One of the crime scenes

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Happy 100th Birthday

1939 Chevrolet

The first car I drove

On November 3, 1911, race car driver and automotive engineer Louis Chevrolet co-founded the Chevrolet Motor Car Company with William C. Durant (ousted founder of General Motors for 5 years) and investment partners William Little (maker of the Little automobile) and Dr. Edwin R. Campbell (son-in-law of Durant)and in 1912 R. S. McLaughlin of Canada.wikipedia

A grey version of the four door sedan above, a 1939 model, complete with the rear suicide doors but minus the fancy fender covers on the rear wheels was the car I used to learn to drive. It had a three on the tree stick and fuzzy velvety seat covers that collected dust and emitted a smell that I remember to this day. I was twelve when I learned to drive this pre-war larger version of the now discontinued PT Cruiser. Soon I was allowed to drive 4 miles each way on the gravel county road to take my younger sister and I to the nearest neighbor's ranch, where we would get into another Chevy, this one driven by an over sixteen year old with a normal license for an eight mile ride on more county road and highway to the school bus stop where we were then picked up by the bus for the final eight miles to school. I was legally allowed to drive this portion of public road to save an adult from having to make a twice daily round trip from seventh grade though grade nine, after which I moved to town (against my will) to finish high school.

Then there is the Chevy which was one of the most beautiful automobiles ever made by Detroit, and which I never had the pleasure of owning, but rode in many, even recently. This of course the 1955 Bel-Air 2-Door 2-Tone Hardtop, shown below. All I could afford to buy when I got my license after spending the summer working as a ranch hand was a piece of crap 50th Anniversary Model 4-Door 1953 Ford with a flat head V-8. At least my Ford was kind enough to throw a rod thru the oil pan after a day spent putting on so many miles in a futile search for some decent waves to ride that the last time we had to gas up, we were too broke to also buy the necessary crankcase oil that had to accompany each 5 dollars worth of gas. I say kind because it happened at the end of my senior year of high school so I didn't have to suffer the indignity of driving it to university.

When I was a freshman at UCSB, one weekend a dorm mate and I jumped in his blue and white '55 Bel-Air to drive from Santa Barbara about 400 miles north across the desert to take our girl friends skiing at Mammoth Mountain on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada. In the middle of the Mojave Desert we threw a fan belt and almost overheated. We caught it before blowing the head gasket or worse and once it cooled down restarted and continued north as long as we could without overheating. After the second short leg low and behold there in the middle of nowhere was a automobile junkyard, undoubtedly conveniently located for all the cars killed off by the merciless Mojave. There in the second row was another Bel-Air, which still had an intact fan belt, so after a couple minutes of monkey wrenching and the outlay of a whole dollar we were back on the road enroute to powder and romance!

1955 Chevrolet Bel-Air

Democracy Shortlived in Greece!

The fraudsters and bandits have won again, although I'm convinced the current form of free market pirate capitalism is in its death throes already. According to Reuters:
ATHENS/CANNES, France (Reuters) - Greece's teetering government backed away from a proposed referendum on staying in the euro on Thursday, while European leaders talked for the first time of a possible Greek exit to preserve the single currency...../snip

.....Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos broke ranks with Papandreou, saying Greece's euro membership was a historic achievement and "cannot depend on a referendum."

Democracy is rapidly becoming a fond memory the world over and how could anyone expect the 1% that have caused the economic woes besetting the world to be accountable and pay the price for their gambling with other peoples' money and outsourcing jobs to slave labor jurisdictions where the workers can't afford to be consumers of anything other than the barest of necessities.

On a Lighter Note
.......Wisdom of the Divine Ms. M!

'I haven't left my house in days.
I watch the news channels incessantly.
All the news stories are about the election;
All the commercials are for Viagra and Cialis.
Election - erection - election - erection
- - - either way we're getting fucked!' -- Bette Midler.


Blogger Gary E said...

Ah kootcoot, first cars.
Mine was a 1942 Dodge with a flat six, three on the tree and suicide doors. It was one of a very few civilian models made during the second world war. In 43,44,and 45 they were all military.
My dad took me to Honest Pauls' North Shore Auto Wreckers. I paid 15 dollars for it and my dad remarked that at least it wouldn't run without a distributor. I said what's a distributor? He wouldn't say so the next week I went to Paul and told him I needed one. Coincidentally it too was $15. I learned my mechanics on that car and had it running within the month. I sold it that year and with the money bought a running, wait for it. A 1939 Chev. It was a coup and was my first customizing practice car.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 6:07:00 PM PDT  
Blogger Gary E said...

I certainly hope the Greek people figure out that the free enterprisers and their banks are screwing them.If Papandreao falls on a non confidence vote my wish is that he be re-elected with a vast majority then opts out of the union.

Thursday, November 3, 2011 at 6:11:00 PM PDT  
Blogger paul said...

1961 Ford Fairlane.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 7:18:00 PM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...

Paul, I assume you are saying your first car was a '61 Fairlane and not that it is prettier than a '55 Bel-Air.

Of course when I started driving they hadn't invented the '61 Fairlane.

Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 6:48:00 AM PST  
Blogger RossK said...

My first was a 1971 Mercury Capri, bought after two summers of cleaning and toilets and buses for then BC Hydro...Lost it late on a Saturday afternoon the following fall when a poor elderly lady plowed into it from behind and drove it into the rhododendron bushes while it was parked in front of my parent's house while I watched the hockey game in the living room.

Next vehicle was much uglier but lasted forever ...1965 Rambler wagon...Three on the tree and always helping friends move for free.


Saturday, November 12, 2011 at 6:48:00 PM PST  
Blogger kootcoot said...

Wow Ross, I did own and drive a 1965 Rambler American 4-door sedan that was red and white and like yours INDESTRUCTABLE. It was an emergency car I acquired after my truck had gotten wrecked in about 1980.

Later I found myself working in the woods with a guy who had owned the very same Rambler, the same unit a few owners before, in fact may have bought it new. He and his wife that he was still married to had taken their honeymoon it it back in the sixties. He had a much later model two door hardtop sporty Toyota, which he was willing to trade for the Rambler so he could restore it as a memento of their still happy marriage. (I'm certain the Rambler outlasted the Toyota) and if I still had the Rambler, it might still be mobile, w/o even doing the restoration!

A university friend of mine's grandmother bought a new Nash Metropolitan - the two seater - back in the day and liked it so much that she bought another almost right away, and had a mechanic put it in storage for her, for when and if the original wore out and couldn't be replaced. Long story short, my friend inherited both of them, with #1 still running and #2 still up on blocks etc. in storage.

I wouldn't be surprised if he isn't still driving at least one, if not both of them (or maybe #2 hasn't been needed yet)!

Sunday, November 13, 2011 at 7:34:00 AM PST  

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