My mother's cars

PeterGreen

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To be fair to my mom, this was on a wide open interstate in upstate New York with no traffic near us. Back then, most of the expressways near our home on Long Island had speed limits of 65 and she respected them. But yeah, there was 5-6 inches of play in the steering wheel.
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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Here’s the rest of the story...
She was on her way to pick me up at the bus stop when she dropped a wheel off the pavement and spun into an oncoming Impala. She was completely unhurt. Some of her busybody friends drove by the wreck and offered to pick me up at the bus stop. When they picked me up the following conversation ensued:

“Where’s Mom?”
“She was in a wreck.”
“Is she okay?”
“Yes, she’s fine.”
“What shape is the Mustang in?”
“You should be worried about your mother.”
“I thought you said she was okay.”
“She is; you should be glad she wasn’t hurt.”
“I AM. Now how is the Mustang?”
“You should be glad she wasn’t hurt!”
“Groan...”

The one thing you need to know about my mother was that she never, EVER passed up an opportunity to make me look bad while simultaneously making herself look either saintly or put upon- so for decades to come she would tell people, “I totaled my car once and all my son cared about was how bad the car was hurt.”
At least I can laugh about it now.
Happy Mother’s Day!
 
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Ontario, Canada
(19**) Mercury Cougar XR7 (Dad said it was a 5.0L, I'm not so sure it was)
1978 Oldsmbile Delta 88 4.9L
1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera 2.8L
1986 Cadillac Sedan Deville 4.1L
1999 Dodge Caravan 3.8L
2008 Nissan Rogue 2.5L
2015 Nissan Rogue 2.5L (current)
 

AutoMechanic

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Roanoke Virginia
My moms first car was a Dodge Dart I can’t remember what year she said it seems like it was a 1968. Then not sure any of the others after that because most of the time her and her two sisters shared one car because they didn’t have a whole lot of money. When she graduated in 1986 she purchased a brand new Ford Escort. She drove that thing until she traded it on a 1996 Toyota Avalon which was the first car her and my dad bought together. They kept the Avalon till about 2005 when it started giving issues to us so we traded it for a 2001 Jeep Cherokee which we still have. Then she gave that to my dad in 2010 and bought a 2004 Toyota Camry then that got a lot of miles on it so she gave that to my dad and bought a 2017 Camry. She said it’s definitely her last new car since cars are getting too advanced. She’s had way more too but they have been shared with dad. Our family has always had lots of cars. Her mom drives a 2015 Kia Soul the only thing I can remember her saying about her first vehicle is it was a three on the tree and she hated it. Fortunately I still have the keys to the Escort and the Avalon.
CFE756C7-AB0B-444D-8E33-021892D50908.jpeg
Mom’s current ride.
 
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My mom had wheel time with our 57 bel aire, which started with my great grandmother, was later passed to my granddad, who lent it to both of his daughters and later gave it to us. she had a hand-me-down fairlane when I was born and then a 77 toyota corona. Plastic seats, manual recirc ball steering and a 5mt with a 22RE, RWD. I really wish we‘d kept it longer, but they traded it with 110k miles to buy me a well-used escort when I turned 16. No kid wanted to drive mom’s car which perpetually smelled like barfed formula from 3 kids, but I later realized the sheer bulk of steel in the toyota was the more attractive car. She got her first new car in 89, a teal on tan accord lx-i, again 5mt. It was the first car we had with power windows, and she would have been around 40. It was a refined work of art we never could imagine. Somewhere in there my parents bought an 84 vanagon, water box, manual windows, no radio but had AC, manual steering, and 4mt. They swapped it back and forth depending on kid duty. That’s another vehicle which I would have loved to have kept into college, but it had horrible reliability and they traded it at 60k, which for my parents was an abomination of waste to trade anything that young. The VW was desperately unreliable, but fun to drive. I had a lot of seat time behind the wheel of it. They later bought my brother a well-used Acura legend, and they swapped the legend for the accord later when he felt like it was too much car. The legend saved her life when she got full on t-boned in an intersection. I *loved* that legend.... it was a pure work of art and to this day would jump on one if it could be found in good shape. I loved it more that it saved her life. From then on she drove my late grandfathers civic, so stripped it didn’t even have a clock (early 90s i think), the infamous 375k mile 2004 civic, and now a ‘14-ish civic. She drives her cars until the wheels fall off, or until it makes sense to give or swap with someone else. She’s never cared for big cars. She felt like I’d arrived when we bought our work-spec f150 and was s.u.p.e.r careful about not tracking dirt on the vinyl floor mats.

i saw her the first time today since Covid hit. It was *really* good to see her. She’s not moving as quickly as she used to, and I love her very much.

m
 
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The first one was a brand new Oldsmobile convertible early 50's. Then came a new 1955 Olsmobile. I do not remember these first two cars but my mom has the pictures. Then came a brand new purple with a light purple top 1958 Oldmobile 2 door with a 371 cu inch 4 barrel and a 4 speed automatic transmission. Next was a 1965 nine eight Oldsmoble 4 door. Then came a 1972 Oldsmobile Toronado followed by a 1986 Oldsmobile Toronado diesel. A 1990 Pontiac Bonneville came next then my dad bought a 1999 Buick LeSabre. My mom still is driving the 1999 Buick with under 100,000 miles on it but it's rusted pretty much all over on the bottom parts of the car. I did the last oil change 2 years ago and it probably only has 1,500 miles on it. Once my dad acquired dementia the cool cars stopped. He had quite a taste for neat looking cars and he also had different pickups too and the last one was a 1999 Chevrolet Silverado that was sold many years ago when his health went south. Those Oldsmobiles were really neat cars. There are seven kids in the family and we seemed to get by just fine shoehorned in those 2 door Oldsmobiles. The Buick is going up for sale soon since my mom is 92 and will be 93 in November and she is getting too old to drive. I will sell it for her.
 
