My mother's cars

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334
Location
New York
Thinking about my late Mom on Mother's Day and the cars she drove. My mom passed away almost 30 years ago, and I am reminiscing about her today. Mom was born in Manhattan and then lived in the Bronx, so in the early part of her life she never had a driver's license or a car. Mom and Dad lived in the Bronx when they first married, then decided to move to the suburbs of Queens in the fifties. Dad put a deposit down on a Hudson, but never took delivery due to a post-war car shortage. However, he eventually they got a 1950 Plymouth Mayflower sedan with a three on the tree. It was on this car that my mother learned to drive. She passed her road test the first time. I still remember her sometimes reciting to herself what gear to be in as she was driving, low, second, high. The car had a cane emergency brake, bench seats and of course no seat belts. In 1957 my dad came home with a slightly used 57 Chevy Station Wagon. My mom drove that everywhere. And it had powerglide with a weird shift pattern on the steering column. The steering wheel was so big, I think my mom looked out at the road through the steering wheel. No AC naturally. She drove my brother to college in upstate New York in that car, doing 75 with all the windows and vents open and lots of shimmying. The big hill as you come into Ithaca was a challenge to the brakes. Eventually that car got so rusty we had pieces of wood to cover the holes in the floor. In 1961 we got a Corvair and she would drive that. I remember her losing control coming down a hill in a snowstorm, then catching the slide. That car used to eat rear tires due to the extreme camber. And fan belts. Next we started buying Fords. We had two Country Squires. My mom chauffeured all of us to whatever schools, lessons, horse shows, track meets, you name it. In her old age, she drove a Pontiac Bonneville, by far the nicest ride she ever had.
After my dad passed away Mom would drive 8 hours to visit my sister and brother in Virginia all by herself. I don't know how she did it, but she did that for years.

What kinds of cars did other readers Mom's drive?
 
Messages
24,703
Location
Dallas,Tx USA
My mom had a 1974 blue Cutlass Supreme coupe with the white vinyl interior. I still remember the "Rocket 350" sticker on the air cleaner cover. Before that I can barely remember her early 70s white Delta 88 coupe.
 
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Messages
1,335
Location
Basehor, KS
In my lifetime, keeping in mind I wasn't born until 10 yrs into their marriage: '48 Ford sedan; '54 Ford Custom (?); '57 Chev station wagon (totaled about a year after an engine rebuild; '61 Ford Galaxie sedan;'68 Ford F100; '77 Ford F150 (Dad purchased new right before he passed); '84 Ford Fairmont. Only the Fairmont had air conditioning. She stopped driving in 1990 or so. I kept the F150 in the family for ten more years; my older sister purchased the Fairmont and drove it for several years after Mom quit driving.
 

GON

$50 Site Donor
Messages
651
Location
SLC, UT
Peter,

Thanks for posting the story. Great read, especially for Mothers' day! And yes, the Bonneville were awesome cars- I believe the best sedan GM ever built (along with its sister the Park Avenue).

I was raised by my Dad, and my Dad was raised by his Dad- so I can't comment on what my Mother would of drove.
 
Messages
131
Location
Montague, NJ
Mom didn't start driving until she was older at 50. Her first car was a 64-65 Dart used that I got her cheap for a ''trainer''. When the slant six expired she got a '67 Malibu w/250 powerglide car. She drove that for a long time until it needed a car upgrade when it passed into my care. A '80's Ford Fairmont came next which my brother killed. Next was a '96 Taurus which she crashed. A small FWD Buick was next, can't remember the year/model and that was her last car when she passed on.
I did a rehab on the Chevelle, body, drivetrain and suspension and drove it 100k miles and passed it on to my son who basically finished it off with rust being the death of it. It had over 300k on it as it was on the second time around when Mom bought it. I was the 8th owner of the Chevelle so it definitely had been around the block a few times but those old cars could be kept running forever if you could keep the rust at bay.
 
Messages
6,504
Location
Connecticut
My mom has owned Hondas for most of her life, she got her license in her mid 20s. She always says she isn't a car person, and wants something simple that works. She prefers manual locks/hand crank windows and something small and easy to drive. Most of these cars except the van were bought brand new:
-1986 Honda Civic hatchback
-1990 Honda Civic wagon 4WD
-1994 Nissan Quest
-2005 Honda Civic
-2011 Honda Fit (current)
 
Messages
10,789
Location
Jupiter, Florida
Great story of a time gone by. Many of us who grew up in NY understand the conditions well.

