30 Day Challenge 2

Day 2
Describe your first car.

In 1976, my dad cosigned for a $500 bank loan to close the deal on a lime green 1971 Ford Pinto for me. A really nice one would have looked like this:

Of course, mine looked nothing like the picture. Lots more wear and tear, and since it was Ohio: rust. Then there was its tendency to blow up on rear impact. Ford ran the numbers and decided it would be cheaper to pay out damages in lawsuits than to fix the problem, but the notorious “Pinto memo” is shrouded in controversy and widely misunderstood (even though Time bought it).

One of the funniest memories of my Pinto was having to drive my boss (president of the company) home in it one summer afternoon. The reaction from a man who had driven only Cadillacs and Continentals for 30 years was quite entertaining. Still, the little piece of junk never died on me, and I drove it all over creation without a single thought of a breakdown — long before there were cell phones to call out for help. It was a different time, you know?

So, tell me about your first car.

24 thoughts on “30 Day Challenge 2

  1. Rae

    My first car was a 92 Dodge Neon… a hand-me-down from my father to my sister to me. While it had its fair amount of rust, it also came with over 220,000 miles on it. Ran great. Put a CD player in it. It was completely reliable until it wasn’t. Until it start dumping bright green fluid on Park Ave. in Mansfield. There were cell phones back then… but I didn’t have one. I put 30,000 miles on it in one year playing in community bands all over the state every week. It died the summer after I graduated from high school… which was nice of the car to hold out at least that long. It had a cup holder on the dashboard and every day, I would dump the water out of it and put fresh lilacs from the tree in my mom’s front yard in it.

  2. Kay

    My first and still favorite car was a 1962 white Volkswagon bug. It was old and clunky and I loved it!!! I think my father, who always had new cars, was embarrassed to have it in the driveway, but he taught me and helped me fix its many idiosyncrasies. I loved it!!! I loved the putt-putt sound! I even loved the fact that when it wouldn’t start I could push it back out of the driveway, push it down the hill, hop in, jump the clutch and putt away. It was a car that needed me and I was hippie cool. I wish I still had it ;)

    1. PKPudlin

      I loved the fact that I could start my VW Bug that way too! I also loved the syncro-mesh (or whatever they called it) and could upshift without using the clutch. I knew the engine pitch and would just slam it into the next higher gear. Can’t do that anymore (LOL).

  3. Greg

    I think it was a 1962 Ford (Fairlane??). Great used car! I loved it. Then on the way home from school during my first year at SC just north of the HS, a driver coming the opposite way turned left in front of me. I hit the brakes, the car hit the ditch and flipped over. I was ok but as I got out to survey the damage, one of the school buses, filled with kids, drove by and they were all at the windows watching.

  4. BoomR

    You had a Pinto, too??? OMG! We ARE twins separated at birth LOL :-) The family 2nd car that was “mine” to drive when I turned 16 was a dark BLUE Pinto 2 door sedan!!! Dad helped me build a little console (padded & covered in black leatherette) that was mounted on the transmission hump & under the dash. The console had some really fancy-schmantzy race car-like gauges for water temp, batter/power, and oil pressure. I also bought a cool Hurst shift knob to replace the little round one. And of course a racing stripe ala Starsky & Hutch’s Torino :-) OOOH!! And my Jensen 8-track/FM Stereo combo deck with Jensen coax speakers in the door.

    The follow-on 2 years later was a Pinto station wagon. At the height of the CB craze, I bought a CB radio that had a telephone handset! JUST like this: http://jalopnik.com/5166099/the-ultimate-cb-radio-for-your-custom-van-johnson-messenger-130a

    I was such a twisted child growing up… LOL :-)

  5. Suzanne

    My first car that I owned was a brown Chevy Chevette. Was a good car but BO-ring! The first car I got to drive was a Chevy Malibu, grrrrrreat car until dad smashed it. I also got to drive the Chevy Suburban-good party car (I was in High School…..’nuff said)

      1. Rat Fink Post author

        I know! Someone in my past life had a fire-engine red Pinto wagon. Crappity crap.

  6. PKPudlin

    My first car was a VW bug – don’t remember the year, but it was baby-puke yellow with primer on the bumpers. All my friends drove Camaros and would spend hours polishing and cleaning, so mine was quite a contrast. We would meet over at one guy’s house all the time to hang out, and I wasn’t allowed to park in front of the house because my car was such an eyesore. I always name my cars, and this one was Mikey.
    He hated everything.


  7. Skylar

    My first car is still out there – somewhere – waiting for me to find it and take it home.

    1. Rat Fink Post author

      Hang in there, Skylar. It’s out there — and likely not as crappy as the ones you’ve read about here. HA

  8. Kodye

    My first car was a some haggard Ford Ranger that I hated driving because it was a stick. I couldn’t handle it. I’d have a mini heart attack every time I’d roll a little bit backwards on a hill.

  9. Country Mouse

    My first car was a 1981 red Ford Escort. Don’t remember the exact cost but it was low enough that I purchased it myself with money I had saved over a 16 year time period! It was a great car. Front wheel drive that could go through lots of weather as long as the snow wasn’t too deep. It was our only reliable car after we got married (my husband’s first car(s) were not) and we kept it around for at least 10 years. I would love to have it today to drive around – but it would be a challenge to get in and out of it!!!!!!

  10. Bando

    My parents got me a 93 Chevy S-10 – it had an older gentleman as its first owner – who got the best trim package on it and took good care of it, so it wasn’t a bad first vehicle to have. It served me well for 7 years – I think you and I even took it to the Green Witch a time or two. I loved that truck until the coolant system went out and I’d have to drive it to school with the heat on full blast in May.

    It taught me how to drive in winter weather, with its rear-wheel drive and no anti-lock braking system. As a bonus, it was light enough that I could push it out myself whenever it got stuck. Came to find out that my parents just wanted it to get me through high school — it got me all the way through undergrad and one year of teaching!

  11. Rat Fink Post author


    I love all these stories! Isn’t it funny how you remember goofy stuff about the car? I couldn’t begin to tell you how many miles my Pinto (^5 Boom Boom) had on it, but I’ll never forget driving to Cedar Point in it with all the windows down and the radio blasting, or that time when I was parked at Dillon’s (now BW3) and some drunken fool rammed into my driver’s side door after jumping the cement parking block.

    I can also say that coming home from school and reading all these responses makes my night. :-) That is why I continue with this little labor: it’s the comment love!


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