Ask people around town to talk about their very first car and probably you’ll get answers running from, “Gee, I’m not sure. I think maybe it was a Chevy, a 60 something, not sure,” to “It was a red and white Ford Fairlane 500 with stick shift, blah blah horsepower, cam shaft framis with chrome wheels, a lighted glove compartment with a Pez dispenser and a Zippo in it.”
Some people know every detail of every car they’ve ever had. Others aren’t sure of the brand of the car they have now.
Let us share some answers to, “What was your first car (and/or) what was your favorite car?”
Nick Campo: “A 1966 VW Bug, black. My dad bought it from Hertz for $900 and I got it for my 16th birthday. I promptly painted a white racing stripe (i.e. Herbie) and red wheels. I installed a really bitchin stereo and blew the speakers on a weekly basis!
“I loved it because living in Chicago, in the winter if it didn’t start, I just got out, ran with it down the street, jumped in, popped the clutch and drove off. Also is was so light that it didn’t stop on snow, so I would just run it into the snow bank to stop, push it out and be on my way.”
Herb Savage, as told by EMILY: “A white, 1949 Mercury convertible, red interior and a black top. Herb bought it after service in World War II and college. It was our “dating” car and drove from our wedding in Miami in 1950 home to Illinois on our honeymoon. While I was driving I tapped the break but didn’t do it right and we flew across the intersection and wound up between two rows of orange trees.
“Herb woke up and said, ‘Where are we?’ He drove the rest of the way home.
“My favorite car is the 2003 white Cadillac I drive now, my favorite because it’s paid for.”
Joyce McFarland: “My first car was a gift from my grandfather, a ’71 Mercury Marquis, but my favorite was a 2001 oriental blue BMW 325Ci convertible. It was the first car I bought on my own. I planned to keep it 10 years or 100,000 miles, but the transmission failed at 57,000 miles. I replaced it and traded in the car.”
Mac Chaudhry: “A grey Honda Accord. Can’t recall the year. I bought it from a newspaper ad because it was cheap. I was a student and couldn’t afford an expensive car.
“My favorite car is the Lexus ES 350 because it’s reliable.”
Al Landers: “My first car was a Ford Gran Torino, black on black muscle car with a sunroof. Too cool.
“My favorite car was a Pontiac Trans Am, a 1984 five-speed I had custom made. Black on black of course.”
Mary Zachrich: “A 1965 Corsa Corvair, navy blue , 4/5 speed, bucket seats, great cigarette lighter! We were pretty cool chicks, or we thought we were.
“We had lots of stories having to do with that car. I loved driving it because of the shifting and how cool it was, down shifting to slow down! It was like racing. Wasn’t a lot to do in Defiance, Ohio in those days, just drive up and down Clinton St., through the Happy Humpty Restaurant and Frisch’s Big Boy, checking out the guys hanging out.
“My dad helped me buy the Corvair because I was saving my money for a white Honda 50. I saw it on a Beach Boys album cover. But Dad said, ‘No way you’re getting a scooter.’ ”
More to come ...
Next time, more Islanders reminisce about their first cars. Keith Dameron and Dave Rice could write books about their love affairs with their four-wheeled friends.
Send us your first car stories to share. Email email@example.com.
Chris Curle and Don Farmer have been writing for the Marco Eagle and other area newspapers for more than 30 years. They have a combined total of 99 years experience in major news media in the U.S. and abroad, including ABC News, NBC News, CNN, the Wall Street Journal and other newspapers and magazines. Their novel, “Deadly News,” is set partly in Marco Island.