Remembering Things Past

The earlier post about our Blazer triggered one of the remaining functional neurons I have and sent me into a thoughtful recollection of my second car, a 1968 Mustang.  Car #1 died of a bent frame after taking on a palm tree in a regrettable lack of attention stemming from incomplete driving experience.  The Mustang followed later, after I’d saved my own money and Dad’s blood pressure returned to the upper-normal range. 

Car #1 was generously parent-provided.  The Mustang, as you likely guessed, was all on me, and fair enough.  For a $1000 in cash (the most I’d held in my hand at once thus far in my life), cash I had saved, the cream-yellow ’68 was mine.  Straight six, 200 c.i., four-speed.  Underpowered to be sure but in retrospect perfect for a lead-footed teen.  The interior was rough.  The engine had about 115,000 miles at the time I bought it.  It ran on leaded gas, for those of you who can recall such a thing.  Based on the Palm Tree Incident, everything except insurance was on me to buy.  I worked two jobs for what I needed before I developed my one-man neighborhood lawn cutting mafia.

And what a great time I had.  This was a car from the era where you truly could do stuff yourself.  I re-upholstered the interior completely.  I learned to tune it, change the oil, and do brake work.  I could nearly stand inside the engine compartment.  Everything was straightforward and easy to find.  Being carbureted, I could clean and adjust it myself.  After another embarrassing collision, I learned to do bodywork.  Sadly, I think, the day of being able to perform these routine tasks on a car is past us.  Looking under the hood on modern cars is confusing at best.  Our Caddy apparently never needs transmission fluid since there’s nowhere to put it in.  If there is, I can’t find it.  Fuel injection is beyond me.  Even if I had the training to do this stuff on late models, these days you still need a computer and specialized equipment to ensure proper calibration.

I eventually left for college, and Mom and Dad generously garaged the Mustang and drove it to keep the seals wet.  After two years, though, it was too much and they rightly needed their garage back.  It sold for $1500, and I regretted it at the time.  However, one other thing I learned from classic car ownership is that there’s always something going wrong, usually resulting in the car not even starting.  At this point in my life, things don’t slow down enough to deal with that. 

Perhaps later, in retirement, if I’m rich.

3 Responses to “Remembering Things Past”

  1. outkast86 Says:

    Just out of curiousity, what is the likelihood of becoming rich when you retire from the military?

  2. TABOOME Says:


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