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Have you ever tried to remember every car that you have owned?   This is every vehicle that we owned to the best of my knowledge.  Some pictures are original and some are what I could glean off of the internet.  All of the cars have stories and they are a part of our memories of life.

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Our first car, a 1947 Chrysler New Yorker Coupe!  It's setting in front of our Standard Gas Station in Casey, IL circa 1958.  Check out the moon hubcabs.  I really didn't like to at first because it was such a boat, but I grew to love it. The paint was something else.  You could scratch it and just polish it out.  Today's cars have such thin paint that you just look at them and you see metal.  No back seat and a trunk you could sleep in.  It had a semi-automatic transmission, a car radio with a bar you could push and it would find the next station. I dated Shirley in this vehicle and after I joined the Air Force, we loaded the car to the hilt and drove it to Denver where it served us well.  A guy slammed on the brakes and I hit him and it rumpled the front pretty bad.  I went to a junk yard in West Denver and bought an assembly of the front fenders, the grill, lights and all and put it on the old girl.  The fenders were black so it was black and green.  I sold it to Denny Shehan for $50.   Shirley has talked about trying to find one and restore it for years!  The problem is it's a super rare business coupe.  There are Chrysler Royals out there but I've only seen one or two of this model and it was only pictures and there was no way to contact to see if they'd sell.

<See the 1946-47 Chrysler Brochure>

Our second car, a 1952 Pontiac Chieftan,  very similar to this one was a big car with a Straight-8 and a Hydramatic transmission. When the 47 Chrysler gave up, we bought this one from Stan's Auto Sales on Colfax.  I worked part time there for a year or more.  I was traveling on W Colfax heading back from one of the guys' garage where he worked on cars.  It's where I put the new fenders on the old Chrysler.  Anyway, a drunk turned left in front of me and I pranged him good.  He was in a Simca and that Pontiac creamed it.  The smoke was coming out from under the hood of the Pontiac when I walked over to see the guy.   He couldn't even get out of the car.  I pointed to my car being on fire and he said not to call the cops and gave me $40.  Turns out the smoke was from the air cleaner oil leaking onto the hot engine.  I had a guy weld the front bumber brace for $6 and it was good as new.  We wore it totally out.  We drove it until it just barely made it to Luby Chevrolet where we traded it for a car that wasn't worn out when we got it. The problem for years was the near poverty wages for young troops in the military.  We could barly afford to have a car let alone repair it when it broke.



This is a dead ringer for our first near new car, a 1960 Corvair 500,  that had only 600 miles on it when we bought it.  I literally coasted into the dealership drive with that old 52 Pontiac after we had made the deal for this one.  The payment was $51.30 per month and cost around $1800.  We were in heaven.  It had a gasoline heater.  One time, someone was rifling through it and must have been using a match to look under the front seat and set it on fire.  This one also had the front trunk lid blow up in our face in Kansas and it blew a hole in one of the pistons on the way back from Illinois but it was under warranty, thank goodness.


I worked part time at Bartlett's Standard on Colfax and Vine in Denver.  Across the street was Luby Chevrolet.  One evening a salesman brought this one in for some gas and I couldn't pass up the deal. It was a beautiful 1961 Corvair Monza with 4 on the floor and 110 horsepower.  This one I really loved.  We made several trips to Illinois and back.  One time when Shirley was driving, she hit an icy spot on a hill in Kansas and we wrecked.  Didn't hurt us much but caused a thousand dollars of damage.  Insurance covered it.  Shirley would heat the baby bottle for Andy by laying it next to the heater duct.  John and Andy were just little guys then.   When I got orders to Okinawa, we traded it for a 1955 Pontiac to get rid of the payments.
This is the 1955 Pontiac Catalina that we totally wore out.  It was a boat with a 389 cubic inch V8.  It took us to Illinois where Shirley stayed while I was in Okinawa and then to New Mexico and managed to last through my tour in Vietnam. Shirley stayed in Illinois on that tour and drove the wheels off of it.   It was on it's last legs when we went to Savage Auto in Casey and bought the 63 Pontiac.  It looked pretty good, but not this good.



