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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
12/24/20 8:37 a.m.

For me, it was a 1967 Mustang fastback. I was 15 and didn’t even have a learner’s permit, yet I was still obsessed with owning a car. 

I remember the whole deal like it happened yesterday. My dad’s best friend owned a junkyard just half a mile up Route 28 from the family Ford dealership. If I wasn’t at the …

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'63 Austin Healey Sprite. I was 9, and since I could talk, I'd asked for money every single Christmas and birthday because "I'm saving up for a car." The car was stuck in two gears, had a terrible paint job the color and texture of an orange peel. We towed it home, and my Dad gave the shifter a Fonzie with the palm of his hand. Fixed.

It looked like a rattier, more orange version of this:

Let's be honest. It was Dad's car, and he commuted in it, but he was good enough to humor me. 

rattfink81 Reader
12/24/20 8:58 a.m.

71 super beetle with no engine, I was 14 and only had a small grasp of the basics so while I messed with it for a year I never put a engine in it and sold it. First running car was a 72 Ford maverick, straight 6 and auto. 

Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter)
Dusterbd13-michael (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/24/20 9:07 a.m.

70 Plymouth duster. Learned a LOT about life and mechanicing with the car. Dated all my girlfriends and eventually my wife in it. Learned to drive, paint,  weld, etc.. dad pulled it from a south Carolina trailer park when i was 14.

Still have it, three restorations later!

BenB (Forum Supporter)
BenB (Forum Supporter) Reader
12/24/20 9:14 a.m.

Mine was a '71 MGB GT that my dad had bought a few years earlier as a commuter car and had never had the time to sell it when he no longer needed it. Sadly, I totaled it about 6 months later. Even more sadly, I used the insurance money to buy a TR7.

bobzilla MegaDork
12/24/20 9:17 a.m.

1980 Buick Park Ave Diesel. Injector pump died two weeks before I got my license. Back then (91) autozones and advance werent around for cheap parts and NAPA wanted $450 for it. I didn't make $450 in a summer so the car sat for 8 years and I finally sold it for more than I paid for it ($150 paid, sold it for $200).

Feedyurhed UltraDork
12/24/20 9:23 a.m.

1971 Dodge Challenger small block. Thought I was king of the road until I got dusted by every big block in town. Michigan winters gradually reclaimed it. Loved that car. Still miss it. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/24/20 9:26 a.m.

1990 Miata. Still have it, it's right outside the shop I'm sitting in at the moment.

My peer group wasn't the sort to get a car at 16. I got the Miata when I was in university at 21 or so, and I think only one other friend had a car at the time. Not because we didn't want them, but we didn't need them for our lifestyle and they're expensive. An inheritance from my grandfather paid for half of it and made it possible.

I started tweaking that car and building my own parts for it and things kinda got out of control. Here I am, 28 years later (almost exactly, I bought it on Jan 3, I think) and I have not progressed in life. I'm still tweaking that car and building my own parts for it.

Carson SuperDork
12/24/20 9:31 a.m.

The story of my first car is how I was introduced to y'all. 

In 2001, I was 14 and desperate for a Chevy Nova. I was a Hot Rod and Car Craft junky. All I ever read about was American muscle and V8s. Even then, I was very frugal and thought a Nova was both cool and affordable and ticked most of the boxes. I'd talk about Novas all the time at my after-school job. A co-worker told me his mom had a Nova and she was looking to get rid of, name my price.

It was a '75, 4-door, avocado green and white. LN Custom trim. The opposite end of the Nova spectrum from what I really wanted, a '68-'72 2-door, but the idea of owning my own car overwhelmed my 14-year old mind and I bought it. It was a Nova and a V8, at least. It had the base, 1-year only 262 cu in V8 (I think it was also available in California-only Monzas and Checker Cabs), the paint was chalky and would come off on your clothes and hands, but otherwise it was in good shape and MINE. I washed, cleaned, polished, gave the engine a basic tune, and added an AutoZone dress up kit and a set of Camaro wheels with trim rings ahead of getting to drive it when I got my permit at 15.

I drove it for a while, still loving it, but a little disappointed it wasn't a '68-'72 that I'd see everywhere in Hot Rod and Car Craft. No one was building 4th generation GM X-bodies, especially not 4-doors.

One day I was strolling the magazine aisle at the grocery store and spotted GRM with a feature on the $2004 Challenge. My frugality was intrigued and I bought it.

In it, I saw someone called Andrew Nelson and a black, 4-door Nova running the mythical 10-second 1/4 mile. WHAT?! 

I've been hooked on GRM since, lurked the forum a bit and joined up a couple years after that.

Now I miss it and really like the look of that generation Nova.

jharry3 GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/24/20 9:45 a.m.

My first car was a '66 Mustang notch back.  It was actually my 1st cousin's first car, his daddy gave it to him in 1967. It was originally dark green.  He wrecked it.  For some reason my uncle had it repaired and repainted yellow, then gave it to his sister.  She drove it for a while, actually used to give me a ride to school in it.  Then someone stole it, took the wheels and dropped it on the ground, cracking two of the brake drums.   At this point my uncle had enough and sold it "as is" to my dad for $200 in 1973.    I did a brake job on it and had a car.   

