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Reverse Gear - Cars I Really Liked & Why


VBdenny
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After to listening to various discussions about cars people owned in the past, I started thinking about some of the vehicles I've owned. I'd rather not go through the entire list so here are some of my favorites in chronological order.

1966 Oldsmobile Cutlass F-85. Picked this up in 1978 from the original owner. Still somewhere in my garage. Drove it all over the country. 250CID (4.1L) L-6. 3 (on the tree).

1970 Buick Electra 225. Didn't need a car when I bought this but saw the ad with no price and went to look for the hell of it. Turns out it was an elderly lady whom had been a customer on my paper route. Well old Charlie (her husband) who was a traveling salesman, had checked out suddenly (I suspected the stress) and left his Buick parked there. The Buick apparently sat there for 6 months while Charlie's memory faded. Right place at right time and I scooped the unit for $250. Beautiful with a powerful 455 cubic inch Buick V-8

1993 Mazda Miata - another car I bought that I certainly didn't need. When the previous owner rolled In To drop it off my wife said oh no. Bought it to flip it but then I made the mistake of driving it and ended up keeping it 3 years. managed to burn a new set of tires of it in less than 5,000 miles so that should say it all. My wife hated it and told me to get something else, hence the IS250

1990 Lexus LS400 - bought this from a friend who bought it new in 1989. Both my wife and I agree that I. Spite of the cars we have owned since, the LS is still the best driving car we owned. Smooth, powerful, and very dependable.

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When I bought the Electra, huge land yachts were in style. I was traveling to Brooklyn often and the roads there were terrible. I had friends that had big Cadillacs and Chryslers. Premium sold for 50 cents a gallon so we seized the bull by the horns and burned it while it was cheap. Nobody minded 9 or 10 miles per gallon and flooring a land yacht took a lot of gas. Under the hood the massive 455 (7.5L) engine sucked in leaded premium through a massive 4 Dollar (barrel) carburetor. We called the Quadrajet that because every time you floored the thing, it cost you $4. After the huge engine developed the power it was sent to the rear tires via a Turbo Hydramatic 400 transmission then to the 12 Positraction unit before it incinerated a pair of rear tires. I worked in a gas station at the time so we all had plenty of access to used tires. We would mount up a set, head for the back roads and see who could smoke them the farthest. If you could hold it sideways the entire way, extra bragging rights were available.

Many good movies came out around the time these land yachts were popular. Many of my friends had old used yachts for "Winter Rats" and when the spring came and it was time to break out the summer cars, the rats were just about done. We would take them out on the back roads and try to push each other off the road. Got the idea one day while watching The French Connection. Left a lot of plastic and metal trim throughout the countryside. Now, that is considered environmentally unfriendly.

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Ok Denny, I finally have some time to reply to this. How I stay so busy now that I'm retired is beyond me!!!! I'm glad you started this. Talking about my cars is my favorite pastime.

My favorite car of all times, of course, was my Z28. I didn't keep it 17 years for nothing. It was in the newspaper, Super Chevy magazine, a parade, poker runs, car show....I just totally enjoyed the car.

Now.....I too owned a monster GM 455. It was in a 73 Grand Prix. It was an olive green with a white vinyl top. You could literally smoke the little 78 series tires on it. The salesman I bought it from said that the car was originally purchased by Elvis for one of his body guards. I never kept the car long enough to see the title so I will never know for sure. It was a nice car.

The coolest car I ever owned was a 440 6bbl Charger. I know I have mentioned it here before. The guy that had it before us was fairly rich. He bought the car, it was a 68, and a crate motor. I'm sorry, I know it is an engine, I have just always heard them called crate motors !?!?! He had Racing Head Service build it. It had the hairiest cam I've ever seen in a street car. It would barely idle. We only kept it a year. It ate plugs, wires, points, alternators like they were candy and started eating trannys! Couldn't afford to keep it up.

Have I told my cool bait and switch story here on that car? I don't want to bore anybody again if I did.

I had a Datsun 280Z. It was one of the few fuel injected cars out there. Parts had to come from Japan and FedEx hadn't been invented yet. It was always leaving me stranded. My mechanic and I got to be such good friends that he sent me flowers for Christmas!!!!

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Well Becki, sounds like you have had your share of fun. Kind of nice not having to work huh. Much nicer to be able to go where you want, when you want. My wife knows somewhere south of zero about cars although she has proven excellent at picking out expensive cars on the highway with an "ooh, I like that" to which I respond, uh huh

When I had my first cars, I was my mechanic. Gasoline was a big enough challenge at the time.

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That Charger got 6mpg. We owned it during the oil embargo. I worked for an Exxon car wash so we could get all the gas we wanted.

One day I was at a traffic light and across from me was a nice '69 Camaro in one lane and a Jaguar in the other. I told my daughter that I was probably the only woman in the world that would rather have the Camaro.

I don't know why I love cars so much. Always have. Mom said it was my first word.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, I am going to jump in.....I (in my younger days) loved sports cars, started with a Austin Healey Sprite, yep no roll up windows, just two sliding windows that you attached with Thumb screws. Loved that car, on a twisty road, was a blast. Next went to a Triump TR250, Oh boy a manly car, 15 inch wheels and a straight six and of course in Spain. I was in heaven, raced all over Spain, even through the LaGuardia Civil gate at the base when the brakes failed, looked in the mirror to two State police with sub-machine guns pointed at my head....Sorry I ever sold that car, it taught me the basics of constantly repairing while driving. My last and most challenging car was the 68 Jaguar XKE fastback. Engine completely blowing oil smoke out the exhaust, but what an incredible experience after rebuilding the engine myself. That was a incredible handling auto. 90 mph in a freeway on ramp and not the slightest feeling of unstable. Truly a Lemans engineered racing heritage. However to maintain it was like taking your money and kicking it into the Grand Canyon with no end in site. Yup British cars were not meant for the faint of heart. But what a rush when they ran.....