Man!  We're living it up now in Apple Valley, CA.  This 63 Pontiac was beautiful and look at our mobile home! We bought it in Denver and it was towed to Illinois while I was in Okinawa and then after Vietnam, it was hauled to California.  We sold it to the owner of the park in Apple Valley when I made SSgt and we moved into base housing.  This picture was taken in 1967.  I'd clean it up where it looked like new and I thought it was a fine machine.  This one did pretty good, it lasted until we went to England in 1971.  We figured it wasn't in good enough shape to take to England and expect it to last.
I bought this 1971 Austin 1100 from another GI that was returning to the states.  It was usuaual because it was a left hand drive and also was a 'consession vehicle' meaning it was the same as an American car and could be shipped back to the states by the military if you wanted.  It ran like a top.  I put a high performance exhaust system on it and I'd play Lemans while I drove the 52 miles from our home in Theberton nr Leiston Suffolk to RAF Lakenheath where I was on temporary duty teaching classes.  Shirley, the boys were coming home from Bentwaters when they had a wreck and totaled. They couldn't remember what had happened.  Shirley was severly injured and spent 6 weeks in the Lakenheath Hospital.  Andy had a broken leg and John had a knot on his head.  That was the end of the little white car.






There's a good story about this one. Not long after I had arrived at RAF Bentwaters, I met a bus driver from Lowestoft, about 60 miles North.  He was a guest at the NCO club.  We got to talking and he said he had a car he would sell me for 10 Quid.  That's 10 English Pounds, or at the time, $24.  It's a 1959 Ford Popular.  Quite a machine, a little 4 cylinder flathead with no waterpump, just convection to cool it.  One windshield wiper, no heater.  It had 16" narrow wheels, and a chassis similiar to a Model T with leaf springs running crossways and king pins in front whre the wheels would lean sideways when you turned the wheel sharply.  It was a pain in the ass to drive.  Shirley would drive it on occasion.  One time she put Susan in the nursery on base while she went grocery shopping at the commissary.  She had to take the groceries home and unload them and come back and pick up Susan because there wasn't enough room. We had friends, Walt and Shirley Killops and a mutual friend, Johnny Johnson, who had an even older one but 4 door.  Walt's boy painted what the English called a witch (witch doctor) on it and called it "The Witch".  They came to our house one time and painted a witch on this one and called it "The Witch II".  I sold it for 10 pounds to someone.
It's hard to believe that this little car is the same model (Ford Popular) as the 1959 Witch, but, it's only one year newer, a 1960.  It was a much better car.  I bought it from another instructor (Ken?) for $220.  I did overhaul on it in the Service Club Auto Shop, with the help of Bobby Turner (wish I could find him). I can't remember who I sold it to or for how much.  I used to drive it to work all the time, but when I'd go to Lakenheath, I'd drive the white Austin and leave this one for Shirley. 


This is a 1971 Austin 1300 that we replaced the wrecked one with. The picture is as close to it as i could find.  It was more comfortable.  We took this one to RAF Lakenheath when we moved up there in July of 1973.  We moved right into base housing.  Since we had lived on the economy for over 2 years, we went right to the top of the list.  Sure did like the change of living on base, close to work and all the facilities. Usually rode my bicycle to work. This one was not a consession vehicle, it had a right hand drive, so we didn't intend to take it back to the states.  We'd have to sell it.
We hadn't been at Lakenheath very long when I ran across a 1971 VW 1600 wagon that was like new and the price was right, so I bought it.  A doctor from the hospital owned it. Ours was tan and it was a nice looking car.  The problem is that it didn't have air conditioning.  It was, however, a concession vehicle and we could take it back to the states.  I liked this one in spite of the little oil leaks it had.   As I said, no air conditioning and wasn't  needed in the UK, however, we were getting close to going back to the states and it'd have to do.

I was in the 908th Field Training Detachment and we got a new commander.  Captain Jacobs was a young guy with a young wife and little boy.  One day, he came in from the parking lot and says "Who owns that VW Square Back out there?"  I said I did and he told us that he used to have a 1971 Formula V 1600 that he really liked.  So, I said, "What are you driving, Capn' J?" and he said "A 1971 Plymouth Scamp."  I said "You wanna' trade?" and I'll be damned if he didn't say "Maybe, let's go look."  