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ROCHESTER, NY
My MOM had a 55 Chevy when I was growing up. I called it the chocolate car as it looked like chocolate milk(cocoa) with a white hard top.
I remember some of her earlier cars in my head, I just don't know what they were. I do remember she and DAD getting the new 60 DeSoto 4 dr(lite green w/mint green hard top).

Dad love his Chrysler's so, that's what they drove mainly over the years til '68 when the got their first BUICK LeSabre in which I learned to drive. And his '62 Jeep PU. I don't remember what that Jeep was called...here's something of what the Jeep looked like(internet pic).

 
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I was the last of 3 kids, born in 1970, so I wasn't around for the really interesting cars my dad bought for Mom to drive. My sister tells stories of the Plymouth Satellite they had, which was my sister's favorite. I never saw it.
The first car I associate with my mother is the '72 Monte Carlo they bought in 1977, right before we moved from Virgina to Wyoming. I remember looking out the windshield from the back seat, over that mile-long hood with the emblem sticking up at the end. That car ran silently with the factory exhaust in place, but it was deadly with the right driver. Mom never exploited the abilities of that huge engine, but my sister sure did.

It started giving Mom trouble one cold winter in Wyoming. The choke kept re-setting even after the engine was fully warmed up, and it would try to spin the tires sitting at a stoplight. She would have to put it in neutral and kick the gas pedal hard, and that would lower the idle sometimes...and sometimes not. She made my dad get rid of it because she felt like she couldn't control it. Funny to think what a simple fix that probably was, but I think Dad was looking for an excuse to get a pickup, as we chopped our own firewood in Wyoming.

We then entered the dark ages, car-wise. They bought a brand new 1982 Chevy 1500 2wd (mistake) with the "Silverado" package. Cloth interior, rally wheels with white letter tires, power windows and locks, two-tone blue and silver. Nice looking truck, but was 100% possessed by Satan himself. The trouble with that truck was never-ending. It finally developed an issue with the carburetor about 2 years into ownership where it would suddenly hesitate after you start accelerating...the power would just fall off a cliff once you reached 20 - 25 miles an hour. You didn't dare pull it out in front of someone unless you have a mile of empty road separating you. At 3 years in, my parents did something the never do, and sold a vehicle before it was paid off. I was very happy to see that POS go.

They traded it on the most perfect mom-car ever invented...a 1985 Honda Accord SE-i. That car was such a gem. Power sunroof, fantastic perforated leather, all the power goodies Honda offered at the time. She loved it. We all loved it. It was the picture of perfect car ownership for 8 years. They were both astounded at the gas mileage, coming from that hog Chevy. The perfect runaround car for her to go to her bowling tournaments, volunteering at the old folks home, and getting groceries. I was in love, and became a die-hard Honda fan because of that car. It will always be the car I think of when talking about Mom's rides.

In 1993, with enormous protest from me, they traded it for a new '93 Thunderbird LX V6, because my brother could get them A-Plan. They sold the Honda to my dentist's son, who proceeded to let the timing belt break, and later totaled in when he hit some ice and went off the highway. My parents had unwittingly entered another dark age of vehicle ownership. The *%$# thing went into the shop two days into ownership for a bad A/C compressor. I don't think I have to go any further into this car, as it was the 2nd car my parents got rid of before payoff.

In 1996, Dad bought her a brand new Grand Marquis. This ended up being her favorite car, even over the Honda. I balk, but what car is more in-tune with near-retirement age folks than a Panther? It was ok. Rode like a cloud and was utterly silent to drive. Only a few little problems in 10 years of ownership.

After that was a 2006 base Charger. Bland, but apparently bulletproof. Next up was a 2014 CX-9 which served them well. She now drives a 2019 Tucson....her first turbo, which she has no idea what it even is. She keeps it set on Eco and does her running around. Nice little car, but not my cup of tea. I still picture her in that fantastic little Accord, which, funny to think, is smaller than the current Civic.
 
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They traded it on the most perfect mom-car ever invented...a 1985 Honda Accord SE-i. That car was such a gem. Power sunroof, fantastic perforated leather, all the power goodies Honda offered at the time.
My mom had a different kind of Honda relationship: a 1983 Civic "1300FE" which was marketed as the special high-MPG model that year (the FE in the name stood for Fuel Efficiency). It had the optional 5-speed transmission in an era when 4-speeds were standard; that turned out to be the car's only option. It had no AC, no power accessories at all, no sound deadening, no armrests, no carpeting, etc, etc. It was noisy, crude and uncomfortable. I'm not sure if she chose it for the gas mileage, or because she thought all those fancy options were all extravagant doo-dads just waiting to break. Probably a little of each. The car did have a radio if I remember right: an AM-only unit which she turned on only if there was a storm approaching and she wanted to hear if it was time to take cover or not. The car never started in extreme cold weather and eventually turned into an serious oil burner and it needed two top-engine rebuilds by the time they traded it off nine years later, at less than 80,000 miles. The 5-speed was a smooth one though so I can say that.
 
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