Rides

  I've loved cars ever since I was old enough to know what one was. This is a photo album of some of the 1:1 vehicles that have played a role...  

 

1952

This was my folks' first brand new car, a '52 Ford Customline Tudor sedan. The color was Glenmist Green, a very light shade. It replaced a black '48 Ford Tudor sedan, and stayed in the family until it was replaced by a '55 Ford station wagon.

 
 

1955

This is the Mountain Green '55 Ford Customline station wagon that replaced the '52.

 
 

1956

We were a Ford family. This photo was taken in the front yard of my grandparents' home in the fall of 1956, and shows the current fleet. From left to right we had a '46, two'51s, a '53, two '54s, a '55, a '56 and a '57.

 
 

1963

This '48 Nash coupe was the first car I ever owned. I paid $65 for it in 1963 and it actually ran for a while! But not long enough to get antifreeze in it before winter. We had an unusually cold winter in New Orleans that year, and the result was a cracked block that eventually led to a trip to the junkyard.

 
 

1963

Our car club bought this decrepit '30 Chevy sedan in the summer of '63. We planned to turn it into a dirt track racer, but that project never really got off the ground. I don't remember what we finally did with it...

 
 

1963

My next car after the Nash was this '53 Olds 98 hardtop. Okay, so it didn't have a motor, and the left rear quarter panel was totally trashed. But teenage optimism runs high. At least it did until my folks drew the line and it also wound up on a one-way trip to the junkyard.

 
 

1964

This '50 Ford convertible was with us for several years. It originally belonged to the president of our car club, who rescued it from a junkyard. My future brother-in-law bought it for his mom after it lost a battle with a big Chrysler sedan and wound up with a totaled left rear quarter panel. But it was more like community property. This photo shows it after a buddy and I replaced the rear quarter panel with one from a coupe. That was quite a project! Our skills with a welding torch were limited, so we wound up welding it in place and filled the seams with several gallons of body filler. But it served us well...

 
 

1964

This was brother-in-law's '59 Corvette. It had the 283 V-8 with dual four-barrel carbs and ran like crazy. He traded it for a '57 Chevy and a '51 Henry J gasser (below).

 
 

1964

This was the '57 Chevy that replaced the Corvette. This was a real sleeper...it had a 283 V-8, bored out to 301 cubic inches and a factory fuel injection. We ran many a late night street race in this one, as well as some successful (and legal!) runs at a couple of the area drag strips.

 
 

1964

And this was Mr. Wizard, theoretically a B gasser. It came with a hopped up 327 Chevy engine, but it didn't stay with us very long...

 
 

1964

This was another sleeper, a '57 Ford Custom 300 Club Sedan that belonged to a cousin. Under the hood was a 312 Merc engine. We spent many a night tearing up the back roads in Copiah County, Mississippi in this one.

 
 

1964

This was my folks' '64 Ford Country Sedan. I didn't get to drive it much. I think they were in touch with my leadfoot tendancies back then.

 
 

1964

This '54 Olds Starfire convertible was another real beauty that belonged to my future brother-in-law. At this time he was also driving the '57 Chevy (above) and we had a great deal worked out. I kept both cars washed and waxed, and had the use of whichever one he wasn't driving. The photo to the left shows it getting prepped for my high school Homecoming parade.

 
 

1964

A couple of weeks after high school graduation I finally got my first real car, a '58 DeSoto Firedome convertible. It only had about 53,000 miles on the odometer, and I paid $400 for it. Ah...the good old days! The '58 DeSoto has always been one of my all-time favorites, so when I got this one, I was in hot rod heaven. I spent that summer cruising with the top down and the Beach Boys' "I Get Around" blaring on the radio.

Unfortunately, Hurricane Betsy hit New Orleans in the fall of 1965, and the area where I lived flooded badly. The DeSoto was submerged for several days, and although I managed to get it running again, it was never quite the same. I finally had to let it go in late 1968...

 
 

1967

In the fall of 1967, I joined the New Orleans Fire Department. Once regular paychecks started coming in it was time for a new ride. I replaced the '57 Ford sedan I had been driving with this '65 Galaxie 500 convertible. It was dark green with black interior. In late 1968 I blew a radiator hose and the engine overheated badly, which caused some damage. I traded it in on a new '68 Mustang coupe, which I kept for about a year. The Mustang got traded in for a '68 500XL convertible, which also lasted a year or so...until the payments and gas started having a crucial impact on my budget.

 
 

1969

I made the move to economy in 1969, trading in the 500XL on this Volkswagen sedan. It was beige with a red interior, and I really didn't like it at first. But it wasn't long before I grew to love the little bug. It stayed in the family for over ten years, and in 1971 I added a bright orange VW convertible to the stable.

 
 

1973

In the spring of 1973 I became the Public Information Officer for the New Orleans Fire Department. This was my official car, a '67 Ford sedan.

 
 

1974

I bought this '65 Cadillac deVille convertible in 1974 for $400. It was in good shape except for some body damage on the driver's side. This was a project I played around with for a number of years, gradually getting body work done. Installing a new top (above) was a real challenge! In 1983 I sold the Caddy and bought a '75 Olds Delta 88 convertible to play with.

 
 

1976

The next new car to come along was this '76 Chrysler Cordoba. Can you say "rich Corinthian leather"?

 
 

1976

My next official N.O.F.D. car was this '74 Ford sedan.

 
 

1978

When my folks bought a new '78 Ford LTD wagon, the dealer only offered them $400 for their '72 Country Sedan. I decided I could use it for something, even though the drive way was already crowded.

 
 

1981

By the time 1981 rolled around, I was needing a new vehicle. One of the local Chevy dealers had a closeout sale going on some leftover brand new vans. I got this one for $5,600. It was a real plain jane model, six cylinder, stick shift, no windows, no radio...I had them add factory air to it. Then I spent the next few months adding a killer sound system, along with carpeting and other goodies to the interior. It saw many a camping trip over the next few years.

 
 

1987

I fell in love with the Chevy Blazer in 1986, and finally got this '87 model shortly before retiring from the New Orleans Fire Department and moving to the Ozark Mountains in 1988. Here it is under it's first snowfall.

 
 

1989

This was my folks' '78 Ford LTD wagon when it was brand new. They traded it in on a '89 Crown Vic, and I took it to live with me in Arkansas.

 

 
 

1996

I went through a couple of other vehicles, an '89 Toyota Tercel coupe and a '92 Dodge Caravan minivan before I got this '95 Mustang coupe.

 
 

1994

I swapped the '78 LTD (above) for this '77 Chrysler New Yorker coupe. What a car this was! It was huge, with an interior that looked like a victorian parlor and a 440 V-8 that could really move the big beast.

 
 

1999

I was quite happy with my '95 Mustang coupe. Until I saw this '35th anniversary '99 Mustang convertible sitting at a local dealer, just begging to go home with me.

I kept the little ragtop for more than ten years before I finally realized that I just couldn't comfortably fold myself up enough to get in and drive anymore! The perils of senior citizenship! But it went to a good home.


2008

So in the spring of 2008 the old Windstar van I inherited from my folks was getting a bit long in the tooth. Time for a pickup; my first one! Got a great deal on this Ranger.


2012
(Senior Citizenship Part 2)

I really liked the Ranger, and it was a great little truck. But by the spring of 2012, with a little help of arthritic hips, it was time to look for something easier on the ol' bod. I picked up this slightly used 2011 Mercury Mariner, a year after Ford ceased production.

 

 

 
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