Well, can you believe it?  This is the spittin' image of that Scamp with the hot 318 V8, auto transmission and AIR CONDITIIONING!  Plus, it had FM radio.  After he got it approved by his wife, we went to Pass and ID and traded vehicles.  He was happy and I was esctatic.

I had orders for Luke AFB near Phoenix, Arizona and airconditioning is a must!  We made two trips from Luke back to Illinois with that Plymouth Scamp and since the boys were now teenagers and Susan was 6 years old or so, it was getting crowded in there.  The first trip was in Decemter 1975 when Uncle Carl died.  We didn't have the time or money to fly so we piled into the Scamp, Shirley, the boys, Susan and two Yorkshire Terriers, food and whatever.  The vehicle was full.  We didn't stop on that trip and it nearly killed me.  That's when I decided I was getting too old for that driving straight through till you get there.  Then there's the last trip we took in July 76.  By the time we got to Illinois, my left cheek of my ass hurt so bad from wallet syndrome that I could hardly sit down.  We had been back a couple days when I got up early and headed to town to pick up a couple of containers of fishing worms because we were going fishing.  I saw that 1976 Chevy Caprice sitting in the window of the Chevrolet place in Casey and stopped in to look.  Well, you guessed it, I drove it home.  

Man, it was a pleasant change to travel in that thing!  It was a comfortable boat for sure.  We drove it the rest of the time at Luke, Shirley drove it while I was in Korea in 77 and then we took it to Myrtle Beach when I was assigned there.  I retired from the USAF, took the Chevy to Los Angeles for my new job, came back to the beach and packed up heading for Tucson with a 1971 VW Baha in tow full of stuff.  This one we kept until about 1985, I think. I had it fixed up with the CB and we had a radar detector too.  That was about the time our stupid government thought we should all drive 55 from the result of their making an adjustment in economy, taking us off the gold standard and creating an artificial gas shortage. This car didn't seem like it was moving at 55 MPH. We bought a Pontiac but kept this one.  Susan finished it off when she was in high school.  it was a good one.
John Jr. need some kind of vehicle.  He was out of high school and need transportation so I bought one of these, a 1971 Datsun pick up.  He ended up turning it on its side in the end.  One time, about 3 in the morning, I got a call from his future mother-in-law saying he was down at the beach and the truck was stuck in the surf.  What?  I woke up my neighbor Charlie Kaiser, whom I had been stationed with in Korea, and he knew a guy on base with a Jeep and a winch.  We went down to Surfside Beach and there it was with the water just coming into the cab.  I was not a happy camper about it all, but the truck did get saved.  Only thing is that even if John hadn't wrecked it, it would have been a rust bucket in about six months. 



While at Myrtle Beach, I renewed my interest in CB Radio.  A SSgt came by my office and said he had heard that I repaired CBs.  I didn't, but it peaked my interest and in the process, I got hooked on illegal CB operation including repairing and modifying them big time.  I used to do it for other folks too.  We had a CB friend, Rodney, who was a big sports fisherman and liked to do King Mackerel tournaments.  He would catch a bunch, have them filleted and give them to us because he didn't eat fish.  One time he came by to give us some fish and saw this beautiful base model Radio Shack CB I had heavly modified and he wanted to buy it.  I really didn't want to sell it because I really liked it.  He said that he would trade me his car for it.  "What car?" I asked.  We stepped outside to see the car and here was a 1960 VW Bug with lots of chrome that belonged to his Mom before she died.  He traded it to me for that radio!  I had a magnet mount antenna I'd put on the front hood and they called it the "Unicorn Mobile" Don't remember who I sold it to when we left the beach.