64 Dodge Dart
69 Ford Country Squire wagon LTD (crashed in snow)
71 Ford Country Squire wagon LTD (crashed in snow)
78 Mercury Zephyr (died a fiery death)
83 Subaru GL (?) (died a firey death)
91 Honda Accord, lasted to nearly 300K miles
06 Prius (on it's last legs)


My mother drives each car she's owned into the ground, crashes them, or kills them by fire from parking in the grass (happened more than once). She is currently well into her 80's and drives a Prius. It's hybrid system has malfunctioned and the engine is screaming and rattling all the time.

Oh, and she is obsessed with gas mileage.

Come to think of it, I kind of do the same thing. I use up my vehicles.
 

blupupher

Site Donor 2021
Messages
6,984
Location
Katy, Republic of Texas
The first car I know she drove was a late 60's, early 70's Valiant (about the time I was born).
She had a Galaxie 500 4 door.
She had 2 Dodge Vans after that from '77 to '95.
She had something for a short while after the vans, but don't remember what, then got a '98 Oldsmobile Alero.
Had a 2007 Saturn Vue after that, and currently drives a '18 Kia Soul.
 
Messages
17,585
Location
...
The car had a cane emergency brake, bench seats and of course no seat belts.

Ah yes, the cane handle emergency brake. I remember that from old cars of the past.

We also had a rusted out floorboard hole. A empty five pound Hills Bros coffee can cut and flattened out plus some roofing tar covered that hole up nicely. Mom had been complaining about her legs getting wet. That can solved the problem and we covered it with a rubber floor mat so she wouldn’t get tar on her shoes.
 
Messages
826
Location
NC
'58 Chevy DelRay
'67 Chevy Malibu Coupe 327 V8 w/p-glide
'76 Toyota Celica
'82 Nissan Maxima
'92 Buick LeSabre
Mom had pretty eclectic tastes in cars.
1620572000459.jpg
 
Messages
2,874
Location
Kentucky
My mom drove a 60's Mustang fastback in high school (she graduated in '76), a car that was handed down to each sibling (grandparents had 6 kids); she was the last to get it. After my parents married, they shared a car until I was a teenager. First car they owned together was a 1980-82 (exact year eludes me) Mustang with the 2.3L four cylinder, pretty economical car.

They traded that one in for unknown reasons (presumably it was too small for four kids) after we moved across country in the late 80's, and they bought a 1983 Dodge Aries wagon. They didn't own that one long, I remember it burning copious amounts of oil, and mom having to run out and get oil often. I remember one time her bringing home Quaker State and my dad getting irate about it, evidently QS had a bad reputation at the time. That car must have had big problems because we borrowed my grandmother's 1985 Chevy Citation often because the Aries was always breaking down. They traded that one on a low mileage 1987 Plymouth Reliant station wagon, complete with the wood paneling. They put a little over 100k on that one and sold it when the transmission started acting funny.

My mom got her own cars after that one, and they went in this order: early 90's Mitsubishi Precis (Hyundai Excel clone), 1995 Mazda MPV minivan, 1995 Chevrolet Beretta, 2000 Daewoo Nubira, 1996 Nissan Maxima (which she sold to me in 2015 and I still own), and since 2015 she's been leasing a Subaru Outback every 2-3 years.
 
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BlueOvalFitter

Site Donor 2021
Messages
9,639
Location
Cajun Country, La.
Thinking about my late Mom on Mother's Day and the cars she drove. My mom passed away almost 30 years ago, and I am reminiscing about her today. Mom was born in Manhattan and then lived in the Bronx, so in the early part of her life she never had a driver's license or a car. Mom and Dad lived in the Bronx when they first married, then decided to move to the suburbs of Queens in the fifties. Dad put a deposit down on a Hudson, but never took delivery due to a post-war car shortage. However, he eventually they got a 1950 Plymouth Mayflower sedan with a three on the tree. It was on this car that my mother learned to drive. She passed her road test the first time. I still remember her sometimes reciting to herself what gear to be in as she was driving, low, second, high. The car had a cane emergency brake, bench seats and of course no seat belts. In 1957 my dad came home with a slightly used 57 Chevy Station Wagon. My mom drove that everywhere. And it had powerglide with a weird shift pattern on the steering column. The steering wheel was so big, I think my mom looked out at the road through the steering wheel. No AC naturally. She drove my brother to college in upstate New York in that car, doing 75 with all the windows and vents open and lots of shimmying. The big hill as you come into Ithaca was a challenge to the brakes. Eventually that car got so rusty we had pieces of wood to cover the holes in the floor. In 1961 we got a Corvair and she would drive that. I remember her losing control coming down a hill in a snowstorm, then catching the slide. That car used to eat rear tires due to the extreme camber. And fan belts. Next we started buying Fords. We had two Country Squires. My mom chauffeured all of us to whatever schools, lessons, horse shows, track meets, you name it. In her old age, she drove a Pontiac Bonneville, by far the nicest ride she ever had.
After my dad passed away Mom would drive 8 hours to visit my sister and brother in Virginia all by herself. I don't know how she did it, but she did that for years.

