Tell us about your First Car

My first car was a 1954 Dodge Meadowbrook, 2-door, Club Coupé. I bought it from my neighbor, who bought it new with almost every available option (and it came with all its original paperwork, sales slips, window stickers, etc…). The special option was the “Red Ram” Hemi V8 engine (not the huge hemi, but a “baby hemi,” 241 cu in, rated at 140 HP. It came with a three-speed, column shifter, with a Hydrostatic clutch (Fluid Clutch…) that worked like a torque-converter. You could let the clutch out in any gear and it acted just like an automatic with just one-gear. But to shift to any other gear, you had to use the clutch. Other options were the AM radio (with 7-buttons…), a heater, a defroster (both the heater and the defroster had different cores, and blower motors to push air through the heater or the defroster). It even had an air conditioner installed in the trunk, the compressor was powered by an electric motor and it ran vents under the seats and alongside the drive-train hump to cool the front. I miss that car…

I actually bought this car in 1965, a year before I could get my driver’s license. It belonged to my neighbor and he was selling it because it never started in the winter (we lived in Upstate New York) especially when it got to 20 degrees below… He wanted $100 for it (minimum wage was about $1.10 an hour, cigarettes cost about 25 cents and gas seldom hit 30 cents a gallon…). I only had $50 or so and he let me have it, with the balance due before I turned 16. It was about a month before I turned 16 when I paid it off. The next day he came over to the house with an old oil can. It had been cleaned out and it was stuffed with one-dollar bills (100 of them…). He told me that when he found out I wanted the car; he decided to give it to me. I asked why he made me pay for it then and he said it was to ensure I appreciated it, especially when I had to work so hard to earn the money. He also told me that he accepted the payments so I would learn that when you have an obligation, you meet that obligation…

I got my driver’s license one week after turning 16-years old. I passed the learner’s permit test the day I turned 16, but had to wait a whole week to schedule the driving test, it was perhaps the longest week on my young life…

I drove that wonderful beast for about 2-years before I “upgraded” to a '56 Chevy Belair, but that’s another story. I ultimately “sold” it to my neighbor’s nephew who made payments to me the same way I had; and I paid it forward with the same oil can when I returned the purchase price to him…

By the way, I never had any problem starting that Red Ram on the coldest winter day; after I changed the oil, I used 10w30. I found out a couple of years after I bought it that the mechanic at the local garage that my neighbor took the car to for all his service used straight 30-weight oil in the Dodge, since my neighbor would called him out when he needed a jump and it was one of the mechanic’s ways to pump up his business by “cheating” his customers…

Thank you for letting me trip down memory lane. Below are images I scanned from the original sales brochure that I still have but found decades after the Dodge was long gone… Photos of that Dodge are somewhere…


more interesting thread might be, what car did you drive in highschool. Since a 16 yr old is usually in school. Did a car cause any issues? Accidents? And so on.

1972 camaro ss/rs in High school. crager s/s all around L 60’s in rear. air shocks. traction bars, headers

MY first car was a $100 1948 Chevy as my college transportation for 3 years. It was reliable and had a powerful heater; one of my girlfriends called it “the heater with the car attached”.

It had 88,000 miles on it when I bought it, but had been owned by a military serviceman.

It took $3 to fill the tank then; same price as a good bottle of whiskey.
It also had a block hater, no doubt a useful gadget on a remote military base.

I started a subject about this this early last year but will respond again mine was a 1950 Ford I paid 40$ for it had a flathead V8 with 3 on the tree and overdrive I don’t know what the minimuum was or if there was one as I don’t know when it started but the going wage in my area was 50 cents a hour gas was 17 to 25 cents a gallon cigarettes was 20 to 25 cents a pack a coke a cola was 5 to 7 cents a bottle I could go on and on about the prices but I will stop there you get the idea.

Renegade, your mention of “3 on the tree” brought back sweet memories of those of us with “3 on the tree and one under the seat…” The one “under the seat” was not overdrive (which was in many cases a planetary gear set that fit in between the transmission and the tail shaft housing or rear end…) but rather an imaginary gear shift, where we really just jabbed the clutch in for a second or two, allowing the engine to crank up without a load, hoping that your car would surge ahead a bit faster…

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Glad I could bring back some good memories.

My first car was a hand me down 1982 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 3.8 (I guess) V6. My mom drove it, my sister then drove it, and then I got it. By the time I got it, the engine had been rebuilt once, the trans twice. It would stall at stops, the cruise control would randomly set, and if you took a hard right, the horn would blow. Damn car was a mess. I disconnected the horn and I’d put it in neutral and give it gas if I had to stop. The headliner sagged, so I had it recovered, but it sagged again. So I just took it out. Ultimately, the neutral drops proved to be the death (again) of the transmission and it left me stranded one Saturday night in a downpour. Dad had the trans rebuilt yet again and sold it. A few weeks later I saw it on the side of the interstate with an oil slick trailing behind it. I assume the trans puked it’s contents again, but I didn’t care enough to investigate. I’ve never owned another Pontiac and that car is probably why. To be fair to Pontiac, the car was pretty well worn out by the time I got it and the early 80’s were probably a low point for autos in general. I can’t think of an early 80’s anything that I’d really consider desirable off the top of my head. Except maybe a woman. One born in the early 80’s, not one in her early 80’s.


