Saturday, May 30, 2009

Orphans and Oddballs

The 1953 Kaiser Manhattan was not my first car; but it was the one I traded in my first car for. 226 ci Continental Redseal engine, Kaiser's failure to offer a V-8 perhaps being part of the reason for its demise in 1955. This was a fantastically great cruising vehicle and equiped with 4-speed hydramatic transmission attained a consistent 22 mpg highway. No EPA estimates back then; that was actual regular measurement by yours truly. Dad teased me mercilessly for driving "orphans." See more below.
The gorgeous white 1960 Valiant was the first new car I ever bought. Paid $2066 for it in Indianapolis. This beauty had a red interior and was powered by a 170 ci "Slant Six." This baby looked just as good going as it did coming! And I kept it swept and polished like you wouldn't believe. But again, not a mainstream choice.

I would be hard-pressed even to this day to explain why I traded the Valiant for the 1962 Dodge Lancer. "Just had to have a new car" nuts, I guess. This, too, came right off the showroom floor, so to speak. Same engine as the Valiant. I did drive this one 94,000 miles before I traded it for a new 1965 Mustang 289 V-8.

There were several vehicles that graced my driveway between the Mustang and the next car shown, a 1989 Eagle Premier. But this particular article is about orphans and oddballs. The Eagle was a weird Chrysler-French offering that would be too hard to explain, even if I understood it. Great driver, though.

Again, there were a couple of minivans, some Grand Ams and other stuff between the Eagle and the current "orphan," our Pontiac G6 GT. Yes, GM has disowned its Pontiac badge and leaves us to the wolves. But this one will probably have to last the rest of our driving lives; and bids fair to do so, as we have driven it less than 11,000 miles in almost three years.
Okay this is already longer than it should be, but I haven't even included some of the worst vehicular choices I have made; and certainly haven't shared all of the best, either.
[Happy Birthday daughter Ann, my firstborn]
[Happy Birthday brother Elvin]


Secondary Roads said...

Dad bought a Kaiser shortly after WWII. He took that thing to the garage most Saturdays to have it worked on. He finally got the Ford he wanted in the first place.

I hope you'll share the stories of the not so great auto choices. Should be interesting reading.

vanilla said...

Chuck, I think I may get to that during my stroll down memory lane.

Vee said...

What about the "hippie style" VW?

vanilla said...

Vee, it will show up somewhere in this series.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the birthday greeting. It was a good one as I was surrounded by many of our family. Joanne made a great chocolate cake with raspberry filling. We ate that after all of the families members were treated to a wonderful dinner at a restaurant in Ann Arbor. Elvin