What kinds of cars did other readers Mom's drive?
I think my mom drove my dad crazy and that's why they got a divorce.
 
Messages
12,371
Location
OH
First new one was an '89 Dodge Shadow in black cherry color with some nice options like the bigger engine. It was pretty sweet. Dad and I saw them at the auto show and that got the ball rolling from there. It kings of seemed nicer than its replacement a '96 Saturn sedan in white. Shadow only had 30k miles when traded in. Both cars were reliable.
 
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Messages
22,644
Location
Apple Valley, California
I don't know a whole lot about my mom's past. She kept quiet about most of it.

I do know that she lived in Dallas with my older brother and sister.

At one point she was renting a house from lee Harvey Oswald"s ex wife or maybe his mother. My mom had to move from there due to the constant eggings as well as threats from people that thought my mom was connected to all that.

My dad bought her a new 68 valiant when I came around. Slant 6,torqueflight,no ps but ice cold AC.(R12!). It always started and got her where she needed to be.

Then he bought her a new 1978 Subaru brat. It was a manual and mom had to learn to drive that. It was very dependable for the most part.

The only negative was the shifter moved on a bolt. That bolt would wear and also wear the shift parts which resulted in her not being able to use reverse. She had to pull through or park facing up hill.

Then dad bought her an 87 dodge Omni. This was a very un-reliable car. She was always getting it towed. Noteworthy things like the pickup coil in the distributor and the actual rear axle broke 2x that I remember.

That car finally ground the fuel pump eccentric off so that the mechanical fuel pump no longer pumped gas. Car got scrapped at that point with only 109k on it.
 
Messages
22,644
Location
Apple Valley, California
Thinking about my late Mom on Mother's Day and the cars she drove. My mom passed away almost 30 years ago, and I am reminiscing about her today. Mom was born in Manhattan and then lived in the Bronx, so in the early part of her life she never had a driver's license or a car. Mom and Dad lived in the Bronx when they first married, then decided to move to the suburbs of Queens in the fifties. Dad put a deposit down on a Hudson, but never took delivery due to a post-war car shortage. However, he eventually they got a 1950 Plymouth Mayflower sedan with a three on the tree. It was on this car that my mother learned to drive. She passed her road test the first time. I still remember her sometimes reciting to herself what gear to be in as she was driving, low, second, high. The car had a cane emergency brake, bench seats and of course no seat belts. In 1957 my dad came home with a slightly used 57 Chevy Station Wagon. My mom drove that everywhere. And it had powerglide with a weird shift pattern on the steering column. The steering wheel was so big, I think my mom looked out at the road through the steering wheel. No AC naturally. She drove my brother to college in upstate New York in that car, doing 75 with all the windows and vents open and lots of shimmying. The big hill as you come into Ithaca was a challenge to the brakes. Eventually that car got so rusty we had pieces of wood to cover the holes in the floor. In 1961 we got a Corvair and she would drive that. I remember her losing control coming down a hill in a snowstorm, then catching the slide. That car used to eat rear tires due to the extreme camber. And fan belts. Next we started buying Fords. We had two Country Squires. My mom chauffeured all of us to whatever schools, lessons, horse shows, track meets, you name it. In her old age, she drove a Pontiac Bonneville, by far the nicest ride she ever had.
After my dad passed away Mom would drive 8 hours to visit my sister and brother in Virginia all by herself. I don't know how she did it, but she did that for years.

What kinds of cars did other readers Mom's drive?
That weird shift pattern was a turboglyde. Not a power glide.
 
Messages
146
My mom has a 96 Supercharged Buick Riviera, pearl white. She routinely gets in to the boost to "make sure it still works" 😂
 
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6,353
Location
KY
Back in 1969 my mother totaled the one owner 1965 Mustang I was going to drive when I turned 16.
 
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5,006
Location
Southeast
It was Park Neutral Drive Lo and Reverse PNDLR. It was a 210 with a Six.

The Corvair had Powerglide with no Park. You had to use the parking brake, again a cane type.

Here's a list of all transmissions available in the 57 Chevy lineup. https://57classicchevy.com/1957-chevrolet-engines#:~:text=The manual three speed transmission,new Turboglide was an option.
That 2 speed power glide would grab high gear typically around 10mph, certainly 15. I can’t imagine driving that car 70mph. iirc the 283 v8 was doing 3000rpm around 55 or 60. Spec steering wheel PLAY in that car was between 5-6” and 4 wheel drum brakes on a single circuit with no weighting towards the front was a handful at 55. No sway bars, and crummy aero. People say they’d get these things up to 100 ... and that’s ludicrous to me.
 
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