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"It always wins trophies because of the story behind it."
August 22, 2007 12:24 AM   Subscribe

"She was the first and only girl I kissed in the car. It's priceless because of that, as far as I'm concerned." Clarence Cleveland Curtis, 84 years young, is still driving his first car, a 1929 Ford Model A he bought used (for $10!) as a teenager in 1938. It's the car in which he kissed his future wife 67 years ago, when he was 17 and she was 14... Related: "My First Car" at HotRodder, "My First Car" at Motortrend, and "My First Car" at "AutoWeek.
posted by amyms (40 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
For the record, my first car (purchased used in the mid 80s) was a 1978 Toyota station wagon, much like this one (and mine was that same faded banana-yellow too). I can't recall any magical memories in it (probably because it was killing my brain cells with its toxic fumes, which filtered up in milky "poofs" from the air vents) but it got me around town and that was all that mattered.
posted by amyms at 12:26 AM on August 22, 2007


Yikes, the first link wouldn't work for me after I cleared my cookies. Here's a BugMeNot registration for the NY Times article (sorry about that):

username: freespeach1
login: constitution
posted by amyms at 12:33 AM on August 22, 2007


It's the car in which he kissed his future wife 67 years ago, when he was 17 and she was 14.

Parents, watch out for sightings of this car in your neighbourhood.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:37 AM on August 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


My first car (in 1996) was a 1990 Pontiac LeMans with a mismatched hood bought by my mother's super-sketchy then-boyfriend for $1,000. One night on my 15-minute drive home from work the engine caught fire and left me stranded on a Oklahoma country road with no way to call for help until some passers-by lent me their cell phone.
posted by Brittanie at 12:40 AM on August 22, 2007


"...and she was 14..."

Damn right he married her, otherwise it would be, you know, worng.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:10 AM on August 22, 2007


The story is slightly less heartwarming when you find out he has 25 cars, but still cute.

My first car was a Nissan Minima.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:18 AM on August 22, 2007


Woah. I was just wondering yesterday morning whether there were any prehistoric Fords still in general use outside of auto shows. I was hoping more for a Model T, but close enough!
posted by bunnytricks at 1:32 AM on August 22, 2007


Several of my neighbors have Model As and use them during the summer reasonably frequently.

(And how refreshing is it to refer back to a time when young men and women could get together without worrying about whether one was a "pedophile" or not?)
posted by maxwelton at 1:51 AM on August 22, 2007


(And how refreshing is it to refer back to a time when young men and women could get together without worrying about whether one was a "pedophile" or not?)

When I was 16, I had a 14 year old girlfriend, though we were both pretty mature for our ages. One of her friends asked me on the phone once, "are you a pedophile?"

I don't know if she was serious or not, since, well, 14 year old girls tend to just say things, but ... I just sighed.

(I think we were 1 year and 11 months apart, which makes it legal in Canada, anyway, but, yeah.)
posted by blacklite at 3:04 AM on August 22, 2007


To un-derail, this was neat to read. First cars are great.
posted by blacklite at 3:05 AM on August 22, 2007


E.B. White on his first car, the Ford Model T.
posted by pracowity at 3:43 AM on August 22, 2007


'57 Chevy Biscayne. 283 Powerglide. $50.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:29 AM on August 22, 2007


71 Monte Carlo I still have it but it needs work. I'll take $600 for it OBO.
posted by nola at 4:37 AM on August 22, 2007


1987 Pontiac 6000 LE for me, or as some folks with less-than-perfect reading skills called it, the "goolie". Last I heard, the guy I sold it tohad put a turbo on it and was racing. I couldn't kill that thing.

Speaking of the Model A, though, a buddy of mine has a 1930 with only 18k miles on it. Some old country dentist only drove it to church, and walked if it was raining.
posted by notsnot at 5:19 AM on August 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


1972 Triumph Spitfire. Fuel gauge didn't work. Speedometer was in the wrong units. Soft-top was ripped. Multiple electrical fires whilst driving. I loved her.
posted by blue_beetle at 5:43 AM on August 22, 2007


What's that you say, Keith Gerson?