I think I saw an advertisement in the Myrtle Beach paper for a 1971 Baha VW that looked something like this one only green.  Have you noticed that we owned several 1971 cars.  It must have been a very good year.   It had big back tires and those noisy split exhausts and was fun to drive.  It would be illegal in California because the headlights were too close together.  Anyway, it had been souped to 1800 CC but the engine was pretty well worn.  Yet, it was still fun.  The guys at the welding shop on base made me a tow bar for the front and when we headed for Arizona it was chock full of stuff including house plants.  The Chevy Carpice didn't even know it was there.  I used to drive it to work and so did Shirley.  I could hear her coming up Bear Caynon at night when she worked at the commissary.  Anyway, I'd turn off of Tanque Verde onto Bear Canyon and hit it.  By the time I got to the first curve, I'd be going about 80.  It didn't matter if I was in 3rd gear or 4th, it would only go 80.  It would get there pretty darned quick though.  Because of that open front end and fenders that trapped the air, there was too much resistance. Even thought I replaced the big oversized pistons & cylinders with stock ones and it didn't make a bit of difference.  It still ran 80.  One day, I was getting enough of the loud exhausts and I stopped by an import auto place and picked up a set of headers.   They were the wrap around type with a single pipe that came up in the center at an angle.  Really quieted it down.  That ain't all.  I discovered the first time that I tried the Bear Canyon run that it would get to 80 in a flash and keep accelerating.  Those stupid dual pipes were so mistuned that the engine wouldn't develop what it was capable of.  Lesson learned.  I sold it to some guy who wanted it more than me about 1985 or so, I think.
This one be bought used from Quebeadeaux Pontic here in Tucson, a big Canadian made 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham.  It was a 2 door, really big and heavy doors, and it was a boat.  All the bells and whistles, but severely under   powered because of the anti-smog crap it had.  It was a road machine and nice to run the interstates.  I remember one time Shirley and I picked up a couple to go out to eat.  He was a Texas Instrument Tech Rep where I worked as a Hughes Rep for U.S. Customs Air Operations here at Davis Monthan AFB.  He commented that I had a vehicle suitable for a high paid tech rep.  Yeah, little did he know.  We finally got tired of it and it was having problems.  The 80s was the lost generation for cars..  Mom and Dad had bought a 1989 Buick Century that we liked and while we were back home in Casey bought a brand new 1990.  That trip, we drove two vehicles back to Tucson.
This was a pretty good mid size car.  Had a 3300 V6 and it went very well.  Models made after were not the same car.  Our daughter had a couple and our grandaughter Sarah had one and they all were junk.  Looked the same, but weren't as good.  We drove the heck out of it.  When we went to Spain in 1992, we put it in storage. That was a deal all right.  They lost the keys and it sat out for nearly two years and the tires weathered so bad they had to be replaced.  I should have sued them.  Anyway, we passed it on to our daughter and she finally wore it out.




Driving home from work one day, I saw a truck like this setting along Snyder Road.  It was a 1961 Ford F-150 unibody, longbox, a slickside, the bed was part of the cab.  I bought it and drove it quite a bit.  It was a beater and I could haul anything in it.  It had a 1957 Mecury 312 V8 and a big 4 barrel carbureator.  It had a 1957 3/4 ton 4 speed transmission and differential as well.  Found that out when I tried to replace the brake shoes on the rear.  Just befoe we went to Spain, I sold it to a guy and I wonder what he did with it.  It was a solid old truck but the insides were rotten and falling apart.  All the metal was good and could have easily been restored.

I bought a 1986 Ford Ranger about like this one when that old Ford became a pain to keep running.  Shirley said I wouldn't like it, but I did.  Had a small 4 cylinder engine and a 5 speed manual transmission.  When we went to Spain, Shirley drove it to Illinois accompanied by her sister Sharon and the dogs, three of 'em, the two Yorkies and our son's golden lab.   She had to go to Illinois via Phoenix to get the paperwork for shipping the little Yorkies to Spain. That must have been a fun trip.  Anyway, Sharon and Harold used the truck during the two years we were in Spain and when we came back, we drove it back to Tucson.  It was a pretty good little truck.  Traded it for a Toyota pickup.


