03 February 2017

My Automotive History, Part 2

The linked post took me up to 1979, so here we continue:
1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme - had a 350 ci engine with a 4-bbl, but couldn't get out of its own way. Since that was pre-Internet, I found out only later that '74 was the worst possible model to buy because of all the mandatory smog controls. Detroit didn't have the technology then to overcome the handicap, and the thing just didn't have any power.
1979 Plymouth Horizon TC3 - after the success of Chrysler's K-cars (due to the gas shortage earlier in the '70s), economical cars were all the rage. In those days of less-advanced technology, that meant smaller & lighter, rather than more efficient. Ours had no power equipment of any kind, clear glass, and no A/C. We were in college at the time (early '80s); the Midwestern sun made it so we could only make long drives at night. It got 35+ mpg, but was made of pot metal. That was back in the days of the CB radio craze, so I used a center punch to make a dimple for drilling an antenna mounting screw. The punch went all the way through. :^(
1983 Jeep CJ-7 - this is our actual Jeep, rather than a "close enough" internet grab. It was the first vehicle we bought new, and I thought I was King of the World. That's when I learned about the windshields on those things, which leaked like the disaster scenes from Titanic. The heater also produced enough heat to melt the snow from the toes of my boots in winter, but not much else due to the single-wall body tub, no insulation, and a one-layer vinyl roof with loose-fitting doors. I loved it!
'65 Ford Mustang - while we had the Jeep, my sister decided she needed a larger vehicle, and sold me her 'Stang for $1.00. It was only the six-banger, rather than a V-8, and had been driven mostly to death, but it was still a Mustang. We eventually sold it for cheap to a high school automotive program. Those kids fixed everything that was wrong, including a bent frame from an old accident, and made it look like new.
1988 Dodge Dakota 4x4 - when the Jeep began showing signs of an early death (at 4 1/2 yrs old, and only 33,000 miles), we traded it for a new Dakota. It helped that my dad worked at the St. Louis Chrysler assembly plant, so there was a substantial discount available. We drove it for 5 years, and then sold it to my dad. He kept it until his death in 2011; I helped my mom sell it to a local youth pastor, and it's still on the road down in southwest Missouri ... as far as I know.
1978 Ford Fairmont Futura - somewhere in the mix, we bought a used Fairmont from a buddy, and drove for a few years. It wasn't a bad car, but I don't remember much else about it.
1987 Dodge Shadow - We liked this little pea-sized car, and drove it happily for a couple of years, until our first daughter came along in '89. That's when we discovered that the car seat was too big to fit in the back seat, which otherwise held 3 or 4 bags of groceries. But it was a tight fit. :)
1991 Dodge Spirit - a four-door car was definitely required, and we were determined to remain loyal to Mopar as long as my dad worked for Chrysler. The Spirit had a very spirited V-6, which I also enjoyed. That little sucker would scoot! We put some 130,000 miles on it, and drove it until the transmission stopped working.
1996 Chrysler Town and Country - ours was teal, but otherwise identical to the one pictured here. By this time we had two daughters, and needed the extra space. It was roomy, got pretty decent mileage, and made a good cruiser. The girls liked it when I discovered that the 3rd row seat could be removed, and the middle row could be moved half-way back. That gave them about five feet of leg room, and - more importantly - put them farther away from Mom and Dad. :)  We drove this one until it was time to move to Alaska.
1999 Ford Escort ZX2 - while I drove the minivan, my wife drove this little scooter. It had a 4-speed stick, got great mileage, and made a good commuter vehicle. I could drive it comfortably enough, but had trouble getting in and out of it.
1998 Ford Expedition - we bought this one a few weeks before driving to Alaska. It had to be something large enough to hold the four of us, our luggage, a couple of coolers, while pulling the ZX2 on a two-wheel dolly from St. Charles, MO to Anchorage (3,850 miles). We - okay, I loved that truck, and drove it until four years ago when I rolled it.
2007 Ford Taurus - this was the replacement for my wife's ZX2. Larger in every regard, it was a great highway cruiser, got 23 mpg, and ... and turned out to be a bad choice for Alaska. It simply didn't like winter AT ALL. The defroster couldn't keep the windows clear, no matter what. And it could not maintain traction on ice. It was an original Skidmobile, even with aggressive studded snow tires. She drove it until last year, but it was never a great car.
2006 Ford Explorer XLT - this is the replacement for my trusty Expedition. It's not quite the truck that Big Green was, but it does what it needs to do, and provides reliable transportation. Reasonable mileage, and has room to haul cargo as needed.
And that brings us to the most recent acquisition:
2014 Ford Escape - we bought this one in '15, and my wife loves it. Good mileage, purrs right along, and has a surprising amount of room inside. Due to the redesign from the traditional boxy style, there's nearly as much interior space as in my Explorer. Comfortable ride, too.
And thus concludes our little trip down memory lane. I appreciate your continued interest and/or patience, if you made it this far.
Thanks for stopping by, friends. Have a wonderful Friday, and an even better weekend!