We had a little money once
They were pushing through a four lane highway
Government gave us three thousand dollars
You should have seen it fly away
First he bought a '57 Biscayne
He put it in the ditch
He drunk up all the rest
That son of a bitch

His blood's bad whiskey
I was raised on robbery

posted by nonmerci at 5:51 AM on August 22, 2007


When I was 16 my dad bought me a 1976 VW Superbeetle for $600-- blue, with red and white lightning bolts painted on the doors-- and I STILL didn't get laid.
posted by hermitosis at 5:53 AM on August 22, 2007


My first car was a Buick Opel Manta. It was orange. I learned to drive stick just so I could have that car. It cost $600 in 1984.
posted by jessamyn at 5:59 AM on August 22, 2007


At the rate I'm going, my first car will be a spaceship.
posted by orange swan at 6:10 AM on August 22, 2007


nonmerci, Joni Mitchell notwithstanding, I didn't put it in a ditch, and the $50 came from my job in the bindery.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:13 AM on August 22, 2007


I ride the bus!
posted by doctorschlock at 6:20 AM on August 22, 2007


June 2001: My first-ever car was a 1990 Nissan Sentra that was *given* to me, but it had been sitting in a parking lot for a couple of years and was flat-out broken. (I couldn't get it to go further than a quarter-mile before it died.)

October 29, 2001: My second car was a 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee that I owned for 22 hours before I had to take it back to the dealership due to the dealer's dishonesty.

October 2001-February 2006: My third car (and first official car) was my beloved 1998 Nissan Altima GXE, El Scorcho. She took me all over teh Eastern Seaboard, to Nashville, Milwaukee, and back. One too many accidents later, and I had to retire her. I was actually very sad when I had to trade her in.

But my current car (2001 Toyota Camry LE, the Sterling) has served me quite well. And I love the more luxurious stuff that came with her.

Ah, well.
posted by grubi at 6:36 AM on August 22, 2007


1979 Chevy Nova, a gift from my Grandmother when I returned from overseas at age 21. It had an eight-cylinder 327 and could lay down rubber on dry pavement even with an automatic transmission.

I gave it to my brother when he got married, and he drove it into the ground. After that, two Ford Escorts, an inherited VW Golf that gave me hearing damage during years of commuting, and now our sole vehicle is a Mercury Villager. I miss having a muscle car.
posted by craniac at 7:02 AM on August 22, 2007


Mine was a '70 Ford Maverick, with a 170 cubic inch straight 6, one-barrel carb, and a three-on-the-tree (converted to floor shift, but with the shift rods in wrong so the pattern was all screwy), with black and gold crushed velvet upholstery like that Spanish-style couch your grandma has had in her living room since 1973 but no one has ever sat on.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:08 AM on August 22, 2007


"71 Monte Carlo I still have it but it needs work. I'll take $600 for it OBO."

Sold. PayPal OK?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:09 AM on August 22, 2007


I had a white 1990 Dodge Spirit, which bore a strong resemblance to the white Plymouth Acclaims our school system used for driver's ed cars. So my car was affectionately known as "Driver's Ed." I couldn't give someone a ride without hearing, "so where's the passenger side brakes?"
posted by Rangeboy at 7:53 AM on August 22, 2007


1969 Volkswagen Beetle.

It belonged to my mother's co-worker, who got a call from the police that her ex-husband had left the car on Hollywood Boulevard with the keys in the ignition. It was there about two weeks before it was finally towed to the impound lot. She told my mother she could have it by paying the impound fee.

Someone tried to steal it once, but it broke down a block away.

When I turned 16, she gave me the car as a birthday present. It also signaled the beginning of my career as my sister's chauffeur.