In July of 92, I traveled to Zaragoza, Spain where Shirley and I lived for two years.  I was on a support contract for the Spanish Airforce.  This 1992 Renault was a neat little car.  It had a 2 liter engine and a 5 speed manual transmission and it'd run 120 miles per hour in a flash.  It needed premium gas and lead free at that.  We would buy gas coupons at the BX at Torejon Air Base and use them  to buy the expensive gas on the local economy.  We leased it from a Spanish company in Madrid.  Pablo was the guy we dealt with.  I would have kept this one the entire two years, but Pablo made us give it back and we had to lease another vehicle. We went all over Spain in that one.  It had air conditioning, but it was a strange system.  If it got nice and cool in the vehicle, it would freeze up and you'd have to turn it off until the ice melted on the condenser and then it's be OK for a while.  It worked fine most of the time.
The replacment 1993 Renault looked about the same but was a subdued grey color similar to this.  It didn't have the performance of the little red one.  It was a grandma's car.  The good thing about this one is that it had an automatic transmission.  It was SO much easier to drive in traffic.  Our landlord and his wife, Anselmo and Pili, went to Andora with us one time.  He said that automatic transmissions were rare in Spain.  She said nobody likes them.  When the trip was over, I made a believer in him as to how much easier it was to deal with heavy slow traffic and lots of traffic lights.  Anselmo worked for GM at an Opal plant.  He would lease his car through the company.  When anything happened to his car, he'd just shrug and say "No me coache!" , Not my car!



There's quite a story that goes with this one.  It's nearly like the 1982 Toyota Tercel that I bought from a government employee soon after I arrived in Zaragoza.  The Americans were leaving and our side of  Zaragoza AB would be closed except for a few caretakers of a NASA space launch tracking group that only came alive on a shuttle launch.  One of the ladies in the housing office who was returning to the states sold me one like this for $300.  I figured Shriley could drive the lease car and I could drive this one to work.  After one trip to Zaragoza in the Renault with some other ladies, she said she wasn't driving around there again except maybe to the Alcampo mall near our home.  However, she WOULD drive the 180 miles of highway all the way to Torejon AB to shop at  the commissary.  Go figure!  Anyway, it didn't get driven much.  One of the "animals" that were working as contractors for McDonald Douglas on a modification program for the Spanish AF F-18s asked me if I had a car I'd sell.  So, I sold it for $300.  The problem is that he never registered it in his name and didn't insure it either.  When I found out, I told him he'd better get it done soon.  Not long after, one Sunday night about  10:30 PM, the doorbell rang and it was the guy who brought the car.  He said he had been fired for too much drinking and another guy with him was taking him to Madrid to the airport.  Wanted to know if I'd buy it back.  Not only no, but hell no!    I told him that I'd take his name and address and IF someone bought it from me, I'd send him the money.

If he'd known I wasn't gonna' buy it back he'd probably of abandoned it, but it was too late then.  So, now I've got the car.

It sat there for the rest of our tour and when time grew near, I had to do something.  Since it was a concession vehicle, the Spanish couldn't own it and there was nobody left in the area except for a few American tech reps and mod workers.  One of the guys in the Spanish AF missile shop said just to take everything identifying thing off of it and abandon it somewhere down town.  Well, I didn't want to do that...then there was Gabe!

Gabe Gutierrez was a retired USAF Chief who had worked in the U.S. Miitary Assistance Group office in Madrid.  When he retired, he put on civilian clothes and went back to work.  Then, he turned up at Zaragoza working as a aircraft parts Logistics Liason for the Spanish F-18s.  Of course, Gabe worked for a little logistics company outside of DC from Fredricksburg, so you know who he REALLY worked for, right?  He says to me, "Why don't you donate it to the Spanish government?"  Would you believe that he took me to the Spanish customs office at the civilian air terminal on Zaragoza AB and they agreed to take it.  So, just before we left, he followed me to the parking lot outside of the customs office, I went in, signed the papers and gave the keys and that was it. We were off the hook!