PeteForester1 said...

I just bought a '97 Jeep Wrangler with 91K on it. I guess they'd taken care of the windshield leak issues by then, and the soft top is decent. I do end up with water in the floorpan from rain getting in around the soft-top doors. The four-banger does fine off-road, but is the gutless wonder of the West on the freeway! It can't even pass the time! ...Then again, there's just something about a Jeep...

What the heck was it about those 80's Dakotas?? Those damned things JUST WON'T DIE! My neighbor was a handyman and had one of those. The thing had been through hell, and looked every bit of it. If a truck could fall over and die, one would have expected this one to do just that. I borrowed it one day. EVERYTHING STILL WORKED; EVEN THE A/C AND POWER WINDOWS!

Rev. Paul said...

I think the old flat windshields dating back to WWII were finally replaced with a modern design in the mid-80s. Owners of newer models won't ever have to caulk around the windshield gasket the way we did, back in the day. But I'd do it again, in a heartbeat.

And you're right about those old Dakotas: they fall apart physically before they fail mechanically, barring accidents.

Sandy said...

Rev. Paul,

Nice trip down memory lane!!! I love old mustangs, your '65 is gorgeous!!! My Dad used to have a '65 mustang he bought from an entertainer while we lived in Spain. He sold that car to another military soldier before returning to the U.S. Once in the U.S. in upstate NY Dad missed his old mustang, and purchased another. It just couldn't hold up to the mustang we had in Spain.

I would kill for an old ford truck (50's-60's)....maybe in the future.

Rev. Paul said...

Sandy, I don't know if you clicked on the link to Part 1, so I'll just mention I had two Broncos: a '67 and a '69. Those were good trucks, easy to work on (when needed), and solid as a rock. The Expedition was Rolls-Royce in comparison, but there was something about those old trucks ...

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

We share something Reverend! I drove two 1966 Mustangs, both 6 cylinders. Arguably the best American car of the 60's and 70's - with the possible exception of the 1971 Mach 1.

Rev. Paul said...

TB - they were fun to drive, despite their hurried design & relatively cheap construction. My personal favorite is still my '68 Super Bee, but I won't argue your point: a lot of folks feel the same way.

Old NFO said...

Nice roundup... And yes, those Taurus SUCK on ice/snow... Had one of those for a rental in Fairbanks in March... sigh

Ed Bonderenka said...

NFO: I've driven Taurii for 20 yrs in the worst Michigan snowstorms with no problems.
Paul: Glad you snapped out of that mopar cycle and moved up to Fords.

Rev. Paul said...

Ed, the Taurus never had a problem with snow, but it didn't like the resulting packed-down snow which became a hockey rink surface. It couldn't stop on ice whatsoever; just slid for the nearest ditch, every time.

Re: the switch to Fords, it just seemed like the thing to do. :) Also, I despise Chrysler (and GM, for that matter) for taking the Obama bail-outs, and will stick to Ford unless something else changes that.