Car Adventures — Episode One (My first car)

I learned to drive at age 15 to 16 with my parents’ 1966 Chevy Impala station wagon.  I also had early experience driving a VW Beetle with manual transmission, and I think even some time shifting three gears on the column with Dad’s 1953 Chevy.

I purchased my first car in 1968 for $200–money I earned working for McDonalds.  It was a 1961 Pontiac Tempest–a 4-cylinder automatic transmission, with the shifting lever on the dash.


(Those are my two younger brothers by the car.)

I took great pride of ownership in that car, waxing its blue paint to an impressive shine, and carefully wiping off the dust from parking in a dirt lot next to McDonalds.  It was a pretty reliable car for its time.  I only recall doing minor repair work on it, with help from my dad.  I learned how to change oil, replace brake pads, and a few other things, skills which I have put to good use over the years.  As I recall, it required premium gas, at a whopping 34 cents per gallon.

I don’t recall if it had seat belts.  Perhaps not, as that wasn’t a priority for cars in the early sixties.  I never had an accident in the car.

I drove the car to school each day my junior and senior years in high school.  It was a real luxury at the time to own and drive a car (as a teen).

Sadly, I left the car behind when I went off to college at BYU in 1970.


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