Friday, January 15, 2010

I bought this car in late 1945. Actually I traded for it.
I had a 1930 Model A that I had bought for $95 a few months earlier. It had been “stored” in a driveway for about 9 years before I got it. It was not in good condition. When I tried to clean one of the doors, my hand went halfway through it. I stopped trying to improve its appearance.
I had a Doberman Pincher, a big one. One day I left him alone in the car and when I returned, I found he had destroyed the cloth roof lining. One time when we got back from a baseball game at Ebbetts Field, I tried to turn off the engine with the key. It wouldn’t stop running. Finally I put it in gear and drove it up against a telephone pole; it stalled.
WWII was winding down; gasoline was rationed so sometimes I would buy naphtha and use that as fuel. This created a problem with carbon build-up but I was able to get about a bit.
One rainy night I happened to be at a gas station when a guy with the 1931 car was there. He noticed the new battery I had in my car and offered to trade his car for mine plus $35. Knowing that when the rain stopped, my car would look a lot worse, I agreed and we made the deal at once. He drove off with the old heap with the new battery and I got in my “new” car.
I found out right away why he wanted to get rid of it. The steering column was not secured to the frame which reduced considerably the maneuverability of the car. I managed to drive home where I was able to reattach the steering column.
The car was no beauty. Someone must have rolled it over because the roof was battered on both sides from front to back, but not broken. It had oversize wheels that must have been on a truck before. It was sturdier than my previous one and had a name “Town Car”.
Automobiles were in very short supply in the winter of 1946 and I didn’t have enough money to buy a better one, so I had this one checked for safety, and, as much as possible, for dependability. And then I drove it from New Hyde Park, Long Island to Cleveland, Ohio. Whatta ride! I traveled on the Pennsylvania Turnpike Carlisle to Irwin, Pennsylvania, the entire length of the turnpike at the time. I could do 60mph downhill but on a prolonged uphill stretch, I was lucky to do 40.
I stopped overnight at a place, near Wilkinsburg, where they rented cabins. Motels had not yet been born. In the morning the temperature had fallen to about –6F. The old thing started up without a problem. There was another man there with a much newer and better car that wouldn’t. He was p….d off. I waved to him as I drove off smiling.

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