Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Diane McMahon - Cars I Loved

All I wanted to do was drive!
I was 15 and had six months until I could get my learners permit. What a time I had. We had acreage so I practiced in the field and parked between barrels.
The day I turned 15 ½ I was at the licensing department’s door before they opened, got the necessary papers and was driving. Driving my Aunt and Uncle crazy!
We had a ‘49 DeSoto with Fluid Drive. “The Boat” we called it. Before that we had a ‘36 Chevy two door with the shift on the floor. I got to back it out and back in the garage and was in heaven. Back to the Boat – I “cut my teeth” on driving to Mt Rainier National Park and back. I loved those winding curving roads; my aunt was scared to death. I’d be pointing off in the distance and she would pale in color. She didn’t like heights so she would sit right next to me as we climbed the mountain.
One time I almost put us in the Green River by going too fast around a bend and hitting the brambles before I got stopped.
The day of my 16th birthday I was right there, at that same door, to get my license and I can remember my uncle showing me his driver’s license and telling me what a privilege it was to have one. (Course he grew up in the horse and buggy days and didn’t have a car until he was 20+)
It was fun going for ice cream and stopping at the drive inn. I got pretty good at leaving a small patch of rubber shifting between drive and 1st.
My boyfriend had a ‘49 Chevy two door that was lowered in the back and when he would pull in our driveway his pipes would scrape and he would get upset and have to straighten them again. I did learn how to shift in that car and he never had to replace a clutch because of me.
I have had some interesting cars since then. ‘49 Mercury that was a real hot rod, with a shift on the floor. How I didn’t get tickets then I don’t know. With seven children to haul around I had a Chevy Station Wagon (the old version of SUV’s) It was most fun when the kids could sit on a piece of cardboard and I would take the turns on a windy road really wide as they slipped from side to side. (Oh, the fun my grandchildren miss out on) When my mother gave me her car, a ‘64 Ford convertible, yellow in color. That started my love affair with convertibles. One day I passed this ‘67 red Firebird convertible sitting on a car lot and it winked at me and it was love at first sight. It had a Muncie 4 speed and a 440 engine and could it go, but it had to stop at every gas station (8 mpg) Good thing that car can’t talk! Next came a ’78 black Dodge Magnum. Sure a pretty car. I traded it for a ’84 Mazda 4 door with a sun roof and it never sat still. I took so many trips in it and eventually my Grandson drove what was left of the wheels, off.
Then there was the ’46 Jeep CJ2A, an old military vehicle the I kick myself for parting with but I had to “hot-wire” it to drive it and one day, sitting at a light, smoke started pouring out from under the dash and after I jumped out I remembered I could separate the wires and all would be okay. Only then I didn’t have the nerve to connect them again and had to be towed home. I drove that jeep all over the hills in Helena, Montana digging for Sapphires and places to keep cool because it was 99-110 degrees.
I then got a ‘89 LaBaren convertible and had a flashing good time in it. Ever cruise with the top down when it was 40 degrees? Turn the heater up full blast and your toasty warm. I used to take my elderly Aunt for drives and the wind would blow her hair and she would giggle like a school girl.
Now I have a ’98 Camry and love it. It goes the speed limit and doesn’t have to stop at every gas station and I can get my friends in and out of the back seat easily.
I have had some interesting incidents but no accidents and will admit to a couple of speeding tickets but I have tried to not abuse the privilege that started so many years ago.

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