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Sounds good Lenore.

Reminds me of one more detail about my 280Z that I forgot to mention.....speaking of manly cars! It didn't have power steering and it was a manual tranny. I loved driving it. It was a car you really had to drive. There wouldn't have been any texting and driving in that car.

I learned real quick not to put my fingers through the holes on the steering wheel. I did that once and hit a bump on one side and darned near broke my fingers off!!!!!

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Know what you mean about before the "power" days. My 66 Cutlass has manual transmission, brakes, steering, windows. Come to think of it, I don't think there is anything automatic or power on the car. Of course back then, people had some muscle. Getting the things to stop from speed was a white knuckle experience. Let's just say that manual, drum brakes take some leg to operate. Meanwhile, your shoulders and arms are getting some good reps working that big ole steering wheel at slow speeds.

As I was just driving my new IS, I was thinking how I can do everything with buttons except steer and brake. Might add that these new Lexus cars have some incerdible brakes. Already made my wife car sick a couple times with my "jerky" braking. Ahhh.

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Teeheehee.....maybe you should carry barf bags in your glove box.

Remember non-hydraulic clutches? My first job was working at a car wash. There was a guy that would come through and his clutch was so stiff that I couldn't push it in with both feet! When he came through, we would have to stop the track and let him drive it off.

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No barf bags, omitting the passengers is easier.

My brother had a 1967 chevelle SS-396 clone convertible with a nasty 4 speed. Naturally he got volunteered up to do a parade. Pushing that stiff, massive old manual clutch in took his left leg out for a week. He ignored a very old car guy rule which is NEVER volunteer a manual car for a parade.

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Driving a standard transmission in traffic is an art all it's own. My Nissan Frontier has a 5 speed and I drove in a lot of northeastern traffic over the years. All I can say is that it makes me nasty in traffic.

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'55 Olds Super 88 Holiday Coupe -- my first car, first car I took drag racing; first car to win a trophy.

'68 Olds 442 -- would melt asphalt and blow the doors off just about anything.

'69 BMW 1600 bought new when BMW first arrived in the States; first car I took autocrossing and hillclimbing. I ran regular classes; wife ran ladies' classes, and we brought home lots of trophies.

'79 Pontiac Grand Lemans, equipped to be basically a Firebird Trans-Am with four doors. Impressive acceleration and superb handling for the time, great highway cruiser; room for the family.

'06 Saab Aero turbo V6 -- surprisingly fast and nimble; great ergonomics, seats, features; had personality. Would still be driving it if Saab hadn't failed. 300K - 400K miles not unusual on Saabs, and son-in-law still drives it as the in-town utility car.

'13 Lexus GS 350 AWD probably owns the rights for serene, solid highway cruiser with performance to challenge the Euros. Not much personality. Jury still out, but car may win on basic capabilities and nearly peerless reliability.

'03 BMW Z4 is still in the line-up, with about 25K miles. It's the fun car; I can take it and drift the corners, go full bore through the gears, or just cruise around town with the top down in good weather. Wife with a big hat makes it look good.

Out of 40 or so cars in two countries, including most GM products, Audi, two BMWs, M-B, four Saabs, about 10 Hondas, and two Lexus, the above are a few of the standouts. Still lust for a Boxster S.

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Looks like a great line up for sure!!!!!

My first drag racing trophy was won in my boyfriends '69 Camaro 350 4bbl. Everybody teased the crap out of him because I could break into the 14s and he couldn't. Probably the weight difference. I was so excited but I had to tell my parents he won it because they would have KILLED me. I was only 16.

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Ok Denny, I finally have some time to reply to this. How I stay so busy now that I'm retired is beyond me!!!! I'm glad you started this. Talking about my cars is my favorite pastime.

My favorite car of all times, of course, was my Z28. I didn't keep it 17 years for nothing. It was in the newspaper, Super Chevy magazine, a parade, poker runs, car show....I just totally enjoyed the car.

Now.....I too owned a monster GM 455. It was in a 73 Grand Prix. It was an olive green with a white vinyl top. You could literally smoke the little 78 series tires on it. The salesman I bought it from said that the car was originally purchased by Elvis for one of his body guards. I never kept the car long enough to see the title so I will never know for sure. It was a nice car.

The coolest car I ever owned was a 440 6bbl Charger. I know I have mentioned it here before. The guy that had it before us was fairly rich. He bought the car, it was a 68, and a crate motor. I'm sorry, I know it is an engine, I have just always heard them called crate motors !?!?! He had Racing Head Service build it. It had the hairiest cam I've ever seen in a street car. It would barely idle. We only kept it a year. It ate plugs, wires, points, alternators like they were candy and started eating trannys! Couldn't afford to keep it up.

Have I told my cool bait and switch story here on that car? I don't want to bore anybody again if I did.

I had a Datsun 280Z. It was one of the few fuel injected cars out there. Parts had to come from Japan and FedEx hadn't been invented yet. It was always leaving me stranded. My mechanic and I got to be such good friends that he sent me flowers for Christmas!!!!

OK. I'm going to step out and show my ignorance. What is a crate motor?

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Ahh yah, maybe still and engine Becki, but when my friends got that 454 for his chevelle in a crate, well, it was a beautiful sight. Can you imagine finding a crate motor under the tree?

Could use one for my cutlass

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