My first car in HS was a car I’d just as soon forget. It was a 58 Thunderbird with a 352 and a total dog. It soon went and I replaced it with a 59 Impala 2 DR HT which I would love to have today.

When I was a kid in the 50s my dad used to take me out and teach me to drive the 54 Dodge Coronet we had with the little 241 Hemi in it.

my dad had a 1968 dodge coronet 440 that I learned to drive in. he gave it to me before I got my camaro. I liked that car. never burned a drop of oil. to bad the 440 was the model number and not the engine. it had a 318 with a automatic and a 4dr. LOL

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My first car was a 1950 Chrysler New Yorker highlander 4 door sedan that I bought for $75.00 in 1968. It had an inline 8 cylinder flathead engine and a 4 speed semi-automatic transmission. The Highlander trim consisted of mohair upholstery in a Highlander plaid pattern with maroon leather bolsters. The 323 cubic inch engine was smooth as silk but woefully under powered. Folks who drove these big luxury cars valued comfort over speed.

Seems to me we have been through this once before. At any rate just after high school graduation in 1966 I bought a very used up 1960 Morris Minor. It was advertised for $175 but the dealer cut the price down to $150. Then when I went to pay for it, they said to make the check for $125. I should have read the tea leaves. It needed everything but I concentrated on form instead of function and painted it, tires, interior etc. Looked nice but still needed engine, transmission and brake work. I had given myself an upper limit of $250 to put into it and sold it when I hit that mark. Needed my money for school. The next summer, after my freshman year at college, I bought my 59 VW bug with the sun roof and that was a far more satisfying car until a kid T-boned me, then my 59 Pontiac tank.

About your 59 Impala I saw something many years ago that I would not have believed if I had not seen with my own eyes I know you are old enough to remember the old demolition derby’s I just happened to be there early enough to see them bring the cars in mid to late 40s and early to id 50s all heavy iron in the middle of that heavy iron was a 59 Impala 2 door HT I laughed to my self thinking the guy was crazy but I soon found out there was a method to madness as he came in third place out of a field of about twenty cars he used the tail fins to knock out radiators plus he was a good driver. As an aside I enjoyed watching them but I always wonder how many more old classics woul still be around if there was never demolition derby’s to take them out.

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They used to have a demolition derby now and then at the county fair here. That’s interesting about the 59 Chevy fins being used as a weapon. I would have never thought of it but it makes sense. Those fins were pretty strong. I would have cringed at seeing one of those cars destroyed though.

One year they had a mini demolition derby. It only consisted of Vegas, Pintos, Corollas, Datsun B 210s, and so on. Fun to watch the little guys slug it out.

Like you I would have never thought of using the fins but they were deadly as I said I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes and I did cringe because un like others I always thought the 59 was one of the best looking Chevys.

Back when I was still working I was at our terminal in Minn. when the state fair was going on I heard on the radio that they were going to have a demolition derby using combines I asked the mechanic about it as I had never heard of before knowing how expensive they are and he said it was true I would have loved to see it but was not going to happen till five days after I left.

My first car wasn’t until I was between my junior and senior year of college. My brother knew a guy who gave me a 53 Buick Special free if I gave him $40 for the 4 recap tires he had just bought. It was a heavy smoker, big cloud of blue oil smoke all the time, but it ran pretty well. I tried to drive it west to Colorado from New England and got to Springfield Ohio before it went ka-boof! at a traffic light and really started running weird. A guy in a gas station tested it and told me there was 0 compression in #1 and #2, in a straight 8. I found a backyard to work in, rented a box of tools and learned by doing - took off the oil pan and the head and replaced the two holed pistons with junkyard stuff, back together with all the old gaskets, started it and drove it to Colorado. Sold it at the end of the summer.

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Reprising what I’ve mentioned several times in the past, my first car was a 1973 Toyota Corolla handed down from my parents. Kept it twelve years and gave it back to them.

It was a reliable basic econobox that had a four hamster engine with an automatic transmission that still was problem free at sixteen years. I did fry three cylinders in its latter years and had to have those rebored. Other than that and one wheel bearing it required only routine maintenance.

A very reliable, functional little workhorse albeit unexciting and with glacial acceleration. But by the time I replaced it both rear quarter panels were mostly bondo and rattle can paint.

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DeLorean, but it is still in 1956


1961 olds dynamic 88 from my grandfather who got spinal cancer. I had to split the car with my sister, putting in the bare minimum of gas, .33 a gallon at that time. Being ignorant youths we thought adding oil was just as fine as an oil change. I got to trade it in for a Nova, my dad saw it on the side of the road shortly after trade in. Had a big v8, but the car was so heavy not able to take advantage of it. I keep remembering my grandfather saying if I knew you were gong to get it I would have bought a better car, no worries grandpa, it probably would have gotten trashed anyway.