Wednesday, September 26, 2018

My First Car

Girl not included.

My parents bought my first car.  For about $100. 

A 1964 IH Scout.

The engine was ran, but not well and the electrical was a joke.  The body was mediocre.  It had been in a small accident and someone had beat out the fender with a ball peen hammer.  They'd also spray-painted it gold, but not a good gold (if there is such a thing).  It was a rusty-brown gold.  The kind of gold that let you know someone without Banksy’s talent had attempted to complete the job.

When the engine finally gave up, it took me months to learn how to tear down and rebuild.  My dad knew pretty much everything, could have completed the job on a weekend, and still had time to drink beer and BBQ burgers.

I managed well enough, but I needed help getting the timing right.  A friend of my dad’s who was a pinball wizard at timing took about fifteen minutes.

The transmission, manual of course, was interesting.  Going around a corner, it would always pop out of 2nd.  I had to hold in the stick (that's what she said).  Sometime after I finished the engine rebuild, the transmission went out.

In winter, of course.

I tried to service it myself (that’s what she said).  I pulled a used engine from a pick-your-part lot (aka junk yard) with no luck.  I now had two transmissions that were shot.  I’m pretty certain I took out and put the transmission back in five or six times.  Finally, I had to take it to a "specialist" who initially was going to replace it with a Chevy 4-speed, but then for some reason didn't.  The entire thing worked reasonably well enough to get me from Salt Lake City to Portales, New Mexico for my first two years of college.

It's also the vehicle where I met my wife for the first time.

Tell me about your first car in the comments below.  It might make it into my next book!


  1. I bought my first car in the fall of 1984. It was a gold-ish colored 1979 Ford Fiesta with 140,000 miles on it. It had a crumple in the right front fender. I used a variety of hammers to try to straighten it out, unsuccessfully. So I used Bondo and a sander, and that wasn't much better. I couldn't find the correct touch-up paint, so that fender was a combination of three paints plus Bondo color.

    The spare tire compartment had a drain plug. Removing the spare and the jack left an awesome built-in cooler, perfect for tailgating.

    I was in an accident with it. After we patched it up, the right headlight pointed almost straight down, the left one pointed up in the trees to the right. The battery was patched with silicon, but only had five working cells (instead of six) - but the circuit was field-modded with an extension cord. The thermostat was removed, and the engine cooling fan was rewired, to have the on/off switch on the dashboard.

    After all these mods, my buddy and I took a trip. Maryland to Chicago (visit my cousin and go to two Cubs games) on to Toronto to see the sights, and home by way of Niagara Falls and a visit to my uncle in Buffalo. In Toronto, we didn't have a place to stay, but the back seat folded down flat, and the front seats folded forward nearly flat. We moved all our stuff into the footwells, and slept in sleeping bags - heads on the folded front seats, feet against the hatchback. Much of the trip took place at or beyond 85 mph, that was as high as the speedometer went. We averaged 38 miles per gallon.

    I finally gave it up when the front axle fell out, and the transmission completely quit.