired. He bought a new Ford customized van, and he an mom traveled the country.
    All that said, the car I liked and remember most fondly back in those days was one my cousin owned. He bought a new 57 Oldsmobile, 2 door hardtop, red and gray two tone paint, a special J 2 model with 3 speed stick shift on the column, and three 2bbl carbs. I loved that car, but was far too young to think about ever having one.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    1951 Studebaker Champion Starlight Coupe
    1958 Ford Fairlane 500 4-Door Sedan
    1964 Chevrolet BelAir 4-Door Station Wagon
    1969 Chevrolet Townsman
    1977 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser

  • avatar
    geo

    In 1980 I was six years old. My dad’s friend ran a Volvo dealership and he wanted to sell us a used diesel Rabbit as our family car. I sat in the hatch area during the test drive and wondered if they called it a Rabbit because it had such a bouncy ride.

    My dad bought it, a beige 78 diesel, and me and my two older siblings spend much of the next five years crammed in the back seat. If a friend joined us, I would sit in the hatch area.

    For a couple of those years, we also had a ’73 Volvo wagon, which was an unreliable piece of junk. But that’s a other story.

    My dad was a gas mileage enthusiast, and he would sometimes tailgate semitrucks to pick up the tailwind (the truck drivers really loved that). Gas mileage was great, but the car spent much of its time at Valley Autohouse in Abbotsford undergoing repairs, which I thought was normal, and he said he spent am average of 1200 bucks a year on repairs for it.

    When the Rabbit was struck by a Mexican truck driver in a California parking lot, and the driver conveniently forgot how to speak any English, my dad bought another Rabbit Diesel after a few months. This was a 1982 blue model with a sunroof! It, too was unreliable, though we kept it for four years and I learned to drive in it. My dad eventually gave it away after tiring of the constant repairs. The person he gave it to drove it another 200,000 kilometers with few problems, and my dad grimly surmised that he must have replaced every part.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My father’s 62 Chevy II 300 4 door with Powerglide with a Roman red exterior and matching interior special ordered new in the Fall of 1961. Both my brothers drove it and then I drove it. I kept the red paint waxed and shined. Loved that car.

    I also have memories of learning to drive and later driving my granddad’s blue 63 IH 1000 step side pickup with 3 on the tree.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    HA! I went home from the hospital in a ’52 Packard 200 4-door (the car my mom’s first husband bought new), and in ’65, the Ultramatic in it went out, and we borrowed cars or bummed rides with people (I can remember a Nova, a Studebaker Lark, and a Beetle) for several months, until my parents could get the down payment for a new car, a ’66 Rambler American 440 4-door (232 2-barrel, automatic, a/c, and AM radio). I can remember going to the dealer with my dad, to take delivery.

    My dad passed away a couple of years later, and my mom drove it until I was almost out of high school, when she bought her last car, a ’78 Chevy Malibu Classic 4-door (305 2-barrel, auto, a/c, AM radio). She had that car until she passed away in 2012 (it had just 72k on it, and went for a grand in the estate sale).

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    When I was small, my dad drove a ’68 Beetle and my mom drove a ’72 Buick Riviera. After that came a string of Chevrolets and Buicks until we got an ’86 Ford Aerostar.

    As I began driving, I had Buicks and Oldsmobiles until I got a Volvo.

    To this day, I think mom’s Riviera and the General Lee are the two reasons I love classic cars.

  • avatar
    jaycampy

    1995 Chevy Suburban LS (Mum)
    1972 Chevy C-10 Pick-Up w/ a 454 (Dad)
    1968 Chevy Camaro w/ a 327
    1997 Mazda 626 (sister)
    1995 Acura Integra GS-R Sedan (sister)

    My parents just recently sold the Suburban for a 2017 Suburban. My father’s pickup was totaled in front of my house by some teenager and he replaced it with a 2005 Silverado 1500. My sister’s ’97 Mazda was eventually replaced with a 2003 Mitsubishi Galant GTZ then other vehicles. My sister’s Acura was given to my mom after her family grew and she purchased a 2003 Chevy Trailblazer and a 2002 BMW 325i. Sadly, the Integra, was stolen from my driveway. I miss that car dearly and learned how to drive stick in it.

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