It was getting near our tour end and Pablo was wanting the grey Renault back so I went to a car rental place and leased this Renault 21 Grand Touring Sedan.  It was a high performance vehicle with a 3.0 liter V6 and it was smooth.  Shirley and I went to Portugal for a week and took it on the trip.  We had a nice time there and decided to go North from Purtugal along the West coast and then turn East for the long run back to Zaragoza.  I soon got tired of the winding roads and the heavy traffic through every village and town and decided to bit the bullet and got on the pay as you go turnpike called an Autopista.  Oh, it was so much more pleasant.  Not much traffic and the speed limit was 120 KPH or about 72 MPH.  We were cruising along and I just kept going faster and faster until Shirley asked just how fast we were going.  I told her about 180 KPH or about 110 MPH.  It was smooth as silk.  About that time, I saw a red flash in my rear view mirror and though it might be a cop, but the lights on police vehicles in Spain are blue.  I kept watching and in about 5 minutes a bright red Mitsubishi 3000 shot by us like we were standing still.  He must have been gong 150 MPH.  We didn't see very many cars, zero trucks and no police on the rest of the trip home.  It cost about $27 to drive that couple hundred  miles, but it was worth it.  I guese the Spanish thought it was too expensive. 
They all have a story, right? I don't know why I bought this one.  Since General Motors owned the Hughes Missile Systems starting in about 1987, empolyees got a significant discount on cars & trucks.  But, I couldn't drive by this one.  It was a very neat little truck with an extra cab, a hot rod V6 and an overdrive automatic transmission.  It would get up and go, however, it would fold back at about 105 MPH in any gear you were in.  You could buy a new computer chip and overcome that but i never did.  I had a neat low profile camper shell on the back and it was a nice vehicle.  I leased it and when the lease was up, I went to the local Toyota dealer and asked them to price me a new Tundra, a larger picup, and they just wanted to play a game and wanted me to pay like $1000 in penalty for not buying the vehicle or trading it.  I went to the other Toyota dealer on the West side of Tucson and bought it outright and closing the lease cost me less than $100.  Later, I traded it in for a Chevrolet pickup. 



Not long after I retired from Hughes/Raytheon, the new car bug bit me and we bought this 2000 Buick Park Ave. Ultra with a supercharger and it was a pretty nice car, 3.8 V6, sun roof, it even had an arm rest in the center rear seat that would open and you could see into the trunk.  I guess it was for hauling long pieces of lumber, right?.  The problem is that your ass is too close to the ground and you can't see anything, you're so low.  Had a HUD (Heads Up Display) so you could see part of the instruments without looking down.  We leased it too and when the lease was up, we bought a new Suburban.  It would perform but it liked to eat tires.  We had just bought this one from Royal Buick here in Tucson when the price of gas skyrocketed to $1.65, just a matter of poor timing.  We didn't know it was going to make it to near $4 before it was all over.
Here's just about the best vehicle I ever owned.  It ran flawlessly for over 7 years without a hitch with the exception of the battery.  I had one of those fiberglass tonneau covers over the back bed with a carpeted interior and it was a comfortable traveling machine.  I just wish now that I had put money into it and kept it.  I used to ferry Mom back and forth from Illinois to Tucson when she was snowbirding.  I'd take her back in April and pick her up in October.  She liked that truck.  I had step running boards on it and with the help of a little step stool, she'd get right in.  She was a traveler.  I never had to stop often when she was a passenger.


As I mentioned, we traded the Toyota pickup for this 2003 Chevy Suburban.  It has been a dandy.  Shirley has driven it for 14 years with very little trouble.  In 2016, we decided it was getting a bit long in the tooth and we went down to O'Reilly Chevrolet and looked at a 2016 model that went for $75K !!  The model below that was pretty similar in equipment to the old one and it was $60K after my GM discount.  Shirley disliked the seats, said they were much narrower and harder than hers.  The center console was at least 6 inches wider than the old one and the seats were that much narrower.  I mentioned to the salesman that if I could find someone to do a partial restoration on it I might consider it.  Turns out he did that on the side.  We had him go over it, redoing all the leather seats, repairing or replacing everything on it, electric window motors, replaced both bumpers, new brakes, shocks, new outside mirrors and finally a paint job.  it looked like new and saved me over $50K.  It's still running like a new one. We took a 5,800 mile trip to Columbia, South Carolina, Edinburg,Virginia, the farm in Illinois, Marble Falls, Texas and home.  In Illinois, the mileage turned 200,000 and it's running like a top.
This 2008 GMC Denali was purchased in a weak moment after some guy ran into the back of my beloved Silverado.  I should have kept the Chevy, but, I saw this one in the dealer showroom and made a pretty good deal on it.  It has every bell and whistle including a sun roof seldom used.  It a powerful thing with a 6.0 liter engine and 405 HP plus a 6 speed automatic transmission.  It cruses at 75 MPH with the engine just about double idle speed of 1900 RPM and averages 17.4 MPG all the time.  It is also a traveling machine but it's not easy to see out when you're parking.  






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SINCE 4 JULY 1776!