It was a 3 speed with the 200 cubic inch in line 6.  In 1976 I converted it to v-8 brakes and rear axle, dropped in a built 289 and 4 speed toploader.    Ye Haw! I had the fastest car of all my friends.   I had it for about 1.5 years then some troll rear-ended me at a stoplight, bending the chassis, so that was the end of the mustang for me, I took out all the go fast parts like the engine, sway bars, exhaust, and transmission, and gave it to a friend.    I was about 18, car had the old seats, so no head rest.  I guess my youth saved me from whiplash or worse.  Today that hit would probably kill me.

Friend rebuilt it again and drove it for several years after that.

Mazdax605 PowerDork
12/24/20 9:45 a.m.

My first car was a 72 Chevy Nova 2-door. Inline-6 250 cu in, three-on-the-tree. Single bbl carb. Paint that had the same luster as asphalt. Rusted out rear quarters. I loved it at the time, but looking back on it the car was terrible.

G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter)
G_Body_Man (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
12/24/20 10:33 a.m.

My first car was an '84 Cutlass Supreme Brougham sedan with a Canadian-spec factory-order LG4 305 4bbl and a THM350. Fixed it up a bit, then my parents moved across the country and I gave it to a mutual friend whose Focus was totaled by an uninsured motorist. He was still daily driving it until this year.

jimbbski SuperDork
12/24/20 10:47 a.m.

I drove a hand-me-down '66 Ford Custom at first but I started saving up for my  own first car when I got my first job bagging groceries. Once I saved up enough I went down to both my local Ford & Mercury dealers in 1974 to look at the then new Mustang II and the Capri. It didn't take long to figure out that the Capri was the car I wanted.  I found a Capri on the lot and made the buy and drove home a Miami Blue Met. W/black interior 2.8L V6 4 sp. Capri.  


I sold it in 1986 with the car changing hands a couple of more times. A friend ended up with it but when rust overwhelmed the car so he bought a rust free body and transfered over most of the interior and all of the drivetrain. He later sold it to another friend of mine who still owns it today! So some of my first car is still on the road!

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/24/20 11:01 a.m.


1966 VW Bus.

There sure were a lot of good times in that thing, but I can't share them on a public forum!!


Suffice it to say that I made sure my daughters understood that they were never allowed to date anyone driving a van of any kind!

Jay_W SuperDork
12/24/20 11:07 a.m.

I was 18, and the car was a '69 Datsun 510. Red and white like a pack of marlboros, box flares, l18, lopey cam, a pair of 44mm Mikunis, header, 5speed, obnoxious as hell and a total laugh riot. That car taught me all about brake fade...

parker Reader
12/24/20 12:02 p.m.

'64 Jeep CJ-5.  Worked summers since I was 12 mowing highway right-of-ways for my grandfather.  Got the Jeep at 15, license at 16.  Then I learned about cornering.  Sold the Jeep and got a '76 MG Midget at 17.  Moved to a 240Z at 19, wish I still had the Z.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/24/20 12:33 p.m.

As a teenager I was much more interested in computers than in cars, so I didn't get my first one until my senior year of college when I was 22.  That was my mom's old car, an '87 Taurus wagon with the 3.0L Vulcan motor.  No pictures of it, I owned it for a year or so and then after graduating and getting a real job I traded it in on my '95 Probe GT.

oldeskewltoy UberDork
12/24/20 12:38 p.m.

Impressed by your Shelby story... 1997 and "only" $20k......  I sold my restored 1970 SCJ Mach1 for $19k back in 94.....


How about you: Which ones do you miss, and which ones would you like to enjoy again?


SFM6S1299 - "my" 1966 GT350-H


A quick blurb on my first car...  I got it when I was 16 (NJ law was 17 for license), it was a 1964 Volvo 1800S - B18B 108cid, 108hp, it had overdrive... and I stuffed the nose into another car... - it got scrapped crying

racerdave600 UltraDork
12/24/20 1:26 p.m.

My first car was a '67 Jeepster Commando.  I traded a Civil War era cannon for it, but that's another story.  I kept it for a couple of years before selling it and buying a '67 XR7 GT Cougar with a big block and 4 speed.  

mainlandboy Reader
12/24/20 1:50 p.m.

When I was 16, I bought a 1978 Toyota Corolla off my dad, who had bought it brand new. It was originally silver, but I had it painted black before I put some aftermarket wheels on it and lowered it. I also put a few different stereo systems in it over the years. Here it is, during its hayday:

ZOO (Forum Supporter)
ZOO (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/24/20 2:11 p.m.

In my mind there is a distinction between “first car” and “first good car”.  The “first car” I owned was a 1979 Honda Civic 1200 sedan.  It burned more oil than gas . . . and was definitely not suited for any of the motorsports activities I wanted to participate in.  

The “first good car” was a 1982 VW Rabbit with the 1.7   It was “good” because it was mostly rust free and I could autocross it and lap it   It wasn’t particularly “good” at either of those things . . . But at least I was on track   


Olemiss540 Reader
12/24/20 2:24 p.m.

Why do I feel sooooo young when I ready all of your posts? 


You can call me baby Olemiss.

frenchyd GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
12/24/20 2:34 p.m.

In reply to ZOO (Forum Supporter) :

My first real car was a 1953 MGTD    Here it is 58 years later.  

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/24/20 2:40 p.m.

'77 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT.  Got it while I was in college, but it broke down enough that it was "replaced" before I graduated.  Kept it, though, until we got the GTV in '96.

dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/24/20 2:47 p.m.

Thanks for that Tim. Brought back memories of my first couple cars. 

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