Cars – Love and hate
My first car was a black 1949 Ford flathead six cylinder three-on- the tree gear shift sedan with white interior and an electric trunk opener, non standard. I bought it for $100 as a fixer upper. $500 later and I could drive it to school for my senior year.
I jostled the gear shift, pushing it up into second. Once in second, I tried to maintain sufficient speed to stay in that gear. I could not go fast enough to drop into third gear, and heaven forbid if I had to go back into first, which I would have to do at stop signs, unless no other cars were in sight and I could blow on through.
After a few days practice, I mastered the nuances of shifting gears on this car. I was prepared to drive it to school and to impress my buddies, not to mention, the girls.
The first embarrassment came when one of the football players yelled in front of everyone, “Jim, your car should be called ‘the black tit!”
What? The Ford had a silver pointed adornment centered on the radiator that I fashioned to be like the point of a jet or a rocket as surely the designers intended. Yet, this fool gave it a nickname that would stick as long as I had the car.
At the close of the day, it was time to go home and I knew there would be a crowd in the parking lot to see my new car. The parking lot was at the end of the football field and featured a number of islands with small trees planted on them as the parking lot was just added this year. Since not many people had cars to drive to school, I had plenty of room to drive it around and to show off.
I started at one end of the lot facing in the direction of the exit. People were watching and chanting. I put the car in first gear and started to roll and then I had trouble shifting into second gear. I was concentrating and looking at the gear shift while putting on the gas. By accident, I did something they call, popping the clutch. The car went into second.
I was excited and as I poured on the gas and looked before me, I saw that I was going to drive over one of the islands. I did this to a loud cheer. The car went airborne for a minute and when it landed the tires went flat and there was a terrible noise.
They say that I had broken the king pins. I did not know what they were, but several hundred dollars later I found out, and also learned how to buy and replace a set of tires.
At class reunions people would ask me, “Do you remember the time you flew your car over the parking island?”
“The Worst Cars EverBy Claire Martin of MSN Autos
Quality is in serious question these days. A rash of recent recalls, most notably the uproar over Toyota’s failure to recognize problems with faulty accelerators and brakes in multiple models, has rocked the public's confidence in the auto industry's ability to build quality transportation. In their defense, automakers are building better machines today than they have at any other time in history. However, there are still problems, calling to mind a time when car manufacturing wasn't so good — a time when engines exploded, rust was rampant and cars might simply split in half. To celebrate the best of the worst, we've compiled a list of the most hideous looking, poorly designed, horrendously built and, in some cases, most dangerous cars of the past 50 years. It's a train wreck of riches.”
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Manhattan, New York, United States