I sold it two years later to pay for dorm fees, but those two years were a delight. I kept the original key and still have it on my keychain, next to the key to my 2001 Volkswagen New Beetle.
posted by linux at 9:41 AM on August 22, 2007


My first car was a '72 Monte Carlo. I'm 5'11", and I could lie down on the hood.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:52 AM on August 22, 2007


My first car was a Dodge mail truck with a slant 6 -- the kind they used to have that had a small downward-looking window pane below the flat front windows, to keep your mailman from running over small children. This was 1970, it cost $300 used from the post office. A friend of mine and I fixed it up as a camper. This had the benefit of reducing the insurance cost to next-to-nothing, since the assumption was that you weren't driving a camper around every day. It was postal blue and white. We painted the top red, and painted white stars on the blue, for a nice patriotic look. I bought my friend's share and planned to drive it from Boston to San Francisco, but in New Jersey I was persuaded to sell it and bought a 1968 Ford Falcon for the trip, instead.
posted by beagle at 9:59 AM on August 22, 2007


My first was a early 72 Toyota Corona MK II 2DRHT. Bought it and a Cressida for $50. It needed some body trim but "that'll be easy, Coronas are everywhere. Right?" Ah, no. Corollas are every where; hardtop MKIIs are about as plentiful as banana seeds. I never saw another '72 (not surprising since they only made them for 3 months) and only a couple of 71s (which had different bumpers, markers and tail lights). The paint was all oxizided and the speedometre never worked. Yet in hind sight it was invisible to cops, I don't remember ever getting pulled over in that car (a wild contrast compared my Fiero known as the Cop Magnet).
posted by Mitheral at 10:38 AM on August 22, 2007


Mine was a '75 Buick Century 2-door, $1200 (in 1982). I wanted an MGB but my "practical" parents absolutely would not allow it.

I've had 15 MGBs since then, still have three. Plus a zillion other oddball British cars.
posted by maxwelton at 11:29 AM on August 22, 2007


When I was 16 my dad bought me a 1976 VW Superbeetle for $600-- blue, with red and white lightning bolts painted on the doors-- and I STILL didn't get laid.
posted by hermitosis at 8:53 AM on August 22 [+] [!]


You and your sweetie would've had to have been about 4'8" to manage that in a VW Beetle, unless you're both contortionists!
posted by pax digita at 1:24 PM on August 22, 2007


My first and last car was a Fiat Panda 750L, and I fucked between ten and fifteen people in it. So I totally beat this old Model A geezer.
posted by jack_mo at 2:34 PM on August 22, 2007


I had a 72 Mercedes 280SE with a straight six, power sunroof, laughable seatbelts, and a transmission that required tools from Mars to even disassemble. No working gas gauge, but the speedometer went to 180mph.
posted by mattbucher at 2:52 PM on August 22, 2007


1955 Chevy Bel Air 2 door coupe named Moose. White with original blue interior. It was like two full-sized couches on wheels. To this day I can out parallel-park just about anyone thanks to learning on that thing.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:44 PM on August 22, 2007


It was pretty cool until

The Model A is one of about 25 cars that Mr. Curtiss owns, including a 1907 Sears Auto Buggy, a 1937 Rolls-Royce, a 1949 Cadillac and a 1975 Sebring-Vanguard electric car that he still drives around town. But it’s the Model A, which carries memories of that first kiss and won all those high school races, that tugs at his heart.

since it shattered the image of an old man constantly driving his first car around and keeping it in shape out of necessity.

mine was a 1986 honda civic (then a ten year old car) with three working cylinders. burned oil like an asshole and had terrible mileage. my dad's reasoning was that I shouldn't have to drive over 45 anyway. one day, while reversing, another cylinder went and i had to have a jeep cherokee push me home in neutral.

oh honda.
posted by maus at 6:30 PM on August 22, 2007


1950 Plymouth, 2 dr sedan, black. $11 at a farm auction. Needed a battery, clutch plate and brakes. Drove it to High School in the mid-70's (which, coincidentally, was also its top speed).
posted by spock at 10:32 PM on August 22, 2007


1966 Dodge A100 Van. And I never got to hump anyone in it. And I never got to take it to a trippy love-in and sit in the back playing bongos. And I never got to take it on a road trip. *sniff* But at least I got to smoke lots of doobies in it.
posted by Meatbomb at 2:20 AM on August 23, 2007


My first and last car was a Fiat Panda 750L, and I fucked between ten and fifteen people in it.

The Panda must be a roomy car. The best we ever managed was seven.
posted by pracowity at 3:57 AM on August 23, 2007 [2 favorites]


The last time I got in a Panda the suspension just collapsed almost instantly. Kudos, Jack.
posted by bonaldi at 9:19 AM on August 31, 2007


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