Keeping up with a theme of “My First,” I would like to share the story of my first ride in an old car. In the late 1950’s, old car is what it was called before other terms of auto endearment became popular. Car clubs and antique car shows were just in their infancy.
In that era, my family always visited our relatives during a two-week summer vacation in late August. While visiting my maternal grandparents in Lansing, Michigan, I discovered my Uncle Dick working on an early 1920’s Ford Model T coupe. This was a new experience for me because my father always drove contemporary cars. I had never seen anyone working on an old car.
The high stance of his Model T coupe was a stark contrast to our 1957 Chevrolet sedan. The small four-cylinder engine was another difference compared with our 283 V-8 engine. I was thoroughly intrigued about learning more.
My uncle allowed me to sit behind the steering wheel, if I promised not to touch any controls. When he finished up working on the engine, he asked if I would like to go for a ride. I was eager for a new experience, so I moved over to the passenger seat. He adjusted the throttle and spark advance, and then went around front to hand crank the engine.
The engine caught with the characteristic clackita-clackita-clackita roar of the Model T engine. He then climbed into the driver seat and engaged the planetary transmission. Sitting up high in the passenger compartment gave me quite a different sensation of speed. The primitive cross-leaf suspension definitely rode harder than newer cars. The breeze flowing through the split windshield was an interesting twist on summer ventilation.
Needless to say, I was soon captivated on my first ride in an old car about the streets of Lansing. Ford Model T coupes originally retailed for around $520 in the mid 1920’s. Today, number 2 condition examples go for about $12,500.
I have to say, that I owe it to my Uncle Dick for getting me interested in old cars in the late 1950’s. This magnificent obsession progressed to an interest in rods and customs in the early 1960’s, with a return to antique automobiles in the 1970’s. With an over 50 year interest in old cars, many have said that I am a “Genuine Car Nut.”
So, that’s the story of my first ride in an old car. I would like to hear about your first ride in an old car.